Did Dan Crenshaw help smear a female vet?

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Congressman Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who earlier this week ignominiously signed onto Ken Paxton’s seditious lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election, faces renewed criticism for his role in a scandal roiling the Department of Veterans Affairs and its secretary, Robert Wilkie. 

The new details emerged from a nearly 70-page report from the V.A.‘s Office of the Inspector General that described the department’s handling of the case as “troubling.”

At the heart of the controversy are accusations by a female veteran who came forward to allege that she had been sexually assaulted at a V.A. facility. 

Those accusations set off a series of events within the V.A. that included the secretary seeking damaging information about the veteran, Andrea Goldstein.

Enter Crenshaw, the former Navy SEAL who has been subject to speculation about his political future. Newsweek reports that, in addition to the V.A. acting improperly, Crenshaw supplied damaging and false information to the secretary in an effort to harm Goldstein’s credibility.

At one point while both were serving in the Navy, Crenshaw and Goldstein served as members of the same unit. 

“Scrutinizing the veteran’s background is contrary to V.A.’s stated goal to serve veterans with respect,” V.A. Inspector General Michael Missal said in a statement. “Every V.A. employee should commit to making V.A. facilities safe and welcoming places where such complaints are met with the highest standards of professionalism and responsiveness.”

While disclosing the accusations was certainly enough to raise Wilkie’s ire on its own, the secretary seemed to take particular exception to Goldstein having the courage to tell her story in an op-ed for The New York Times, referring to a photograph that accompanied the piece as a “glamor shot.”

While Crenshaw and his communications director ducked Newsweek’s requests to comment on the report, the publication detailed at least two occasions that Wilkie shared information gleaned from Crenshaw about Goldstein’s record during active duty. It is unclear if any effort was made to substantiate Crenshaw’s claims before the secretary repeated them.

At one point, Crenshaw denied ever having spoken to the secretary about Goldstein. Those denials were contradicted in an email from Wilkie to staff at the V.A. 

Minutes after leaving a fundraiser at which he claimed Crenshaw asked to speak with him about Goldstein’s case, Wilkie emailed the staffers, imploring them to “Ask me in the morning what Congressman Crenshaw said about the Takano staffer whose glamor shot was in The New York Times.”

Goldstein serves on the staff of California Congressman Mark Takano, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Takano has been a vocal critic of outgoing President Donald Trump, and is well known as an accountability hawk in matters of national defense. 

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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