New Biden accuser tape, CNN silence stir discord among Sanders Democrats

Joe Biden's critics are blasting CNN for failing to uncover archival footage that they say would help corroborate Tara Reade's allegations that the former vice president sexually assaulted her in 1993.

Video resurfaced this week from an August 11, 1993 Larry King Live segment in which an unnamed woman, purportedly Reade's mother, called in from San Luis Obispo, California to speak with panelists who were discussing the treacherous world of Washington politics and media. The recently uncovered CNN video shows Reade's mother telling host Larry King and his panelists: "I'm wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington, my daughter has just left there after working for a prominent senator and could not get through with her problems at all and the only thing she could have done is go to the press and she chose not to out of respect for him."

"So in other words, she had a story to tell, but out of respect for the person she worked for she didn't tell it?" King asked, prompting the unidentified woman to affirm her remark.

The long-forgotten CNN clip was uncovered by The Intercept Friday, prompting Biden's critics -- particularly those in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party--to double down on their accusations that so-called mainstream media outlets are burying Reade's allegations to protect the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Biden and his campaign have categorically denied those accusations of the alleged incident, which Reade said occurred while working as a Senate staffer for Biden in 1993.

Newsweek reached out to CNN's media relations department for a comment Saturday.

On Friday, Winnie Wong, former senior advisor to Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, tweeted: "The video of Tara Reade's late mother calling into Larry King to blow the whistle about about Tara's sexual assault is being met with relative silence from a cadre of progressives right now and I want you all to know that I see you. We all do."

Shaun King, an ardent Sanders campaign supporter, tweeted on Friday about the clip: "This much is clear. In 1993 the mother of Tara Reade was so disturbed by what her daughter told her Joe Biden did to her, & the lack of help she said she got from his staff, that she called Larry King to talk about it the week Tara stopped working for him," he tweeted Friday evening.

New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the most vocal progressive critics of Biden -- a wing of the Democratic Party that largely opposed Hillary Clinton's candidacy in 2016. Ocasio-Cortez has recently accused the party of failing to treat Reade's accusations. "If we again want to have integrity, you can't say, you know, both believe women, support all of this, until it inconveniences you," she said at the time.

Reade's allegations have become a focal point among progressive members of the Democratic Party who have accused Biden and other establishment figures of ignoring their ideas and demands in claims that date back to the 2016 presidential primary between Sanders and Hillary. Many Sanders supporters have accused the Democratic National Committee, Clinton and the mainstream media of conspiring to bring down his candidacy.

Sanders endorsed Biden with glowing praise on April 13 in a move aimed at unifying the party against Trump. Sanders described Trump as "the most dangerous president" in U.S. history and urged his supporters to join him in backing Biden's candidacy. Former President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren have also given Biden's nomination their blessing.

Meanwhile, right-wing news outlets have also joined progressive Democratic factions in criticizing CNN for not giving fair coverage to Reade in comparison to sexual assault allegations brought against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process. CNN published their first story about Reade's allegations on April 17 -- weeks after they first came to light.

"It's truly despicable that this footage existed and yet CNN failed to do its own due diligence within its own archives," conservative NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck said in a statement to Fox News Saturday.

Reade filed a criminal complaint with the Washington Metropolitan Police Department against Biden. She accused him of pushing her against a wall and penetrating her genitals with his fingers, as Newsweek has previously reported. Reade has also said Biden would place his hands on her shoulders or run his fingers along her neck line.

Kate Bedingfield, Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director for Biden's campaign, released a statement last month decrying Reade's accusation as completely false.

"Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women," Bedingfield's statement read. "He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard—and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen."

Critics of Reade's allegations have cast doubt on her story, tying her to Russian propaganda pieces and a Medium post in which she described her support for Vladimir Putin despite being a "liberal."

tara reade mother cnn clip
A CNN video clip from 1993 purports to show Tara Reade's mother calling in to ask how her daughter should report an allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden - something he has adamantly denied. Screenshot: CNN | Twitter

Updated 6:17 PM ET to include that Newsweek reached out to CNN for a comment.