Biden says sexual assault ‘never happened,’ NY Times says ‘investigate’

After Joe Biden denied he sexually assaulted a former Senate staffer, the New York Times published an editorial urging an investigation into the matter.

By World Israel News Staff and AP

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday emphatically denied allegations from a former Senate staffer that he sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s, declaring flatly that “this never happened.”

“I’m saying unequivocally, it never, never happened,” the former vice president and senator said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Biden said he will ask the National Archives to determine whether there is any record of a complaint being filed, as Reade has claimed. Later Friday, Biden asked the secretary of the Senate via letter to assist in the search, though he told MSNBC that the Archives was the only possible place a complaint would be.

He said his Senate papers held under seal at the University of Delaware do not contain personnel records.

“The former staffer has said she filed a complaint back in 1993,” Biden said. “But she does not have a record of this alleged complaint.”

Reade did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Later on Friday, the New York Times Editorial Board published an article urging an investigation into the matter.

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According to the Board, “The Democratic National Committee should move to investigate the matter swiftly and thoroughly, with the full cooperation of the Biden campaign.”

The Board added by way of background, “Ms. Reade’s accusations, which have been percolating for several weeks, are grave and graphic. She charges that, in the spring of 1993, Mr. Biden cornered her in a deserted hallway of the Capitol complex, pinned her against a wall, reached under her skirt and penetrated her with his fingers.”

The Board said it believes “the stakes are too high to let the matter fester.”

Meanwhile, the National Archives deflected inquiries to Capitol Hill, saying any complaint “would have remained under the control of the Senate.” A spokeswoman for the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights said confidentiality rules bar the office from commenting on “whether specific claims may or may not have been filed.”

Biden, in his TV interview, said “there are so many inconsistencies” in Reade’s various accounts. But he said he does not “question her motive.” He said over his five decades in public life, none of his employees was asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

Women are a core constituency for Democrats. Biden wrote the Violence Against Women Act as a senator but came under criticism for his handling of Anita Hill’s 1991 Senate testimony against now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

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Just before he launched his 2020 campaign, Biden apologized after several women said he’d made them uncomfortable with unwanted touching.

He has pledged to pick a woman as a running mate, and the Reade allegation has left those thought to be in contention in a tough spot.

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign released a digital ad featuring prominent Democrats, including Biden and Clinton, saying, “Believe women” and similar sentiments.

“Ladies and gentleman, we just can’t have it both ways,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said. “We cannot decide which women were included in ‘believe all women.'”