The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing Friday for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who says he sexually assaulted her as a teenager, as a claim of sexual misconduct emerged from another woman.
The New Yorker magazine reported today that Senate Democrats were investigating a second woman's accusation of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh dating to the 1983-84 academic year, Kavanaugh's first at Yale University.
The New Yorker said 53-year-old Deborah Ramirez described the incident in an interview after being contacted by the magazine.
Ramirez recalled that Kavanaugh 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 magazine reported.
In a statement provided by the White House, Kavanaugh said the event "did not happen" and that the allegation was "a smear, plain and simple."
A White House spokeswoman added in a second statement that the allegation was "designed to tear down a good man."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, called for the "immediate postponement" of any further action on Kavanaugh's nomination.
She also asked the committee's chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to have the FBI investigate the allegations of both Ford and Ramirez.
The New Yorker said it contacted Ramirez after learning of a possible involvement in an incident with Kavanaugh and that the allegation came to Democratic senators through a civil rights lawyer. She had been considering speaking to the magazine for at least a week.
Meanwhile, Republicans were pressing for a swift hearing and a vote.
Christine Blasey Ford says she’ll give evidence against Brett Kavanaugh, as long as Senators ensure her safety.
The magazine reported that Ramirez was reluctant at first to speak publicly "partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident."
She also acknowledged reluctance "to characterise Kavanaugh's role in the alleged incident with certainty."
The magazine reported that after "six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections" to recall the incident.
The new information came hours after the Senate committee agreed to a date and time for a hearing after nearly a week of uncertainty over whether Ford would appear to tell her story.
The agreement and the latest accusation set the stage for a dramatic showdown as Kavanaugh and Ford each tell their side of the story.
The developments could also determine the fate of Kavanaugh's confirmation, which hangs on the votes of a handful of senators.