Videos Of Joe Biden From The Clarence Thomas Hearings Preview His Portrayal In HBO's 'Confirmation'
Years before Joe Biden was vice president, people knew him as a senator from Delaware and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Law professor Anita Hill's testimony claiming that Thomas had sexually harassed her was televised, along with the rest of the hearings, causing a huge media circus. (Thomas repeatedly denied all of Hill's allegations.) However, thanks to that circus, you can still find videos of Joe Biden during the Clarence Thomas hearings that show him in a different light than we're used to in 2016 — as a younger senator and leader during the intense proceedings. Then on Saturday night, you can see him as portrayed by Greg Kinnear in HBO's movie about the hearings, Confirmation.
According to CNN, Biden himself hasn't made any direct comments about the film, but in a statement, his office said that he "fought for 'gender diversity'" as chairman and had a "63 percent favorability rating for his handling of the hearings." Bustle's request from his office for comment on Confirmation has not yet been answered. Hill did speak about Biden in a recent Time magazine interview, though, and said, "If you file a sexual-harassment complaint in an office, what you find in the best instances is a neutral investigative process. That never happened. I did expect that the chair would be fair and gather the testimony from the relevant witnesses, like the three women who were not called in to testify, like the experts on sexual harassment that could have helped inform the committee about how the problem manifests itself." To CNN, Biden's office also referenced part of the hearing transcript that includes a letter from Biden to Angela Wright, a witness not called to testify, in which he says that he would like for her to testify, but that there are time constraints.
Suffice it to say that the current vice president played a crucial role in the Thomas hearings, which you can see firsthand in the videos below.
Biden During Hill's Testimony, Part 1
In this video, Biden leads the way as Hill gives her famous testimony. Before she even begins, Biden notices that the room is filled with people and asks any non-family members and those unnecessary to the proceedings to leave. He then asks Hill to recount where each of the alleged incidents of sexual harassment allegedly happened and if they were in public or private. Thomas denied Hill's allegations and still maintains his innocence, according to CBS.
Biden During Hill's Testimony, Part 2
Biden isn't the only senator who questions Hill during this clip, but when he returns (about an hour into the video), he emphasizes that it wasn't her idea to testify in the hearing. "You're a reluctant witness, not one that's out charging down the road," he says.
Biden Questioning Thomas, Part 1
This C-SPAN footage shows Biden asking Thomas questions after Hill's testimony. The future VP is a bit rambling and awkward as he tells Thomas that he doesn't want to grill him about Hill's testimony, but asks Thomas whether he agrees with her.
Biden Questioning Thomas, Part 2
This video shows the meat of the questioning. Biden asks Thomas to recount the time when he and Hill worked at the Department of Education, along with the two other people they worked with, and how much access they had to speak with him at the time.
Biden Questioning Thomas, Part 3
Biden kicks off this video by asking Thomas if he ever spoke to Hill about his son and then Biden tells his own mini-story about his 10-year-old daughter walking in on a meeting. Someone from the bench jokes, "She raised the IQ of the whole meeting," bringing some levity to the moment. Then Biden asks Thomas about a report in the New York Times, in which he allegedly talks about asking Hill out a few times. Thomas' response: "That is wrong."
Biden Questioning Thomas, Part 4
Biden continues his questioning by asking if Thomas did anything to make Hill see him as more than an employer. Then Biden launches into a tangent about being nice to the unpaid interns in his office. Next, Biden and Thomas talk about how Hill and Thomas' professional relationship changed during their work together.
For anyone who is only used to seeing Biden as the vice president, Confirmation should provide an interesting look at this important part of his political history.