Mary Margaret, DCNF
- Former Senate staffer Tara Reade has accused 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993. Biden has denied the allegations through a spokeswoman but has not personally addressed the allegation.
- Since Reade came forward with her allegations in March, two more people have corroborated details of her story and a video of what appears to be her mother discussing her assault in the 1990s has been uncovered.
- Reade demanded Tuesday that Biden release Senate papers pertinent to her time serving as his staffer in 1993. He has yet to do so.
A former Senate staffer for 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden has accused him of sexually assaulting her, and as more and more details emerge about her allegations, the former vice president continues to remain silent.
Tara Reade worked as a Senate staffer for Biden in 1993 and has accused the then-senator of kissing her, touching her and penetrating her with his fingers without her consent.
Reade came forward with her allegations March 24 and on April 9 filed a police report with the D.C. Metropolitan police – a police report which is now inactive, the MPD told the Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday.
The Biden campaign, which has not responded to repeated requests for comment from the DCNF, has denied the assault and said it “absolutely did not happen,” though Biden has yet to personally address the matter.
An analysis by the Free Beacon Wednesday found that Biden has faced 19 interviews spanning almost 4 hours since Reade came forward. During these interviews, he has faced 142 questions without being asked about Reade.
Five people have corroborated different details of Reade’s account against Biden, a DCNF review of public statements found: her mother, her brother, her close friend, her former neighbor, and her former coworker.
And as pressure mounts for Biden to respond to the allegations, so do Democratic anxieties for their presidential candidate.
Tara Reade’s Allegations Of Sexual Assault
In the spring of 1993, Reade described to the Intercept, she met Biden in a tucked away corner of a hallway in the Russell Senate Office Building. She said a manager had told her to bring him his bag.
Before she was aware what was going on, Reade said, Biden had pressed her against the wall, kissed her, and had put one of his hands under her blouse and the other up her skirt, penetrating her with his fingers.
Reade told the New York Times: “It happened at once. He’s talking to me and his hands are everywhere and everything is happening very quickly. He was kissing me and he said, very low, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else?’”
The former senate staffer told the Intercept she thinks Biden was surprised when she rejected him and pushed him off.
“There was no flirtation, he had no consent. He was by my ears when he said, ‘Do you wanna go somewhere else,’” she said, adding that Biden gave her a big smile.
“He pointed his finger at me and he just goes: ‘You’re nothing to me. Nothing,’” Reade told the Times. “Then, he took my shoulders and said, ‘You’re OK, you’re fine.’”
After Biden left, Reade told the Times, she cleaned herself up in a bathroom and went home sobbing. She called her mother who told her to file a police report immediately, she said.
Reade said that instead, she complained to three Biden staffers: Marianne Baker, Biden’s executive assistant, and Dennis Toner and Ted Kaufman, who were both top Biden aides.
But these people would not take action, so Reade filed a written complaint with a Senate personnel office, she told the DCNF. She was told that someone would call her in for a full discussion and meeting – but “that never happened,” she said.
Reade told the DCNF that she does not have this complaint. She tried to track it down in 2019 and was told that “it would have gone back to Joe Biden’s office, to the Chief of Staff,” she said.
If this complaint were located, she says, it would show that Biden’s staff members lied on the record when they said they did not have meetings with her. She had more than five meetings with them at different times through her time in the Senate office, she said.
Staff members then took away most of Reade’s duties, she told the DCNF. She described how she was put in a an isolated workstation where staff members put a computer and a phone line.
Dennis Toner told her to put “special projects” on her resume as her new title, she said, and she was told that she had 12 months to find a new job.
“My job was to find a job,” she said. “And then every time I left my desk I had to check in with Dennis Toner and I had to check with him first thing in the morning and then when I left for the day.”
She told the DCNF this treatment was new and had not occurred before the alleged incident with Biden took place.
“Before, I was I was supervising interns, I was doing staff assisting, I would go to legislative meetings and take notes,” she said. “I would help some of the assistant press secretaries with edits and with writing things, I would give whatever clerical support was needed to legislative assistants and press assistants.”
“And then all of that was taken away,” she added. She said she was told not to interact with staff or interns — only with Toner or Kaufman, who she says told her she was not a good fit. She called this retaliation, and said this is why she filed her complaint.
Both Kaufman and Toner have said they do not know Reade in interviews with the Times. The Biden campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.
Kaufman told the Times: “I did not know her. She did not come to me. If she had, I would have remembered her.”
“It’s just so preposterous that Senator Biden would be faced with these allegations,” Toner told the publication. “I don’t remember her. I don’t remember this conversation. And I would remember this conversation.”
Baker also produced a statement through the Biden campaign, saying: “I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period — not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone. I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade’s accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager.”
Biden’s Response – Or Lack Thereof
Biden has not addressed Reade’s allegations in a live TV appearance or any other media hit. Through a campaign spokeswoman, his campaign has denied the claims.
“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” deputy Biden campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement to the Times.
She continued: “He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully.”
“Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press,” she added. “What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”
The Biden campaign began circulating talking points regarding Reade’s allegations early in April, memos that show Biden staffers were taking the allegations seriously enough to coordinate messaging among their Democratic counterparts, BuzzFeed reported.
The memo insists that Reade’s allegations have already been investigated and found false, relying heavily on an early April New York Times investigation that “found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.”
“Biden believes that all women have the right to be heard and to have their claims thoroughly reviewed,” the talking points say, according to a copy sent to two Democratic operatives that was obtained by BuzzFeed. “In this case, a thorough review by the New York Times has led to the truth: this incident did not happen.”
The points continued: “Here’s the bottom line. Vice President Joe Biden has spent over 40 years in public life: 36 years in the Senate; 7 Senate campaigns, 2 previous presidential runs, two vice presidential campaigns, and 8 years in the White House. There has never been a complaint, allegation, hint or rumor of any impropriety or inappropriate conduct like this regarding him — ever.”
But the Times pushed back against these talking points in a Wednesday statement, noting that the Biden campaign’s claim that the Times investigation found Reade’s allegations to be false is incorrect.
“Buzzfeed reported on the existence of talking points being circulated by the Biden campaign that incorrectly suggest a New York Times investigation found that Tara Reade’s allegation ‘did not happen,’” a Times spokesperson said, according to the Hill reporter Jonathan Easley. “Our investigation made no conclusion either way.”
The Times’ investigation originally said that they “found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Biden, beyond hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable,” but the publication edited this line out following pushback from the Biden campaign, which New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet appears to have admitted April 13.
A second set of Biden talking points were released Saturday and obtained by Bloomberg News following the release of a “Larry King Live” video from the 1990s which appears to show Reade’s mother discussing her assault.
“All women have the right to be heard, and heard respectfully. And the independent press has the obligation to review those claims,” the talking points say, according to Bloomberg. The talking points also say that the CNN clip does not “corroborate” Reade’s claims.
Corroboration – Possibly From The Grave
Reade had previously told The Intercept that her late mother called into “Larry King Live” on CNN regarding Biden’s alleged assault.
A transcript obtained by The Intercept April 24, as well as a video uncovered by the Media Research Center later that day, show that someone from her mother’s city did indeed call into CNN in 1993 and asked for advice about her daughter’s problems with a “prominent senator.”
In the transcript of the Larry King program titled “Washington: The Cruelest City on Earth,” King introduced a caller from San Luis Obispo, California — the California city where Reade’s mother resided, according to The Intercept.
“San Luis Obispo, California, hello,” King said, according to the transcript.
“Yes, hello,” the caller responded. “I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington? My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.”
“In other words, she had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it,” King responded, to which the caller said, “That’s true.”
Reade said she is sure that the call was from her mother. “I just heard audio, my mother died and hearing her voice made me cry,” she told the DCNF April 24.
“She was such a good mom and always watching out for me even now,” she said, adding that the video proves what she has been saying: “that I was forced out and wanted to come forward in 1993.”
Two More People Come Forward To Corroborate Reade’s Story
Following the release of the video and transcript, a woman who formerly lived next to Reade confirmed multiple details of the former senate staffer’s allegations against Joe Biden in an interview with Business Insider. 60-year-old Lynda LaCasse said that Reade told her about the alleged assault in 1995 or 1996 while they were smoking on LaCasse’s front stoop in Morro Bay, California.
Lorraine Sanchez, who worked alongside Reade in the mid 1990’s for a California state senator, also told Insider that Reade had complained to her that her former Washington, D.C. boss had sexually harassed her and caused her to be fired after she complained.
“I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolized him,” LaCasse said. “And he kind of put her up against a wall. And he put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her. She felt like she was assaulted, and she really didn’t feel there was anything she could do.”
LaCasse said she does not remember all the details, but she remembers “the skirt” and “the fingers,” and that Reade was devastated. Reade was crying as she told the story, LaCasse told the publication.
“She was crying. She was upset. And the more she talked about it, the more she started crying. I remember saying that she needed to file a police report.”
LaCasse said that she understands that coming forward to corroborate Reade’s allegations against Biden “may have repercussions for me,” but notes that her corroboration is not politically motivated and that she will still be voting for Biden.
‘Joe Biden, I Want You To Release The Personnel Records’
As Biden faces increased scrutiny for allegations of sexual assault made against him by Tara Reade, pressure is mounting for the former vice president to unseal documents related to his time in the Senate.
These Senate documents are housed by the University of Delaware Library and cover a wide swath of Biden’s political career, but are being kept secret until he “retires from public life,” spokeswoman Andrea Boyle Tippett told The Washington Post in July 2019.
Tippett told the DCNF on Tuesday that the University of Delaware would not share the terms of the agreement between the university and Biden detailing why the Senate records may not be released.
“The gift agreement signed when the papers were donated is not a public document,” Tippett told the DCNF.
The collection of these documents fills 1,875 boxes and includes 415 gigabytes of electronic records, according to the Post, containing committee reports, drafts of legislation and correspondence.
Reade called on the former vice president to release these Senate documents in an exclusive interview with the DCNF Tuesday.
“Joe Biden, I want you to release all the personnel records from 1973 to 2009 and be transparent about your office practices,” Reade told the DCNF. “I would like to hold you accountable for what happened to me, to how your staff protected you and enabled you, bullied me multiple times into silence.”
“You ended my career,” she said, referring to Biden. “You ended my job after you assaulted me. You claim to be the champion of women’s rights, but your public persona does not match your personal actions.”
She added: “I want this brought to light and I want you to admit it in public. I want a public apology for calling me a Russian agent and having other people try to smear my character in order to cover your crimes.”
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