Tara Reade vs. Joe Biden: What’s the truth?

I haven’t found much about the author of this piece: Clifford MacArthur. He appears to have written just this one article on Medium (click on screenshot to read it). Nevertheless, if his assertions are correct, Tara Reade, who’s accused Joe Biden of sexual misconduct, is an outright liar. And MacArthur has a theory, which is his, about why she’s lied.

You’ve probably heard a bit about this case on the news, though the facts seem confusing.  Reade, an employee of Biden, originally said that he inappropriately rubbed her on the shoulders and neck in 1993. Then, over time, the story became more serious: this year she said that Biden actually cornered her and digitally penetrated her vagina, which is, legally, rape. Her changing story (there has been more than one change) is made less credible by the contradictions in her story, the failure of anyone to corroborate her accusations, her record of praising Biden, her history of duplicity in other venues, and at least enough evidence to suggest that her altered story was concocted because Reade was a Bernie Sanders fan and wanted to sink Biden to get her candidate nominated.

Now one can find plausible reasons why her story might be true and yet become more serious over time, and also that in the interim she could praise Biden.  Sexual assault victims sometimes don’t want to come forward immediately.  But what doesn’t hold here are the repeated changes in her story, her continuing practice (according to MacArthur) of lying, even up till now, and her apparent fabrication of details.

Altogether, MacArthur makes a pretty good case that Biden is innocent of sexual assault, even though we know he has a tendency to be “handsy”.

MacArthur wrote this piece because he was peeved that, according to the mainstream media (especially on the Right), they have bought Reade’s story, or at least found it a he said/she said affair despite numerous holes in Reade’s accusations. Apparently The Young Turks are also advocating for Reade’s account, and I believe they were big Sanders supporters as well.

Here’s MacArthur’s rational for putting together and analyzing all the data:

The mainstream media, for its part, has been focused on “reaction pieces” rather than direct coverage. What are the consequences of the story? What does it mean for #MeToo? What does it mean for the Democratic Party? How should Biden respond? There is little interest in verifying the story itself. For the most part, the media has reported Reade’s account uncritically. CNN and POLITICO, like the political extremists on social media, are motivated to sensationalize the story and present it as true.

Missing from all this coverage is an answer to the most important question: Is the story true? Did Joe Biden sexually assault a staffer in 1993? The public deserves to make an informed decision based on all the available evidence. Analyzing Reade’s statements, as well as her past and present behavior, reveals a pattern of lies and deception.

Indeed it does, and one reason I believe MacArthur’s account is that he documents most of his claims with evidence. Further, since he’s accusing Reade of lying in an attempt to damage her character and debunk her accusations, what he’s saying would be libelous if it’s false.

Here are the eight reasons, some with data, for MacArthur’s conclusion:

1.) Reade’s story has changed continuously, right up to the present (e.g., it changed between January and March, when she had already made her allegations of assault).

2.) The story is also self-contradictory. For instance, Reade has claimed since last year that she left Biden’s employ voluntarily to work in the California governor’s race, then that she left to protest American imperialism, that she voluntarily resigned because of bullying in the workplace, and, finally, that Biden fired her.

3.) There appear to be arrant lies on the part of Reade. For instance, Reade has repeatedly claimed that she filed a complaint against Biden with Senate Personnel, which should be in the National Archives. Nobody remembers that claim and there’s no record of it in the Archives. Also, Reade claims she told five people about her story, but four of them deny it, and the fifth, who says she agrees, refuses to go on the record about it.

4.) Reade appears to have fabricated “evidence”. This is a bit complicated, but involves Reade’s claim that her mother called the Larry King Show in 1993 to talk about Biden’s assault. There was a call from mom to King, but it didn’t say that, and so Reade apparently changed what she said: that the call involved sexual harassment and retaliation. It didn’t.

5.) Reade has apparently lied repeatedly about other matters over the years, and tried to scam at least one charity. She has also fabricated details of her biography, for example claiming that she qualified for the Junior Olympic in ski racing. She didn’t.

6.) Reade says she repeatedly complained about Biden, both formally and informally. Nobody seems to remember those complaints.

7.) Reade has a political motive for trying to bring down Biden.  Apparently, in 2018, Reade became a big admirer of Putin, joining those who claimed that “Russiagate” had been a big hoax designed to excuse Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 election. Many of these people were convinced that the Democrats were supposedly trying to rig the nomination in favor of Biden and against Bernie Sanders. In March, Reade started broadcasting on social media that she hoped her accusations would promote Sanders and destroy Biden’s chances.

8.) Reade has a personal motive for trying to bring down Biden. This is really a variant of #7, but with a twist. Reade seems to have been miffed at being called a Russian dupe, and was using her accusations to quash those who called her that. One excerpt:

Reade’s obsession went beyond mere tweets. When she went to Time’s Up with her sexual assault allegation, they put her in touch with several lawyers. Salon interviewed those lawyers, and they all told the same story: Reade didn’t care about pursuing a case against Biden, she wanted the lawyers to stop people from calling her a Russian agent on Twitter. Salon contacted Reade herself and she confirmed that was her goal.

In the end, MacArthur says “this is not a story of sexual assault, but of anger and revenge.”  His “Conclusions” section at the end sums up his case, even if you don’t want to read the longish piece, and I’ll let you read that for yourself.

What bothers me about how Biden has been treated here is that he’s been very conciliatory towards Reade while denying her claims. He hasn’t attacked her or explicitly impugned her credibility. Yet many women have called for Biden to apologize, almost admitting that he committed sexual assault. But, if you assume he’s innocent of Reade’s claims—which I think he is—he couldn’t have responded in a more civil way. As MacArthur says, the slogan “Believe All Women” should not mean we take their accounts at face value, or continue to publicize them if they can’t be verified. Rather, it means that their claims should be taken seriously and not dismissed, and then those claims investigated and judges. In the case of Reade, if MacArthur’s account be true, we can use Hitchens’s razor: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”




  1. GBJames
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink


  2. Ron Richardson
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    The Vox article last week paints a similar picture: https://www.vox.com/2020/5/7/21248713/tara-reade-joe-biden-sexual-assault-accusation

  3. merilee
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink


  4. merilee
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink


  5. rickflick
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I hope this fades before the election. It would be a cruel joke if tRump was reelected because of a perceived Biden indiscretion – in light of tRump’s history and amoral character.

    • yazikus
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      That’s the game, isn’t it? Accuse someone on the left of what Trump has actually done – then hold the left to it’s own, higher standard on such an action. I think this whole Reade thing is really unfortunate – and Halper- the ‘journalist’ who championed the story, is hardly reputable.

      • rickflick
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        It seem the GOP is on a permanent low road.

      • Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        The argument I’ve seen is: “your side does it too, so the problem can’t be that serious, right? So in particular, you’re criticizing [whoever] for ‘political only’ reasons.”

        This is a horrible argument – hypocrites can be *right*, after all. (This is granting that the allegations in any particular case are correct.)

        • EdwardM
          Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

          Yes, of course a hypocrite can be “right”, but they can’t then complain that they are doubted. You lie with dogs, you have to expect fleas.

      • Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        Yes, and a real possible effect of this is not that people would vote for Don rather than Joe, it would be that people would choose to not vote. That is in effect a vote for ‘Don’.

      • Richard Sanderson🤴
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Katie Halper co-hosts a podcast which enables pro-Assad war crime denial. She also writes articles for the Guardian. Make of that what you will. But the denial that the regressive left are not a problem, will probably continue forthwith.

        A lot of dubious people seem to be supporting Tara Reade, although that in itself doesn’t mean she’s lying. The interesting thing to me is to watch how some of the regressive left, such as Kristi “believe all women” Winters, were very quick to call her a liar. Winters is one of those who likes to lecture about morality in the atheism/skepticism movement, while chumming with antisemites and dubious anti-science dolts like PZ Myers, who has his own sordid history with relation to these sorts of matters.

        All accusations are looked through the prism of the culture war, these days.

  6. eric
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Morally, it’s a tough situation. In a perfect world, the claims against Biden get settled before we consider him for high office. Pragmatically, however, it’s not a tough call (at least, not for me). I won’t lose any sleep voting for, what is in the worst case scenario, Biden-the-sexual-assaulter over Trump-the-sexual-assaulter.

    • GBJames
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      But in the real world claims like this will be made regardless of whether they are legitimate or not. It is easy for Republicans to exploit this feature of Democrat attitudes. What else would you expect once you’re in “believe women no matter what” territory?

      • EdwardM
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        That’s the problem with the kind of trap they’ve set; sure it can help whip up support in the party when an enemy falls into it, but what do you do when one of your own does?

        • eric
          Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          Try and act responsibly and humanely towards both parties, as best you can.

          I think some deference to experts is reasonable here. If a prosecutor says ‘I wouldn’t believe this story,’ I think that’s valuable input to me as a layperson. Likewise, when a reporter says ‘I wouldn’t report this story,’ given their bend towards sensationalism, I think I should pay attention to just how crappy such a story would have to be to elicit such a reaction. The former happened here. (The latter happened in a different case, not related, but I include it as another good example of when I think it’s valuable to listen to experts.).

  7. Greg Geisler
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I posted this last week. This to me is the definitive statement on the matter by a former federal prosecutor. It appears McArthur may have cribbed some of his points from the Stern piece. This should be a dead story.

    • KD33
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Agreed – I saw the same piece last month.

      • Posted May 12, 2020 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        Same here. I found it convincing, and left me thinking that Tara Reade is dodgy and untrustworthy.

  8. Barry Lyons
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    There’s also this piece from an ex-prosecutor:


  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I remember vaguely something from Bill Mahr stating she was a bit of a nut case. Had some information about her love for Putin and some other stuff.

  10. Andy
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The Bill Maher section on this is really good.
    Now I wonder if the media will give as much time to each of the women who have accused Trump of worse?
    Hopefully this won’t embed the video!

    • Andy
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Oops. It did embed. Sorry!

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Thanks for bringing back my bad memory.

  11. Posted May 12, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    My understanding of Biden is he’s a ‘touchy feely’ kind of guy. He loves to give and receive hugs. There are people who find a spontaneous hug inappropriate. By his own admission, he has had to learn to curb the hugs. Did he hug her? Probably. Did she not like it? Who knows. At this point, who cares? Her story has changed way too many times to be believable. She reminds me of those kids at the day care many years ago, who brought several people down who didn’t deserve it. Did they lie? Yeah, maybe, but they were coached by the questions the police asked and their body language, and kids are like dogs, they want to please the adults/humans in their lives.

    Frankly, I’m more bothered by this guy Amash (??), the libertarian who is running as a third party ticket. How much money is Tearm 45 dumping into his campaign. A vote for Amash is a vote for 45!

  12. JezGrove
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    MacArthur’s article is pretty damning stuff, and so is the corroborating evidence he links to (not least the edits she made to her own earlier Medium article).

  13. KD33
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    A similar, excellent, and apparently apolitical take by Michael Stern from April 29:

    (Just saw Greg Geisler referred to the same piece above…)

  14. EdwardM
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Someone give the odds; if Reade someday confesses that, yes indeed she’d made the whole thing up, what is the likelihood we will hear from certain quarters, in rabid sincerity, that the fact that she admitted she lied is proof that Biden is guilty?

  15. Curtis
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Whether Biden did anything wrong or not, he deserves to accused and found guilty in a media, circus trial. He does not believe in due process and examining the evidence at colleges. He deserves the same lack of due process.

    I love the smell of schadenfreude.

    • Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Yes, it would be nice if he issued a statement:

      “I now recognise the importance of due process, and now see what was wrong with the Obama/Biden Title IX “Dear Colleague” letter; when I am President I will retain the Besty DeVos reforms”.

      Or would that lead to Bernie supporters abandoning him in droves?

      • Curtis
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        I still have the opportunity to vote for Tulsi Gabbard.

        • eric
          Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          Indeed. You have discovered a bulletproof strategy for liberals to take if they want to guarantee a Trump victory.

      • Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

        In 2016 Sanders very clearly stated his opposition to campus rape being handled by college administrators.


        His position being that rape is a crime and should thus be handled by the police, which implies all the protections of due process being in play.

        This is one of the things that pisses me off with regards to centrists, you’re the bunch playing these games and pulling this shit yet whenever somebody points out that your shit stinks suddenly you’re blaming the far left for it.

        • Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

          Well I’m glad it’s just this one thing. I’d hate to think you might be one of those people who paints people with a broad brush or something.

          • Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

            Yeah because there are no broad brush strokes in claiming that the supporters of a politician who was pro due process would turn on a politician for stating views in favour of due process, are there?

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Well, even judged on “the preponderance of evidence” as proposed in the infamous “Dear Colleague” letter, Mr Biden should be let off the hook. Ms Reade keeps changing her stories (from resigning/fired to neckstroking/digital rape)and hence lacks any credibility.
      Her accusation does not pass the sniff test, even regardless of the Bernie or Putin angles.

      • Curtis
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        We should let Andrea Herrera Katahira do a complete investigation on her own. She should speak only with Reade and her friends. She should not allow Biden or any of his friends to have a chance to speak. She will be investigator, judge, jury and executioner.

        In case you are wondering, Katahira is the Title IX coordinator at Seattle University. It does not really matter that the act took place off campus, does it?

        • Mike
          Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          As an argument for reform of Title IX, your comments make a lot of sense. But as an argument for passive enjoyment of schadenfreude (the aroma of hypocrisy) or its active alternative (voting for Tulsi Gabbard), your comments seem self-defeating.

          • Curtis
            Posted May 12, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            My comment on Gabbard was mostly sarcastic but, since it my best protest vote, I will do it. Biden is better than Sanders or Trump but those bars are very low.

            If Biden wins and he and progressives learn from this episode, I be will happy but I find any of that unlikely.

          • Jonathan Wallace
            Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

            Just to be clear the ‘smell of schadenfreude’ is not at all the same thing as the smell of hypocrisy. Schadenfreude refers to the taking of pleasure from someone else’s misfortune and not to someone getting their just deserts, suffering a fate they have previously imposed on someone else or anything like that.

            When Curtis claims to love the smell of schadenfreude it is his own aroma he is referring to since he appears to be the one taking pleasure from the bind that Biden finds himself in.

            • Curtis
              Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

              @Jonathan Wallace The American Psychological Association agrees with my schadenfreude.
              “This chapter discusses the interaction between hypocrisy and schadenfreude. The author discusses numerous reasons why catching hypocrites in the act should lead to schadenfreude.”

              And yes, my rebutting your ill informed at trying to act superior in order to attack me, led to more schadenfreude.

              • Posted May 13, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

                Actually they don’t and in fact your very post makes clear that hypocrisy leads to schadenfreude but that they are not the same thing not are they felt by the same person. Person A exhibits hypocrisy. Person B notices it and when it catches Person A and they face consequences, Person B exhibits the schadenfreude.

    • EdwardM
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      There is some world class schadenfreude in this mess, I’ll agree to that.

  16. Joe Kosiner
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    This situation has a nightmarish similarity to the “but her emails” crisis in 2016 not to mention the Al Franken mess of 2018. The Dems seem to be incapable of standing up against false or questionable allegations and always rush to judgement while the media feasts on Democratic timidity. They could learn a valuable lesson from the Republicans on that score. I agree with Bill Maher that women must be taken seriously, but the many variations of the Tara Reade story makes me question her credibility.

    • BJ
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      “The Dems seem to be incapable of standing up against false or questionable allegations and always rush to judgement while the media feasts on Democratic timidity.”

      The problem for the Dems in this and many other cases is that they’ve decided in recent years to adopt standards that, when they finally have to meet them, end up forcing them into the corner of either being hypocrites or shooting themselves in the foot. In order to appease the far-left wing, they’ve been banging the “believe women” drum for several years. Even the liberal portion of the media looks terrible in the midst of all this, as the way they treated the accusations against Kavanaugh makes it seem like they’re giving preferential treatment to Biden now. It was never even proven that Blasey-Ford and Kavanaugh were ever in the same room together, which is much less than can be said for Reade and Biden, but the media and the Democrats said that Ford’s accusation alone made Kavanaugh unfit for the Supreme Court. If they use their own standards, Biden is unfit for the Presidency.

      Do I believe Biden sexually assaulted Reade? No, absolutely not, based on the evidence at hand. Furthermore, I don’t think the media should treat him as if he did, nor should his party. Unfortunately, both the Dems and most of the media have painted themselves into a corner on this and look like fools for doing so. I don’t want them Dems to shoot themselves in the foot and I don’t want the media to treat Biden like a rapist, but hopefully both parties will learn through this that they set an unfair standard and permanently back down from it.

      • Stevec
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink


      • aljones909
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        It’s only a matter of time before the celebrities who were calling for Kavanaugh to withdraw will call for Biden to step aside. That would be even handed.

      • Curtis
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        I mostly concur but I have no idea whether Biden or Kavanaugh are guilty. I do not take old, uncorroborated accusations seriously.

        When Kavanaugh was accused, I said accepting guilt on minimal evidence was ludicrous and said that this would happen to some Democrat. It was not exactly a tough call.

      • A C Harper
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:08 am | Permalink

        Quite so.

        And if (if) the currently sealed archives are opened revealing some corroboration then the ‘don’t believe this particular woman’ stance is going to look threadbare.

  17. nay
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Thanks for covering this, Professor. Sadly, the “news” venues are Covid-19 24/7, so the details dropped through the cracks. Remember when polls found that most (younger) Americans got their news from Comedy Central’s Daily Show? Seems I get most of mine from this website. Thanks, again.

  18. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    It’s very hard to refute these sort of claims in the age of Metoo.
    Maybe Biden should demand a congressional investigation of Reade’s story and all the accusations against tRump. Of course, this might make it worse. I’m sure there are women out there who will accept her very questionable changing accusations and not vote at all, helping the evil orange one. Maybe someone should hire private investigators to see if Republicans are paying off Reade. Democrats should not do this to avoid blow back, but again a dangerous strategy.

  19. Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Imagine what this would have been like in the early weeks of the #MeToo surge. Poor Al Franken…

  20. Posted May 12, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    One of them is lying. If Biden knows he did not do it, then he has to believe Reade is lying. I don’t see how he can continue to try not impugning her integrity. He has to risk offending the Believe Women crowd by saying Tara Reade is lying. If he waffles, he will be thought guilty.

    • Curtis
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      It is quite likely that both think they are telling the truth. Memory is a funny thing.

      • JezGrove
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        Yup, Reade’s fluctuating memory would be very funny indeed if there wasn’t so much at stake.

      • Posted May 12, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        If what you say were widely true (I think not), then why give any weight to allegations not corroborated with physical evidence? It should not be “Believe Women”. It should be “Pics or it didn’t happen.”

  21. Posted May 12, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why Biden took two weeks to deny the accusation.

    If you, good reader, were accused of digital penetration of an employee, wouldn’t you adamantly deny it within a nanosecond??!!

    So what’s Biden’s problem? — I realize that none of us are running for president. For some reasons of political calculation, Biden apparently had to think it over. Well, I’ll vote for Biden. But I wish he didn’t have to spend two weeks contemplating whether or not he raped someone.

    • Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      I am bothered too by Biden’s apparent lack of indignation and anger. If I were falsely accused I’d be pissed and show it. If he is innocent, Biden needs to show more outrage. It was an effective strategy for Thomas and Kavanaugh, and they may not have even been innocent. Of course, Biden has shot himself in the foot with his embrace of those Title IX standards that eviscerate the rights of the accused.

      • EdwardM
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        I think you’re both wrong. I think Biden knows he can’t win this fight. These days most people, especially someone like Biden, have no defense against accusations of this kind. All who are accused are presumed guilty. One strategy, if you know you are not guilty, is to give the other party enough rope to hang themselves; opening your mouth almost always makes it worse. This is what Biden is doing.

        Either way, guilty or not, Biden has learned the lesson of our modern age; your best hope is to stay silent. No one can expect justice or truth to prevail (they can, but it is entirely accidental). Those days, if they ever really existed, are long gong. All one can hope for now is that the mob gets distracted by something new and shiny or the accuser’s credibility is damaged enough for you to survive the onslaught.

        There is only one choice in November.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        If I remember correctly Kavanaugh was berated for being too indignant.
        Even though he was probably coached to so.

        It is an impossibly difficult line to maintain in these circumstances.

        • merilee
          Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

          Kavanaugh seemed more hysterical and bullying, than Indignant.

  22. Matt Young
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me somewhat of the false-memory cases of a few decades ago and which led to the bumper stickers “Believe the Children.” The children in those cases had been hypnotized, in effect, by their counselors or interrogators (I forget) into believing fantastic accusations against their day-care teachers. Many people believed these children, partly because they were thought to be too young to lie.

    The psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, as an experiment, told fictituous memories to adults and found later that some of the adults believed the “memories” and were convinced that the events were real. Piaget also reports believing a false memory for years.

    I have no doubt that Mr. Biden is feely-touchy. I do not know whether Ms. Reade is being truthful or not. But is it possible that she is not lying but rather confabulating false memories that, for example, begin with something relatively innocuous, something that Mr. Biden could not be expected to remember? The memory of that event gets, so to speak, better and better as it is retold.

    Since this is a somewhat delicate question, I offer this disclaimer: I ask it as a simple question for someone who might know about those things and not as an attack on Ms. Reade or anyone else. As I said, I do not know whether her account is veridical.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      I think it is very plausible that people can instill false memories in themselves. Perhaps by altering a story in a “what I would rather have happened” sort of fantasy, knowingly introducing inaccuracies, or making one up out of whole cloth. Then perhaps they tell their knew narrative to themselves over and over, over time. Perhaps they tell it to some other people too. Until eventually they are no longer sure what exactly they made up and what, if any, is original. And perhaps eventually the memory becomes as valid as anything else they believe.

      Something like that does seem plausible based on personal experience. But even if it is it seems to me that a person would still know that they are lying for a long time through that process.

      But I think more commonly that people knowingly tell a lie and they do it to get something that they want from other people. Whether it’s revenge or material gain. I think it is likely that if Reade’s accusations are significantly inaccurate that she is well aware that she is lying.

  23. Linda Calhoun
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I saw two comments that convinced me of Biden’s innocence.

    One was that Ronan Farrow, who won a Pulitzer for his hand in bringing down Harvey Weinstein, investigated Reade’s accusations and declined to pursue the story for lack of evidence and corroboration.

    The other comment was from David Axelrod, who said that Biden was thoroughly vetted for the position of VP by top investigators on Obama’s team, and if they had found anything like this, Biden would not have been offered the VP position.


  24. Posted May 12, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Reade is quite possibly lying. Blasey Forde definitely was.

    • merilee
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      What makes you think Blasey Ford was lying???

      • Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        And there flares the double standard.

        • Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

          I don’t understand. Why would someone asking you for the reasons for your assertion be invoking a double standard?

          • EdwardM
            Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, it’s a complete non-sequitur. I’d say I’d be interested in hearing why he made it, but the person he chose to single out suggests it won’t be worth it.

          • merilee
            Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

            I think that CHristine B F was very credible in her hours-long testimony and Kavanaugh acted like a bully.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

              I think Kavanaugh was was coached or encouraged to act in a more vehement manner.

              But then he gets accused of bullying.

              I said above that maybe that’s why Biden’s more circumspect in his denial.

              I did not think she was credible, any more than him.

        • Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          Nope, what’s flaring is your obvious and lame attempt at trolling. The article and discussion deals with the evidence that Reade may be lying. You have simply asserted Blasey Forde “definitely” was. And you instantly collapsed under the weight of your own excitement as soon as someone politely asked you for evidence.

          • Michael Waterhouse
            Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

            How about the lack of corroboration by people she claimed would or could corroborate?

          • Posted May 13, 2020 at 12:16 am | Permalink

            The evidence that Blasey Forde was lying and politically motivated that anyone who’s unaware of it is clearly blinkered. As also shown by your immediate reaction of trolling, even though I agree Reade might well be lying.

            • Posted May 13, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

              To back up your claim of a double standard you needed to show that there is at least as much evidence that Blasey Forde was lying as was laid out in the article for Reade.

              • merilee
                Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink


            • merilee
              Posted May 13, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

              Your first sentence makes no sense syntactically.

    • Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I totally disagree with you about C. B-F. She was a most credible witness and did not deviate from her account of what happened.

  25. Lee
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Regardless of the merit of the claims against Biden, what were the chances he would be falsely accused of everything from defrauding the Ukraine to making billions in China to sexual assault to whatever else by Trump operatives before the 2020 election? Pretty close to 100%, I would say.

    I remember reading recently about a woman who had been paid to falsely accuse Dr. Fauci of sexual assault, then confessed and published the texts exchanged with the people who paid her. This is the world we are living in. We *know* Trump and his enablers are liars. I expect them to lie incessantly about Biden, and I expect many people to assume that since everyone lies, it doesn’t matter who they vote for (if anyone). That’s the point.

    Personally, I’m just turning it all off. I’ve seen Biden’s work over several decades, and am convinced he’s an overall good guy with a good record of public service. There is no comparison with the current parasitic occupant of the WH. The focus should be on Trump and his lies and perfidies. Don’t let’s get drawn into distractions like Tara Reade’s.

  26. Posted May 12, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I think the meaning of this case is not “what happened”. It is impossible at this point to make a case against Biden even if the accusations were entirely true. The problem is that Biden himself floated the “believe the victim” idea.

    Once more, in a 2018 interview on the Blasey Ford vs Kavanaugh case:

    Interviewer: Specifically, how would you advice senators to proceed next week, and how do you balance the rights of a woman who is making accusations like this, versus the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

    Joe Biden: “I think the presumption should exist, but what should happen is the woman should be given the benefit of the doubt and not be abused again by the system.”
    Source clip here

    The real problem is that it’s not possible anymore to walk this back. It turns out that his idea is self-sealing. Any increased scrutiny or doubt can be construed as “abused again by the system” as Biden himself said — which is also how the Democrat blue tribe overall sees or saw such situations: believe the victim.

    There is no way out but secretly abandoning the hill in the privacy of the voting booth, and becoming a secret hypocrite.

    Worse of all, Joe Biden’s only visibility is related to these accusations. Otherwise he plays no role whatsoever, and has no apparent presence as a contender. He’ll probably lose which is obviously fine for the Democrat leadership — why else would they nominate a barrel bursting candidate like him, serial producer of cringe and gaffes now in cognitive decline?

    • BJ
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      “He’ll probably lose which is obviously fine for the Democrat leadership — why else would they nominate a barrel bursting candidate like him, serial producer of cringe and gaffes now in cognitive decline?”

      The “Democrat leadership” didn’t nominate him. He was nominated fair and square by the voters of the Democratic Party.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:17 am | Permalink

      “The problem is that Biden himself floated the “believe the victim” idea.”

      That is the real irony, and funny how many people ignore just how maoist “believe all women” can be.

  27. Lee
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    (My last comment didn’t make it for some reason, so if pops up later please forgive some repetition…)

    Plan to see an effectively endless array of false accusations against Biden in 2020. It’s what the Trump supporters do. And I can’t quite believe that, from a Bayesian standpoint, the credibility of the Reade accusation is conditionally independent of those. Lying to bring down political opponent is SOP on the Right as never before, so the prior probability of this type of accusation being a straight-up lie is very high. One of the finer points of the legacy Trump has left us with.

    For my part, I will ignore it all. It’s intended to be a distraction from Trump’s perfidies, and I refuse (to the best of my ability) to be manipulated that way. The choice is between Biden, a good guy and good public servant, and having a Barr-annointed king coincident with the total dissolution of the Constitutional order in this country.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:14 am | Permalink

      No empathy for innocent victims of Title IX allegations at colleges then?

  28. Ruthann Richards
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    As a decades-long feminist and a woman who has experienced sexual harassment in most of its forms, I pay particular attention to such claims, including the one(s) by Ms. Reade, and normally believe the woman. However, my friends and I have been suspicious of her claims for different reasons, but none of us had access to the article by Mr. MacArthur. He summarizes all of our reasons quite succinctly and affirms my feeling that she is not telling the truth. Thank you, PCC, for including this article in your posts.

  29. max blancke
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    “Reade has repeatedly claimed that she filed a complaint against Biden with Senate Personnel, which should be in the National Archives.”

    It appears that Biden stated that it should be in the National Archives, when asked about the issue.
    What I am hearing is people using the logic that since the complaint is apparently not in the National Archives, it must not exist. As though a search OF Biden’s records there was conducted. But the truth seems to be that a search FOR Biden’s archives was conducted there, and was unsuccessful.

    Politico puts it this way- “In response to Biden’s request on Friday, the Archives said it did not possess the records the former vice president said it did and that the documents in question were instead maintained by the Senate. But Senate rules suggest that those documents are maintained by the General Services Administration, which, in turn, said the records are at the National Archives.”

    The latest on this is that the Secretary of the Senate has “has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested” because of privacy laws. And of course the bulk of his records seem to be under seal at the University of Delaware. Biden has repeatedly dodged questions about why he is not allowing those records to be examined.


    So nobody really knows if the complaint exists, or if it does, if there are others like it. There is probably an archivist somewhere who knows.

    • Posted May 12, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      “Biden has repeatedly dodged questions about why he is not allowing those records to be examined.” I’ll help you out. How much would Trump’s campaign pay to do opposition research on every one of Biden’s papers for several years? I’m willing to bet plenty. They would have to throw it open to everyone because if they didn’t, it’s obvious that the MSM is just hiding something. Nobody could say that nothing could be found with out The Gateway Pundit demanding access to verify. And if they don’t get, the narrative will not change.

      • Posted May 12, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        The curators at the University of Delaware are trusted parties. Biden could publicly request that they review his papers for such a document and release it if one is found.

        • Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          And if they say they didn’t find one, will the right wing believe them and drop the whole thing? What is the win for Biden here? They find something and bad news or they don’t (because it’s a cover up!) and the narrative doesn’t change a bit.

          I’m willing to spend just as much time on Tara Reade as necessary so long as we can spend time x 22 investigating the women who have accused Trump of assault. There are 22 of them.

          • Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

            Biden needn’t convince the right wing, just people who are likely to support him. Leaving such a stone unturned is not in his interest if he is innocent. It makes it look like he has something to hide.

      • max blancke
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        He has been specifically asked if he would allow a search for just those records that have her name referenced on them. He declined.

  30. Posted May 12, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Several women who were staffers at this time (1993) said it didn’t happen based on panty hose. According to them, Senate female staffers were obliged to wear panty hose, no pants allowed, and this was rather vigorously enforced, no exceptions. When Reade says Biden penetrated her, these women said couldn’t happen because he would never have gotten past the mandatory panty hose in order to do that. Basically they said that the assault as she described it was physically impossible.

    Not having worn panty hose myself (although I wore leggings once for a Halloween costume; how do you women do it?), I’m not really in a position to vouch for the exculpatory nature of this analysis.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Well, I’m here to tell ya that finger-banging a woman in pantyhose, even with her complete and avid cooperation, is no mean feat.

      Especially when she’s the one wearing the pantyhose. 🙂

      • EdwardM
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Glad you clarified that bit about the hosiery, Ken!

      • aljones909
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Expert opinions are always welcome.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Then there’s this: https://www.pressherald.com/2020/05/02/democratic-lawmaker-resigns-after-tweet-about-biden-accuser/, “The New Hampshire state representative [resigned after he] tweeted that a woman’s anatomy would make it difficult to digitally penetrate her without ‘some cooperation from the female herself.'”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        Chrissake, that’s a throwback to the dark days when rape victims were essentially put on trial during cross-examination — tantamount to a claim that sexual assault on an unwilling victim is physically impossible. Disgusting.

  31. JezGrove
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Apologies if that was addressed to me. I wasn’t trying to imply that Reade’s allegations should never have been taken seriously, just that her changing version of events undermines her credibility. Her apparently deliberate manipulation of her previous article (linked to in the report by MacArthur: https://romansresearch.wordpress.com/2020/04/29/tara-reades-updated-medium-post-all-material-edits/ ) does her no favo(u)rs either.

    • JezGrove
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Doh! That was a reply to darwinwins at #20.

    • Posted May 12, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      No, I was responding to Curtis about people’s memories being unreliable, so both Biden and Reade might believe they are being truthful. I don’t buy that. If people can routinely create false memories of something traumatic like being raped, then why put any weight on an uncorroborated allegation? We have to assume that adults remember whether or not such events happened, even if imperfectly. I agree with you about Reade’s credibility.

      • JezGrove
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, darwinwins – good to know we’re both on the same side.

      • Matt Young
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Why put any weight on an uncorroborated allegation? That is precisely the question. I just ran across this article, “Remembering a crime that you did not commit,” https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/false-memory-crime in The New Yorker. After describing an experiment similar to Loftus’s, the author refers to “evidence that is already compelling enough to have persuaded the state supreme courts of New Jersey and Massachusetts to mandate that judges instruct juries that eyewitness testimony is inherently unreliable.” Sorry if this is slightly off task.

        • Deodand
          Posted May 12, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          Because you must ‘Believe the Survivor’, why would the ‘survivor’ of a sexual assault be mistaken about the identity of the ‘Perp’ or lie about it.

          I mean universities back in 2011 were caught using sexual assault training materials that stated the more contradictory the ‘survivors’ statement the more likely it was to be true.

          This article on TheFire.Org covering the new Title IX regulations (Which Biden has stated he’ll repeal.) touches on this in a section entitled “Schools must now train their personnel using published and unbiased materials”


  32. pablo
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t yto me if Biden is the Zodiac killer. I’m still going to vote for him over Trump.

    • pablo
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      “matter to me”

      • merilee
        Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Don’t even joke about that pablo. Some Trumpite will pick it up and run with it.

      • Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        What if he shot someone down in the middle of Fifth Avenue?

        • JezGrove
          Posted May 12, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          Biden would serve life in jail, and rightly so. I’m not sure why of all the possible universes out there we happen to live in the one where tRump would actually get away with it.

  33. Posted May 12, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think that she lied. If she herself believed everything she told in her allegation, then she didn’t lie; she was merely mistaken.

    • JezGrove
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      If she changed her story because she thinks her earlier version might be mistaken she should say so.

    • Posted May 12, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      But why are you so sure that “she herself believed everything she told in her allegation”? Maybe she knows she made stuff up.

      • Posted May 12, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        I am not sure. But just by Hanlon’s razor, it is more likely and given that she favors another candidate over Biden, it is easy to imagine that she has convinced herself that the event she describes happened to her and that the guy’s face was Biden.

    • Posted May 12, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      She lied in her mistake then?

      • Posted May 12, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        No, lying requires not believing what one is communicating to another person. Otherwise, it would imply that a student who gives a wrong answer to a question would automatically be lying regardless of his/her intent.

        • Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

          No, giving the wrong answer to a exam question say, is simply that, a wrong answer. You may be misleading yourself perhaps by believing the wrong answer is right.
          Concocting an answer to mislead yourself and others is a lie by any account.

  34. Robert Van Orden
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    First Trump gets caught trying to strong arm Ukraine into ‘investigating’ Biden’s son. I use scare quotes because the Trump Campaign was attempting to run a PSYOP, IMHO.

    Now Obama is being ‘investigated’?

    I’m extra skeptical of any investigation (particularly under Barr) that has the appearance of political motivation.

    I wouldn’t say Reade is in the employ of Trump. But she’s a useful idiot.

    • merilee
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink


    • Robert Van Orden
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      LOL. Frum is one of my few Twitter follows. I follow him, that is.

      I like the Never-Trumpers on Twitter. I’m mostly over Rick Wilson, but I like the others.

      Them, @NJGOV and NJ leisure related content are about all I use Twitter for.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Trump, the official said, is not playing “the sort of three-dimensional chess people ascribe to decisions like this. More often than not he’s just eating the pieces.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 12, 2020 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Frum is one of the never-Trumpers who has gotten Trump from the get-go — and who’s remained steadfast in his opposition and to his principles (unlike the weak-kneed capitulationists at The National Review).

      I frequently disagreed with Frum’s policy positions in the days before Trump, but always respected him as a clear writer and thoughtful analyst.

    • Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      For a want of a better way to let you and Diana and fellow Canadians know, Merilee, I’m putting this info here! Just went to Canadian Tire and they had a pile of disposable ‘medical’ masks (not the N95 ones but the blue or pink ones). $24.99 + tax for a pack of 20. Also large bottles of hand sanitizer $14.99 each.

      • Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        A bit overprices IMO but the masks I ordered a long time ago on amazon went missing! Things like that are getting swiped or diverted to other buyers.

      • merilee
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Paprika!

        • Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

          Btw, real name is Pauline… I don’t tell everyone.

          • merilee
            Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink


        • Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

          Oh, and there were gloves too.

  35. max blancke
    Posted May 12, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    It is really interesting to watch how people react to these accusations.
    Reade’s claims seem pretty shaky, but so have some of the others. The key difference is that we can freely discuss the holes in her story without much fear of being accused of engaging in “victim blaming”
    Probably because it is not really about her. Or any woman or girl. Sometimes, outrage about the maltreatment of women can be used to further a political agenda, and is thus useful.

    It would be nice if these sorts of claims were simply evaluated by neutral investigators skilled in evaluating sexual assault cases. But I guess that is not the world we live in.

  36. Posted May 12, 2020 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Gawddamit Trump will have a second term. I don’t know what else to say.

  37. Posted May 13, 2020 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    I guess the good news is that there have been no more women come forth with allegations as serious as Reade’s. That would really sink him.

    • KD
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t be so sure. Alexander Cockburn wrote in 2008:

      Vanity is the most conspicuous characteristic of US Senators en bloc , nourished by deferential acolytes and often expressed in loutish sexual advances to staffers, interns and the like. On more than one occasion CounterPunch’s editors have listened to vivid accounts by the recipient of just such advances, this staffer of another senator being accosted by Biden in the well of the senate in the weeks immediately following his first wife’s fatal car accident.


      I don’t know his source, but Biden’s wife died in 1972. Of course, Cockburn is now dead, so we may never know, but I would be prepared for the worst.

      • Posted May 13, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Cockburn really liked to rabbit punch, didn’t he?

  38. Eric Grobler
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    “In the end, MacArthur says “this is not a story of sexual assault, but of anger and revenge.” ”

    Or narcissism.

    ““Believe All Women” should not mean…”

    “Believe All Women” should not be a thing.
    They are also human for God’s sake.

  39. KD
    Posted May 13, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The real truth here is that Mr. Biden, who was behind the institution of the Title IX university show trials, is invoking the principles of fundamental fairness that he denied to common university students. You either have rights that attach to all, or you have privileges that attach to a few. That due process should be a privilege reserved to male Democratic candidates for high office is so nakedly self serving that it will never accepted as legitimate by the public.

    The second truth is yet again the Democratic Party driven by identity-politics idiocy has boxed itself into a corner trying to cultivate a perception of moral superiority. The GOP would never have treated Franken the same way the Democrats did. Democrats have set an impossible bar for themselves, all Democrats must be presumed guilty and run out of public office as soon as the weakest of allegations comes forward. I imagine the obvious tactical stupidity of their moral preening was never pointed out as to do so would no doubt mean you are a misogynist and a rape apologist. Well, here you go, you have a moral principle that only you follow and is politically unworkable, so now you either dump your presidential candidate or you look nakedly hypocritical and stupid.

    How many perfectly good politicians like Franken have been sidelined for this stupidity? Did it work in blocking Kavanaugh? And now that the Democrats have been exposed as naked hypocrites, will there be any apologies to candidates like Franken, or to party supporters for this enacted stupidity? Will there be any self-reflection? No, they will just go on as if nothing has happened. Noticing the hypocrisy will simply be equated with support for date rape or something equally stupid.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 13, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Responsibility for the Title IX case should be put first on Obama. For all we know, Biden may have opposed him in private, but, when you are the VP, you’ve got to support and defend whatever comes from above. Obama was trapped by the woke movement at the time, a movement he has repudiated since. So, spread the responsibility a bit and apportion appropriately.

      • KD
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Its fine to blame Obama, but he is not running for President. I see an entirely preventable, politically self-inflicted wound by the Democrats, on the Democrats. Everyone knows you don’t always believe all women or believe all men for a reason, and you certainly don’t turn it into a slogan.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted May 13, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        “Biden may have opposed him in private…”

        Just how nuanced was his public comments about the accusations against Kavanaugh AFTER his term in office?

  40. Hempenstein
    Posted May 14, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Where was she the whole time Biden was VP? Or considering running 4yrs ago? End of story.

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