House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Wednesday that sexual-assault claims against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden should be taken “seriously” and investigated, as he called on Biden to address the allegations.
When asked about recent developments in the assault accusations leveled by Tara Reade, Jeffries told WNYC: “It’s got to be taken seriously because this is a serious allegation raised by a serious individual and needs to be investigated seriously. We’ve probably got to hear from him [Biden] at some point directly.”
Jeffries made clear he still had to “delve deeper” into the new developments in the allegations, as he had been preoccupied dealing with the COVID-19 response in Brooklyn.
“I’m not really in a position to say what is the appropriate mechanism, although this needs to be taken seriously," he said.
Reade, a former Biden staffer, has accused Biden of cornering her in a Senate office building in 1993 and sexually assaulting her. Originally, her brother and a friend recalled Reade telling them, respectively, of the allegations at the time, but former Senate aides who worked with Reade could not recall her telling them of the incident.
Biden has yet to address the claims himself, though his campaign has denied the allegations. On Wednesday, after two new developments, The Washington Post editorial board called on Biden to address the claims and to "release relevant records" from his time as a senator that are currently sealed at the University of Delaware.
A "Larry King Live" clip from 1993 was unearthed on Friday that purportedly featured Reade's mother calling in to the show anonymously and alluding to her daughter's "problems" with a "prominent senator."
On Monday, two more people -- a former neighbor and a former colleague of Reade's -- said they remembered conversations they had with her back in the 1990s. One remembered her account of the alleged assault, and another remembered her mentioning harassment, but not assault.
Two prominent Democrats who are apparently on Biden's shortlist of VP picks have indeed cited The New York Times' reporting defended the presumptive Democratic nominee: former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, citing a New York Times report they say exonerates the former vice president. The New York Times has said its report does not come to a conclusion whether or not the incident occurred.
Fox News' Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.