Kavanaugh questioned about Rhode Island sexual assault allegation

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was questioned during a phone call with Senate Judiciary Committee staff about an allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman in Rhode Island in the mid-1980s.

Democratic Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDems ask if Trump aide Bill Shine is breaking ethics laws Senators want assurances from attorney general pick on fate of Mueller probe Dems vs. Trump: Breaking down the lawsuits against Whitaker MORE's (R.I.) office received a phone call on Tuesday morning "making allegations concerning a rape on a boat in August of 1985," according to transcripts of a call between committee staff and Kavanaugh released on Wednesday.

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The allegation, given to Whitehouse's staff and read on the call with Kavanaugh, claims that in August 1985 a "close acquaintance" of a Rhode Island constituent "was sexually assaulted by two heavily inebriated men she referred to at the time as Brett and Mark."

Kavanaugh strongly denied the allegation on the Tuesday call with Judiciary Committee staffers and called it "completely made up."

"I was not in Newport, haven't been on a boat in Newport. Not with Mark Judge on a boat, nor all those three things combined. This is just completely made up, or at least not me. I don't know what they're referring to," Kavanaugh told committee staffers, according to the transcript.

Kavanaugh's friend Judge has previously been implicated as present during a separate alleged sexual assault charge against Kavanaugh.

Spokesmen for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate votes to end debate on criminal justice reform bill Five takeaways from the court decision striking down ObamaCare The Year Ahead: Tough tests loom for Trump trade agenda MORE (R-Iowa) didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Whitehouse declined to comment.

The constituent that called Whitehouse's office said they confronted the two men involved in the alleged incident on the morning that it happened.

The constituent realized that Kavanaugh was one of the men allegedly involved "when he saw Kavanaugh's high school yearbook photo on television over the weekend," according to the transcript released on Wednesday.

Kavanaugh added during the call with Judiciary Committee staffers that he has never sexually assaulted a woman in Rhode Island and that he had no knowledge of the boat where the alleged incident took place. He has previously said on television that he has never sexually assaulted anyone.

Committee staff on the call made a connection between the constituent, whose name is redacted, and an unverified Twitter account later located by some conservative publications. The name of the account is also redacted in the call transcript.

Although it is not clear whether that Twitter account, under the name "Jeffrey Catalan,” belongs to the constituent, on Wednesday night it tweeted without details that Catalan “recanted” a statement.

Committee staffers questioned Kavanaugh about multiple alleged incidents during the call, including allegations from Deborah Ramirez, who alleges that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during their time at Yale University.

They also questioned him about an anonymous complaint alleging he physically assaulted a woman in 1998, according to a transcript from phone calls this week.

Kavanaugh has denied wrongdoing in each of the incidents. The alleged Rhode Island incident is the fifth known allegation related to Kavanaugh. 

Senators say they've received multiple claims of alleged incidents, ranging in credibility and brought to their staffs attention.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinVeteran industry lobbyist to leave American Petroleum Institute Senate votes to end debate on criminal justice reform bill Harris announces support for White House-backed criminal justice bill MORE (D-Ill.), recalling how his staff found out about Ramirez's allegation, told reporters that "people call with rumors."

"Some of these are completely incredible and the staff dismisses it," he said. "I asked the same thing [about the Ramirez allegation], 'Why didn't you tell me this,' they said, 'Do you know how many calls we get?'"

Grassley told reporters on Wednesday that his committee looks into any allegation about Kavanaugh brought to their attention as long as they can find the name of the accuser or the lawyer.

"All I can tell you is we’re handling it exactly like we've handled every newspaper report or everybody contacting our office or anonymous even, if we can get the name and or the lawyer we've followed up with the usual staff interrogation,” Grassley said, when asked about the allegations released by the third accuser's lawyer, Michael Avenatti.

Updated at 9:44 p.m.