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EXCLUSIVE: The woman who has accused Joe Biden of a sexual assault in the early 1990s says she’s disappointed that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper failed to ask the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee about the allegation when he had the chance — not once, but twice.
Tara Reade, a former staffer for then-Sen. Biden, told her story about the former vice president over a month ago with progressive podcast host Katie Halper. Since then, Biden has done nearly a dozen TV interviews with news anchors including NBC News’ Chuck Todd, ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, and twice with Cooper — all of whom failed to ask Biden about her public claim.
“I think it’s shocking that this much time has passed and that he is an actual nominee for president and they’re not asking the questions,” Reade told Fox News. “He’s been on ‘Anderson Cooper’ at least twice where he was not asked.”
“I guess my question is, if this were Donald Trump, would they treat it the same way? If this were Brett Kavanaugh, did they treat it the same way?” Reade said. “In other words, it’s politics and political agenda playing a role in objective reporting and asking the question.”
Reade believes that the news anchors who have interviewed Biden “don’t want to ask him” about her assault allegation.
“There are two things happening at once. [Biden] is not making himself accessible to be asked the question. And when he does make himself accessible, they are not asking, those anchors. And so that tells there may be a political agenda behind that and that’s gross. … I’m a survivor and I would like the question asked.”
Reade said her opinions of some journalists and media outlets have shifted in recent weeks based on their coverage of her claim.
“I really would look to [Cooper] for answers and I would never do that again. I’ve lost total respect,” Reade said, adding that “as a civilian,” it’s difficult to know “what news source to trust” since shows like Cooper’s have a “blatant bias.”
On Friday evening, a clip from 1993 surfaced showing an anonymous California resident phoning in to CNN’s “Larry King Live” asking the TV host and his panel about “problems” her daughter had with a “prominent senator.”
Reade confirmed to Fox News that the woman heard in the clip was her late mother, Jeanette Altimus.
CNN waited until Saturday afternoon to issue a report on its website and briefly mentioned on-air, which was the first time the network has addressed the Biden assault claim since Reade came forward in March.
Reade’s story first resurfaced in an article in The Intercept on March 24. Halper then interviewed Reade, who said that in 1993, a more senior member of Biden’s staff asked her to bring the then-senator his gym bag near the U.S. Capitol building, which led to the encounter in question.
“He greeted me, he remembered my name, and then we were alone. It was the strangest thing,” Reade told Halper. “There was no like, exchange really. He just had me up against the wall.”
Reade said that she was wearing “a business skirt,” but “wasn’t wearing stockings — it was a hot day.”
She continued: “His hands were on me and underneath my clothes, and he went down my skirt and then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers and he was kissing me at the same time and he was saying some things to me.”
Reade claimed Biden first asked if she wanted “to go somewhere else.”
“I pulled away, he got finished doing what he was doing,” Reade said. “He said: ‘Come on, man. I heard you liked me.’”
Reade said she tried to share her story last year, but nobody listened to her. Earlier this month, she filed a criminal complaint against Biden with police in Washington, D.C.
Fox News reached out to the Biden campaign on Friday for comment. The campaign referred Fox News to a statement earlier this month from Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield that said: “What is clear about this claim: it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”
“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” Bedingfield said. “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.”
CNN did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.