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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appeared on television Friday to take on the snowballing allegations of sexual assault against him, which threaten his bid for the White House.
Tara Reade, who worked for Biden when he was a senator from Delaware, is alleging that Biden pinned her down in a quiet area on Capitol Hill, and penetrated her with his fingers some time in 1993.
“It is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never happened and it didn’t” happen, Biden said under questioning by MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski.
She asked Biden if he remembered Reade, or remembered a complaint she made. Reade has said that she complained about the incident at the time to several senior officials in Biden’s Senate office.
“I don’t remember any type of complaint she may have made. It was 27 years ago. I don’t remember, nor does anyone else that I’m aware of,” the former vice president said. “The fact that that I don’t remember any complaint ever been made.”
Brzezinski asked Biden if he would allow the release of any complaints filed against him during his Senate career.
“I’m prepared to do that. To my understanding there has been no complaints made against me in any Senate career,” he said. “This is an open book. There is nothing to hide.”
Brzezinski noted that Biden had been “unequivocal” in 2018 when sexual assault allegations surfaced against Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.
“You said this, for a woman to come forward in the glaring lights nationally, you’ve got to start off with the resumption that at least the essence of what she is talking about is real,” Brzezinski said. “Whether or not she forgets the facts, if it has been made worse or better over time. She’s going to go on television on national television. To use your words, should we not start off with the assumption that the essence of what she says is real. She says you sexually assaulted her?”
“I said from the beginning, taking women’s claims seriously. Vet it. Look into it. That’s true in this case as well. Women have a right to be heard,” Biden said. “The press should investigate claims they make. I uphold that principle. In the end, the truth is what matters.”
Biden also added that he never had women employed by him sign non-disclosure agreements.
Brzezinski asked Biden what the difference is between Dr Christine Blasey Ford coming forward in the Kavanaugh case, and his situation with Reade.
“Look — I’m not suggesting she had no right to come forward,” Biden said. “Any woman should come forward and be heard and then it should be invest gated. If there is anything that is consistent with what is being said and she makes the case or the case is made, then it should be believed. Ultimately, the truth matters. Period.
“I fought my entire life to change the whole notion to change the law and notion around sexual assault. I fought the protective process for survivors. We have come a long way and have a long way to go until we are in the position of a fair and unbiased view,” he added. “At the end of the day, it has to be looked at. These claims are not true. They are not true.”
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