Potential vice presidential candidate Stacey Abrams bent the facts of a New York Times investigative story to defend Joe Biden against a sexual assault allegation made by former Senate staffer Tara Reade in the early 90s during a CNN interview.
"I believe that women deserve to be heard, and I believe they need to be listened to, but I also believe that those allegations have to be investigated by credible sources," Abrams said during the Tuesday interview.
"The New York Times did a deep investigation, and they found that the accusation was not credible," she added. "I believe Joe Biden."
The article, however, did not say Reade's accusation was not credible. BuzzFeed recently reported Biden's campaign is using the following as an official talking point: "The New York Times did a deep investigation, and they found that the accusation was not credible."
In fact, The New York Times article never calls the sexual assault accusation against Biden "not credible," as Abrams put it. It also never says "this incident did not happen," as Biden's talking points say.
The article goes a little further to show talk about Reade's allegation.
"A friend said that Ms. Reade told her the details of the allegation at the time," the article reads. "Another friend and a brother of Ms. Reade's said she told them over the years about a traumatic sexual incident involving Mr. Biden."
What The New York Times article concluded was: "No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade's allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden."
The Times talked to Reade "on multiple days over hours" along with "nearly two dozen people who worked with Mr. Biden during the early 1990s, including many who worked with Ms. Reade; and the other seven women who criticized Mr. Biden last year, to discuss their experiences with him."
The article did not find Reade's allegations false. They just did not find any former Biden staffers to corroborate the claim.
The New York Times investigative article, which published April 12, is titled: "Examining Tara Reade's Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden." It was later updated April 16.
"No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade's allegation," the newspaper wrote. "The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden."
Danielle Rhoades Ha, the Times vice president of communications, weighed in on the article, telling CNN:
"BuzzFeed reported on the existence of talking points being circulated by the Biden campaign that inaccurately suggest a New York Times investigation found that Tara Reade's allegation 'did not happen.' Our investigation made no conclusion either way. "
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