June 28, 2020 11:19 pm
Categories: JoshWho News Washington Examiner

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward was prepared to come out with an “explosive” report about Brett Kavanaugh as the judge defended his honor during a contentious Supreme Court confirmation fight in 2018, but was talked out of it by editors at the Washington Post.

The report, sources told the New York Times, would have identified Kavanaugh as an anonymous source for Woodward’s 1999 book Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate.

In particular, it would have revealed that Kavanaugh gave an account about Ken Starr’s investigation of President Bill Clinton for Woodward’s book. Kavanaugh, who was a lawyer on Starr’s team, then publicly contradicted what he told Woodward in a letter to the Washington Post in 1999.

It could have been a watershed moment for Woodward, who is best known for his investigative reporting with Carl Bernstein that shed light on the Watergate scandal leading to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974, as he famously protected his source, “Deep Throat,” for 30 years until former FBI deputy director William Mark Felt confirmed it was him in 2005.

The report appeared in the Washington Post‘s publishing system, Methode, as Kavanaugh was fending off a sexual assault allegation by Christine Blasey Ford, who testified during the judge’s confirmation hearings that he had attempted to force himself on her at a high school party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denied the accusations of sexual misconduct by Ford and other women. He was confirmed to the high court by the Senate in October 2018.

Three Washington Post employees said the article, which was described as “explosive” by the New York Times, was ready for publication when Martin Baron, the executive editor, urged Woodward not to break the agreement he had with Kavanaugh to protect his identity. Baron and other editors insisted to Woodward that it would be a bad move for the newspaper and “bad for Bob,” one of the insiders said, and the piece was never published.

The report, by media columnist Ben Smith, said Barron’s intervention had nothing to do with protecting Kavanaugh, but rather was based on upholding the traditional journalistic principle of protecting one’s sources.

Woodward’s second book about the Trump administration, a sequel to 2018’s Fear, is set to be released in September.

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