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Emails Show Deborah Ramirez’s Attorneys, Republican Senate Staff Deadlocked Over Way Forward with Kavanaugh Accusation

September 27, 2018

Attorneys for the Boulder woman who said Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a college party in the 1980s continue to grapple with staff for the Republican senators investigating the statements of three women who have alleged Kavanaugh committed sexual misconduct decades ago.

Essentially, Deborah Ramirez’s attorneys and Republican committee staff members have been deadlocked over what comes first: a phone call to discuss next steps or a formal statement from Ramirez?

Ramirez’s attorneys, John Clune of Boulder and William Pittard of Washington, D.C., have repeatedly asked staff with the Senate Judiciary Committee to speak on the phone, emails released by Clune on Thursday morning show. Democratic staff members have been willing to talk, but Republican staffers refused to speak on the phone before Ramirez submitted “evidence” to the committee in the form of a letter, email or statement to committee investigators.

Ramirez told The New Yorker in an article published Sunday that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her and thrust his genitalia in her face during a party in a dorm room at Yale University when they were both students there in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

As Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to publicly share her allegations against Kavanaugh, sat Thursday morning in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions about her statements, the chairman of the committee attacked attorneys for Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, the third woman to come forward, and accused them of “stonewalling” further progress.

“At this time, we have not had cooperation with attorneys representing other clients,” said Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in his opening statements for the hearing. “They have made no attempt to substantiate their claims. My staff has tried to secure testimony and evidence from attorneys for both Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.”

He said his staff had made eight requests for evidence from Ramirez’s attorneys and that they did not make Ramirez available for an interview.

“The committee can not do an investigation if attorneys are stonewalling,” he said.

Clune has repeatedly written on Twitter to express his frustration with Republican staff on the committee. After Grassley’s comments, the Boulder attorney released copies of emails between himself, Pittard and staff members with the committee.

As Thursday morning’s hearing proceeded, Clune tweeted: “The committee is creating meaningless hurdles to try to paint Ms. Ramirez as uncooperative.”

Attached are the communications with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Their refusal to give us any information about their process or even talk to us by phone without first submitting “her evidence” is highly suspect as indicated by Heather Sawyer in the emails. 1/

— John Clune (@CluneEsq) September 27, 2018

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee was willing to speak with Judge Kavanaugh about the information in the New Yorker article, yet they still refuse to even have a phone call with us. Yesterday morning we responded with a letter addressing these issues to the 2/

— John Clune (@CluneEsq) September 27, 2018

committee to which they only responded “received.” We have heard nothing since. https://t.co/cuHGjM7rZf 3/

— John Clune (@CluneEsq) September 27, 2018

The emails show a back and forth where neither party is willing to budge.

Mike Davis, a Republican staff member with the committee, wrote an email to Stan Garnett, the former Boulder County district attorney who represented Ramirez through her interview with The New Yorker, on Sunday evening, after the article was published online. He said that the chairman of the committee learned of the allegations through the magazine’s article.

“Please let us know when Ms. Ramirez is available for an interview with Senate Judiciary Committee investigators,” Davis wrote.

Garnett responded that night and said he and Clune would get back to Davis.

On Monday afternoon, Clune emailed Davis and said that Ramirez would “welcome an investigation by the FBI” and would agree to be interviewed in person “on appropriate terms.” Clune said that he and his co-counsel would be available at 8 a.m. Tuesday for a phone call.

Davis responded a few minutes later and asked if “Ms. Rameriz” had any other evidence in addition to her statements to The New Yorker. He did not respond to the invitation to a phone call. A Democratic staff member responded as well and said she and her team would be available for the call.

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In emails later that evening, Davis refused to confirm the Tuesday morning call without Clune answering whether Ramirez had any other evidence and if she would be willing to provide her evidence.

Clune and Davis then go back and forth about evidence. Clune states that there are more witnesses than those interviewed for the article. As the conversation failed to progress, a Democratic staff member with the committee noted it was unusual for committee staffers to refuse to talk on the phone.

“I’ve never encountered an instance where the Committee has refused even to speak with an individual or counsel,” wrote Heather Sawyer. “I am perplexed as to why this is happening here, except that it seems designed to ensure that the Majority can falsely claim that Ms. Ramirez and her lawyers refused to cooperate. That simply is not true.”

Pittard, Ramirez’s D.C. attorney, wrote a letter to the committee Wednesday morning reiterating Ramirez’s request for an FBI investigation and expressing frustration with the Republicans’ refusal to speak on the phone.

Davis, the Republican staff member, responded with a one-word email.

“Received.”

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