Update (0812ET): Just as we expected, the interview has devolved into a bunch of "believe all women" double-talk. Yes, all assault claims must be taken seriously, just like this one is being taken 'seriously'...sure.
- BIDEN: BELIEVING WOMEN MEANS TAKING THEM SERIOUSLY, VETTING
- BIDEN SAYS HE HAS NOTHING TO HIDE, NO COMPLAINTS
- BIDEN SAYS THERE ARE NO NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS IN HIS CASE
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Update (0800ET): And as the 'Morning Joe' interview gets underway, Mika just announced that she will be interviewing Biden alone.
Joining us now: @JoeBiden— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) May 1, 2020
Interesting that Mika announces that she alone is interviewing Joe Biden on Tara Reade.— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) May 1, 2020
"No, it is not true. I am saying unequivocally, it never, never happened," Biden said.— Michael Tackett (@tackettdc) May 1, 2020
Meanwhile, as Biden struggles, Hillary Clinton is waiting for the call.
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Directly addressing the allegations that have upended his stalled campaign, former VP Joe Biden issued a statement denying sexual assault allegations made by Tara Reade - a former staffer who claims Biden digitally penetrated her against her wishes back in the early 1990s.
In the statement, Biden said the alleged assault "never happened" and that his papers at the University of Delaware include no mention of the incident.
The statement begins: "So I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago. They aren’t true. This never happened."
In statement, Biden denies sexual assault allegation and says his papers at the University of Delaware don’t include any such record. Said accuser’s story has been inconsistent. “This never happened.” pic.twitter.com/ifFZ6nJV1m— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 1, 2020
Reade has claimed she made a complaint about the incident. The WaPo editorial board has pressed Biden to release sealed Senate records, but Biden's alma mater UDel said yesterday it had no plans to release Biden's papers. Even the NYT released a statement undercutting the nominee by saying that its report did not "exonerate" Biden from the allegations.
In the statement, Biden says he plans to ask the Secretary of the Senate to ask the National Archives to identify and release to the press any complaints filed by Reade, who says she filed a complain in 1993. Reade started working for Biden in late 1992 and left in the summer of 1993.
Biden - who hasn't previously addressed the allegations directly - released his statement as MSNBC's "Morning Joe" aired a supposedly "unscripted" interview with Biden where they were supposed to ask "tough questions" about the allegations. However, a clip from a pre-filmed segment portends a flurry of softball questions, answered with the help of a teleprompter.
Here's a photo of the teleprompter Joe Biden will likely be relying on this morning to answer questions about Tara Reade. pic.twitter.com/HuAgYEJAKh— Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) May 1, 2020
Today’s MSNBC “exclusive” with Joe Biden is not a serious, unscripted reckoning.— Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) May 1, 2020
It’s a fan club running interference for another friend. pic.twitter.com/Bxart1L3cp
So Morning Joe is preparing viewers for the Joe Biden interview by listing all the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual impropriety. Not sure what the message is...— Byron York (@ByronYork) May 1, 2020
Even the NYT is questioning why the major cable news organizations (aside from Fox News) have been reluctant to put Reade herself on the air. She has chosen to give her 'exclusive' interview to Fox News (rumor has it Chris Wallace, the network's most reputable newsman, will conduct the interview).
Tara Reade filed a police report three weeks ago, despite the fact that Biden's crime is well past the statute of limitations.
The statement begins with Biden recalling his work on the "Violence Against Women Act", a law Biden claims he wrote "over 25 years ago"...or just two years after a young intern named Tara Reade joined his office.
Read the full statement below (courtesy of Medium):
"April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every year, at this time, we talk about awareness, prevention, and the importance of women feeling they can step forward, say something, and be heard. That belief – that women should be heard – was the underpinning of a law I wrote over 25 years ago. To this day, I am most proud of the Violence Against Women Act. So, each April we are reminded not only of how far we have come in dealing with sexual assault in this country – but how far we still have to go.
When I wrote the bill, few wanted to talk about the issue. It was considered a private matter, a personal matter, a family matter. I didn’t see it that way. To me, freedom from fear, harm, and violence for women was a legal right, a civil right, and a human right. And I knew we had to change not only the law, but the culture.
So, we held hours of hearings and heard from the most incredibly brave women – and we opened the eyes of the Senate and the nation – and passed the law.
In the years that followed, I fought to continually strengthen the law. So, when we took office and President Obama asked me what I wanted, I told him I wanted oversight of the critical appointments in the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice and I wanted a senior White House Advisor appointing directly to me on the issue. Both of those things happened.
As Vice President, we started the “It’s on Us” campaign on college campuses to send the message loud and clear that dating violence is violence – and against the law.
We had to get men involved. They had to be part of the solution. That’s why I made a point of telling young men this was their problem too – they couldn’t turn a blind eye to what was happening around them – they had a responsibility to speak out. Silence is complicity.
In the 26 years since the law passed, the culture and perceptions have changed but we’re not done yet.
It’s on us, and it’s on me as someone who wants to lead this country. I recognize my responsibility to be a voice, an advocate, and a leader for the change in culture that has begun but is nowhere near finished. So I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago.
They aren’t true. This never happened.
While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.
Responsible news organizations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways.
But this much bears emphasizing.
She has said she raised some of these issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from my office at the time. They – both men and a woman – have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues. News organizations that have talked with literally dozens of former staffers have not found one – not one – who corroborated her allegations in any way. Indeed, many of them spoke to the culture of an office that would not have tolerated harassment in any way – as indeed I would not have.
There is a clear, critical part of this story that can be verified. The former staffer has said she filed a complaint back in 1993. But she does not have a record of this alleged complaint. The papers from my Senate years that I donated to the University of Delaware do not contain personnel files. It is the practice of Senators to establish a library of personal papers that document their public record: speeches, policy proposals, positions taken, and the writing of bills.
There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be – the National Archives. The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices. I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there.
As a Presidential candidate, I’m accountable to the American people. We have lived long enough with a President who doesn’t think he is accountable to anyone, and takes responsibility for nothing. That’s not me. I believe being accountable means having the difficult conversations, even when they are uncomfortable. People need to hear the truth.
I have spent my career learning from women the ways in which we as individuals and as policy makers need to step up to make their hard jobs easier, with equal pay, equal opportunity, and workplaces and homes free from violence and harassment. I know how critical women’s health issues and basic women’s rights are. That has been a constant through my career, and as President, that work will continue. And I will continue to learn from women, to listen to women, to support women, and yes, to make sure women’s voices are heard.
We have a lot of work to do. From confronting online harassment, abuse, and stalking, to ending the rape kit backlog, to addressing the deadly combination of guns and domestic violence.
We need to protect and empower the most marginalized communities, including immigrant and indigenous women, trans women, and women of color.
We need to make putting an end to gender-based violence in both the United States and around the world a top priority.
I started my work over 25 years ago with the passage of the Violence Against Women Act. As president, I’m committed to finishing the job.