The F.B.I. Probe Ignored Testimonies from Former Classmates of Kavanaugh

During his first year at Yale, Appold lived in the basement of Lawrance Hall, one of the university’s freshman dormitories. He was in the same suite of bedrooms as Kavanaugh, sharing a common room. Appold said of Kavanaugh, “We didn’t hang out together, but there was no animosity between us either.” He said he believes that “there were two sides to Brett.” Those who have described the judge as studious and somewhat reserved or shy are correct, he said. He added, “That was true part of the time, but so are the other things that have been said about him. He drank a lot, and when he was drinking he could be aggressive, and belligerent. He wasn’t beating people up, but there was an edge and an obnoxiousness that I could see at the hearings. When I saw clips”—of Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony—“I remembered it immediately.”

.. Appold said that he learned about the alleged incident with Ramirez during thewinter of the 1983-84 school year. He recalled being told that, during a party in a first-floor common room in Lawrance Hall, Kavanaugh went over to Ramirez, who had been participating in a drinking game, “and opened his pants, and pulled out his penis, and tried to put it in her face.” But she waved him away. Appold recalled hearing that Ramirez said something like “It’s not a real penis.” He said that the remark made no sense to him at the time, and he understood it only after reading Ramirez’s allegation in The New Yorker and learning that people had been playing pranks with a fake plastic penis at the party.

In an interview with The New Yorker last month, Ramirez said, “I remember a penis being in front of my face,” and that “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She recalled remarking, “That’s not a real penis,” and that other students were laughing at her confusion and taunting her; one encouraged her to “kiss it.”

Appold recalled being “shocked” when he was told of Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior. “The person who saw it was taken aback by what he had seen,” too, he said. Appold added, “It was a disturbing thing. I think everyone recognized that a line had been crossed here.”

Looking back, Appold said, “The thing I ask myself is, why didn’t anybody do anything about it? Why didn’t anybody report it?” But, he added, “The times were different then. Today I’m an educator, and if something like this happened, I’d know exactly where to go to the Title IX people. But back then there was no place to report these uncomfortable things—we tried to forget about them.” Kavanaugh has argued that, if he had behaved as Ramirez described, the whole campus would have talked about it, but Appold said that, to the contrary, “It was more, like, ‘Don’t talk about it.’ ”

.. After seeing Kavanaugh’s blanket denials of Ford and Ramirez’s allegations, and his assertions of his rectitude during his high-school and college years, Appold said, “I had concerns that there was a good chance he wasn’t telling the truth.” He was certain, he said, that “what he said about drinking was not accurate.”

.. Ramirez said that her main concern, after her F.B.I. interview, was that the agents who interviewed her might not be the same ones talking to people who could corroborate her account—she felt that continuity was important. But she had not anticipated that people she believed had relevant information wouldn’t even be interviewed. “Being told that these people haven’t even been contacted,” Ramirez said, “it’s very troubling to me.”

.. In addition to Appold, several other former Yale classmates said that they had reached out to the F.B.I. about Kavanaugh, but had not received a response. Stephen Kantrowitz, a former Yale classmate, said in a text message, “No one who lived in Lawrance Hall (so far as I know) has been contacted by the FBI What a charade.”

.. he described Kavanaugh as part of a clique of high-school athletes, most of whom were on the football team, who “routinely picked on” less physically fit or popular students. He said that he never witnessed Kavanaugh physically attacking another student, but he recalled him doing “nothing to stop the physical and verbal abuse.” Instead, he said, Kavanaugh “stood by and laughed at the victims.” Both Ford and Ramirez have said that they remembered Kavanaugh laughing during their ordeals. “It was so wrenching for me when I heard Dr. Ford mention how they were laughing,” the Georgetown Prep classmate said, in a phone interview. “That really, really struck a chord. I can hear him laughing when someone was picked on right now.”

.. In his statement, the classmate also said that he recalled, “on multiple occasions, Brett Kavanaugh counting on his fingers how many kegs they had over the weekend.” The amount that he heard Kavanaugh describe, he said in the statement, “seemed to be an extreme amount of beer drinking for someone to consume at any age, let alone someone in high school.” He said that he also recalled Kavanaugh participating in general conversations “where the football players were bragging about their sexual conquests over the prior weekend.”

.. His statement also challenges Kavanaugh’s assertion in last week’s hearing that he never denigrated a female student named Renate Schroeder

.. Kavanaugh and thirteen other Georgetown Prep boys described themselves in their high-school yearbook as “Renate Alumnius,” which other classmates have told the Times was a crude sexual boast. During his Senate hearing, Kavanaugh said that the reference was an endearment, saying, “She was a great friend of ours. We—a bunch of us went to dances with her. She hung out with us as a group.”

.. But the classmate who submitted the statement said that he heard Kavanaugh “talk about Renate many times,” and that “the impression I formed at the time from listening to these conversations where Brett Kavanaugh was present was that Renate was the girl that everyone passed around for sex.” The classmate said that “Brett Kavanaugh had made up a rhyme using the REE NATE pronunciation of Renate’s name” and sang it in the hallways on the way to class. He recalled the rhyme going, “REE NATE, REE NATE, if you want a date, can’t get one until late, and you wanna get laid, you can make it with REE NATE.” He said that while he might not be remembering the rhyme word for word, “the substance is 100 percent accurate.” He added, “I thought that this was sickening at the time I heard it, and it left an indelible mark in my memory.”

.. “I did nothing to deserve this. There is nothing affectionate or respectful in bragging about making sexual conquests that never happened. I am not a political person, but my reputation matters to me and to my family. I would not have signed the letter if I had known about the yearbook references and this affidavit. It is heartbreaking if these guys who acted like my friends in high school were saying these nasty, false things about me behind my back.”

.. Angela Walker, who was in Dolphin’s class at Stone Ridge, also submitted a declaration to the F.B.I. .. “It’s a terrible betrayal.” She noted, too, that the depiction of Dolphin reported in the classmate’s statement “is not the Renate that I knew—it’s not possible.” Walker’s declaration described attending a large house party with Georgetown Prep boys, where, she wrote, “A friend from Prep warned me not to go upstairs, where the bedrooms were, cautioning me that it could be dangerous.”

 

Canada relieved trade deal done, won’t forget Trump attacks

“The most important gain from this agreement is retaining our access to the U.S. market and Canadians understand that,” Freeland said.
But there is a widely shared belief that Canada made concessions and the U.S. did not.
“The concessions were all from Canada and Mexico,” MacKay said. “All of them. The only thing that the United States gave up was more demands.”

.. Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Trudeau, expressed relief that the deal is done but worried about the long-term relationship between the two countries.
“Canadians won’t forget Trump’s disgraceful treatment of Canada. Our economic partnership has been reaffirmed, but trust can’t be rebuilt with the stroke of a pen,” Paris tweeted.

.. Canada could have lost 60,000 jobs in a trade war and taken a 1 percentage percent hit to its GDP — a significant drop because Canada’s economy is projected to grow just 2 percent next year

.. Ontario’s auto industry faced the biggest threat, but the sector welcomed the new agreement. The deal requires that 40 to 45 percent of a car’s content be built where workers earn $16 an hour. That is meant to bring production back to the United States or Canada and away from Mexico, where auto workers earn on average just $4 to $5 an hour.

.. The agreement also potentially restricts Canada and Mexico from reaching a free trade agreement with China and other “non-market” countries. If Canada or Mexico signed a deal with China, the U.S. could terminate its trade agreement with Canada or Mexico on a six-month notice. That may pose a problem for Canada which is eager to diversify its trade.

“It’s bizarre,” Charest, the former Quebec premier, said. “I have never seen anything like that in a trade agreement.”
Daniel Ujczo, a trade attorney with the Dickinson Wright law firm, said Canada and Mexico also must give the U.S. notice before starting those trade discussions and updates of all proposals made during the negotiations.

“The clause achieves a key policy imperative for the US; namely, shutting China’s backdoor to North America through Canada and Mexico,” Ujczo said. “Japan and Europe, as well as the rest of the world, should be on notice that this may be the price of admission to a trade deal with the U.S.”

.. “I am a Canadian. I am polite and respectful. Even when I’m dealing with a hard business issue I don’t belittle people, I don’t insult them,” Rosen said. “As a Canadian, the whole approach that has been taken (by the U.S.) has been offensive and I don’t think Canadians will forget it.”

.. Trump’s mistreatment reinforces a worry among Canadians that their much larger neighbor is taking advantage of Canada, Heyman added.
Bothwell, the University of Toronto professor, warned of lingering damage to relations.
Trump treated it like a real estate deal when he was a shyster in Atlantic City,” Bothwell said.
“But this is nation to nation. And that’s different. And it’s connected to other things,” he added. “Trump really doesn’t grasp that and doesn’t care.”

Trump Taunts Christine Blasey Ford at Rally

Playing to the crowd of thousands gathered to cheer him on, the president pretended to be Dr. Blasey testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday. “Thirty-six years ago this happened. I had one beer, right? I had one beer,” said Mr. Trump, channeling his version of Dr. Blasey. His voice dripping with derision, he then imitated her being questioned at the hearing, followed by her responses about what she could not recall about the alleged attack.

“How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd applauded. “But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”

.. Then, continuing in his own voice, he said: “And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered.” Referring to those who have championed Dr. Blasey’s case, he added: “They destroy people. They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.”

Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, criticized the president’s mocking of Dr. Blasey.

“To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right, it’s just not right and I wish he had not have done it,” Mr. Flake said early Wednesday on NBC. “It’s kind of appalling.”

.. Mr. Trump’s taunts could inflame a struggle over power and sex that has consumed the capital in recent weeks and risked alienating two of the undecided moderate Republicans whose votes will decide the fate of his nomination, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

.. Earlier Tuesday, the president’s advisers were privately marveling at how measured — for him — he had been throughout the controversy around Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. But his patience appeared to run out on Tuesday night, as Mr. Trump seemed eager to charge up his supporters against Dr. Blasey.
.. Mr. Trump’s portrait of Dr. Blasey was met with cheers and laughter by the crowd of several thousand supporters at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss. And it mirrored the increasingly sharp attacks against her by conservative news media
.. Mr. Trump has expressed similar sentiments in the past in response to sexual misconduct allegations against Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News host who was forced out after multimillion-dollar settlements of sexual harassment claims; Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama who lost after being accused of child molestation; and Rob Porter, his White House staff secretary who resigned after two former wives accused him of abuse.
.. Asked if he had a message to men, the president said: “Well, I say that it’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of. This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time.”

Free-speech conservatives, this is your call to arms

To all those supposed constitutional conservatives out there, consider this your call to arms: The First Amendment is under direct attack, and this time from a much more powerful foe than misguided college freshmen.

By whom I mean: the ostensible leader of the free world.

Again and again, President Trump has used the weight of his office and the broader federal government to inflict financial damage upon critics, whistleblowers, journalists and peaceful protesters for exercising their rights to free speech.

Trump’s most recent salvo involves former CIA director John Brennan. During his long career in intelligence, Brennan briefed Republican and Democratic presidents alike. Which makes his fierce criticism of Trump, and his characterization of Trump’s Helsinki performance as “treasonous,” all the more biting.

.. Such comments led Trump to revoke Brennan’s security clearance Wednesday. The administration said Brennan no longer needed clearance because it didn’t plan to call on him for consultations. But high-level clearances are valuable for private-sector work as well.

In other words, this was about shutting Brennan’s mouth by going after his wallet.

.. And that is but one way Trump has tried to silence critics just this week.

A day earlier, Trump’s campaign said it had filed an arbitration action against Omarosa Manigault Newman alleging that the former White House aide broke a 2016 nondisclosure agreement by publishing her recent tell-all book.

.. And that is but one way Trump has tried to silence critics just this week.

That the party bringing the claim here is technically a campaign, rather than, say, the Justice Department, doesn’t matter. The First Amendment is supposed to protect those critical of their government, including critics of its highest officeholder, from political retribution. And political retribution laundered through an election campaign at the president’s instruction is retribution all the same.

.. Elsewhere — again, in recent days — the president and his minions have called the press the enemy of the people and the opposition party. Previously they have blacklisted reporters and entire news outlets (including The Post) whose questions Trump disliked.

.. When unhappy with Post coverage in particular, Trump has threatened government action against Amazon in an apparent attempt to financially punish its chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, who independently owns the paper.

.. Journalists and media owners are hardly the only ones whose job or financial security Trump has targeted from his bully pulpit. He called for the firing of National Football League players who kneel in protest during the national anthem. NFL owners, in a secretly recorded meeting in October, expressed concern about the president’s impact on their bottom line.

Curiously, Republican politicians and conservative pundits who call themselves staunch defenders of the Constitution have allowed, and at times encouraged, the president to run roughshod over the First Amendment.

Republican Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), John Neely Kennedy (La.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) celebrated Trump’s revocation of Brennan’s security clearance.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee oversaw a hearing titled “Free Speech 101: The Assault on the First Amendment on College Campuses,” refused to condemn Trump’s calls for the firing of NFL players engaged in peaceful protest. Instead, in September, he attacked the media for giving the “false impression” that Trump spent too much time attacking the NFL.

.. Polls in the past couple of years have shown that pluralities and, quite often, majorities of Republicans say that they, too, consider the media the enemy of the people; believe that the president should have the authority to close news outlets that he believes behave badly; and favor firing NFL players who refuse to stand for the anthem and stripping citizenship from anyone who burns the flag.