Biden and Tara Reade

These are serious allegations.

Yesterday’s revelations about contemporaneous conversations between Tara Reade and two others about her allegations of sexual assault by Joe Biden have taken the story to a new level.

On the off chance one is not familiar with Reade, the basics are here via the NYT: Examining Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden

The former aide, Tara Reade, who briefly worked as a staff assistant in Mr. Biden’s Senate office, told The New York Times that in 1993, Mr. Biden pinned her to a wall in a Senate building, reached under her clothing and penetrated her with his fingers. A friend said that Ms. Reade told her the details of the allegation at the time. Another friend and a brother of Ms. Reade’s said she told them over the years about a traumatic sexual incident involving Mr. Biden.

These are serious allegations.

Here are the basics about the new information from The Business Insider: A former neighbor of Joe Biden’s accuser Tara Reade has come forward to corroborate her sexual-assault account, saying Reade discussed the allegations in detail in the mid-1990s:

Now two more sources have come forward to corroborate certain details about Reade’s claims. One of them — a former neighbor of Reade’s — has told Insider for the first time, on the record, that Reade disclosed details about the alleged assault to her in the mid-1990s.

“This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it,” Lynda LaCasse, who lived next door to Reade in the mid-’90s, told Insider.

The other source, Lorraine Sanchez, who worked with Reade in the office of a California state senator in the mid-’90s, told Insider that she recalls Reade complaining at the time that her former boss in Washington, DC, had sexually harassed her, and that she had been fired after raising concerns.

There was also audio discovered of Reade’s mother calling into Larry King Live at the time with statements that at least partially corroborate the story. Via Democracy Now: “Larry King Live” Tape from 1993 Supports Tara Reade’s Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden:

Jeanette Altimus: “Hello. I’m wondering what a staffer would do, besides go to the press in Washington. My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all. And the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it, out of respect for him.”

Larry King: “Or she had a story to tell, but out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it.”

Jeanette Altimus: “That’s true.”

There is more than enough to expect further investigation.

There is decidedly more than enough here to expect Biden to respond.

Indeed, if in another timeline Biden was a SCOTUS nominee, I think there is enough here that we would start asking for his name to be withdrawn.

If these accusations are true, then that means there is a real question as to whether he ought to step down or if the convention ought to nominate someone else. The reality, however, is that replacing a nominee for president is harder at this point in the process than replacing a nominee to the Court.

There is much more to say on this, and I am still thinking over several issues through, but this is a major issue that requires attention.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Democracy, US Politics, , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Teve says:

    Due to the timing, and weird things she said about Russia, I was blowing the story off. Now I am taking it seriously. It’s not conclusive but it’s serious enough to investigate.

  2. Teve says:

    FWIW here’s two of our Jabbering Class members discussing it.


    I don’t particularly want to mix it up on this subject again, but you can’t analyze reaction to Tara Reade’s allegations in a serious way unless you mention that a year ago she leveled a different accusation centered on Biden staffers creating a hostile work environment.


    Or the fact that every single major media outlet- including Fox News spent made $ chasing this story & had significant incentives to publish it. That they didn’t means the allegations are not credible enough. Only way this changes is if a more credible/additional charge surfaces.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    The reality is that the November ballot will be headed up by one candidate who has a credible accusation of sexual impropriety against him, against another who has multiple accusations.

  4. Jay L Gischer says:

    This is bad. The accusations describe serious misconduct. But there are dozens of such accusations against the current resident of the White House, most of which are worse.

    I don’t know how to handle this. I’m far from an expert. Mayhe he should say, “I don’t remember it, but it sounds awful, and I’m really sorry if I ever did anything like that.” I guess that’s what I’d like.

  5. David S. says:

    Yeah. I’m convinced, in that I’d vote guilty from a juror’s standpoint, but I have absolutely no idea what we should do in terms of consequences. I think that the Biden campaign’s decision (I’m unwilling to put the call entirely on him) to deny was a mistake, but I also don’t know if a concession and an “I swear I’ve changed” would be either politically smart or morally correct.

    I wish this had happened after Biden had picked his VP. I feel like that would have given us more options. But now his female VP pick has to respond to this as part of accepting the offer, and all the options are bad. I wish Reade had held her cards until next year. He could have been forced to step down after the inauguration. Maybe that’s still possible, but it would make every cent and word spilled on the primary these past two years a complete farce.

  6. JohnMcC says:

    Taking this seriously. Waiting for indications of a trend.

  7. inhumans99 says:

    Sigh…if you met me in real life you would understand why I feel so icky saying the following, but I have said the following in the past on this site. Biden needs to just do what he is doing now and stay out of the spotlight. This will let him Bull his was through this accusation and become President Trumps opponent in November, otherwise, if we are being honest we have nobody on our bench who can defeat President Trump and we guarantee (pretty much 100% so) another 4 years of President Trump.

    I am also going to be petulant and immature and declare that I am not open to getting into a discussion with anyone on this site. I firmly believe what Biden is doing now will get him to where he needs to be…the White House, and once he is President it will be up to him if he wants to apologize for his behavior or whatever.

    Right now, if he apologizes what do we get out of it…nothing, another 4 years of Trump for our guy being all noble and doing the right thing…ugh, with who we currently have in office lets get that guy out of power and then we can get back to being proudly noble.

  8. Teve says:

    If we find out soon that he actually did it, what’s the process for having an emergency new primary? The election’s still 6 months off.

  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    Oh, FFS, people. You want to pull another Franken?

    Is there a pattern of assault by Biden? Nope.

    Has Reade’s story been consistent? Nope.

    Is there ample reason to suspect Reade is lying? Yep.

    Is there reason to suspect Reade’s motive? There are people on the right who’d gladly make Reade a millionaire.

    This is why I came down against the whole ‘believe all women’ nonsense. It undercuts #MeToo by turning a means of achieving some justice into a tool of injustice. This story will die unless idiot lefties insist on committing suicide and destroy #MeToo in the process.

    Ready to convict? Jesus Christ, people.

  10. Crusty Dem says:


    There isn’t one. If I have it right, the remaining delegates vote and revote (superdelegates get dragged in after first vote) until someone wins a full majority. Presumably if Joe drops out he can still select the candidate by directing his large majority of loyal delegates. Which means 1) Bernie definitely doesn’t win 2) Bernie’s people are bitter again that what he never won is stolen from him again.

  11. Neil Hudelson says:

    I would encourage everyone to read this excellent and balanced examination of the evidence thus far:

    ETA: oh sure NOW i can edit the comment, after posting my reply

  12. Neil Hudelson says:
  13. senyordave says:

    I hope to hell the Democrats have investigated this. If they are convinced that Biden did not do this leave it be, and figure out a strategy to combat the 100% chance that Fox will play this up for the next 6 months and the that NYT will spend more time on this than Jean Carroll’s extremely credible rape accusation against Trump. If they conclude there may be something to it, God help us, because be prepared for a shitstorm.

  14. James Joyner says:

    @David S.: I think this is a sufficiently credible charge to warrant investigation. But you’d vote to convict as a juror?! You think there’s no reasonable doubt as to Biden’s guilt?

  15. Teo says:

    I think the allegation is serious. Here is what we have: 27 years ago — approximately — then-Senator Biden molested a staffer in a hallway at the US Senate. Apparently, the staffer told her mother about improper conduct but also told her that she would not go forward “out of respect.” That staffer told her neighbor and, a couple years later, a future colleague about experiencing improper conduct. For sure this is serious.

    But if we had an allegation like this one against a Supreme Court nominee, we would investigate the allegation. We’d also see that her story is inconsistent. She told the neighbor it was somewhat violent. She told the colleague it was sexual harassment. She told another media organization last year that Biden’s treatment of her was physical — but just awkward (i.e. touching her hair/invading space). Only recently — in March of 2020 — she said he molested her through digital penetration. Meanwhile, she also told her mom, apparently, that she did not report the allegations to the US Senate. But she told reporters for the Times recently that she reported the allegations to the US Senate but nothing came of it. Yet the Senate has no record of that filing. This was 1993, not 1963. I suspect they would have investigated the allegation.

    We also have numerous people who worked for Biden who say she did not report her allegation to them, that he never did anything like this to them and, in their experience, would not do something like this. We do not typically deal with nuance very well in this country. I think she may remember her experience one way but that experience may be different than reality. Yes, every allegation is a real allegation. I just think you have to look at the entirety and not just the text of the allegation.

  16. mattbernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    It’s a good article and Cathy is by far one of their more conservative writers. That said, given her tendency to be an anti-feminist, she tends to interpret these things in the best light for the accused. I’m not saying she’s wrong, just very conservative in her view on things.

    (BTW, kudos for a great taste in publications. Beyond our esteemed hosts, Arcdigital has quickly become one of my favorite sources for commentary and analysis).

    I do think Biden needs to directly address this and soon. I don’t see this as a Franklin situation (at least not yet). But Cathy is correct and the spirit of what happened with Kavanaugh hangs over this moment.

    And it’s the press’ job to investigate this — as they did with Kavanaugh. Unfortunately, for the reasons Cathy cites above, as with Kavanaugh, I don’t think we will ever reach a firm conclusion about what actually happened. So ultimately it may become a political rorschach test — but that doesn’t mean the ground work shouldn’t be done.

    And yes, without a doubt, PoTUS and the GOP would do best to STFU about this topic. Because they have absolutely nothing to stand on here given his very questionable record.

  17. Kathy says:

    While some will depend on how Biden responds to this, and he has to respond, the point is this: Who will be better for women, minorities, immigrants, the country, and the whole world? Biden or Trump?

    In emergencies, the usual rules don’t apply. Trump is an ongoing disaster, which will only get worse for everyone if it goes on for another four years.

    Biden should atone in some way that satisfies Ms. Reade, but he can do so from the White House.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    Give her and her witnesses lie detectors. Then we can talk about investigations. We’re being played.

  19. Teve says:

    @mattbernius: how long do you think Trump is going to refrain from calling Biden a rapist?

  20. Modulo Myself says:

    Biden shouldn’t say a word more than he has to. Either these charges self-destruct or they linger, so what he’s going to say? That he has much a different memory of what happened? Just normal creepiness which accidentally crossed the Biden line from hair-sniffing to pussy-grabbing and anyway she was asking for it or it seemed like at the time? Or will he call her a crazy hysterical liar? No, his best bet is to be silent. Abuse of power comes as no surprise says Jenny Holzer, but put the right costume on the abuser and it’s always a surprise, and at a certain level what Biden is selling is to get the abuse back to tolerable non-Trump levels.

  21. Neil Hudelson says:


    I just started reading Arc a couple of weeks ago after a bulwark article linked to it. I confess I don’t know the authors well enough yet to be familiar with their known biases.

  22. Tim says:

    @David S.:

    I’m convinced, in that I’d vote guilty from a juror’s standpoint

    Really??? Maybe in an old Soviet court your kind of attitude would be considered normal. After all, if someone is accused, they must be guilty of something, right?

    That’s just moronic.

    I’m with Michael Reynolds on this one. #MeToo is important, but due process is a bedrock of our judicial system. Fair or not, sometimes these things become “He said, she said” and just can’t be proven one way or the other. If accusations are allowed to become all that’s needed to torpedo any candidate, then we’ll never have another candidate, male or female, without such accusations.

  23. JDM says:

    I was in the “believe all women” camp until I read this article in the very liberal Seattle Weekly from 2009. It describes a local community college teacher who was fired from his job, arrested, and sent to jail, after a student accused him of rape. In their investigation, the police found she faked romantic emails from the teacher, and she admitted that she made it all up. The article goes on to discuss other false allegations in that historical period.

    So, I don’t believe her. People lie. Women lie. And this quote, from the article, says it all:

    “Susan Shapiro Barash, a gender-studies instructor at Marymount Manhattan College whose book, Little White Lies, Deep Dark Secrets: The Truth About Why Women Lie, was published last year, says women who choose to lie do so in part because they’re good at it.”

  24. Kingdaddy says:

    If the accused is guilty, damn you to hell. We are trying to navigate one of the worst times in American history. Even before the pandemic, people were terrified, in despair, worried that every tomorrow would continue to be worse than every today. You should have told us what was lurking in your past. For you to be the receptacle into which millions poured their hopes, only for you to piss it away…Damn you.

    If the accuser is not telling the truth, damn you to hell. Everything I just said about the real pain, terror, and despair still applies. Plus, you just added to the feeling that you can’t trust anyone in public life, accuser or accused. Instead of the public sphere being where we debate the collective good, and how to achieve it, it feels like the arena of greed, tribalism, dysfunction, and hate…Damn you.

    Either way, someone’s getting damned.

  25. An Interested Party says:

    Mayhe he should say, “I don’t remember it, but it sounds awful, and I’m really sorry if I ever did anything like that.” I guess that’s what I’d like.

    He should say that even if he didn’t actually do it?

    Yeah. I’m convinced, in that I’d vote guilty from a juror’s standpoint, but I have absolutely no idea what we should do in terms of consequences.

    What is it that convinces you that he did this?

    Who will be better for women, minorities, immigrants, the country, and the whole world? Biden or Trump?

    The ultimate bottom line, of course…

    Either way someone’s getting damned.

    Either way, it will be really nice if the whole country doesn’t get damned…

  26. mattbernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    I think Cathy occasionally wires for the Bulwark. What makes Arc worth reading is that they pull from across the ideological spectrum.

    And since they have no issues publishing conflicting POV, their writers occasionally get into some good debate as well. They also have a slightly more academic bent (which I appreciate, but ymmv).

  27. MikeSJ says:

    There seems to be credible evidence that Tara Reade scammed a charity out of $1400 . She told a vet that work on her personal horse was actually for a horse owned by the charity.

    The charity owners have described her as a manipulative, dishonest person e.g. stealing from a charity auction as well.

    None of this means she wasn’t molested by Biden but it does show her to be a dishonest person. Lets get her under oath with a penalty of perjury and jail and lets see how her story shakes out.

  28. DCA says:

    She doesn’t have to be a liar for her story to lack credibility; we all, and I mean all, can and do edit our memories. To me what makes this accusation dubious is that it seems to be a completely isolated occurrence; there is no evidence that Biden has any pattern, other than going for a bit more physical contact than seems proper now but was normal back when people used the word malarky. A pattern is what usually shows up (Clinton, Weinstein, and of course Trump), so a lack of one puts the onus on the accuser.

  29. Raoul says:

    When discussing Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh with my brother last year, he said the whole thing was ridiculous. He was very much against Kavanaugh but bringing any kind of sexual transgression charges against someone thirty years after struck him as fundamentally unfair. Basically these things all amount to the same thing; fungible memories, a few people who remember some things but they aren’t very clear, and basically the whole thing amounts to a he said/she said situation. Basically he said that whenever there is a victim either he or she create a record relatively close to the events or forget the whole thing- we simply don’t have the ability to judge events that happened too long ago. He is a law professor and he certainly got me thinking.

  30. Mister Bluster says:

    The Committee of the Whole proceeded to the seventh Resolution, that a National Executive be instituted, to be chosen by the National Legislature for the term of — years, &c., to be ineligible thereafter, to possess the Executive powers of Congress, &c

    Mr. WILSON moved that the Executive consist of a single person. Mr. C. PINCKNEY seconded the motion, so as to read “that a National Executive, to consist of a single person, be instituted.”

    Mr. SHERMAN said, he considered the executive magistracy as nothing more than an institution for carrying the will of the legislature into effect;..he wished the number might not be fixed, but that the legislature should be at liberty to appoint one or more as experience might dictate.

    Mr. RANDOLPH strenuously opposed an unity in the executive magistracy. He regarded it as the fœtus of monarchy…The executive ought to be independent. It ought, therefore, in order to support its independence, to consist of more than one.

    Mr. RUTLEDGE and Mr. C. PINCKNEY moved, that the blank for the number of persons in the Executive be filled with the words, “one person.” He supposed the reasons to be so obvious and conclusive in favor of one, that no member would oppose the motion.

    Mr. RANDOLPH opposed it with great earnestness, declaring that he should not do justice to the country which sent him, if he were silently to suffer the establishment of a unity in the Executive department. He felt an opposition to it which he believed he should continue to feel as long as he lived…the necessary confidence would never be reposed in a single magistrate;..that the appointments would generally be in favor of some inhabitant near the centre of the community, and consequently the remote parts would not be on an equal footing. He was in favor of three members of the Executive, to be drawn from different portions of the country.

    @Sleeping Dog:..The reality is that the November ballot will be headed up by one candidate who has a credible accusation of sexual impropriety against him, against another who has multiple accusations.

    Apparently the Founding Fathers never considered a system that did not institute an Independent Executive Magistracy.
    How would the country get along with four years of no one?

  31. EddieInCA says:

    I’m going to quote my 85 year old mother.

    “She is a Bernie supporter who waited until Bernie was out of the race to file a police report, and has told different stories over the last 27 years. That’s all I need to doubt her.”

    Like my mother, I was never on the “Believe All Women” train. I work in entertainment. We have a lot of scumbag males in our business. We also have some lying scumbag women, including many who will use their sexuality when it suits them and then claim harassment when rebuffed, even when they were the aggressors. A strong female prorucer was recently let go from a series because she lied about sexual harassment. #Fact.

    Biden should keep saying this:

  32. Gustopher says:

    Biden is less rapey than Trump… that’s just a fact, whether this account is true or not.

    Biden is less nepotismy than Trump… that’s just a fact, whether the story of Hunter Biden is true or not.

    But also, Biden has not bungled a pandemic response so badly that 60,000 Americans are dead and the country is in a lockdown and first responders don’t have enough PPE.

    Biden is also not suing to remove people’s health insurance during a pandemic.

    We could go on. The differences are of a scale that no direct personal behavior can balance. Biden could rape and eat children on live TV and still be the less worse option.

    We’re basically stuck with Biden if he doesn’t have a health problem. There isn’t an easy replacement waiting in the wings, like there was with Franken. There’s also no pattern of behavior, like Franken had. And the accuser seems less than entirely credible.

    But even if it were true, look at the numbers… if the covid death count remains 50,000/mo through the campaign, if we flatten that curve, that’s 300,000 dead Americans. No one person is worth that.

    And, if there is merit to the accusations, we can impeach Biden’s ancient ass in 2021.

  33. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Totally agree with Mike Reynolds on this one.

    Show me that Biden has a string of previously unsuspected assaults on women and I’ll take this seriously.

  34. Moosebreath says:

    Nancy LeTourneau of Washington Monthly comes out roughly where I am:

    “On the one hand, we have a man with a history of touching women in ways that made them uncomfortable but has faced no other accusations of sexual assault. Back in 2008, Biden went through a thorough vetting by the Obama campaign and either they found nothing, or did and ignored it. I find the latter option to be implausible.

    On the other hand, we have a woman whose allegations of sexual assault have been corroborated by friends and family—although not by any co-workers. Her story is replete with inconsistencies and her recent history points to the possibility that her claims could part of a disinformation campaign.

    The agenda I bring to the table is that I want to believe Joe Biden. Frankly, though, I struggle with that and have tried to weigh all of the evidence. That is what is disturbing about this whole thing…we just don’t know. And I’m afraid we’re all going to have to live with that.”

  35. Tyrell says:

    I doubt if we see anything on the main stream “news” networks about this.
    Where is Senator Feinstein? Maybe she can find some more of those mysterious ghostly letters.

  36. @Tyrell:

    I doubt if we see anything on the main stream “news” networks about this.

    The first article I cited was from the NYT, not a network, but pretty mainstream.

    If you Google “CNN Tara Reade” you gets this.

    It seems like you make this claim about the media frequently (I recall you making it about coronavirus)–do you ever actually check?

  37. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Biden has to act here. Either talk to this woman and make amends if it happened, or nip it in the bud if it didn’t. Ignoring it and hoping it goes away is a recipe for disaster.

  38. Tom Strong says:

    It’s unfortunate how many people here, including those like Michael Reynolds who are ordinarily bracing truth-tellers, are completely unwilling to reckon with the neighbor’s testimony.

    I wasn’t especially swayed by Reade’s story at first, although in retrospect the way she described Biden’s reactions seem very much capture his manner of speaking. In any case, though, the neighbor’s corroboration puts it over the top. It’s hardly out of character, either; Biden has a long history of being handsy with women. Is it really that hard to believe that he could have crossed a line at some point?

    Putting your head in the sand won’t make this go away. Insisting on lie detector tests won’t make it go away. Trump and his hypocrite supporters will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on ads about it in the fall. And it’ll probably work, because it’s believable and a contemporary witness with seemingly nothing to gain has backed her up.

  39. Lounsbury says:

    @Tom Strong:
    Trump campaign attacking on this front … unlikely and weak as it automatically opens up to litigating his own voluminous and long history of such accusations against Trump.

    @Tyrell: You mean like CNN never mind the cited WP and NYT – really you’re patheticly incompetent.

    @Steven L. Taylor: of course he doesn’t check, he goes to his dimly understood reactive talking points right away.

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Rubbish, just like the panicked cries for Biden to get more press, Trump supposedly gaining from his press conferences.

    The problem with US Left is you have zero sang froid. Every time there is something like this, it’s all reaction and hand-wringing.

  40. Blue Galangal says:

    @Tom Strong: The neighbor who got a phone call from Tara Reade “reminding” about what happened? That neighbor?

    This is Franken all over again. Biden shouldn’t dignify a word of this.

    It’s telling that in the one place where she could have named Biden (the claimed assault filing) she did NOT – because then she would be perjuring herself. But she did file a suit against Biden for “internet harassment.”

  41. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Tom Strong:
    I’m still a truth teller. The truth is I think Reade is lying. Would it be more truthy if I said I believed her when I don’t?

    I require evidence before concluding someone is guilty, and an inconsistent story from 27 years ago, a story that runs counter to everything we know about Biden, a story told at the most damaging possible moment by a woman with a crush on Vladimir Putin, ain’t it.

    Didn’t you ever watch the TV series House? Everyone lies, Tom. Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, and we have way more than uno lie in Reade’s statements. This story has every sign of being serially embellished. Give me three months and a PI and with this standard of proof I’ll put you in prison.

  42. Michael Reynolds says:


    The problem with US Left is you have zero sang froid

    Like panicky greenhorn troops their specialty is friendly fire.

  43. James Knauer says:

    There is zero chance that Biden would be convicted in a court of law, even if the statute of limitations had not run. The inconsistencies in Reade’s behavior, and the shaky nature of the corroborating evidence, would make it impossible to clear the bar of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

  44. Tom Strong says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Still no mention of the neighbor. Or the contemporaneous Larry King call. Or the fact that Biden likes to touch women he doesn’t know well, publicly, and that some have bothered to complain about it.

    You know this isn’t about establishing guilt in a court of law. It’s whether a charge can stick in the realm of politics. I don’t know what the truth is here, and neither does anyone except Biden and Reade, but this is showing every sign of sticking politically, and being incredibly damaging in the process.

    Trump campaign attacking on this front … unlikely and weak as it automatically opens up to litigating his own voluminous and long history of such accusations against Trump.

    Did you pay attention to the 2016 campaign at all?

    I’ll give you this, though: The problem with US Left is you have zero sang froid.
    Yes, absolutely. Only a party as nerveless as the Democrats could ever let itself be backed into a corner, against an unpopular, grotesque, wannabe fascist, with Joe Biden as its chosen one.

  45. 95 South says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m still a truth teller.

    You lie about me.

  46. Teo says:

    @Tim: This is where there may be a generational divide. Many younger folks — sub-40 — don’t necessarily support due process when it comes to allegations of sexual misconduct. Yet, we have to stand up and say, “we hear your allegation. But it’s an allegation.” We have to be willing to investigate it before we just say, “Out! Get Out!” So far, we have a single allegation of workplace sexual violence, 27 years old, where the alleged victim has changed her story a few times. We have a defendant who has consistently denied the allegation (as an aside, we also have a defendant who isn’t known as a drinker/partier and has claimed he has not had alcohol in several decades, including since before this event allegedly took place). We have co-workers the victim claims she told who have said they did not receive her complaint at the time, or at any time. And we have the victim’s mother and neighbor who say she told them, at the time, of this incident.

    At its core, this is a she said/he said case. No witnesses/no corroboration. And the question should be, “do you believe her or do you believe him?” But in the current scene, we seem to frown on factual investigations when they involve allegations of sexual misconduct. It’s a big problem.

    If we cannot go through this claim in a fair manner and assess the facts, we do not deserve the White House. And we’ll never get the White House, either.

  47. Gustopher says:

    @Tom Strong: Given this woman’s agenda, and the lack of other claims against Biden, and the vague nature of the contemporaneous accounts, isn’t it more likely that Tara Reade was the victim of a hair sniffing incident, and prone to exaggeration?

    Her mother’s account on Larry King mentions none of the details, unless our fine host has chosen to leave it out. Instead we get things like: “And the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it, out of respect for him.”

    I’m willing to assume “respect” here meant “fear”, and go for the worst possible interpretation of that. But, it doesn’t show anything close to forcibly digitally penetrating someone. Biden has been described as a human version of a golden retriever, but the difference is that Biden has no long history of going after crotches, unlike every golden retriever.

    Meanwhile, we have reports that Reade was abusing a charity, and being generally shifty. Plus her fondness for Bernie. And the timing. And…

  48. Lounsbury says:


    Many younger folks — sub-40 — don’t necessarily support due process when it comes to allegations of sexual misconduct.

    Mob rule is mob rule, whether is it predicated on supposed social justice or otherwise.

    @Tom Strong:

    Yes, absolutely. Only a party as nerveless as the Democrats could ever let itself be backed into a corner, against an unpopular, grotesque, wannabe fascist, with Joe Biden as its chosen one

    Ah so the agenda is shown.

    Well Biden was selected by those inconvenient black people not quite up to overcoming their false consciousness to sign on to the White Lefty vision of the world or the hard Left.

    But I did pay attention to 2016 and it is rather empty of examples supporting your point.

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Yes, and green generals ready to panic at the slightest sign of reverse (or rather imperfect progress).

  49. Tyrell says:

    @Teo:I certainly agree with that.

  50. Tom Strong says:


    Ah so the agenda is shown.

    Well Biden was selected by those inconvenient black people not quite up to overcoming their false consciousness to sign on to the White Lefty vision of the world or the hard Left.

    Bzzt. I’m not a Berner, and while I might be somewhat to your left, I’m just an ordinary social democrat, not a socialist. I donated to two candidates in the cycle, Elizabeth Warren and Jay Inslee. But I would have been fine with most of the other candidates too.

    And I don’t blame voters; I blame the party leadership, which clearly failed to cohere behind Biden or anyone else, leaving the electorate to try and muddle through some very mixed signals.

    But I did pay attention to 2016 and it is rather empty of examples supporting your point.

    I often enjoy your outsider perspective here, but now you just sound out of your depth. Trump literally brought Juanita Broaddrick and other women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual crimes to a debate. He was under constant fire for his own sordid history of harassment and sexual abuse, and responded as he always does by going on the attack, constantly.

    The difference between this year and 2016, though, is he will have hundreds of millions more dollars and far more experienced political professionals doing his work for him. There may be ways Biden can respond effectively, but just shrugging it off is not one of them.

  51. Tom Strong says:


    Given this woman’s agenda, and the lack of other claims against Biden, and the vague nature of the contemporaneous accounts, isn’t it more likely that Tara Reade was the victim of a hair sniffing incident, and prone to exaggeration?

    Is it possible? Sure. Dirty tricks happen in politics. I am sympathetic to the “believe women/believe victims” credo, especially for normal people. But it is problematic when it comes to the politics, especially at the presidential level.

    Is it more likely? No. Reade may not be a “perfect” victim, but the whole reason feminists urge people to believe women/victims is because there are no perfect victims. Sexual crimes are inherently difficult to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, and trauma and other factors make it relatively simple to pick peoples’ story apart. Which is something I suspect everyone arguing with me agreed with when Christine Blasey Ford was telling her story.

    The story Reade has produced has been corroborated now by a few different pieces of evidence. That evidence is flawed, too, but more may follow – and I would not rule out the possibility that other accusations may follow as well.

    Maybe it’s all a big plot. Maybe she was bribed (along with the neighbor, and her brother, and, uh, Larry King’s show back in 1993). If so, Biden’s got maybe a month, at most, to make his case. He could start by disclosing his Senate records from the time in question, but he hasn’t yet. It’s not a great sign.

  52. EddieInCA says:

    @Tom Strong:

    Oh bullshit.

    The neighbor has had over a year to come forward. The neighbor had to be reminded that this happened, so it obviously stuck in her memory.

    Tara Reade’s story doesn’t comport itself to being serious.

    1. No one knows for certain who called into Larry King. Mom’s been dead for a long time.
    2. Their is absolutely no record of anything like this anywhere in Biden’s past. There is an ocean between hair sniffing or a hug and sexual assault. If you want to say that there is a history of Biden being creepy, that’s one thing. To accuse him of sexual assault is something completely different.
    3. Here story isn’t just inconsistent. It’s wildly inconsistent.
    4. She has a history of less than honest behavior in many ways.
    5. Biden was vetted to be VP, served as VP for 8 years, and has run for president three twice before this, yet this never came out. Why?
    6. Putin… Read this…. by her:
    7. She waited until Bernie was out of the race to ramp up her charges from creepy to sexual assault.
    8. Previously she has denied at all that there was any sexual contact in his “creepy” behavior. Her story has changed repeatedly.
    9. Several of the people who she claims she told, have flatly said “It didn’t happen.” Not “I don’t remember that.” or “I doubt that would have happened.”. No. They say flat out, “That didn’t happen. If someone had mentioned anything like that to me. I would have remembered.”
    10. What Reade alleges is the behavior of someone who is a sexual predator. There should be other women. Trump, Clinton, R Kelly are just examples of this. Patterns matter. Is is really believable that someone in public life for 50+ years only did this once, and, ironically, that person ramps up her allegations when he becomes the nominee? Oh, and that accuser just happens to be working for his last remaining competitor?


    I can give cites for all of this, but it won’t sway those who “believe all women”.

  53. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Tom Strong:

    Only a party as nerveless as the Democrats could ever let itself be backed into a corner, against an unpopular, grotesque, wannabe fascist, with Joe Biden as its chosen one.

    IOW you’re a Bernie supporter fantasizing that somehow this will result in Bernie getting the nom. I don’t know what the party rules are on this but I suspect they don’t read, ‘…and if the guy with the most delegates drops out before the convention all those delegates will go to the #2.

    An open convention will not pick Bernie and it’s not cravenness or some dark conspiracy, it’s that Bernie failed. His voters did not show up. He lost in places he won last time. The whole progressive fairy tale of some uprising across class lines to support Bernie was demonstrated to be pure, undiluted bullshit. You know who inspired high turnout? Joe Biden.

    WTF is it with cults of personality? Get over it. We have work to do. Our duty is not to pacify whiny progs with college degrees, it is to defend Civil Rights, gay rights, abortion rights, worker protections, a social safety net and democracy itself. This is not about who you stan, Tom, we’re not picking our favorite Kardashian.

    ETA: I see above you deny being a Bernie supporter. Doesn’t alter the fact that as pointd out numerous times above, Reade’s story is very likely to be baloney.

  54. Nickel Front says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    . The truth is I think Reade is lying.

    Ha-Ha good one.

    Let’s revisit the Kavanaugh hearings, shall we?

    Why would she lie?

    She has no reason to lie. None. Why would a woman lie about something like this? She has nothing to gain.

    Biden has forcefully denied the allegations. You know what kind of person forcefully denies allegations?

    A guilty one.

    I am anxiously awaiting Biden to call for a full and complete FBI investigation into his background, because that’s what innocent people do.

    Let’s please use the same criteria for determining guilt now as you did during the Kavanaugh hearings.

    Personally, I don’t know if the allegations are true or not, but the standards of the MeToo movement demand that Biden step down.

    This is the standard the Democrats created. It’s the standard Biden himself has stood upon.

    He should be forced to live by it.

    But he won’t, because the media is even worse.

  55. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Comparing Biden to a drunken, teen-age lout like Kavanaugh is ridiculous.

  56. Teo says:

    @Nickel Front: Why do we assume she has nothing to gain? I mean, she appears in newspapers and magazines today and she may have a book or a movie in the future. Come on, now. Of course she has something to gain.

    Now on your point about the standard “Biden himself stood upon.” Assuming a person can stand upon a standard, Biden did not stand upon the standard. The fact that he believed Kavanaugh’s accuser does not make Biden vulnerable to this allegation involving a former staffer from 27 years ago. For one thing Kavanaugh had other collegiate accusers. For another Kavanaugh’s accuser raised the issue at his hearing. In this case, the accuser curiously changed her story a few times over the last 27 years and then, once Biden earned the nomination, she raised this outlandish claim that he sexually assaulted her 27 years ago while serving in the Senate. She also said she timely reported it but no records reflect this report. She identified the names of staffers with whom she discussed the “harassment,” (though she now claims assault) and they deny taking the claim or remember talking about such misconduct with her.

    Other than the age of the claim, I don’t think this is Kavanaugh at all

  57. 95 South says:


    For one thing Kavanaugh had other collegiate accusers.

    Ramirez and Swetnick? Which do you consider credible?

    For another Kavanaugh’s accuser raised the issue at his hearing. In this case, the accuser curiously changed her story a few times over the last 27 years and then, once Biden earned the nomination, she raised this outlandish claim that he sexually assaulted her 27 years ago while serving in the Senate.

    Ford came forward more than 30 years after the alleged incident, after Kavanaugh had served on the Court of Appeals, and been nominated to the Supreme Court, had his hearing before the subcommittee, and been approved by them.

  58. Nickel Front says:

    @95 South: Just stop it.

    Take Swetnick for example.

    It is ENTIRELY credible that a college student would go to drunken rape high school parties MULTIPLE TIMES.

    Seriously, who doesn’t believe her story?


    Why do we assume she has nothing to gain?

    Because that was the Ford assumption. I don’t make the rules. I just expect you to be consistent with them.

    You’re right tho, this is nothing like Kavanaugh at all. High schooler vs an adult with a history of publicly groping women.

  59. Kari Q says:

    @95 South:

    Ford came forward before Kavanaugh was nominated. She contacted the administration and her congressional representative urging them to choose someone else because of her allegation. She tried to avoid going public. She only admitted publicly that she was the one making the accusation after she had been tracked down by the media.

    Tara Reade, on the other hand, has been trying to get attention.

    Now, I don’t personally think that Kavanaugh’s behavior when he was in high school was reason to keep him on the SC; I think him vowing vengeance against his political enemies was.

  60. Lawrence says:

    Why I’m skeptical about Reade’s sexual assault claim against Biden: Ex-prosecutor

  61. Nickel Front says:

    Speaking of that NYT article tho, you do your readers a disservice, Mr. Taylor, by failing to note that they edited it at the request of the Biden campaign.

    The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.

    That seems so long ago…

  62. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I actually think Biden probably did it. But even so…what’s the remedy? To me there is none. I didn’t believe there was one for Kavanaugh either.

    Zero defect culture is why there is so much toxic leadership across institutions in civil society.

    There is crime–and there are mistakes.

    At worst, Biden went hard (every bit of pun intended) after a piece of strange and was rebuffed. Men and women misread situations all the time and until 13-14 years ago you had to shoot your shot. He took his and failed.

    What I imagine probably happened is that there was a short period of confusion and indecision/consideration on her part in the shock of what was happening that appeared to Biden that she was receptive and this was going to go down. Then she decided this was a bad idea and pulled back. Biden, to his credit, backed off. Didn’t destroy her political career or chance to make a living for herself. Didn’t cause emotional distress for her in the office.

    But that’s a story that had no legs..”that for the 30 seconds while was Biden in my (ahem)..personal space.. I was on the fence about having a chance to bed a Senator. Then reality hit that this was a bad career move.”

    If we want better leaders we cant take mistakes and make them into crimes. Humans learn through mistakes. The zero defect people are just really good at hiding it…a knack sociopaths have. If there were a quicker flash to bang, it probably would make sense to think about a remedy for Senator Biden. 30 years?!? For a 1-time inappropriate grabby grab? Nah.

  63. David S. says:

    I would stand by what I said: if I was in the position of a juror, I would have voted guilty based on the evidence that had been presented to me. I don’t think that “reasonable doubt” is a fair standard for sexual assault cases: I think that corroboration is. And at the time I wrote the comment, the main evidence that I had at hand indicated that respected reporting outlets had confirmed corroboration. Armchair psychoanalysis by wishful and biased talking heads doesn’t really sway me.

    The USA Today article by Stern convinces me otherwise. Unlike the self-important people here in the comments, he has the relevant subject matter expertise to refute the evidence that I’d seen and provide a contrary analytical framework.

    And for context, I’ve been against the knee-jerk standard of “believe women” and also disdainful of Bernie since I saw him debate in 2015. (Nor do I think that removing people from a job is the right response to these allegations, but I don’t honestly have a better one.) So yes, I’m more than happy to actually be given evidence that shuts down the accusation. I noted that the timing of the accusation was incredibly inconvenient in my initial comment and frankly I’m relieved that the inconvenience may have been intentional. I’m flipping a bit too quickly and I recognize that it’s due to my preference as much as any kind of evidence or argument.

    That said, I do think that the correct standard for this kind of thing is corroboration, and that, in our current existing culture, it is up to us to disprove it. To me, locating and verifying that corroboration IS due process. That’s certainly not an adequate standard for criminal justice, but it is more fair and more just overall for us as a society. To quibble, it’s less “guilty until proven innocent”, and more “true until proven false”: we should presume good faith on the part of the accuser until it has failed some significant test.

    I concede that Stern didn’t disprove her. But his argument was sound enough that it would certainly make me hesitate to move forward in a jury room. So, really… I’d like to thank Stern for writing that piece. It was necessary.

  64. Teo says:

    @95 South: First, I believe Feinstein held her letter — improperly, for sure — before and during the committee hearings. If she had released it, that would have given the committee enough time to diligently investigate her claim. Instead, the Feinstein held the letter apparently in an attempt to protect Ford. Second, it’s different to be nominated to the Supreme Court vs. being nominated to serve as any other federal judge. it’s the highest court, much like leading an administration. This brings us to Biden, who was nominated as Obama’s veep 12 years ago. He.served as Obama’s veep for 8 years. And then ran for president — all after Biden’s alleged sexual assault. And then after earning the nomination, this allegation is made by someone who supports his primary opponent. I mean, come on. This is not Ford.

  65. Teo says:

    @David S.: “I do not think reasonable doubt is a fair standard for sexual assault cases.” Yeah, but that is the standard for criminal cases. And corroboration? Corroboration, from a legal perspective, means “evidence that supports a statement.” What evidence here supports her statement that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her? That she told a neighbor 3 years after it happened? That she told her mother? That is evidence that she told someone. That is not evidence that it happened. Evidence that it happened would be something like, “I saw Joe Biden sexually assault Diane Reade,” or Diane Reade told the police that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her around the same time as the incident, or, to a lesser extent, Diane Reade’s allegation resembles the allegation by person A, who claimed Joe Biden digitally penetrated her without her consent. Or, of course, Diane Reade’s body had Joe Biden’s DNA on it. Something. But merely telling someone that this happened is not corroboration.

  66. grumpy realist says:

    @David S.: I suggest you look up the definition of hearsay. Too much of what you claim as corroborative “evidence” for this case wouldn’t be accepted in a law court.

  67. grumpy realist says:

    @MikeSJ: Here’s an article on Reade’s involvement with the horse charity.

    Sorry, Tara–you’re coming off as someone who can’t be believed. Did you ever pay the $1400 back you promised you would?

  68. James Joyner says:

    @David S.:

    I don’t think that “reasonable doubt” is a fair standard for sexual assault cases: I think that corroboration is.

    In a criminal case, our standard—for centuries, going back to the common law—is reasonable doubt. For civil cases, it’s a lower preponderance of the evidence. But you’re proposing an even lower standard for sexual assault cases? Essentially, if a woman is not only willing to lie to prosecutors but also to lie to a neighbor, the man goes to jail? Really?

  69. Lori says:

    @Teve: This “lady” appeared on Dr. Phil in Nov. 2019 claiming that Putin is in love with her. Add that to the weird propaganda this lying nutter wrote about Putin and Russia, and her infamous “Tic Toc” tweet, Any one who now believes her fantasy has serious problems themselves.

  70. David S. says:

    @Teo: The entire point of my second post was that what I had read up until that point was not actual corroborative. You did read it, right?

    @grumpy realist: I’m taking the role of a juror, not a lawyer. It is not a juror’s job to be knowledgeable on the details of legal definition; it is a juror’s job to be receptive to adequate instruction from the judge and lawyers–all trained legal professionals who must be certified by the bar, unlike a juror–and make a legal judgment based on the facts in evidence given to them.

    I realize you’re very smart, well-steeped in legal knowledge, and undoubtedly professionally certified in a dozen states. But if you want to make the case for what is and isn’t hearsay versus corroboration, then you have to actually make the case. If looking up the definition was ever enough, we wouldn’t need courtrooms to exist: just look it up.

    Again, based on the knowledge I had at the time, I would vote guilty. That knowledge has changed, and thus, so has my opinion.

    @James Joyner: Yes, I’m proposing a lower standard. And maybe I’m wrong to. But I think that that’s the fairest standard we can reasonably apply at this point in time. (And since I’m making a point of being a juror, I will concede that it’s not a juror’s job to propose or implement such a change in standard; it’s a legislator’s.)

    Neither is it a juror’s job to conduct sentencing, at least most of the time. A juror’s job is to determine guilt. I said in my initial post that I frankly have no idea what the correct recourse actually is, and I’ve never been in favor of the demand that the accused lose their job. It is not clear to me that sending someone to jail is a productive action in any criminal case, so I’m not terribly interested in sending even murderers and full-blown rapists to jail. And of course, now I have to note that that doesn’t mean I’m in favor of leaving them to wander around unhindered, either.

    If you feel that the sentencing guidelines for a guilty verdict on a particular crime are too punitive, then lobby to loosen them. Isn’t that the point of the system?

    If y’all would like to discuss reforms for the criminal justice system, that’s great. I’d love to hear about it. I don’t think that I could meaningfully contribute, but I have a reasonably uninformed opinion or two, which I believe is internet standard. But my point in the first post was that guilt on Biden’s part is a challenging political puzzle at best, and my point in the second post is that I leapt too quickly to judgment and I owed this thread a thoughtful retraction of that.

    I suppose I should know better than to do that by now.

  71. @David S.:

    Yes, I’m proposing a lower standard. And maybe I’m wrong to.

    While granting that jury nullification is a thing, jurors are supposed to adhere to the legal standards of guilt and not make up their own.