Joe Biden mentioned the one factor he might on the Tara Reade allegations. Is it sufficient?

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“No. It’s not true,” Biden instructed MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” of the accusation made by a girl named Tara Reade that Biden had assaulted her within the mid 1990s. “I’m saying unequivocally. It by no means, by no means occurred, and it did not.”

That denial — and a 21-paragraph assertion from Biden launched by his marketing campaign simply earlier than his look on MSNBC — are the primary time that Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, has personally addressed the Reade allegation. And Biden’s response comes after growing calls from Republicans, the media and even some Democrats for him to straight confront the allegations made by Reade.

Biden’s complete and full denial is according to an announcement made by deputy marketing campaign supervisor Kate Bedingfield which, together with a handful of former aides to Biden who additionally denied the incident occurred, was the one on-the-record remark from Biden world concerning the alleged incident till Friday morning. Biden mentioned he had by no means requested anybody to signal a non-disclosure settlement and that “nobody was conscious of any criticism that was made” by Reade on the time of the alleged incident. He known as on the secretary of the Senate to have the Nationwide Archives launch any and all related personnel paperwork associated to Reade.

In reality, Biden’s full denial was the one attainable response to the accusation — assuming Biden wished to stay the unquestioned Democratic nominee in opposition to President Donald Trump.

Even earlier than the Reade allegations got here to mild, there have been grumbles amongst some Democrats — notably supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — that the previous vice chairman merely wasn’t the best selection for the celebration. These grumbles had grown louder — notably on Twitter — because the Reade allegations gained extra steam and Biden remained silent. Even the slightest opening left by Biden — had he mentioned one thing like “I do not recall this ever taking place however it was a very long time in the past” — would have nearly definitely led to a push by some segments of the Democratic Occasion to rethink whether or not he ought to be their nominee.

However, Biden did not equivocate. He did not depart any wiggle room. He mentioned this accusation by Reade is completely false. That it by no means occurred. And he expressed bewilderment at why Reade would even be saying the issues she is saying. “I do not know why, after 27 years, swiftly this will get raised,” he mentioned Friday morning. “I do not perceive it.”

So, that a part of the story is now over. Biden ought to have spoken out — given the seriousness of the fees and his long-standing help for ladies to return ahead and be heard in the event that they imagine they’ve been sexually assaulted — and he did. The related query now could be will it’s sufficient to place the story to mattress?

As a result of, regardless of Biden’s denial, these realities stay:

* A former neighbor of Reade’s has instructed CNN that Reade instructed her within the mid-1990s concerning the alleged assault.
* A 1993 video has come to mild that seems to point out Reade’ mom calling into “Lary King Reside” searching for steerage about how you can deal with “issues” her daughter was having with a US senator.

* Reade has mentioned she filed a criticism on the time with the personnel workplace on Capitol Hill. (She has mentioned she does not have a duplicate of the criticism.)

* CNN has spoken with a good friend of Reade’s, who wished to stay nameless, who mentioned they had been instructed concerning the alleged incident on the time. Reade’s brother, Collin Moulton, has instructed CNN that Reade instructed him within the early 1990s that she had been requested to deliver Biden his health club bag, and that in a personal setting, he had cornered her in opposition to the wall and put his arms beneath her garments.

The reality is that we could by no means know who, uh, is telling the reality right here. In reality, that appears to be the likeliest final result — a replay of Supreme Courtroom affirmation struggle by which Christine Blasey Ford mentioned that court docket nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in highschool. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations and, ultimately, was confirmed to the court docket by a slim Senate majority. It is also value noting right here that Trump confronted greater than a dozen credible allegations of sexual assault through the 2016 marketing campaign. He denied (and continues to disclaim) all of them — and was elected.

(Requested about his willingness to imagine Blasey Ford however his denial of the Reade allegations, Biden mentioned this: “No, what I mentioned — as a result of the information are, look, I am not suggesting she had no proper to return ahead. Any lady ought to come ahead and be heard after which it ought to be investigated. If there’s something that’s according to what’s being mentioned and he or she makes the case or the case is made, then it ought to be believed. Finally, the reality issues. Interval.”)

At difficulty is whether or not any corroborating proof — past what we already know — comes out on both aspect of the equation.

The obvious so-called “smoking gun” can be if the criticism that Reade says she filed on the time of the incident will be discovered and what it says.

Biden was, once more, completely unequivocal on that entrance Friday. “I’m completely optimistic that no one that I’m conscious of has been made conscious of any criticism — a proper criticism — or criticism — made by Tara Reade in opposition to me on the time this allegedly occurred 27 years in the past till I introduced for — I suppose it was of April or Could of this yr,” he mentioned.

His push for the discharge of any personnel papers held on the Nationwide Archives is an try by his marketing campaign to point out he’s an open guide, and that transparency works in his favor. The sticking level in all of this, nevertheless, will probably be Biden’s refusal to ask the College of Delaware, the keeper of his Senate papers, to open up their information to make sure that there’s nothing about any incident just like the one Reade described. (“Because the curating course of isn’t full, the papers usually are not but out there to the general public, and we’re not in a position to establish what paperwork or information will be discovered throughout the assortment,” the college mentioned in an announcement Thursday.)

Biden insisted that the papers at Delaware don’t have any personnel info and that they should not be launched within the warmth of a presidential marketing campaign. “The concept they’d all be made public whereas I used to be operating for public workplace, they may actually be taken out of context,” Biden mentioned. “They’re paperwork that existed that, for instance after I met with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin or after I met with whomever. All of that might be fodder for a marketing campaign, and I do not know anybody who’s finished something like that.”

Republicans instantly pounced on Biden’s refusal to authorize the discharge of the papers on the college. “Within the face of corroborated sexual assault allegations, Joe Biden is protecting up his College of Delaware paperwork to avoid wasting his political future,” mentioned Republican Nationwide Committee Fast Response Director Steve Visitor.

In brief: This story is not but over. Biden did what he wanted to do to protect his political future. The query is now whether or not any indeniable proof emerges that undermine his complete and full denial of Reade’s allegation. And whether or not or not the general public cares both means.

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