Former Vice President Joe Biden noted in a written statement Friday that his sexual assault accuser’s story “has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways.”
Tara Reade accused Biden on March 25 of sexually assaulting her back in the early 1990s while she worked as a Senate staffer. Biden officially denied the accusation, noting that women “deserve to be treated with dignity and respect” and “that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.”
Full Biden statement: pic.twitter.com/CNUHFJhaAL
— Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) May 1, 2020
There is currently not enough information to draw a definitive conclusion on whether Reade or Biden is telling the truth. There is, however, enough information to determine that Biden’s specific statement on Reade’s changing allegation is correct.
Reade’s story has been inconsistent.
April 3, 2019
Reade became one of several women to accuse Biden of inappropriately touching her. Reade said the incidents occurred while Biden was a Delaware senator in 1993.
Reade told The Union that Biden would put his hands on her shoulders and neck in ways that made her feel uncomfortable numerous times. (RELATED: ‘Tara Reade Deserves To Be Heard’: WaPo Editorial Board Calls On Biden To Directly Address Sexual Assault Allegation)
She added that she left Biden’s office after around nine months because she felt “pushed out” after refusing to be a server at an event, The Union reported. Reade also said she talked to the U.S. Senate personnel about the issue, but she felt her concerns were not taken seriously.
Reade repeated the inappropriate touching allegation to other publications, including the Washington Post, throughout 2019.
“This is what I want to emphasize: It’s not him. It’s the people around him who keep covering for him,” Reade said in 2019 according to WaPo. “For instance, he should have known what was happening to me … Looking back now, that’s my criticism. Maybe he could have been a little more in touch with his own staff.”
An anonymous “confidante of Reade’s” backed up this account to The Union. Reade did not mention the sexual assault in interviews with multiple publications, the Washington Post reported. She also gave WaPo multiple different reasons behind why she left her position, the publication noted.
At this time, Reade also said Biden’s alleged inappropriate touching was not “sexualization.” She compared the experience to a lamp.
“It’s pretty. Set it over there,” Reade said according to The Union. “Then when it’s too bright, you throw it away.”
Biden’s accuser also tried to get Time’s Up, a non-profit dedicated to helping #MeToo survivors tell their stories, to fund her case. The organization said it could not do so, citing its status as a non-profit and Biden’s run for president, The Intercept reported.
March 25, 2020
Nearly a year later, Reade spoke to journalist Katie Halper for a podcast about her allegation.
This time, Reade said that Biden pinned her up against a wall inside the Senate while she was delivering a gym bag in an unknown location within the building. Reade said Biden began to kiss her, went under her clothes – she was not wearing stockings – and penetrated her with his fingers.
Reade alleged that Biden said “You’re nothing to me” after the incident.
“You’re okay, you’re fine,” Reade said Biden told her. Reade noted that her immediate family and a friend were told about the incident when it occurred.
This allegation of sexual assault is different than Reade’s previous account of inappropriate touching. It also calls into question her comment that the incidents were not “sexualization.”
April 9, 2020
Reade filed a police report in Washington, D.C. about the allegation after saying she received “online harassment.” The investigation regarding the allegation is inactive, the D.C police told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Reade told Fox News that the report was made “for safety reasons only.” She noted that her alleged sexual assault is “outside the criminal statute of limitations.”
April 12, 2020
The New York Times and WaPo published investigative reports into Reade’s accusation. WaPo cited an anonymous friend who backs up Reade’s story.
The NYT reported one friend who says Reade told her about the alleged assault in 1993. It also cited another anonymous friend who said Reade informed her in 2008 that Biden had inappropriately touched her “and that she’d had a traumatic experience while working in his office.”
WaPo and NYT both found numerous former staffers from the time period who don’t remember the incident, WaPo reported.
Reade told the NYT that she reported the alleged incident to then-Biden executive assistant Marianne Baker. Reade also says she told two aides, Dennis Toner and Ted Kaufman, about feeling harassed. She did not tell Toner and Kaufman about allegedly being assaulted.
Baker, Tone and Kaufman have denied Reade’s accusations.
Biden’s accuser also says she did file a written complaint with the Senate personnel office and then had certain jobs taken away.
April 13, 2020
WaPo published another story after interviewing Reade’s brother Collin Moulton.
Moulton originally said that Reade told him Biden “had behaved inappropriately by touching her neck and shoulders.” Reade also informed her mother, he said. Moulton did not mention the sexual assault allegation.
Several days later, Moulton said in a text message that he remembers Reade telling him about the sexual assault – a note he previously did not disclose. He said Reade told him that Biden put his hand “under her clothes,” WaPo reported.
The Associated Press published a story April 13 and pointed out inconsistencies with Reade’s story as well. Reade told the AP in 2019 that another aide in Biden’s office told her “don’t be so sexy” and dress more conservatively in the office.
Reade also told the AP in 2019 that Toner suggested she look for a new job because “she wasn’t a good fit,” according to Politifact. However, she told the NYT that Kaufman was the person who told her this.
April 24, 2020
A clip from CNN’s “Larry King Live” is unearthed by the Media Research Company. Reade previously told The Intercept that her mother called into “Larry King Live” to talk about her experience on Capitol Hill.
“I remember it being an anonymous call and her saying my daughter was sexually harassed and retaliated against and fired, where can she go for help? I was mortified,” Reade said according to The Intercept.
The video does show an unnamed woman calling into “Larry King Live” and asking for advice about her daughter, who had “problems” with a “prominent senator.” Reade told the Daily Caller News Foundation that it is her mother’s voice.
CNN’s “Larry King Live” video does not entirely back what Reade said, although it corroborates her story that her mother called into the show. It doesn’t make any mention of a sexual harassment incident or retaliation and firing. (RELATED: CNN Failed To Uncover Footage From Its Own Archives That Could Back Up Biden Accuser’s Allegations)
April 27, 2020
Reade’s neighbor Lynda LaCasse went to Business Insider about the allegation. She said she remembers Reade telling her about the incident after it allegedly occurred.
“I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolized him,” LaCasse said. “And he kind of put her up against a wall. And he put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her.”
Public records confirm that the two were neighbors in California in the 1990s, NPR reported.
One of Reade’s former co-workers in the Senate also backs up parts of Reade’s story. Lorraine Sanchez said Reade told her “she had been sexually harassed by her former boss while she was in D.C., and as a result of her voicing her concerns to her supervisors, she was let go, fired.”
Sanchez did not remember specific details about the alleged harassment.
What Reade says about her changing story
Reade told multiple publications that she originally did not mention the alleged assault in 2019 out of fear, Politifact reported.
Reade also said she has gotten death threats. The former Senate staffer wrote Medium posts and tweets where she praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, which she says also caused her to be accused of being a Russian agent.
“It was trying to smear me and distract from what happened, but it won’t change the facts of what happened in 1993,” Reade told the NYT.
Despite Reade’s inconsistency, five people have corroborated her story.