Several days ago, NBC reporters Heidi Przybyla and Leigh Ann Caldwell released a story titled “Text messages suggest Kavanaugh wanted to refute accuser’s claim before it become public.” The NBC article says it is highly suspicious that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was trying to get people to go on the record to refute not-yet-public allegations against him from Deborah Ramirez, a former classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale.
Earlier, Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in a New Yorker article: “After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had 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.”
The New York Times, meanwhile, interviewed dozens of alleged witnesses, and none can remember any such incident. It also stated: “Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the episode and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.” This sentence was later pulled from the New York Times article without any explanation.
The only source detailed in the NBC article alleging Kavanaugh was front-running the Ramirez allegation is screenshots of texts given to NBC by Kerry Berchem, a partner at the D.C. law firm Akin Gump. Berchem reached out to Connecticut Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office, which sent the texts to committee Republicans as soon as the Christine Blasey Ford hearings were starting. Days later, NBC’s story dropped.
Democrats are using this article to push allegations of perjury against Kavanaugh. High-IQ Vanity Fair said Kavanaugh’s defense was “unraveling.” MSNBC styled Berchem as “anxious to come forward with evidence.”
In the screenshots, Berchem texts her friend, whom we will call “Y.K.” (NBC released the second woman’s name, but given her clear wish for privacy, and the fact that her name is nowhere near essential to finding the truth, it will not be repeated here.) Both Berchem and Y.K. went to Yale with Kavanaugh. Here’s NBC: “In one message, ‘Y.K.’ said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh’s team and former classmates in advance of the story.”
The problem is that despite the Democrats’ perjury dreams, we already have a highly plausible explanation, given under oath, for why Kavanaugh’s people were calling before the allegations. Here’s Kavanaugh’s September 25 testimony to Senate Judiciary Committee Staff:
[Redacted Questioner:] All right. My last question on this subject is since you graduated from college, but before the New Yorker article publication on September 23rd, have you ever discussed or heard discussion about the incident matching the description given by Ms. Ramirez to the New Yorker?
Judge Kavanaugh: No. [Redacted Questioner:] Well, actually, are you aware that the New York Times passed up on this story before the New Yorker ran the story?
Judge Kavanaugh: That’s what I read in the New York Times. [Redacted Questioner:] What’s your reaction to that?
Judge Kavanaugh: They couldn’t — the New York Times couldn’t corroborate this story and found that she was calling around to classmates trying to see if they remembered it. And I, at least — and I, myself, heard about that, that she was doing that. And you know, that just strikes me as, you know, what is going on here? When someone is calling around to try to refresh other people, is that what’s going on? What’s going on with that?
That doesn’t sound — that doesn’t sound good to me. It doesn’t sound fair. It doesn’t sound proper. It sounds like an orchestrated hit to take me out. That’s what it sounds like.
NBC originally published the story without including the sworn testimony from Kavanaugh stating he knew about Ramirez’s allegations, although not their specific nature, before the New Yorker article was released—even though Kavanaugh’s testimony was publicly available at the time. What Kavanaugh testified makes sense. If someone is calling around to “dozens” of Kavanaugh’s college friends making a serious allegation, it would be odd if Kavanaugh didn’t hear about it before the public did.
What’s more, the texts NBC used to source its article strongly suggest that allegations were being bounced around in social circles well before the New Yorker story dropped on September 23, which refutes NBC’s insinuation entirely. I have copies of texts between Berchem and Y.K., and quote from them below in much more detail than NBC to give a more complete picture of what actually happened here. NBC selectively quoted from these texts to push a narrative that appears to be false.
Kerry Berchem: ‘I got a call from the Washington Post, a few weeks ago… Another one of my friends … got a call from the New Yorker yesterday from Ronan Farrow.’
‘That said if he did do that, [it] should’ve been addressed along (sic) time ago. And the reality is politics are ugly and dirty. Made more so by this current administration.’
Here’s another exchange that took place before the New Yorker story dropped:
Y.K. says she just got a call ‘From Brett’s guy.’
Later that day, Kerry Berchem says: ‘Got a call from NYT 30 mins. ago. Think they have called everyone on the planet if they got to me. Trying to beat the [New Yorker] story evidently.’ ‘Not sure why I am texting. None of this can be news to you. But no one else to share with.’
Y.K.: ‘Yes, and Brett asked me to go on record and now New Yorker aren’t answering their phones!’
Berchem: ‘I thought you weren’t there? Ugh. Do u want to go on record? Maybe better to not? If real, maybe that’s why she [Deborah Ramirez] had so many issues?’
The texts cut out where Y.K. explains why she went on record, but says that she believes Ramirez had issues entirely unrelated to Kavanaugh.
Berchem: ‘The Supreme Court is gonna be scary with or without him.’
Y.K.: ‘Think they’ll come around asking me questions?? Lol’
Berchem: ‘Hahaha. The Dems may ask you so as to sabatoge (sic).’
Berchem goes on to discuss how much she loves left-wing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and how she hopes Ginsburg will live many more decades. Next, the NBC article details how Berchem has been frantically trying to contact the FBI with these texts:
…Berchem’s efforts also show that some potential witnesses have been unable to get important information to the FBI.
The texts also 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.
According to the information Berchem provided, Ramirez tried to avoid Kavanaugh at that wedding of their two friends, Yarasavage and Kevin Genda.
Ramirez, ‘clung to me’ at the wedding, Berchem wrote to Yarasavage in a Sept. 24th text message. ‘She never went near them,’ a reference to Kavanaugh and his friends. Even in the group photo, Berchem wrote, Ramirez was trying to keep away from Kavanaugh.
But the text messages don’t show that Ramirez was uncomfortable at the wedding in question. All they show is that Berchem thinks Ramirez—who seems to have acted oddly often—was upset at a wedding, and thinks this was Kavanaugh’s fault. Specifically, Berchem was pleading with Y.K. to come out against Kavanaugh, or to retract her statement that she knew nothing about Ramirez’s allegation:
Berchem: ‘You know I did not agree with you going on record with surmising you would have known… [Is] Brett’s team making you lie?’
Y.K.: ‘I didn’t say I would have known. I said she never told me, I never heard a word of this ever happening and never saw it. The media surmised it’ [that she was saying Ramirez is lying]. ‘That’s what I was referring to.’
Berchem then describes how she texted to another woman to tell other women to stand down, likely in their defense of Kavanaugh, because the other woman ‘does not know what she is talking about.’ ‘I believe Deb,’ Berchem says.
Basically, even though Y.K. never heard about this, Berchem wants her to retract saying she never heard about the allegations. Berchem, clearly a very left-wing person, begins to get more aggressive and angry. At one point she compares Kavanaugh to Ted Bundy, because she’s sure that Bundy had women in his life who thought he was a great guy too.
Y.K., meanwhile, is an “independent,” and not very interested in politics. She complains about getting pestered by a former classmate who is a New York Times reporter and began talking to her under false pretenses. First and foremost, she wants to be left alone. Berchem and Y.K. talk about how much Y.K. wants her privacy. Berchem acts like she cares about that, days before outing their texts to the entire world.
Berchem: ‘Seriously [Y.K.], if Brett put you up to saying some of the stuff you should come out and say that. Because you and [your husband] are going to get crushed. This completely sucks and what’s happening is that where I’ll be coming victims. I’m looking at my text and I realize you cannot hear the tone in my voice. I am freaking out… But you guys have to get prepared. Tell [your husband] immediately.’
Berchem again seems to have failed to screenshot messages where Y.K. seems to have defended her failure to back up Ramirez’s allegations against Kavanaugh:
Berchem: ‘I am not trying to tell you what to do. But is there a reason she [Deborah Ramirez] fell off grid? And if in fact this happened do you want to be a part of hurting her even further?’
Y.K.: ‘I understand what you are saying but I’m not trashing her. Simply saying we were friends and I never heard this from her nor any one else…just odd that I never heard a word of this.’
Berchem is increasingly displeased by Y.K.:
Berchem in the morning: ‘I wish I had told you what to do.’
Berchem in the evening: ‘The silence speaks volumes.’
Berchem: ‘I believe he is victimizing all of you for his benefit.’
Finally, Y.K. responds: ‘The silence is because this whole situation is awful. Many people have been affected by this, not just her and him. It is all hard to digest. I was a bit put off by you saying ‘I wish I had told you what to do.’ I don’t get that. Why are you telling me what to do? … I know what I know about both people and I can only speak the truth.’
Y.K. continues: ‘I reached out to you yesterday as a friend, outside of all this. Just really hard for me to reconcile any of this. When I say Brett was vanilla with me, I mean it. He turned his back when I changed in his room. I don’t plan to mention our long courtship, lol, unless it is brought up.’
Berchem: ‘Makes me want to move to Iowa. Where everything and everyone is slower and calm.’
Berchem: ‘…Don’t be the fall guys for [Kavanaugh]. Your own life/lives are being impated (sic). Cnn is contacting people asking whether [Kavanaugh] making people go ‘on message’ that is the next story.’
No response is given by Y.K., who is clearly increasingly overwhelmed by the barrage of text-messages. Then Berchem texts: ‘Why did you let them put words in your mouth. Why.’
At some point, Berchem got so pissed with Y.K., because Y.K. wouldn’t lie, or withhold testimony, that Berchem decided to out her friend—who was so desperate for privacy that she had hired a lawyer—to the media in an NBC article.
In other words, far from showing a Kavanaugh-led conspiracy, these texts show the concerted efforts of a leftwing activist to harass and intimidate witnesses who spoke the truth, as they knew it, about Kavanaugh and Ramirez. One wonders if this is the only case of such harassment and intimidation.
Democrats are using the still unsubstantiated Ramirez claims to tarnish the FBI investigation into Kavanaugh, essentially complaining that the FBI hasn’t interviewed everyone with any interaction with Kavanaugh. Should the FBI interview everyone present at the wedding attended by Berchem, Ramirez, and Kavanaugh? How about Y.K. and her husband? Democrats’ complaints that the FBI isn’t interviewing everyone and his mother about Kavanaugh is just another delay tactic that won’t yield more than it already has: dreck from anyone remotely close to Kavanaugh’s young adulthood.
NBC owes Kavanaugh, his family, and Y.K. and her family, an apology. Kavanaugh may even have grounds for a suit against NBC. But the real question we must ask is: When does NBC become so fringe, and so dishonest, that we treat them only as an appendage of the Democrat Party? When does NBC become InfoWars?