President Donald Trump lashed out at attorney Michael Avenatti shortly after Avenatti revealed the identity of his client, Julie Swetnick, who is now the third woman to come forward with sexual assault claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The president, who has in the last few days sought to undermine accusations brought to national attention by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, called Avenatti "a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations" against him and "is just looking for attention."
Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing… https://t.co/w6Medqx5FF— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1537980426.0
Avenatti soon responded, and he took particular umbrage at the president's claim that he has leveled false accusations.
"Like those crimes your fixer Cohen pled to?" Avenatti asked, referencing former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, who last month pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts––five charges of felony tax evasion, two counts of campaign finance violations, and one count of bank fraud––in a case which vindicated Avenatti's client, the adult film actress Stormy Daniels, whom for so many months the president and Cohen had maligned. Cohen said that he made the payments at Trump’s behest to buy Daniels's silence and influence the 2016 presidential election.
@realDonaldTrump “False accusations?” Like those crimes your fixer Cohen pled to? You are an habitual liar and comp… https://t.co/LhmvCqiCAf— Michael Avenatti (@Michael Avenatti)1537981363.0
It turns out many others agree with Avenatti's assessment, and they also questioned the president's judgment.
@realDonaldTrump What did your personal lawyer plead guilty to, again?— DDay DUTY TO RESIST (@DDay DUTY TO RESIST)1537982136.0
@realDonaldTrump You wish he was a third rate lawyer he got your tail on Stormy Daniels.. He was effective in helpi… https://t.co/GC1RMYT4Fr— Mrs.Scales #Resist (@Mrs.Scales #Resist)1537984109.0
@realDonaldTrump LOL, Avenatti got your lawyer investigated and Cohen named you as a co-conspirator. The lowest lif… https://t.co/AjIpBHZBtO— Bernice Lewis-Whistleblower#1 (@Bernice Lewis-Whistleblower#1)1537985616.0
Others accused the president of projection, pointing out that he has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by numerous women, and that he has a long history of defending men accused of sexual assault, a list which includes Kavanaugh, former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore, and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly.
@realDonaldTrump @crabbymother You currently have 19 credible sexual harassment or assault allegations against you.… https://t.co/YcsGRTKbx5— Pete Austin-Small (@Pete Austin-Small)1537985981.0
@realDonaldTrump Since we all know by now Trump's habit of projection, when we hear "doesn’t want people to look a… https://t.co/Qbn8eqkDVu— Galen Davis (@Galen Davis)1537985535.0
In a sworn declaration, Swetnick, a former federal employee who lives and works in Washington, D.C., said she was a “victim of one of these ‘gang’ or ‘train’ rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present” at a party in D.C. in approximately 1982.
“During the incident, I was incapacitated without my consent and unable to fight off the boys raping me,” she wrote, adding that, “I believe I was drugged using Quaaludes or something similar placed in what I was drinking.” She says she shared what happened with “at least two other people” shortly after the incident.
Swetnick recalls meeting she first met Kavanaugh and Judge, whom Dr. Ford alleges was present when she was assaulted, around 1980 or 1981. She described them as “extremely close friends” who were “joined at the hip.” She says she attended “well over ten house parties” from 1981 to 1983 and that she noticed Judge, Kavanaugh and others would attempt to “‘spike’ the ‘punch’ at house parties I attended with drugs and/or grain alcohol so as to cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say ‘No.’”
Kavanaugh and Judge would “‘target’ particular girls … it was usually a girl that was especially vulnerable because she was alone at the party or shy," she continued, adding that she has a “firm recollection” of seeing boys ― including Judge and Kavanaugh ― “lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room.”
Avenatti revealed the allegations against Kavanaugh earlier today. "Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation," he wrote.
Below is my correspondence to Mr. Davis of moments ago, together with a sworn declaration from my client. We demand… https://t.co/W07DcY6bKq— Michael Avenatti (@Michael Avenatti)1537972955.0
Swetnick's declaration comes on the heels of an accusation from Kavanaugh's Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a fraternity party. Dr. Ford, meanwhile, has submitted sworn witness statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee from four people close to her who are familiar with her sexual assault allegations. Dr. Ford's legal team plans to present these statements during a hearing tomorrow at which both she and Kavanaugh will testify.
Kavanaugh, for his part, has denied that any sexual assaults ever took place and has not, despite the scandal, offered to formally withdraw his nomination.
“I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out,” the embattled nominee wrote this week in a letter addressed to Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Brett Kavanaugh sends new letter to the Judiciary Committee, via @Arianedevogue: “I will not be intimidated into wi… https://t.co/J58vlMA3KG— Phil Mattingly (@Phil Mattingly)1537810681.0
Complicating matters are the calls for an FBI investigation which only have continued to mount despite opposition from both Senate Republicans and the White House. Attorneys for Dr. Ford are insisting that the FBI should investigate her allegation despite pushback from Republicans who have claimed that to initiate an investigation would significantly delay a vote which has already been postponed. This reasoning has already been shown to be faulty: The FBI investigation of Anita Hill’s allegations that Justice Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her when he was her supervisor at the United States Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission only took three days.
President Trump has remained steadfast, however, and he has not shied away from dismissing allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh as “totally political.” The White House released a statement from Kavanaugh in response to the latest claims from Swetnick.
“This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone,” the statement said. “I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”
Kavanaugh, in a widely circulated Fox News interview, he denied sexually assaulting Dr. Ford––or anyone.
“I was never at any such party,” Kavanaugh said. “The other people who alleged to be present have said they do not remember any such party. A woman who was present, another woman who was present who was Dr. Ford’s lifelong friend has said she doesn’t know me and never remembers being at a party with me at any time in her life.”
"The truth is, I've never sexually assaulted anyone." —Brett Kavanaugh Watch @marthamaccallum's full interview wit… https://t.co/rauolTRZUj— Fox News (@Fox News)1537823580.0
Kavanaugh also denied a claim from Avenatti that he along with Mark Judge, had plied women with drugs and alcohol at parties so other men could gang rape them.
“That’s totally false and outrageous. I’ve never done any such thing, known about any such thing. When I was in high school – and I went to an all-boys Catholic high school, a judgment (ph) high school, where I was focused on academics and athletics, going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects, and friendship, friendship with my fellow classmates and friendship with girls from the local all-girls Catholic schools,” he said.
“And yes, there were parties. And the drinking age was 18, and yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there,” he continued. “And yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion and people generally in high school – I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit, but that’s not what we’re talking about.”
A number of Kavanaugh's Yale classmates came forward after the interview to say that Kavanaugh's claims of piousness do not match the classmate they remember, recalling that he was "a sloppy drunk" who would imbibe to the point of incoherence. James Roche, who roomed with Kavanaugh briefly, described Kavanaugh as a “notably heavy drinker” who “became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk.”
Further contradicting Kavanaugh's claims is his 1983 high school yearbook, which shows that he played football, drank a lot, attended a lot of parties, and boasted of his conquests with girls.
"I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinua… https://t.co/Y3IDY5RV4I— The New York Times (@The New York Times)1537835988.0
A woman who signed a letter of support after he was accused of sexual assault earlier this month has learned that Kavanaugh and his friends sexually demeaned her. She called an entry––”Renate Alumnius”––from his yearbook that showed Kavanaugh and his friends (including Mark Judge, whom Dr. Ford alleges was present at the time of her assault) reportedly boasted about their supposed conquests with her “hurtful.”
The entry is a reference to Renate Schroeder, then a student at a nearby Catholic girls’ school. The word “Renate” appears at least 14 times in Georgetown Prep’s 1983 yearbook, particularly in a group photo of nine football players, including Kavanaugh, who were described as the “Renate Alumni.”
“I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” said the woman now known as Renate Schroeder Dolphin, who was one of 65 women who signed a letter vouching for Kavanaugh’s character after Dr. Ford’s allegations became public.
“I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means,” she continued. “I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.”