WASHINGTON — Tara Reade, a former staffer accusing former Vice President Joe Biden of sexual assault, specified Saturday that she's "not sure" what wording she might have used in the paper complaint she says she filed with a Senate personnel office in 1993.
"I filed a complaint re sexual harassment and retaliation but I am not sure what explicit words on that intake form until we all see it again," Reade told NBC News in a text message Saturday.
Reade has said the complaint, if it's found, wouldn't include the sexual assault allegation she came forward with in March. She told the The Associated Press in an interview Friday: "The main word I used — and I know I didn't use 'sexual harassment' — I used 'uncomfortable.' And I remember 'retaliation.'"
Biden has insisted that no record exists, but nonetheless he sent a letter Friday asking the secretary of the Senate to "take or direct whatever steps are necessary" to determine where any such personnel record would exist and to release to the public any documents it finds related to any allegation Reade might have made.
"It is not true. I am saying unequivocally it never, never happened, and it didn't," Biden said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "It never happened."
Biden also reiterated his unequivocal denial Friday night at a virtual fundraiser with Obama administration veterans.
"Your trust and faith has always meant a great deal to me," he said. "So first, let me say unequivocally, this claim is simply not true. It did not happen."
Biden, the apparent Democratic presidential nominee, went on to say, however, that he continued to believe that "women have to be able to be heard and that all the claims be taken seriously."
"It isn't enough just to simply take my word for it and to dismiss it out of hand. Frankly, that shouldn't be enough for anyone, because we know that this sort of approach is exactly how the culture of abuse has been allowed to fester for so long," he said.
A number of former Obama administration and campaign officials have also defended Biden, with some pointing out that no evidence of such allegations was uncovered as part of the rigorous vetting process Biden went through to be chosen for the ticket in 2008.
William Jeffress, one of the nearly dozen lawyers who served on the Obama campaign's vice presidential search team, told NBC News that the background check found no evidence of any complaints of any kind, either of sexual harassment, discrimination or any other misconduct of any kind against Biden, then a member of the Senate.
"We did not do a complete search of records from his office," Jeffress added. "If something had come up, we would have looked at the records. I do not recall and do not believe we reviewed his Senate records."