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Trump allies highlight new claims regarding allegations against Biden

Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden speaks during the Democratic debate last month. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Some allies of President Trump pointed Monday to new claims by a woman who said she was told about sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden decades ago, renewing attention to questions about the past behavior of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Apparent corroboration surfaced this week for elements of two accusations made by Biden’s former Senate aide Tara Reade, one involving harassment and the second a sexual assault. Biden has not commented on the allegations, but his campaign has denied them and pointed to his record on women’s rights and promotion of women in his offices.

Lynda LaCasse, who was one of Reade’s neighbors in California, where Reade moved after working for Biden, said in an interview with Business Insider published Monday that Reade told her in the mid-1990s that Biden had “put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her.”

Lorraine Sanchez, a former colleague of Reade’s in the office of a California state senator, also told the news outlet that Reade told her in the mid-1990s that she “had been sexually harassed by her former boss while she was in DC and as a result of her voicing her concerns to her supervisors, she was let go, fired.” Sanchez did not recall whether Reade mentioned Biden specifically, or whether she provided further details about the allegation.

In recent days, a 1993 call into Larry King’s CNN talk show also surfaced. In it, a woman whom Reade identified as her ­now-deceased mother called to report unspecified “problems” her daughter was having with her employer, whom she called “a prominent senator.” The caller said her daughter did not want to go public with her account “out of respect for” the unnamed senator.

Neither LaCasse nor Sanchez responded to messages left by The Washington Post on Monday. Reade made the harassment accusation last year, and she recently offered details of what she said was a sexual assault in a hallway somewhere on Capitol Hill.

The allegations have percolated for weeks, a period in which Biden has become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Three of Reade’s supervisors from the time, to whom Reade says she complained about Biden’s behavior, have said they don’t remember Reade or any complaints from her.

Biden’s campaign declined to comment on the new reports, pointing to previous statements from deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield, who said that while women’s accounts of wrongdoing should be examined, the one from Reade “absolutely did not happen.”

As part of an in-depth examination published two weeks ago, Reade had told The Post that she described the alleged assault soon afterward to a friend, to her brother and to her mother.

Her friend corroborated Reade’s account of their conversation but declined to be named. Her brother, Collin Moulton, told The Post that she told him in 1993 that Biden had behaved inappropriately by touching her neck and shoulders. He said in a later text message to The Post that he recalled her telling him that Biden had put his hand “under her clothes.”

Biden has done several interviews since the assault allegations emerged but has yet to be asked about them. It has, however, been a topic for other top Democrats, including some of his potential running mates.

“I think this case has been investigated,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said on MSNBC, pointing to her own work to make it easier to bring such cases forward. “I know the vice president as a major leader on domestic abuse. I worked with him on that.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who has said she was sexually assaulted while in college, was asked on NPR if she was concerned about the allegations.

“Well, I think women should be able to tell their stories. I think that it is important that these allegations are vetted, from the media to beyond. And I think that, you know, it is something that no one takes lightly,” Whitmer said. “But it is also something that is, you know, personal. And so it’s hard to give you greater insight than that, not knowing more about the situation.”

Trump has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual assault. He has denied all of the allegations. His son Donald Trump Jr. has repeatedly tweeted about the accusations against Biden in recent days. On Monday afternoon, he retweeted the Business Insider story.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that the allegations against Biden deserve to be scrutinized as much as those against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who during his nomination hearings was accused of a past assault.

“I think these things ought to be dealt with symmetrically,” ­McConnell said on Fox News Radio.

Reade worked in Biden’s Senate office from December 1992 until August 1993, according to employment records. She had initially said last year that Biden had put his hands on her shoulders and neck.

She said she complained to senior Biden aides about feeling uncomfortable, but not about sexual assault. She also said she filed a complaint with a congressional human resources or personnel office, which could have triggered an alert to Biden’s office.

The Post interviewed a number of former Biden staffers who say the behavior Reade describes was not consistent with Biden’s behavior. Last spring, as Biden was preparing to run for president, about a half dozen women came forward with stories of unwanted touching or displays of affection. None alleged sexual assault.

LaCasse told Business Insider that Reade tearfully told her about the alleged encounter in 1995 or 1996, when they were neighbors in a condominium complex in Morro Bay, Calif.

The Post confirmed they were neighbors during that period.

LaCasse said the allegations came on her radar again only recently, when Reade contacted her and remarked that “this Joe Biden thing is coming up again.”

She said that she spoke with Reade about coming forward, “but she didn’t really ask me to come forward.”

LaCasse also said that she was planning to support Biden in the general election.

“I can’t stand Donald Trump, so I don’t want him to win,” she told Business Insider. “But this happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it.”

Alice Crites and Sean Sullivan contributed to this report.