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The Biden situation

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This is . . . not good:

In March, when a former aide to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden accused the candidate of sexually assaulting her in 1993, two people came forward to say that the woman, Tara Reade, had told them of the incident shortly after it allegedly occurred — her brother, Collin Moulton, and a friend who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Now two more sources have come forward to corroborate certain details about Reade’s claims. One of them — a former neighbor of Reade’s — has told Insider for the first time, on the record, that Reade disclosed details about the alleged assault to her in the mid-1990s.

“This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it,” Lynda LaCasse, who lived next door to Reade in the mid-1990s, told Insider.

LaCasse told Insider that in 1995 or 1996, Reade told her she had been assaulted by Biden. “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. She felt like she was assaulted, and she really didn’t feel there was anything she could do.”

LaCasse said that she remembers Reade getting emotional as she told the story. “She was crying,” she said. “She was upset. And the more she talked about it, the more she started crying. I remember saying that she needed to file a police report.” LaCasse said she does not recall whether Reade supplied any other details, like the location of the alleged assault or anything Biden may have said.

“I don’t remember all the details,” LaCasse said. “I remember the skirt. I remember the fingers. I remember she was devastated.”

I see no reason to doubt that LaCasse is accurately recounting what Reade told her 25 years ago:

LaCasse, 60, is a retired former medical staff coordinator and emergency room clerk for San Luis Obispo General Hospital. She lived next door to Reade in 1995 and 1996 in an apartment complex near the beach in Morro Bay, Calif., a seaside community between Santa Barbara and Monterrey. She told Insider that she and Reade shared a bond because they were both mothers, and their young daughters swam together in the apartment complex’s indoor pool.

LaCasse said she would sometimes sit on her front stoop to smoke cigarettes after putting her daughter to bed, and that Reade would occasionally join her. It was during one of these evening conversations, she said, that Reade told her about the alleged assault. “We were talking about violent stories,” LaCasse said, “because I had a violent situation. We just started talking about things and she just told me about the senator that she had worked for and he put his hand up her skirt.”

“I personally am a Democrat, a very strong Democrat,” she said. “And I’m for Biden, regardless. But still I have to come out and say this.”

Insider has verified, through publicly available records, that Reade and LaCasse were neighbors at a Morro Bay apartment complex in 1995. A review of LaCasse’s social media presence shows a long history of anti-Trump sentiments. She has written approvingly of both Biden and his Democratic rival Bernie Sanders on Twitter. In March, she shared a link on Facebook to a story detailing Reade’s allegations, with the message, “this is my good friend Tara Reade, who was assaulted by Joe Biden in 1993.”

LaCasse told Insider that she and Reade fell out of touch after Reade moved out of their apartment complex in the late 1990s. But the two reconnected in 2016, she said, when Reade reached out to her via Facebook.

My biggest reason for being skeptical of Reade’s story when she came forward with it last month was that she changed her story drastically from creepy but fairly mild sexual harassment to straight up sexual assault, when her first story got no media traction. The apparent fact that she made the much more serious allegation 25 years ago puts that story in a very different light, in my view.

So now what? If this were September, then the answer would be clear: Biden may well have sexually assaulted Reade, but it’s safe to say that even if one were choosing between Biden and Trump on no other basis than which man has sexually assaulted fewer women, voting for Biden would be a very easy choice.

But it’s April.

BTW I was just speaking to a strong Democrat, who was not a Biden supporter during the primary, whose reaction to this sounded very much — far too much — like the GOP reaction to good ‘ol Brett Kavanaugh (she sounds nuts, this is totally out of character for Biden etc.). That was pretty depressing.

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