- Tara Reade, who worked for Joe Biden’s Senate office in 1993, accused the former vice president of sexually assaulting her while she was employed by him.
- Reade made the remarks while speaking with podcaster Katie Halper last week, bringing the new accusations to the public for the first time.
- Reade had previously come forward last year with several other women who alleged that Biden touched or kissed them in ways that made them uncomfortable.
- In an article published the day before, The Intercept’s Ryan Grim reported that Time’s Up, which helps accusers get their stories out, had refused to assist Reade.
Tara Reade first gained media attention in April of last year, when she became one of several women to publicly accuse former Vice President Joe Biden of innappropriate touching and kissing.
Reade, who worked in Biden’s Senate office in 1993, told The Union that Biden touched her several times in ways that made her feel uncomfortable. She also alleged that her responsibilities in Biden’s office were cut back after other staffers told her he wanted her to serve drinks at an event because he liked her legs and she refused.
Following Reade’s decision to come forward, a now-deleted Medium post surfaced where she wrote favorably about Russian leader Vladimir Putin, prompting accusations that she was a Russian asset and questions about her credibility.
After that, she largely went quiet. Then, last Tuesday, her story resurfaced when The Intercept’s Ryan Grim reported that the organization Time’s Up, which was founded at the beginning of the #MeToo movement to help accusers get their stories out, had refused to help Reade.
According to Grim, Reade “decided that she wanted to continue telling her story and push back against what she saw as online defamation.”
To do so, Reade went to get help from the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit housed within the National Women’s Law Center. She spoke to a program director in January who referred her to some attorneys.
Grim said Reade was encouraged by the conversation and that Time’s Up was not worried about the fact that she was a vocal supporter of Biden’s rival presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Then in February, Reade was told Time’s Up could not help her because Biden was a candidate for federal office, and they could risk losing their nonprofit status if they went forward with her case, Grim reported.
“The public relations firm that works on behalf of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is SKDKnickerbocker, whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is the top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign,” Grim added at the end of his story.
Accusations on Podcast
The day after Grim published his article, podcaster Katie Halper shared a clip from her upcoming episode of The Katie Halper Show where she interviewed Reade.
Reade spoke to Halper in detail about an alleged sexual assault by Biden in 1993 separate from the harrassment claims, bringing the new accusations to the public for the first time. Reade said the backlash she recieved from coming forward with the harassment claims last year was so severe, she felt silenced.
She said that she had gone to give Biden his gym bag, but when she got to him, Biden pushed her up against the wall and began ouching her with his hands.
“He went down my skirt but then up inside it and he penetrated me,” Reade said, adding that he did so with his fingers.
She said that after a while she pulled away from him. He seemed frustrated, and told Reade he thought she liked him.
“It’s like he implied that I had done this,” she added. “And for me, it was like everything shattered.”
“I looked up to him. He was like my father’s age. He was this champion of women’s rights in my eyes and I couldn’t believe it was happening,” she continued. “It seemed surreal.”
Reade claimed that after it was over, Biden told her she was “nothing” to him and that she was going to be fine before walking away.
Reade said she told three people after this happened: her mother, her brother, and a friend. Her mother, who has since passed on, encouraged her to contact the police. Her brother, however, says he told her to just let it go.
Halper and other reporters, including Grim, spoke with Reade’s brother and the anonymous friend to verify that they had been told this account in 1993, and they confirmed that they had.
Times Up Inconsistencies
Biden’s team denied the allegations in a statement Friday.
“Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims,” Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said. “We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.”
But others, citing Grim’s article, felt as though there was something more nefarious going on behind the scenes.
One Twitter user alleged that the Reade’s story “was quashed because Times Up Legal Defense Fund’s PR firm managing director Anita Dunn is a major @joebiden campaign advisor.”
Another described the interaction as a “catch and kill operation.”
However, in an article published in Salon on Tuesday, writer Amanda Marcotte appread to provide a bit more context.
Marcotte said Reade told Salon she was not interested in suing Biden and that she was trying to find a lawyer to stop the smears about her being a Russian asset. At least one law firm Marcotte spoke to confirmed that it did not take Reade’s case and another indicated they made the same decision.
“Reade indicated that she was less interested in legal action and more in public relations representation,” Marcotte wrote. “But Time’s Up is primarily a legal organization, and is not in the business of running PR for accusers who aren’t going through the court system.”
That remark, however, received pushback from Grim as well as political pundit Krystal Ball.
In a tweet, Grim said that Marcotte’s statement was false, and shared a screenshot from the Time’s Up website that said they would help fund “media and storytelling.”
“This seems completely invented by Marcotte,” Ball responded. “Unless I’m wrong, Time’s Up didn’t even offer that as the reason.”
This seems completely invented by Marcotte. Unless I’m wrong, Time’s Up didn’t even offer that as the reason.— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) March 31, 2020
But Marcotte responded to Grim’s tweet, pointing out that her article explicitly said that Time’s Up only offered PR to people with legal cases and “no lawyer would take Reade on as a client.”
She also provided a screenshot and link to the website for Time’s Up legal defense fund, where it clearly states that in order for an accuser to get PR work from SKDKnickerbocker, “You must have an attorney to complete the evaluation and qualify for assistance.”
That, however, did not stop Ball from making the same accusations on Wednesday during her show Rising with Krystal & Saagar.
“Marcotte argues that Time’s Up doesn’t assist victims with PR efforts, something which the organization itself never argued,” Ball said. “And which is a fact belied by the mission statement which is posted on their website.”
See what others are saying: (The Intercept) (Salon) (Jezebel)
Katie Couric Says She Edited Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote About Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem
Couric said she omitted part of a 2016 interview in order to “protect” the justice.
Kate Couric Edited Quote From Justice Ginsburg
In her upcoming book, journalist Katie Couric admitted to editing a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 in order to “protect” Ginsberg from potential criticism.
Couric interviewed the late justice for an article in Yahoo News. During their discussion, she asked Ginsburg about her thoughts on athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.
“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg is quoted saying in the piece. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
According to The Daily Mail and The New York Post, which obtained advance copies of Couric’s book “Going There,” there was more to Ginsburg’s response. Couric wrote that she omitted a portion where Ginsburg said the form of protest showed a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life…Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from.“
Couric Says She Lost Sleep Making Choice
“As they became older they realize that this was youthful folly,” Ginsberg reportedly continued. “And that’s why education is important.“
According to The Daily Mail, Couric wrote that the Supreme Court’s head of public affairs sent an email asking to remove comments about kneeling because Ginsburg had misspoken. Couric reportedly added that she felt a need to “protect” the justice, thinking she may not have understood the question. Couric reached out to her friend, New York Times reporter David Brooks, regarding the matter and he allegedly likewise believed she may have been confused by the subject.
Couric also wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt her comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” Because she knew the remarks could land Ginsburg in hot water, she said she “lost a lot of sleep” and felt “conflicted” about whether or not to edit them out.
Couric was trending on Twitter Wednesday and Thursday as people questioned the ethics behind her choice to ultimately cut part of the quote. Some thought the move showed a lack of journalistic integrity while others thought revealing the story now harmed Ginsburg’s legacy.
See what others are saying: (New York Post) (The Daily Mail) (Insider)
Biden Administration Orders ICE To Halt Workplace Raids
The Department of Homeland Security will now focus on targeting employers who exploit undocumented workers, instead of carrying out raids that dissuade those workers from reporting labor violations.
DHS Reverses Worksite Raid Policy
The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it was ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop workplace raids.
The move marks a reversal from Trump administration policies that have been strongly criticized by immigration activists who argue the efforts created fear in immigrant communities and dissuaded them from reporting labor violations or exploitative employment practices.
In addition to stopping the raids, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memo that the administration will refocus enforcement efforts to instead target “employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.”
Mayorkas added that the immigration agencies housed in DHS will have the next 60 days to identify harmful existing policies and come up with new ones that provide better deportation protections for workers who report their employers.
In the Tuesday memo, the secretary argued that shift of focus will “reduce the demand for illegal employment by delivering more severe consequences to exploitative employers” and “increase the willingness of workers to report violations of law by exploitative employers and cooperate in employment and labor standards investigation.”
Labor Market Implications
The new policy comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a critical labor shortage, including in many sectors that rely on immigrant labor.
Some companies that use undocumented workers pay them wages that are far below the market rate, which is not only exploitative but also undercuts competitors.
According to Mayorkas, the pivot to employer-based enforcement will help protect American businesses.
“By exploiting undocumented workers and paying them substandard wages, the unscrupulous employers create an unfair labor market,” he said in the memo. “They also unfairly drive down their costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law.”
It is currently unclear how effective the new efforts will be, but historical precedent does not paint an optimistic picture.
The Biden administration’s efforts closely mirror a similar move by the Obama administration, which attempted to reverse workplace raids authorized under President George W. Bush by targetting those who employ undocumented workers rather than the workers themselves.
That effort, however, still led to thousands of undocumented workers being fired.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (ABC News)
Mom Charged for Hosting Secret Teen Parties, Pressuring Kids To Drink and Engage in Sex Acts
Investigators said some of the sex acts between teens were non-consensual and at times took place while the mother stood by laughing.
Mother Hit With Dozens of Charges
A California mother is facing 39 criminal charges after hosting a series of illegal parties for her teenage son and his mostly 14- and 15-year-old friends that regularly led to dangerous accidents and sexual assaults.
The mother, 47-year-old Shannon O’Connor, also known as Shannon Bruga, is currently awaiting extradition to Santa Clara County. According to The Mercury News, she was arrested Saturday in Ada County, Idaho, where she has a home in addition to her property in Los Gatos that is currently on the market.
Her criminal charges include 12 felony counts and 10 misdemeanor counts of child endangerment, one count of misdemeanor sexual battery, three counts of misdemeanor child molestation, and 13 misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors.
“It took a lot of brave children to come forward and to untangle this deeply disturbing case,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a press release regarding the case. “As a parent, I’m shocked. As the DA, I’m determined to hold those adults who endanger children fully accountable to the law and our community.”
What Happened During the Parties?
Investigators claim O’Connor organized the functions, attended by as many as 20 teens, via text message and Snapchat. She would then allegedly supply the teens with alcohol and push them to binge drink, often to the point of illness or unconsciousness.
The harm that resulted from their intoxication included one teen breaking a finger and another almost drowning in a hot tub, among other serious situations.
In another instance, O’Connor let an unlicensed drunk teen drive her car. Her son and another one of his friends then hung off the back while it was moving, which caused the friend to fall, hit his head, and become unconscious for 30 seconds. He was later diagnosed with a concussion after spending the night vomiting.
O’Connor is additionally accused of manipulating and encouraging drunk teens to participate in sex acts with one another, which were sometimes non-consensual or carried out while she watched. In some cases, she allegedly laughed while the sexual acts happened or when assault victims asked her why she didn’t step in to help.
Investigators added that O’Connor required teens who attended her parties to keep them a secret. She’s even accused of helping them sneak out of their homes so she could drive them to her events. Authorities said she was found to have bullied at least one teen who she suspected of breaking the secret.
“Everyone should feel relieved this woman’s not on the street,” the parents of one assault victim told The Mercury News. “She was grooming these kids, setting them up for sexual acts, and she’s a mother and doing this to her own child. … I’ve been racking my brain trying to think what was in it for her.“