WASHINGTON — Democrats called Sunday for a new investigation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in response to a New York Times piece that said Kavanaugh was seen sexually harassing a female student while at Yale.
Senator Kamala Harris of California, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and former US housing and urban development secretary Julián Castro, Democratic presidential candidates, pushed for Kavanaugh’s impeachment.
Harris and Warren had voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation in October, a process during which Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while they were high school students in the 1980s.
Kavanaugh vehemently denied the assertion during what became a bitter confirmation process, which catapulted the debate over the sexual assault allegations into daily conversation amid the #MeToo movement. It also prompted a backlash among those who felt the Supreme Court nominee was being unfairly judged for something that may or may not have happened over three decades ago.
Those debates were reignited this weekend with the Saturday evening publication of the Times piece.
‘‘He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice,’’ Harris said in a tweet. ‘‘He must be impeached.’’
President Trump, meanwhile, accused the ‘‘LameStream Media’’ and Democrats of working together to scare Kavanaugh ‘‘into turning Liberal.’’
Trump also said Sunday on Twitter that Kavanaugh should ‘‘start suing people’’ or the Justice Department ‘‘should come to his rescue.’’
‘‘The lies being told about him are unbelievable. False Accusations without recrimination. When does it stop? They are trying to influence his opinions. Can’t let that happen!’’ Trump tweeted.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, also defended the justice. ‘‘The far left’s willingness to seize on completely uncorroborated and unsubstantiated allegations during last year’s confirmation process was a dark and embarrassing chapter for the Senate,’’ he said. ‘‘Fortunately a majority of Senators and the American people rallied behind timeless principles such as due process and the presumption of innocence.’’
Kavanaugh was confirmed in a 50-to-48 Senate vote.
The Times piece was adapted from the upcoming book ‘‘The Education of Brett M. Kavanaugh: An Investigation.’’ In it, the reporters said they had corroborated a prior claim of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, and that they found the FBI interviewed none of the potential witnesses.
Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s, had alleged during his confirmation process that he had exposed himself to her in college. Her account had received less attention than Ford’s at the time of his confirmation. Ford had testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
‘‘During his Senate testimony, Mr. Kavanaugh said that if the incident Ms. Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been ‘the talk of campus.’ Our reporting suggests that it was,’’ Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly wrote in the Times essay.
The reporters said that at least seven people they interviewed had heard about the incident, including the alleged victim’s mother.
Former senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said Sunday on NBC News’ ‘‘Meet the Press’’ that she is not sure how Democrats should proceed on the new revelations about the FBI background checks.
‘‘That was such a mess. And what it did for those of us who were running, it crystallized how bad Washington is. So if you were of Washington at that moment, frankly, the party didn’t matter as much as the fact that you were part of that mess. And the mess really occurred because the information that needed to be investigated came out so late. And then it looked like a kneecap even though there were reasons it was late. I’m not sure good ones,’’ she said.
‘‘But if the information had come out early, I think you could’ve seen a full-thrown FBI investigation. But this isn’t going away if the FBI never even bothered to talk to people surrounding this woman’s allegation.’’
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who is also a Democratic presidential candidate, told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday morning that she still opposes Kavanaugh’s confirmation and that ‘‘there was a lack of a thorough FBI investigation’’ into the allegations against him.
‘‘My concern here is that the process was a sham. I don’t think you can look at impeachment hearings without getting the documents. The House would have to get the documents. And the attorney general is shielding documents,’’ Klobuchar said.