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tv   CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  September 17, 2018 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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top of the hour. i'm jim sciutto. happy to be alongside my colleague. >> not a slow news day. we have a lot going on and it's developing quickly. new this morning, sources tell us add cnn that judge brett kavanaugh is now open to answering questions under oath about a decades old sexual assault allegation that now threatens to derail his nomination to sit for life on the bench of the nation's highest court. that's not all. the lawyer for dr. christine blasey ford, a psychology professor living in california, said ford also is willing to testify openly in public about claims she first reported to her congresswoman dianne feinstein in july. these are about an event she alleges happened 35 years ago. let's listen. >> will your client, christine ford, be willing to testify in public to the judiciary committee? >> the answer is yes. >> she is willing to do it.
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has she been asked by any lawmaker ooze do that? >> that's interesting. the answer is no. >> from president trump so far, a resounding and uncharacteristic silence, but this morning, one of his closest aides did speak to reporters. i want you to hear some of her remarks. >> on behalf of the president with whom i have spoken at length about this, said put aside all the nonsense on tv and in print from people who couldn't possibly be a source familiar with this thinking. she should not be ignored or insulted. she should be heard, but i talked to senator lindsey graham and he said that could be done tomorrow. so that we can proceed forward. and that's really -- we respect the process, and we're also watching the process. >> well, that process was leading up to a committee vote on thursday. a full senate vote in time to have kavanaugh on the job by the first monday in october. that, of course, when the supreme court sits again. lots of crucial decisions before them. to be very clear, the nominee, and i quote, categorically and
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unequivocally denies professor ford's assertions which she outlined for the record with her name attached only yesterday in "the washington post." she tells of a high school party in d.c. in the suburbs in the 1980s. >> she does, and she says a very drunken brett kavanaugh pushed her into a bedroom upstairs at which point in her words, quote, kavanaugh was on top of me wife laughing with redacted, though that person's name we now know, who jumped on to kavanaugh. she continues saying, quote, they both laughed as kavanaugh tried to disrobe me, with kavanaugh's hand over my mouth. i feared he may inadvertently kill me. there are so many questions this morning on so many levels beginning with the extent to which judge kavanaugh's confirmation prospects are different than they were just 24, 48 hours ago. let's go to capitol hill. sunl sunlen serfaty is there. as we talk about the fallout here, it's not just her account in "the washington post." it's the therapist notes that
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this reporter who will join us in just a few minutes saw from recounting this in 2012 in a session. also, the lie detector test that her attorney recommended she take and that she did take and her attorney told alison this morning they would be willing to present to members of the judiciary committee the results of. what is the fallout from senators on the hill? >> certainly, poppy, all of those details are what senators up here on capitol hill will have to grapple with over the next few days. i think the story certainly is very fast moving and will certainly pick up pace as lawmakers return to capitol hill today, after all these revelations throughout the weekend of these allegations. certainly, over the next few hours, incredibly important as we wait to hear potentially the next steps up here as far as the senate judiciary committee. we did hear over the weekend from many key senators, some saying they believe that that vote in the committee, which is still scheduled for thursday, should be postponed. others, of course, saying let's
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wait and see. let's hear more information. certainly, we heard that from senator susan collins, a key swing vote. so crucial here to his fate, potentially, in the full senate. she said the allegations are serious, but she needs more information. here's what she told cnn over the weekend. >> should the committee vote coming up here this week? >> i'm going to be talking with my colleagues, but i really don't have anything to add at this point. as i said, i did ask -- i did read the letter last week. and asked the judge in a telephone conversation on friday about it. he was very emphatic. in his denial. >> do you believe the accuser? >> i don't know enough to make a judgment at this point. >> and senator lisa murkowski from alaska, another key republican senator vote here, she told cnn over the weekend that committee might need to
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postpone a vote. here's what she told cnn. >> if there are more questions that need to be asked and answered, then i think it would be appropriate to allow for that time. >> now, senator jeff flake, he's a republican on the judiciary committee. he said that he would not feel comfortable voting yes for kavanaugh until more information is learned. that is so key here, when you're talking about republicans on the committee. they hold 11-10 advantage. potentially one republican saying no could delay that vote. so all eyes on chairman grassley this morning, whether he will bring the accuser in front of the committee. a lot of questions for him as he faces these very serious allegations for this nominee. >> sunlen serfaty, thank you. and stay with us. this morning, the president is still staying silent amid the growing calls to delay kavanaugh's confirmation vote. let's go to abby phillip with the latest. a remarkable turn of events from the white house because
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yesterday, our reporting was that the white house was going to go aggressively after ms. ford's credibility. this morning, you listen to kellyanne conway, a marked change in strategy. >> that's right, jim and poppy. what we're hearing this morning from the white house is they want this accuser to testify before congress in one way or another. they also want kavanaugh to have his moment to rebut those allegations. this is different from what we typically see from this white house, who, you know, according toour reporting, the mantra of this president is don't apologize, don't give any ground. in this case, the situation is much more delicate. they have to get kavanaugh through a sharply divided senate where you now have these very serious allegations that put that nomination in peril. but even still, as we see a public strategy saying let's not attack this accuser. let's give her her moment to make these allegations publicly and let the public weigh in on it, our sources are also telling us behind the scenes, president trump is frustrated that his nominee is being put through
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what he considers to be an unfair process of being smeared by allegations that he believes are long in the past. this isn't the first time that we have heard this from president trump. in the past, he's had people close to him, whether it be his former staff secretary rob porter or his v.a. nominee dealing with allegations like this. and the president has responded by questioning whether or not it's fair for them to be facing that right now. but for the moment, the white house has to deal with this a little bit differently. we have seen president trump not weigh in publicly on this at all. in a statement, reissued today for the third time since friday, by the way, a white house spokesperson says this. on friday, judge kavanaugh categorically and unequivocally denied this allegation. this has not changed. judge kavanaugh and the white house both stand by that statement. so there you see no attempt to address the accusations directly. they are just allowing the senate to figure this out. there is no desire, our sources
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tell us, for the white house to antagonize two of the female gop senators who are some of the keys to confirming kavanaugh in the senate. jim and poppy. >> that's a big change. abby phillip, thanks very much. let's discuss with sunlen serfaty, abigail tracy, ron brownstein, and nia-malika henderson. nia, if we can, we had christine blasey ford's attorney on, and she went into detail describing why her client thought, and i'm saying exactly as she said it, why her client thought she might die during this alleged account. let's listen to her account. >> the reason she felt he might inadvertently kill her is he had his hand over her mouth, and she was having a difficult time breathing. and he is larger and he was pressing his weight against her. and so inebriated, he was ignoring the fact she was
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attempting to scream and having a difficult time breathing. and she believes that but for his inebriation and his inability to take her clothes off, he would have raped her. >> we learned this morning, nia-malika, that ford is willing to tell the story, to testify under oath in public before the senate. if that happens, you have the remarkable circumstances where you will hear that account from the mouth of the female accuser in public. i mean, arguably -- >> under oath. >> under oath, more dramatic than anita hill to some degree because we're talking about something physical here. that's kwiquite a remarkable prospect. >> reminiscent of anita hill in terms of the momentousness of what we could see. i mean, you have her there speaking in front of a panel of senators, all the republican senators are male. they're obviously some women who are democratic on judiciary, and everyone, they're male. people like orrin hatch, lindsey graham, ben sasse, jeff flake. jeff flake obviously has some in
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ways been critical of this president, critical of this process. but if you flash back to 1991, it was a monumental moment in american politics. it in many ways kicked off what came next year, the year of the woman. that's where we are today. we're in this era of me too where you have more women running for office. you have also suburban white women in particular being skeptical of the republican party. >> that has to be part of why we heard what we heard from kellyanne conway, who is counselor to the president. senior on his team, and said this woman cannot be insulted. she must be heard. >> less to kellyanne conway because she cited lindsey graham, who basically has said the staff should interview the accuser and judge kavanaugh. i mean, the question of whether republicans in the environment that nia just cited where you're looking at the biggest, most consequential gender gap we have seen in a midterm election. cnn poll before any of this, 60% of women preferred democrats for
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congress over 36% republicans. the idea they could now, that she is willing to testify, take this vote without allowing her to testify would seem to be an extraordinary political risk. >> and to you, abigail, kavanaugh's own words could come into play here. let's remember when he worked on ken starr's team in, you know, in the report and ultimately the impeachment of president clinton. his own words, in a memo written in 1998, to the team. ken starr and his team about not going easy at all on president clinton. let me read this for you. he said he strongly opposed giving the president any, quote, break in the questioning regarding the details of the monica lewinsky relationship. he said it's our job to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear piece by painful piece.
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you would think he would want the same scrutiny here. >> absolutely. you listen to that language and it's so laced with morality and kind of presenting this front of, you know, what an office means. and sort of the standards that individuals holding those offices should reach. and i think when we're looking at these allegations that have come forward, they absolutely require further investigation and further questions from senators because of the justice role that he would play for life. and i think when you look at that morality he's trying to hold bill clinton to back in the ken starr investigation, one would expect outside looking in he would hope that a justice would also reach those standards. >> part of the backdrop is democrats already believe he's been untruthful in his testimony on several key points, both in this hearing and in his earlier confirmation. in that sense, whether there's a pattern of behavior like this, there is a pattern of questioning the voracity of his statements that becomes relevant on whether you need to hear from him directly again on this
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issue. >> as of yet, no one is alleging -- there's no evidence of a pattern. a serious allegation to be distinguished from other cases. and kavanaugh has the right to give his side of the story. that's part of, i imagine, his agreement here to say that he would be willing to tell his story as well. i want to ask you this question, because as ron noted, kellyanne conway mentioned the process, they still want to go ahead. they want to say yes, let her be heard. hopefully at a staff member so it's not public, but we want to go ahead with thursday. is that really realistic when you have not just democrats now but republicans expressing concern about hearing the story? are they really going to turn on a dime so quickly, have a vote on thursday and everything is fine? >> who knows. actually, jim, is the most honest assessment i can give you. i think it's potentially unrealistic to push towards that. time will tell. as of now, the committee vote is still on for thursday, but i
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think this can twist and change at a moment's notice, and i think so important is getting the gauge and the temperature of these key senators. we are waiting to hear from senator chuck grassley. camped outside of his office. that's where i'll go to right after i finish talking with you guys to hear what his next steps are. what is mitch mcconnell saying as the folks return on the hill? that will tell us a lot on the very real potentials that could go forward on thursday and also, of course, his broader future. >> yeah. >> you know, just to note. this is -- this was already an important vote, confirmation. this is the ninth vote, really, the dividing vote on a very divided court. you're coming up to midterm elections. the republican margin in the senate is 51-49. granted, the house map looks much more difficult for republicans than the senate, but you have the midterms coming up. there's a lot of political pressure here. this is a lifetime appointment to the supreme court. not a two-year term, a four-year term. a lifetime appointment. >> all of that would argue for letting this air out.
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for time. you want to have as much out in the public view in terms of his record and what his statements are about this allegation. on the other hand, if you're a republican, you also worry about that because they obviously are worried about the campaign. but this is sort of the holy grail for conservatives, to have a conservative court. this is what they have been working toward for decades. >> his vote is not an anthony kennedy swing vote. he could not be more different frankly in many ways. >> the oldest member of the five republican justeices would be clarence thomas. >> we learn eed brett kavanaughs at the white house. we have not heard from the president yet. we know he's at the white house. what conversations are happening, that reporting we'll get in moments. the eyes are on susan collins and lisa murkowski. two senators who also had major questions about where does this judge stand on roe v. wade. two senators who were highly critical of former democratic
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senator from minnesota al franken who pushed for him to leave amid those multiple allegations of sexual harassment. what do they do now is the key question. jennifer rubin, you pointed out this column to me last night in "the washington post," a conservative columnist in "the washington post." let me read you what she said. once more, all eyes turn to collins, murkowski, and perhaps another brave republican or two. will they act like responsible members of an equal branch of government? this is the job of congress. you check the other branches. what happens? >> when we look at it, collins and murkowski have been two key voteses already. they wavered on whether they would support kavanaugh. one would hope we were looking to more than just two senators. i also think they do have a lot of power right now. they could say we will vote no unless we hear from this woman. not allowing ford to testify sends a very clear message to women in america that their voice doesn't matter. and i think that is something
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that republicans should at this point in time really avoid at all costs, especially looking ahead to the midterms and just from a treating women and alleged victims fairly. >> if there was any doubt about how brett kavanaugh was going to respond, we have a statement in from judge brett kavanaugh. this is per the white house pool. i'm deg to read it in its entirety. this is a completely false allegation. i have never done anything like what the accuser describes to her or anyone. because this never happened, he goes on, i had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. i am willing to talk to the senate judiciary committee in any way the committee deems proert to refute this false allegation from 36 years ago and defend my integrity. that, the full statement from brett kavanaugh. we'll get back to that shortly. >> a full denial, says he doesn't even know who it was until yesterday. >> reiterating his willingness to go before them. >> stay with us. we're back with breaking news. from the very beginning ...
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welcome back. breaking news. fast moving developments regarding judge kavanaugh. he's at the white house. as he arrived at the white house, releasing a new statement about the allegations against him from some 35 years ago. abby phillip is there. what can you tell us? >> this new statement from brett kavanaugh is far more detailed than the one that we had before. and let me just read it to you. he says this is completely false allegation. i have never done anything like what the accuser describes.
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to her or to anyone else. because this never happened, i had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. i'm willing to talk to the senate judiciary committee to refute this false allegation from 36 years ago and defend my integrity. so kavanaugh there saying he didn't even know who was behind the allegations when they were being made. it's unclear, though, based on this statement, whether he's implying he now recognizes this person. i think we'll have to ask the white house more for details about that, but clearly, this is kavanaugh coming out strongly and saying he's willing to come forward. he's willing to testify. we heard this telegraphed by some white house aides earlier today, saying they wanted both the accuser to testify and kavanaugh to testify. if that happens, that would be a really extraordinary side-by-side of both of these individuals giving their side of the story. we're also asking the white house now what kavanaugh is doing here in this building,
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what kind of meetings he's holding and if perhaps he might be meeting with president trump. >> abby phillip, thanks very much there. and yes, a remarkable prospect to have them side-by-side under oath in public, if tats the way it plays out, because clearly, republicans are holding out the possibility it could be in private. nia, is there any way to keep this behind closed doors? >> it seems difficult. in that statement, he doesn't say he's willing to do it in public. he said he's willing to do it in any way that the senate deems appropriate. leave it up to them. so he's sort of leaving the door open for something to happen behind closed doors. and abby did note something really fascinating here. did he actually know this woman? he didn't say he didn't. that's still an open question. these are the kind of questions that you would get at behind closed doors or open hearing. >> i think we know -- we know they went to high school together. the yearbook shows that. >> they didn't go to high school together, different schools. he went to a boys school.
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they all i guess socialized together. but yeah. >> good point. >> i was going to say real quick, the root of this tree is he was nominated by president trump, who has faced the women's march from the first days of his presidency. democrats, i believe, have a record number of women who have been nominated in the house. in the governor's races, they have been selecting women through this nomination process, driven by this backlash, particularly among professional white women where the polling has the potential for democrats to have the widest advantage among those women they have ever had in a midterm election. and the thought that you could now push through this vote without allowing her essentially her day in court before the american people through a public hearing, they can do it and they may do it, but it an extraordinary political risk given the backdrop. >> conceivably, they could make that political judgment whether wise or not to say the crucial fifth conservative vote with an uncertain midterm election coming up, that it may be worth -- >> and the senate landscape is
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very different than the house. the people who most fear this would be the house. >> kellyanne conway, again, after saying this woman should not be ignored or insulted, here's what she wrote on twitter. hundreds of women have come forward to speak about judge kavanaugh's character and integrity. those who knew him in college, high school, moms of girls he coached in youth basketball. this matters. there's that, and it reminds me of this letter that before we knew who the accuser was, but after we knew about the accusations, 65 women signed a letter that have known kavanaugh since high school, speaking to his, what they call his integrity, et cetera, and we have some of them on camera. let's listen to those women. >> he always treated us girls with respect, always. and it was simple to find 65 women to sign that letter, from five different high schools, everybody jumped onboard and was happy to sign it on his behalf. >> he is unfailingly kind and respectful.
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and a man of the highest character. unassailable integrity, and these allegations are flatly inconsistent with the man i have known for over a decade. >> abigail, should this come to public testimony by both of them, by the accuser and the accused in front of the senate judiciary committee, you would think as we saw with anita hill, character witnesses as well. you would hope on both sides, all of those witnesses would be heard, as was not the case in 1991, but you know, you hear from those women. this is really, he said she said. >> right, i think one of the interesting things about the list of women is this morning i saw fresh reports from political reporters that they followed up with the women since the more detailed report in "the washington post" came out, and they're not still getting -- they haven't been able to get the same support from some of the women that they reached out to. either a lack of comment. two have still stood by kavanaugh, and this is before i was here, so the numbers could have changed a little bit. but i think over the weekend, a lot has changed just in terms of
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the details and, you know, the sort of what these allegations are. there's a face to it, and i think that kind of changes the calculus. when you look at judge kavanaugh prior to this, he had incredibly low support among women already. >> 31%. >> right, so i think when you're looking at this and looking forward, i do think there will be a push for if ford comes forward, for her to speak publicly and for people to see kavanaugh's response publicly as well. it would be hard for this to be something that stays behind closed doors. >> the point about the letters and an individual or perhaps a handful, we have had this happen before in other cases in the me too movement. and it's possible both could be true. >> right. >> that's the thing, like no one was with him 24 hours a day, right? so just because he was nice to someone else doesn't mean he treated other people the same way. but this is all a conversation that needs to be had. >> so many questions, and lishen, the speaks to this very prospect that the senate is
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facing. so many questions that need to be answered. they may have innocent answers to them, and you also have another voice in this, which is kavanaugh's voice, that he has every right to be spoken and heard from, but boy, it's really hard to see how you don't have those questions at least addressed. >> to nia's point from before, you have an all-male republican majority of the senate judiciary committee deciding whether to give her her day before the public seven weeks before the election when republicans are facing potentially historic deficits. >> and she's a white collar white woman, so in some ways that's a different calculus here. >> thank you all for being here. again, hearing for the first time directly from the supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. in his words, after the name and identity and full story from her side, from this woman, comes forward. much more ahead. also, the breaking news of hurricane florence and the aftermath, the deadly wrath. a levee on the verge of failing,
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all right, so florence's fury is not over, as catastrophic flooding in the carolinas only gets worse this morning. murky floodwater cuing off entire neighborhoods. just look at this aerial
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footage. that is stunning. that's outside of fayetteville, north carolina, earlier today. florence is now being blamed for 18 deaths. >> lots of folks are still in danger. the youngest of those deaths, a 3-month-old baby, and right now, just a dire situation involving a levee unfolding in lumberton, north carolina. polo sandoval is there. polo, tell us who's in danger, how many people, and what's the situation with the levee? >> jim and poppy, it seems that most of the residents here in lumberton feel that sense they have made it through round one. the lumber river has made it almost as far as it's going to go and already surrounding area businesses and homes here. yesterday, one of these makeshift levees was breached. we were there riding with the coast guard as the system, this temporary system that had been built up began to fall apart in certain portions here. we noticed water was seeping through the sand and gravel that had been built up to try to keep the floodwaters as bay. though it was compromised, it at least bought people time. to answer your question about
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the number of people, it allows hundreds of folks to at least head to higher ground. right now, at least 1300 people in shelters. the main levee itself along the river bank seems that it's doing its job, according to officials. seems that it's holding up okay. the main issue here now will be access. portions of interstate 95, one of the main roads in and out of the city of lumberton, it is flooded out. these floodwaters will be hanging around for quite some time now. the floodwater not expected to recede at least until later this week, which means supplies, help, it may have a difficult time getting in. even the first responders themselves, jim and poppy, telling me they're going to have to find another way in and out of the city. >> wow. >> polo sandoval, thanks. watching those bulldozers building the levee as the water is rising. >> still ahead, brett kavanaugh sat the white house as he faces an allegation of sexual assault. we talk to the reporter who spoke directly with kavanaugh's
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welcome back. we're following seismic developments in what was already a fierce supreme court nomination battle for judge brett kavanaugh. christine ford has gone public, very public, with a sexual assault allegation she says occurred when she and kavanaugh were young, students in private high schools in the d.c. area in the early 1980s. she said kavanaugh pinned her to a bed one night at a drunken party and that she was afraid he
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might accidentally smother her. just alarming allegation. >> right, and she, according to her attorney, says and she said in this letter to dianne feinste feinstein, she felt like she could be killed at one point. we heard from her attorney earlier this morning on cnn. who said yes, she will publicly testify if she is called before the judiciary committee to do so. right now, judge brett kavanaugh, you see him with the president the night he was nominated, he's at the white house. we don't know if he's meeting with the president, but there you see him entering white house grounds moments ago. he is calling this story in his new statement completely false and declaring he is, quote, willing to talk to the senate judiciary in any way that the committee deems appropriate. let's bring in emma brown, the investigative reporter for "the washington post" who uncovered all of this, who broke this story. thank you for joining us. let me begin with the fact that you had been reporting this out for weeks on end. this came in to "the washington
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post" tip line, if i'm correct, and this woman, ms. ford, did not want to go public with her name. she was very weary to do so. how did this unfold? >> yes, dr. ford first contacted us in early july, and the timing was this was before president trump named kavanaugh as his nominee, but kavanaugh was clearly on the short list. so dr. ford contacted us and told me her story at that point, but she was terrified about going public. she didn't want to speak on the record. and of course, when someone speaks to a reporter off the record, we have a responsibility to keep that off the record and to honor that pledge of confidentiality. so as she struggled this summer to decide what to do about her story, i did what reporting i could without betraying her confidence. >> emma, there is an allegation from republicans that this is -- you have heard the phrase, 11th hour character assassination by
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democrats. specifically targeting senator dianne feinstein, saying why did she sit on this for so long, just reporting it to fellow committee members last week. i want to ask you what the accuser here, what dr. ford, what she thinks of how senator feinstein handled this. >> right, she wrote that letter to senator feinstein at the end of july, and was very clear in the letter that she expected the information in it to be kept confidential. and so, you know, her feeling was that feinstein did everything she could to honor that request to keep it confidential. and she, i think, feels grateful to feinstein. her lawyer said, you know, spoke about that in my story. that they feel like she really honored the request for confidentiality, and of course, feinstein only passed on the letter to the fbi after stories started to come out about it. and it was the stories that started to come out and the reporters knocking on her door
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and coming to her workplace that made dr. ford feel like her calculation had shifted. you know, at the end of august, she had decided i'm not coming forward. it's not worth it. and then she started to feel like things changed. her privacy, she didn't have as much privacy anymore. she felt like people knew her name, and somebody would likely, you know, out her. >> so just to be clear, you're saying she requested specifically from senator feinstein that she not release her name. in other words, that she reported this accusation on the expectation or perhaps even the condition that her name not be shared by the senator or others? >> yes, she definitely had the expectation of confidentiality, both when she wrote that letter, the conversations i had with her up until very recently, you know, she expected those to be kept confidential. i think it's hard for people to understand, why would you tell somebody and not expect it to leak, but you know, i think we live inside the beltway where you're more likely to think that
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way. and she had an understanding that what she was telling the senator was confidential. and she had this, what she calls a -- she felt a civic duty to tell someone what she had been through. >> and emma, as you know, you're an investigative reporter. among the best of the best at this. you listen to people's accounts, and then you do your reporting on it. and a big part of your reporting here, emma, was the therapy notes from the sessions. you know, all the way back to 2012. all the way back, frankly, to 2002, as well. the lie detector test, et cetera. can you walk through for us some of the other reporting around her allegations? >> yeah, the therapy notes actually come from 2012 and 2013. so dr. ford says she didn't tell anybody this story in any detail until 2012 when she was in couples therapy with her husband. at that point, she told the story in some detail. her husband, i interviewed her husband who was on the record.
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he has a clear recollection. he says, of these sessions where he says his wife recounting this incident and also said brett kavanaugh's name during those sessions. and voiced concern at that point that he may some day become a nominee to the supreme court. in fact. the therapy notes from those sessions, the 2012 sessions, do not mention his name. they mentioned, you know, assault by boys from a, quote, elitist boys school who went on to become high ranking members of society in washington. the following year, she was in individual therapy, and she reported an attempted -- yeah, an attempted rape in her teens. so those are -- you know, those are -- she told nobody, so at the time or for years, which makes it difficult, but we have these pieces of additional information about her allegation. >> well, it's fantastic
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reporting. thanks so much for walking us through. you came to where we are. >> thank you. still ahead, she has starred in some of hollywood's biggest blockbusters and considered one of china's, perhaps the world's even, biggest film stars. now she's gone entirely missing. we'll have much more behind this high profile, this mysterious disappearance. now get even more out of your appliances.
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do your thing, with energy upgrade california. hollywood blockbuster. a famous actress disappears without a trace, but this is not a work of fiction. >> no, it's the truth. fan bingbing, one of china's biggest stars, has not been seen
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at all since june. she's also familiar to american audiences for her role in the "x-men" franchise, but she's one of china's most bankable stars by far. cnn's matt rivers joining us from beijing. is there any sense of what happened here? >> yeah, we're getting some clues, but no definitive answers. it's hard to overstate in china how famous fan bingbing is. this would be like the equivalent of jennifer lawrence or meryl streep just going missing. and fan bingbing is an a-plus list celebrity. she's incredibly famous here in china. all of this really started back in may when she was first publicly accused of being involved in a tax avoidance scheme. not having to pay taxes on her sizable income. it was in june that she made her last social media post. and then since then, she has not been heard from. she denied the allegations, said she didn't do anything wrong, and that's it, the last we heard of her. we have tried to reach her to no avail. we reached out to three different government ministries all day today, all of whom are
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not commenting on this. the only clue we have to her current status is a state media post that went up on a website, an article that went up on september 6th that said fan bingbing was brought under control and about to receive legal judgment, but that article was quickly deleted. and since then, the government clearly doesn't want people talking about this. they're sensoring soementd posts on chinese internet. state media is quiet, and all day today, we have been reporting about this for 12 hours now. every time we talk about this, the cnn signal is cut off by sensors that are employed by the government in china. they don't want us talking about it, they don't want the public talking about it, but people are going to ask questions here in china. you can't just take the most famous actress in the country and not have people ask questions about it. >> that's a treatment normally reserved for things like tibet, sensitive topics. >> matt, thank you very much. you lived and worked in china, jim. >> this is a big story. we'll keep watching it. >> we'll be right back.
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pack, 22 nominations, the show is squaring off against last year's winner, "the handmaid's tale." >> atlanta and the marvelous mrs. mazal are the leading comedy contenders. >> i'm poppy harl low in new york. >> i'm jim sciutto. at this hour with kate bolduan starts right now. hello, i'm kate bolduan. brett kavanaugh is at the white house as we speak, as what had seemed like a lock for his confirmation is now thrown into limbo. very much. even some republicans are now calling for a delay before the key committee vote on kavanaugh, which at least right now in talking in five minutes is still on the schedule for thursday. and now the woman who accuses cavina of sexual assault more


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