Democratic presidential candidates want Kavanaugh impeached after newly surfaced sexual misconduct accusation

Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – The report of a new sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has sparked fury among figures on both the left and right.

In a Sunday morning tweet, President Donald Trump accused the "LameStream Media" and Democrats of colluding to scare Kavanaugh "into turning Liberal."

And on the left, Democratic presidential candidates former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, and U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California called for Kavanaugh's impeachment.

Related Video: Ex-Sen. David Boren Accused of Sexual Misconduct

"Last year the Kavanaugh nomination was rammed through the Senate without a thorough examination of the allegations against him," Warren wrote on Twitter. "Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached."

Sen. Bernie Sanders said he supported "any appropriate constitutional mechanism to hold [Kavanaugh] accountable"

Sanders, Warren, and Harris voted against Kavanaugh's confirmation in October 2018.

Kavanaugh was confirmed by a 50-48 Senate vote last October after a bitter nomination process. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while they were high school students in the 1980s, but Kavanaugh denied the claim during the confirmation hearing.

A New York Times essay published Saturday evening and adapted from the upcoming book "The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation" featured new information that two reporters said corroborated a prior claim of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh and uncovered evidence supporting a previously unreported claim.

Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh's, alleged during his confirmation process that he had exposed himself to her in college. Her account received less attention than Ford's at the time though, as Ford had testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"During his Senate testimony, Mr. Kavanaugh said that if the incident Ms. Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been 'the talk of campus.' Our reporting suggests that it was," wrote New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly.

The reporters said at least seven people they interviewed had heard about the incident –including the accuser's mother.

Despite the presence of these witnesses, Pogrebin and Kelly say, the FBI "interviewed none of them, though we learned many of these potential witnesses tried in vain to reach the F.B.I. on their own."

More: Brett Kavanaugh begins Supreme Court tenure cautiously as fellow conservatives push for change

More: Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh won't face discipline over Senate confrontation

Pogrebin and Kelly say they also uncovered another incident of sexual misconduct in which another one of Kavanaugh's classmates "saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student."

The classmate, Max Stier, flagged the report to the FBI, but the agency declined to investigate the incident, The New York Times reported.

Brian Fallon, execute director of progressive judicial group Demand Justice, pitched a question about Kavanaugh's impeachment as a question for the next Democratic debate.

"Here is a good question for the next Democratic debate: Do you support impeaching Brett Kavanaugh?" he wrote on Twitter.

Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican Party, slammed the report. "The New York Times should be ashamed of this smear on Justice Kavanaugh," she said, citing a tweet from Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway claiming the reporting in Pogrebin and Kelly's book undercut the reporting in their essay.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has made increasing the number of conservative justices a major political goal, pledged his support to Kavanaugh.

"Fortunately a majority of Senators and the American people rallied behind timeless principles such as due process and the presumption of innocence. I look forward to many years of service to come from Justice Kavanaugh," he wrote on Twitter.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said on ABC's "This Week," "I think that follows up with the rather shameful circus we saw during the confirmation hearing," adding that calls for Kavanaugh's impeachment were "another sign of how nasty and divided the time is."

Later Sunday, Trump tweeted that Kavanaugh should "start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue."

Only one Supreme Court Justice has ever been impeached.

According to the Federal Judicial Center, the federal courts' educational and research center, Associate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase was impeached in 1804 "on charges of arbitrary and oppressive conduct of trials," but he was acquitted by the U.S. Senate a year later.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Brett Kavanaugh misconduct report sparks calls for impeachment