Max Stier is a former Yale student who attended the Ivy League university at the same time as Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. A new book by two New York Times reporters says that Stier witnessed Kavanaugh’s friends push Kavanaugh’s penis into the hand of a female student at a party in the 1980s.
Stier’s account of the party was featured in a Times story recounting reporting in the book, written by reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly. After the story was initially published, the Times added an editor’s note that the female student “declined to be interviewed” and that “friends say that she does not recall the incident.”
The book says that the incident Stier described was from a “different drunken party” than the one described in a 2018 New Yorker article published prior to Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2018. The New Yorker article reported that Deborah Ramirez said Kavanaugh thrust his penis in her face at a dorm bacchanal and “caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away.”
During his September 2018 confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh said, “If such a thing had happened, it would have been the talk of the campus.”
The accusation was made public around September 23, 2018. At the time, Democratic senators and aides said the allegation appeared credible and needed to be investigated.
Christine Blasey Ford testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the summer of 1982 when the two were students at elite private high schools. Blasey Ford attended all-girl Holton Arms School and Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Prep.
Senator Chuck Grassley, then the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the FBI investigated Ramirez’ claim and found it was not corroborated and not credible.
Kavanaugh was confirmed on October 6, 2018.
Stier, 53, did not go on record with The New York Times writers, but the book says he told he told senators and the FBI about what he witnessed and it was not investigated. The book says that while Stier hasn’t talked about the incident publicly, the Times reporters “corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Times Reporters Say Stier Witnessed Kavanaugh’s Conduct at a Yale Party in the 1980s & Told Senators & the FBI
Stier’s statements to the FBI and senators were reported in a story about “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation,” a book from New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly. While working on the book, Kelly and Pogrebin said that they “found Dr. Ford’s allegations credible during a 10-month investigation, Ms. Ramirez’s story could be more fully corroborated.”
Soon, they’d uncover “a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation.”
And that story is the reported eye-witness account of Stier.
“A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)
Mr. Kavanaugh did not speak to us because we could not agree on terms for an interview. But he has denied Dr. Ford’s and Ms. Ramirez’s allegations, and declined to answer our questions about Mr. Stier’s account.”
2. Elizabeth Warren & Other Democrats Have Called for Kavanaugh to Be Impeached
Senator Elizabeth Warren called for Kavanaugh to be “impeached.”
“Last year the Kavanaugh nomination was rammed through the Senate without a thorough examination of the allegations against him. Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”
Senator Bernie Sanders did not use the term impeachment, rather suggested he’d support “appropriate constitutional mechanisms” to hold Kavanaugh “accountable.”
“The revelations today confirm what we already knew: During his hearing, Kavanaugh faced credible accusations and likely lied to Congress. I support any appropriate constitutional mechanism to hold him accountable.”
President Donald Trump described the report as “made up stories.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called accusations against Kavanaugh “completely uncorroborated and unsubstantiated …”
Sunday, Senator Ted Cruz told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” that at the next debate among Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination will “…all be saying, ‘Impeach Kavanaugh. Impeach Trump.’ There’s nobody they don’t want to impeach. And at some point, they just have to let the anger go and recognize that the democratic process actually moves on.”
3. Stier Is President & CEO of the Non-Profit, Non-Partisan Partnership for Public Service
A month after the confirmation of Kavanaugh, Stier led a talk on federal government reform at his alma mater, Yale.
Stier is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, an “organization dedicated to revitalizing our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works.”
In a bio, it’s noted that “under Stier’s leadership, the Partnership has been widely praised as a first-class nonprofit organization and thought leader on federal workforce issues.”
Over his deacdes-long career, Stier has worked in all three branches of the federal government.
In 1982, Stier served on the personal staff of GOP Rep Jim Leach; served as the Deputy General Counsel for Litigation at the Department of Housing and Urban Development; clerked for Chief Judge James Oakes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court; and was Special Litigation Counsel to Assistant Attorney General Anne Bingaman at the Department of Justice.
4. Stier’s Wife, Florence Yu Pan, Was Nominated to Be a Federal Judge, but Never Confirmed
In 2004, Stier, then divorced from his first wife, married former Stanford University law student Florence Yu Pan. According to a wedding announcement in the New York Times, they met at Stanford University, where both received law degrees with distinction.” They were married at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington with a rabbi performing the ceremony followed by a Chinese wedding banquet.
Pan, 53, began her law career as a judicial clerk a the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, followed by a clerkship at Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and worked for the Department of Justice as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General and was an attorney in the Appellate Section of the Criminal Division. Then, in 1998, joined the Department of Treasury as senior advisor for Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets and Undersecretary for Domestic Finance, followed by a decade as an D.C. assistant US attorney. She’s served as an Associate Judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia since 2009.
In 2016, she was nominated by then Pres. Barack Obama to be a federal judge for the Washington D.C. US District Court. The nomination “expired.”
5. Stier Has Been at Once Identified as Both a Reliable & Non-Partisan Witness & as a Former ‘Clinton Lawyer,’ Partisan
Reactions to the Times report from people on Twitter included both praise and criticism for Stier.
“Eyewitnesses often get attacked by supporters of the one whose conduct was witnessed. Before that happens, I’d like to add that Max Stier is well-respected by both sides of the aisle, nonpartisan, smart and absolutely devoted to good government without regard to who’s in power.
“And these are absolutely credible allegations. I know Max Stier, one of the witnesses named in the NYT article. There is no doubt in my mind he’s telling the truth about what he witnessed Kavanaugh do. Congress needs to investigate.
“There must be a full Congressional investigation to determine whether someone, and if so who, gave orders that kept the FBI from investigating credible allegations & speaking to witnesses who reached out to them. We were told this was a full investigation.”
“Is that the same Max Stier who was one of Clinton’s defense attorneys? Yes, yes it is,” Federalist co-founder Sean Davis tweeted.
But rebuttal like this is omnipresent: “This Republican partisan tries to paint Max Stier as a partisan Democrat, when Stier has run a nonpartisan, nonprofit group for 2 decades, steering clear of partisan politics. Echoes of Kavanaugh‘s claim of “revenge of the Clintons.” Stier tried to tell FBI w/going public.”