The New York Times claimed Saturday that journalists shouldn’t be tasked with sifting through former Vice President Joe Biden’s Senate files for evidence that he may have sexually harassed a former aide named Tara Reade — that’s the Democratic National Committee’s job.
Late Saturday, the DNC responded, telling the NYT that such a suggestion is “absurd,” and contending that Biden has been “fully vetted” because the Barack Obama campaign conducted a background check on the former Delaware Senator back in 2008, when Obama launched his first campaign for president.
The NYT has already “investigated” Tara Reade’s accusations, in a “deep dive” published in April, finding Reade’s accusations wanting, even as other investigative outlets, like Axios, were able to find some evidence that Reade made contemporaneous claims of harassment to family members, coworkers, and even a neighbor. Now, the editorial board has absolved itself of any further responsibility in the case, saying the onus is on the DNC to investigate their own candidate.
“As is so often the case in such situations, it is all but impossible to be certain of the truth. But the stakes are too high to let the matter fester — or leave it to be investigated by and adjudicated in the media. Mr. Biden is seeking the nation’s highest office,” they wrote Saturday.
Although Reade’s allegations have only thin evidence, they are more well-substantiated than those made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and the NYT devoted hundreds of column inches to meticulously investigating Dr. Ford’s claims. It’s own opinion and editorial writers pronounced those allegations airtight, often (if not always) taking Dr. Ford’s side.
That’s different, though, the NYT editorial board claims, because Kavanaugh, who was being vetted for a lifelong position — one of the nation’s highest and most prestigious offices — wasn’t seeking to occupy the White House.
“In 2018, this board advocated strongly for a vigorous inquiry into accusations of sexual misconduct raised against Brett Kavanaugh when he was nominated to a seat on the Supreme Court,” the NYT editorial board claims. “Mr. Biden’s pursuit of the presidency requires no less. His campaign, and his party, have a duty to assure the public that the accusations are being taken seriously. The Democratic National Committee should move to investigate the matter swiftly and thoroughly, with the full cooperation of the Biden campaign.”
The NYT isn’t simply making a suggestion, either. They have a plan for the DNC that involves impaneling a group of both Republicans and Democrats to pore over Biden’s Senate records: “Mr. Biden’s word is insufficient to dispel the cloud. Any inventory should be strictly limited to information about Ms. Reade and conducted by an unbiased, apolitical panel, put together by the D.N.C. and chosen to foster as much trust in its findings as possible.”
The DNC responded late Saturday night, calling the plan “absurd,” and claiming that Biden was fully vetted back in 2008.
“This is an absurd suggestion on its face. Regardless of whether it’s the job of DNC to do this kind of thing, it’s already been done,” the DNC said in a statement. “Joe Biden has been clear in responding to this allegation, he went through a thorough vetting process to be Obama’s Vice President in 2008 (which is a vetting process like no other) and lawyers and the press found nothing, and he has asked for transparency by requesting that all relevant documents be released if they exist.”
This isn’t entirely true, either. The DNC will not agree to an investigation because an investigation presumes the claims are legitimate, and that’s simply not something they’re willing to acknowledge at the moment.
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