"If this story is accurate, [Brett] Kavanaugh blatantly lied under oath," declared The Atlantic's Adam Serwer in reaction to reporting by NBC News on Monday evening that Trump's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, along with his legal team, attempted to gather evidence to discredit allegations by Debbe Ramirez—the Yale University classmate who claimed Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party in the mid-1980s—even before the nominee says he was aware of such accusations.
While Kavanagh told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee during testimony last week that he only learned of Ramirez's allegations when they were reported publicly in The New Yorker the weekend before, NBC News reports that other Yale classmates were contacted prior to that by Kavanaugh's lawyers—and possibly by the nominee himself—trying to obtain preemptive testimony and a photograph of the two at a wedding of mutual friends.
If Brett Kavanaugh knew about Deborah Ramirez's allegation of sexual assault before the publication of the Sept. 23 New Yorker story, then he lied to Congress. That's a federal crime. https://t.co/hGPoFyI1l9
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 1, 2018
As The Daily Beast summarized the NBC News story:
The network reports that text messages between Kerry Berchem and Karen Yarasavage indicate that Kavanaugh personally asked Yarasavage to "go on the record in his defense." Two other messages reportedly show Kavanaugh’s team getting in touch with the nominee’s former classmates "in advance" of The New Yorker story being published. Berchem approached Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) with the texts, and a spokesperson for the senator's office claimed that the Republicans "had not turned [them] over to the FBI." Berchem then reportedly approached the FBI directly with the texts, but has yet to receive a response. Texts between Berchem and Yarasavage also suggest that Ramirez was uncomfortable around Kavanaugh when they attended a 1997 wedding. Berchem wrote that Ramirez "clung" to him, and "never went near" Kavanaugh during the event. In The New Yorker piece, Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a Yale University dorm party. During Thursday's public hearing, Kavanaugh said he had first heard Ramirez’s allegations from The New Yorker.
According to NBC, the texts "demonstrate that Kavanaugh and Ramirez were more socially connected than previously understood and that Ramirez was uncomfortable around Kavanaugh when they saw each other at a wedding 10 years after they graduated. Berchem's efforts also show that some potential witnesses have been unable to get important information to the FBI."
Like Sewer, other journalists following the case closely said the reporting puts another big hole in Kavanaugh's credibility. The Intercept's Ryan Grim tweeted:
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) October 1, 2018
And independent journalist Marcy Wheeler added: