The heat kicked up a notch today for embattled Virginia Democratic Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax as two Democratic contenders for president signaled support for his accuser.
Sen. Kamala Harris on Thursday called for an investigation of Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, labeling the sexual assault allegations against the Democratic official a “credible account” but stopping short of demanding he step aside.
“I think there should be an investigation to determine what happened,” the California Democrat told reporters on Capitol Hill. “Certainly her letter reads — it’s quite detailed — and suggests that there’s credibility there. But there needs to be an investigation to determine what exactly happened.”
Asked a two-part question earlier Thursday about what Virginia Democrats should do — and whether Fairfax and Herring should resign — Harris told POLITICO that “the most important thing that needs to happen is that the people of Virginia need to make that decision. That’s where I am on it.”
Harris was then whisked away before addressing the question of resignations.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) posted a two-tweet statement that went even further, declaring her support for Dr. Tyson but also stopping short of calling for Lt. Gov. Fairfax’s resignation:
I support Dr. Tyson. She showed enormous courage in coming forward, and her very credible claims require investigation. In this country, institutional bias stacks against survivors, for the powerful. We have to support survivors first so their claims can be fully investigated.
I said this last night to @jonlovett, and here’s why: Institutions—colleges, the military, the NFL—don’t believe survivors, and shame or retaliate against survivors, to protect their own. We have to support survivors and take allegations seriously or there will never be justice.
While Harris and Gillibrand are the first two high profile Democrats to date to call for an investigation, their measured tone is a stark contrast to their angry condemnations of then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh before and during his Supreme Court confirmation process.
And Gillibrand’s wording in particular suggests she’s playing both sides of the fence on this one just in case.
Professor KC Johnson notices:
If @sengillibrand has concluded that Tyson is, in fact, a "survivor," what is the purpose of the "investigation"?
It seems as if the senator applies one standard to accusations against college students, & another in this instance.https://t.co/KPNyLieS8v
— KC Johnson (@kcjohnson9) February 7, 2019
As to Harris’s motivations, Hot Air‘s Ed Morrissey speculates:
It seems doubtful that Harris is calling for a criminal investigation, and Tyson hasn’t asked for one anyway. Harris wants a political investigation, and that should frighten Fairfax. Will it frighten him into a resignation? Perhaps. And if it does, then Democrats might find their problem solved. Once Fairfax resigns, Northam can appoint a replacement. Once the replacement is confirmed, Northam can resign and keep the governor’s office in the hands of a Democrat without elevating Herring to the post. Presto! Northam can claim redemption and retire, and suddenly everyone can stop talking about Virginia.
That sounds entirely plausible, considering that other Senate Democrats have feigned ignorance on the issue and really just want it to go away — including Senator Cory “Spartacus” Booker (NJ), another 2020 hopeful.
Stay tuned! And make sure to stock up on the popcorn.
–Connect with Sister Toldjah on Twitter.–