Investigative reporter Rich McHugh says the Associated Press (AP) did not catch Tara Reade changing her story about the harassment complaint she says she filed against then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) in 1993.
In an effort to discredit and humiliate Reade, who alleges Biden harassed her, assaulted her, and then fired her in retaliation over her filing a complaint, the Associated Press made it sound as though Reade has changed her story about the compliant.
This is not true. Reade has not changed her story.
The AP told the world Saturday that “Tara Reade says a Senate report she filed against Joe Biden didn’t refer to sexual harassment or assault.”
If that were true, this would obviously be a big deal. Reade’s claim that she filed a complaint against Biden is the next step of the story, especially when Biden is refusing to release his Senate records from the University of Delaware, which is where any complaint is likely to be found.
The allegation from the AP, and a number of Biden supporters who have embraced the AP story, is that this report from the AP proves Reade is changing and embellishing her story.
You see, the AP interviewed Reade in 2019, way last year, and rather than report on the story at the time, the AP sat on the story until this weekend when it could frame its 2019 interview with her in a way that would suggest Reade changed her story about the complaint she filed.
But she has not changed her story, and two investigative reporters back her up on that fact.
Regardless, the AP and Biden’s defenders are still playing a deeply cynical and dishonest semantics game. Let me explain…
First off, Reade has never claimed she filed an official Senate complaint about Biden’s alleged sexual assault. (Under penalty of prison, Reade did file a criminal complaint earlier this year.) While five witnesses have come forward to confirm Reade told them about the assault at or near the time she said it happened, she has only ever said she filed a Senate complaint about Biden’s alleged harassment.
So there is no inconsistency in Reade’s statements about the nature of the complaint she says she filed.
The semantics game comes from the fact that Reade says she did not use the specific words “sexual harassment” in her complaint.
People are embracing this fact as though it matters.
But the fact Reade did not use the specific words “sexual harassment” in her complaint does not matter, because the behavior she says she described in the complaint is sexual harassment.
This is made clear in the AP’s own story:
“I remember talking about him wanting me to serve drinks because he liked my legs and thought I was pretty and it made me uncomfortable,” Reade said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press. “I know that I was too scared to write about the sexual assault.”
Reade told the AP twice that she did not use the phrase “sexual harassment” in filing the complaint, but at other points in the interview said that was the behavior she believed she was describing. She said: “I talked about sexual harassment, retaliation. The main word I used – and I know I didn’t use sexual harassment — I used ‘uncomfortable.’ And I remember ‘retaliation.’”
No fair-minded person — or news organization — would make an issue out the fact she did not use the specific words “sexual harassment” in a complaint when the behavior she says she described in the complaint is an obvious, textbook case of sexual harassment — most especially the part about “retaliation.”
The AP continued its word games with this:
But Reade is suggesting that even if the report surfaces, it would not corroborate her assault allegations because she chose not to detail them at the time.
That is meant to sound as though it’s some kind of new revelation, as though Reade told the AP in 2019 that — if found — the complaint will not back up her assault allegation, but in the year since she has been claiming it would corroborate the assault allegation. But the truth is that she has never said or insinuated any such thing. She has only ever claimed she filed a complaint about the harassment, not the alleged assault.
Because I care about facts and am aware of them, long before this weekend AP report came out — which is obviously meant to muddy the waters of those who have not followed the story closely, I have only ever referred to Reade’s official complaint as a “harassment complaint,” never an assault complaint. Why? Because, despite what the AP wants you to believe, Reade has always been clear on that point.
Finally, investigative reporter Rich McHugh, who has interviewed Reade a number of times this year, says that what Reade told the AP is consistent with Reade has told him:
This is consistent with what she told me about the complaint as well. https://t.co/0zd1mxzpG5
— Rich McHugh (@RichMcHugh) May 3, 2020
The Intercept’s Ryan Grim says the same:
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) May 2, 2020
Once again, what we are seeing, courtesy of fake news outlets like the Associated Press, is a disturbing re-enactment of what the corporate media and Democrats did to smear and discredit Bill Clinton’s credible accusers during the 1990s.
This absurd and dishonest hair-splitting about “sexual harassment” is a perfect example of what the media did to attack and besmirch Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Monica Lewinsky, and Juanita Broaddrick 20 years ago — all in an effort to protect Bill Clinton.
Over and over again in the 90s, the media and Democrats aligned to launch campaigns of personal destruction against these women, and they did so with the exact same sleight-of-hand dishonesty we just saw from the AP.
This behavior from the media is as despicable as it is predictable.