A second woman has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, a claim the judge denies.
In a story published Sunday, NBC News reported that Kavanaugh's college classmate Deborah Ramirez says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were at Yale University in the 1980s. The New Yorker wrote on Sunday that she claims "he exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away."
She called for an FBI investigation into the incident. At least two Senate Democratic offices are investigating the claim, according to The New Yorker.
The report comes on the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee said Christine Blasey Ford, who accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were both in high school, will publicly testify on Thursday. He has also denied Ford's allegation. Senate Republicans are pushing to confirm the appellate judge to the top U.S. court quickly, despite the accusations against him.
Multiple classmates of Kavanaugh — two of whom Ramirez alleges were involved in the incident — pushed back on the sexual misconduct claim in a statement to The New Yorker. "We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it — and we did not," they said. "The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett."
But two of the classmates who signed that statement, which was provided by Kavanaugh's attorneys, asked to have their names removed on Monday after The New Yorker initially published the story. "I cannot dispute Ramirez's allegations, as I was not present," said one of those classmates, Louisa Garry.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, called for "an immediate postponement" of Kavanaugh's confirmation process on Sunday. In a letter to committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the Democrat wrote that "we must ensure that a thorough and fair investigation is conducted before moving forward." She then called for the cancellation of Thursday's hearing.
It is unclear now whether the allegations will derail Kavanaugh's confirmation. A few Senate Republicans signaled Ford's accusation could sway their vote, though President Donald Trump has publicly defended his Supreme Court choice. If two Senate Republicans vote against Kavanaugh, his nomination will fail.
In a statement, Kavanaugh said that "this alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen."
"The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so," he said. "This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name — and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building — against these last-minute allegations."
White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec called the accusation "the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man." She added that the White House "stands firmly behind" Kavanaugh.
Trump had conversations about the second accusation Sunday before it became public, NBC News reported, citing a source familiar with the confirmation process. The president still supports Kavanaugh, according to NBC.
In a statement, Grassley spokesman Taylor Foy said the senator's office learned about Ramirez's allegation from the New Yorker story and said neither her nor her lawyer have contacted Grassley's office. Democrats did not tell their Republican counterparts about the claim, Foy said.
Senate Democrats, who have already urged their GOP counterparts to slow down Kavanaugh's confirmation process, are looking into the new accusation.
"This is another serious, credible, and disturbing allegation against Brett Kavanagh. It should be fully investigated," Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said, according to The New Yorker.