tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN September 27, 2018 6:00am-7:00am PDT
you're watching cnn's special live coverage of what president trump has correctly called a very, very important day in the history of our country. i'm jake tapper in washington. >> i'm wolf blitzer. we're one hour away from the hearing. this time a psychology professor, christine bracy ford will sit before the senate judiciary committee and accuse president trump's second supreme court nominee, judge brett
kavanaugh, of sexually assaulting her in a high school party back in the early 1980s. brett kavanaugh will testify as well after his accuser, and we know from his opening statement, he'll admit he was not perfect in high school, but, and i'm quoting now, never did anything remotely resembling what dr. ford describing. >> not appearing today will be other accusers who have emerged in the past week or so. one in the past day. a former class mate of brett kavanaugh's at male claims he exposed himself to her again at a drunken party. yesterday a third woman publically accused brett kavanaugh of physically abusive behavior towards girls and claims brett kavanaugh was present at a party where she herself was drugged and gang raped. >> what is it that caused you to decide to come forward at this very moment one day before the hearing and make yourself public? >> well, it wasn't that i wanted to come out one day before the
hearing. it's just that circumstances brought it out that way. this is something that occurred a long time ago, and it's not that i just thought about it. it's been on my mind ever since the occurrence. as far as it goes, brett kavanaugh is going for a seat where he is going to have that seat on the supreme court for the rest of his life, and if he's going to have that seat legitimately, all of these things should be investigated because from what i experienced firsthand, i don't think he belonged on the supreme court. >> it already came out that they questioned judge brett kavanaugh by phone this week about two other allegations. they were anonymous. brett kavanaugh denies august of the accusations. >> let's bring in phil mattingly. is it fair to say two of the most important senators in this process won't be directly involved in what we're about to see this morning? >> yeah. that's certainly accurate, wolf.
it is also worth noting that like everybody else in the country and even those on the committee, those two senators will be watching the hearing intently. we are told that both have completely cleared their schedules. lisa murkowski canceled a hearing in another hearing she was supposed to chair. what they take from the hearing, that's going to go a long way in deciding whether or not brett kavanaugh has a future on the supreme court. yesterday afternoon we were told from sources that suzanne collins really for the first time raised significant concerns about the third accuser in a private meeting with chairman and senior republican leaders, basically bringing in the written statement, pointing to it, talking about the seriousness of the allegations, even wondering if mark judge should be subpoenaed. lisa murkowski has raised a lot of concerns about the tone and tenor of republicans when it comes to christine blasey ford, the first accuser. both senators making clear they haven't made up their mind. they have made no commitments,
no definitive answers on where they're going to go. the stakes are so high in this hearing in large part because republicans don't have the votes. >> all right. phil mattingly, thanks so much. we heard not one of the 11 republican members of the senate judiciary panel plan to question either ford or brett kavanaugh. rath rather, they have brought in a sex crimes prosecutor to do their questioning for them. cnn tells us for about this prosecutor. >> jake, that prosecutor whose name is rachel mitchell will have such a major role in today's hearing, not only the question, the tone, the direction that this all goes. she is someone who has been a prosecutor in arizona for the last 25 years, and she has significant experience dealing with sex crimes. she is someone that has handled many high profile cases, specifically going
predators, dealing with sexual assault and known as something of a victims advocate when she talks about what drew her to this specific area, she said in her words it is because of how innocent and vulnerable the victims of the cases are. now, friends describe her as someone that comes to the table extremely prepared, that she's not someone who goes after gotcha moments, that she is very attentive and detail oriented and certain very little is known what approach she will bring to that hearing today. she did huddle with senator republicans on the judiciary committee on here, up here on capitol hill last night. an aid told me they expect her to be tough, tough on both sides, brett kavanaugh and dr. ford. wolf? >> all right. thank you very much. john king, tell our viewers what you will be looking for this morning? >> number one, two men on the republican side, jeff flake who went to the senate floor yesterday and said we should all
be ashamed to ourselves saying the way this played out is an abomination. but ben sasse, often at the end of long periods of silence by him you get a news making statement. so murkowski and collins are the key. but these two republican men are very important. some republicans are worried the strategy will backfire. but they are worried that if dr. ford is credible and you have decided not to have an fbi investigation, not to bring in other witnesses, that that credibility will extend to the other allegations and therefore tip the scales against judge brett kavanaugh, so there is a lot to that. to the point that was earlier, anita hill testimony is our only point of reference, but think about the difference. cable television, political polarization, social media. it is anita hill times 100 when it comes to the stakes of this.
but the country has changed. the mood of the country has changed. has the standard changed? has the standard changed? anita hill gave us testimony. clarence thomas gave testimony. the standard was she said, he said. we know society changed. we know it was october 1991. a year and a month later, bill clinton won the presidency and what became known as the year of the women. you can go back and trace the shift of the women from the republican party, suburban women, that's when we saw the democratic party start to assert itself in presidential politics. this election is in 40 days. republicans already know they are in a ditch when it comes to women and suburban women. they don't think the president helped that cause yesterday. you have the 40 days scenario. how is this going to impact a huge consequential election that
could reshape the presidential election in 40 days and the 40 year question. mitch mcconnell has a plan starting with blocking merrick garland that they will say they reshaped the american courtroom with neil gorsich and judge brett kavanaugh. it depends simply on her testimony today. >> that's it. we can't lose sight of what's at stake. this man is only 53 years old. and republicans have pulled out all the stops at every single point for the supreme court. and one thing i want to say is, as much as i don't think we should lose sight of this significance to all americans, when brett kavanaugh testifies today, it is not going to be about the law anymore. it is about this one man's life and he's going to sound very indig indignant, i believe. he's going to say, not that this is a high tech lynching, of
course, because he can't talk about race, but he can talk about the partisance here. i think you will see a lot of that. the other thing i want to caution is that back in 1991, at least to the public, it seemed like a draw. you know, it was -- the question when we all were watching -- those of us who were watching it either in the room or on national tv, it was who do you believe. under those circumstances it goes back to the individual senators, what's going on in their districts and what are the political stakes irrespective of this man and woman. >> one of the things that i think is fair to say just in terms of the analysis of this is the more that this testimony today is about the cultural moment we're in, the more difficult it becomes for people like lisa murkowski and senators to vote for brett kavanaugh, the
more that it is about these specific allegations the more the pressure is off them. in other words, when president trump comes out and he defends brett kavanaugh the way he did yesterday by talking about allegations against himself, by talking about -- by painting a picture of america where if brett kavanaugh's nomination is withdrawn, who is to stop the next nominee from being accused of all sorts of things, the idea that america is now this hot bed of women waiting to make accusations of sexual assault. the more the cultural moment is what's on stage, the worse it is for trump and brett kavanaugh. >> that's true. and of course the idea of painting so many people with a broad stroke of dismissiveness to say this must be lumped in with all wrongfully accused persons is something that will not be beneficial to many people and also it reinforces this perception that it is false that people are just seeking
notoriety under perverse circumstances. the idea will be to silence off the me too movement about these allegations. one of the reasons they don't have the people in the room to testify or to bolster the credibility of brett kavanaugh or of more importantly dr. ford is because they would like this to be in isolation, not to have the context actuual discussion. this really has become less about justice for one person and perhaps more about a cost benefit analysis. the cost could be there could be a sexual predator on the bench. the benefit would be that somebody could be on the bench that could support the campaign promises from donald trump. what you will see here is one of the real -- the unsatisfying things about the justice system. it is very often not a simple he said she said. it is often about whether or not you see yourself in that other
person. whether or not a concept resonates, which is why, jake, donald trump's statements about him seeing himself in this moment is going to form a lot of people, good or bad. >> can i just add to that and pivot on what you said, john. that is exactly why there is -- there are a lot of similarities between now and at ir trkanita there is a big difference. the allegations were about two people in a workplace, two adults. the allegations now are about something that allegedly happened 35 years ago between two teenagers. and when you look at the politics of this and the whole question of whether women will be galvanized, particularly suburban women, what i'm hearing from republicans that they are seeing in their focus groups and in as much polling as they can do is that it is not that cut and dry because suburban women are parents and they have sons who are teenagers.
and one of the things that they are grappling with is, is my son going to be held to a standard of whatever he did, you know, as a teenager. now, nobody is saying that any kind of sexual assault, that any parent should or would condone that or say that that's okay. but that is a very important dynamic that is playing into the politics of this. and the fact that republicans are hoping, hoping that this, what they call, gloria and i just got a call from a republican strategist, weaponizing of the me too movement by democrats could backfire with those women. >> so this strategist said to us -- >> they're boys. if they sexual assault someone, they might not be on the supreme court. too bad. good. they shouldn't be on the supreme court if they sexually assault someone. this idea that women are so out
of control and all these people and all these men are losing their jobs and kids are getting thrown out of school, it is a bunch of nonsense. yes, i know the politics, you know, maybe more complicated than that. but the idea that women in america are on a rampage and poor men, my god, they only control like 90 seats in the united states senate and, you know, 490 of the fortune 500 ceos are men. >> and the majority of the supreme court. >> the american people are a lot more fair out in america than most people are in washington. >> one of the shames of today is that most people are already made up their minds. most republicans will listen to dr. ford but they have already decided to vote yes. democrats will listen, but they will already vote no. that is why, back to the plan i
made earlier, if you are mitch mcconnell, the last thing you wanted puz the president talking about this because he causes repumgs. mr. president, you say less, i might be able to pull this off because they understand the delicate nature. but the country is more fair than this town is. >> this republican who was texting with us made the point that republicans don't believe democrats anymore than believe they're completely corrupt. the republican base believes they're kor rumt and therefore they believe this is a set up of brett kavanaugh. no matter what happens. >> we're awaiting the arrivals of christine blasey ford and judge brett kavanaugh as they get ready to testify. stay with us. ♪ take us downtown, waze. waze integration-
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christine blasey ford will appear before the senate judiciary committee and under oath accuse a united states supreme court nominee of sexually assaulting her decades ago. brett kavanaugh will also testify to deny her claims. here are the accusations made by professor ford, who is professor of a university in california. she says he physically and sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. he was 17. she was 15. she says that a drunken brett kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her, and held his hand to her mouth to keep her from screaming. brett kavanaugh adamantly denies her allegations and says the incident with ford never happened. president trump is standing by. his nominee, the president labeling the accusations against brett kavanaugh as, quote, a
big, fat con job. but at the same time the president is speaking out in a very, very different way. >> he's saying he could change his mind about brett kavanaugh. kaitlyn, you are getting new details now on how president trump plans to monitor the historic hearing. fill us in. >> we know president trump will be watching and we know that he and vice president mike pence have been on the phone with their supreme court nominee. and president trump has had a message for him. to go out there today, to be more aggressive, to be forceful and push back in a way that president trump would. we know he hasn't been pleased so far, telling him he's been too careful and too measured in his responses. of course, the question is will what has worked to president trump to a degree work for brett kavanaugh today, or will it seem like he's attacking the accuser and infur race women voters across the states. president trump left open the possibility that he could
withdraw this nomination yesterday saying that he too can be convinced by christine blasey ford and her testimony today, depending on how persuasive it is. we know president trump will be watching. he's not one more meeting at the united nations in new york and then he will be traveling to washington. he is expected to be watching the hearing in between and when he gets back to the white house. the tivo here has been set to monitor what's going on at the hill. >> we're toldly professi lby pr ford's legal team that professor ford has arrived on capitol hill. we are minutes away from her historic testimony. we will talk about the format, who will be in the room, the strategies from both sides. stay with us. let's begin. yes or no? do you want the same tools and seamless experience across web and tablet? do you want $4.95 commissions for stocks,
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welcome back to our special coverage of the testimony of judge brett kavanaugh and professor christine blasey ford. it opens right at the top of the hour, 10:00 a.m. eastern. chuck grassley and dianne feinstein will each read opening statements. professor ford will then be sworn in and she will read her opening statement. each senator will then be given five minutes to question her. at this point at least, republicans are expected to yield their time to the outside counsel if they would like. that's what they're expected to
do. after questioning, professor ford will leave the hearing room and after a break, judge brett kavanaugh will be sworn in. he will read his opening statement and he will be questioned. let's discuss, jake, as we have been saying, the stakes are enormous for both individuals. but if he does not do well this morning and he loses two republican senators and no democrats support him, it's over. >> and that's it. that's why this is so nerve wracking and the stakes are so high, is because if she comes across credibly and he comes across not credibly or at least at the same level that he was in his fox news interview with president trump and others didn't think that was that strong, all you need is two senators, two republican senators, to say i just can't do it. i just can't do it. we're not convicting him of a crime, but this is about a supreme court appointment. that's why so much rides on today. we don't know how credible blasey ford will be.
we don't know how credible brett kavanaugh will be. i expect the democrats will have a lot of questions about topics that brett kavanaugh does not want to address, ones that fox news somehow forgot to ask him about, ones about yearbook entries, ones about his behavior towards women at school, ones about his alcohol consumption in high school and college. now, you might think it's unfair to hold somebody responsible for whether or not they drank in the '80s in high school and college, and that's certainly anybody's prerogative to think about that, but it gets to his credibility. it gets to whether or not there might be nights he can't account for. it gets to whether or not he is, as he portrayed himself in that fox news interview as somebody devoted to his studies and church, and that's about it. >> you see chairman chuck grassley walking into the hearing room. >> that's right. also, brett kavanaugh picks up where he left off during his early september hearings where credibility became an issue.
democrats really pounded away, comparing his testimony this time around to earlier testimony on the hill, things that he had said that he was pulling back from. so i think that he has a really steep hill to climb that frankly clarence thomas didn't have the same one back in 1991 because he had spoken so much in terms of his own personal identity, whereas the personal identity we have seen of brett kavanaugh was quite evasive to this point. that's a difficult measure for him. >> the great wild card i think in this hearing is rachel mitchell, the prosecutor. because who is the defendant here? who is she going to cross examine in an aggressive way? because both of them have vulnerabilities to a real cross-examination. what house was it? you don't know. what date was it? you don't know. who else was present? you don't know. you could make her look bad. you could also go to brett
kavanaugh and say let's go through your yearbook. tell me what each of these entries mean, the 100 keg club, you know, the renati alumni. it is not being on trial for having a vulgar yearbook entry. it is whether the yearbook entry corroborates a drunken assault that took place at that very time. >> and people in brett kavanaugh's corner look at the fact that we're even talking about his yearbook entries from 1982, '83. his behavior in college his freshman year as an example of just how ridiculous this process has become. >> all right. brett kavanaugh we saw on that fox news interview was sort of robotic. he did not come across well. and they recognize that. and they say that you're going to see a different side because now he's mad. he feels like he had -- he's talked about the christine blasey ford allegation and he's
ready to. but now we're getting more of these anonymous allegations coming, and he is going to come out and say, look, this did not happen. this is twilight zone. he's going to be mad. >> he's going to have a new personality. that wasn't the personality, the real one. now he's going to have a personality. people are who they are. >> when he worked for ken starr, he sent a memo, which i have here -- >> remember, kids might be watching. >> to judge stark. i'm not going to read the questions he told judge stark that he ought to ask president clinton if he had a chance to. >> they're pretty graphic. >> to ask him. and they were graphic questions. and, so, if you have seen him angry and getting asked graphic questions, remember, remember that that was what he said to judge starr you really ought to do. he said the idea of going easy on him at the questioning is abhorrent to me. >> dana, suzanne collins, the
remember senator from maine who has really held her cards close to her vest on how she is going to vote, she has made it very clear, it seems to me, that she's trying to get to question. she's trying to get to a yes vote. i believe she said the other day that she thinks judge brett kavanaugh as a supreme court justice would never vote to overturn roe v. wade, even though that was one of president trump's qualifications for his judicial picks. tell us what she is going through right now because i believe this is excruciating for her. >> it seems to be, absolutely. first of all, she is going to be either in her office or in what's called the hide away. some senators have small offices in the capital building glued to the television watching every second of this. we should note that if not for suzanne collins, this probably would not be happening today because republicans were adamant from chuck grassley, the chairman, to the senator
majority leader mitch mcconnell that the vote was going to go on. and suzanne collins sent a tweet saying, no, no. we need to hear from them publically, which forced this hearing. but it might not be enough. and i think we should really hone in on the reporting that phil mattingly talked about in the last hour from a critical meeting last night behind closed doors when suzanne collins said to fellow republican chairman, wait a second. what about mark judge? what about getting other information? because she is going to be in this position. i mean, all of us are looking at this, well, who is more credible? and the other 99 senators, but obviously she's one of the most critical, are going to have a make a decision based on that judgment call. i would not be surprised, and based on my reporting and i think john has some as well, if after this she says, we need to subpoena mark judge, the other person who allegedly was in the room or a part of this.
and that would -- probably wouldn't come testify, but it would have the effect of slowing it down. >> and what kind of company does she have with that? you typically see suzanne collins and lisa murkowski together and they were getting tremendous pressure from back home. folks threatening to run against collins in maine. murkowski, the governor of alaska coming out against brett kavanaugh, some local groups as well. so there is a tremendous amount of pressure, and it will be interesting to see if, as we have seen in the past, they basically kind of do it together. >> comes to the credibility of question. let me read from the prepared testimony of professor ford. there was music playing in the bedroom. it was uturned up louder. i was pushed on to the bed and brett got on top of me. the american people viewed it as a draw. how do you settle that? in today's world we know people
settle it through their political reflection. if suzanne collins with the help of jeff flake, lisa murkowski or ben sasse says slow down, she says there was someone else in the room, how can we not make that person answer questioning under oath, then mitch mcconnell's fast train timetable is off the track. if that gets off the track, this is in question anyway. if it gets off the track, it is even more in question. >> a point i have heard from democrats on capitol hill is republicans push back -- i'm sorry. democrats push back when people say doesn't brett kavanaugh deserve the presumption of innocence. they say this is not a criminal trial. why would you ask such a question? but what democrats say is republicans keep pushing that line, presumption of innocence. but they don't do what is also accompanying a criminal trial, which is the idea of a full investigation, other witnesses. so they say you can't have it both ways. >> that's an excellent point. we're only moments away from
this truly historic hearing. christine blasey ford expected to arrive in the hearing room any minute now. we're about to go live for top republican senators take on brett kavanaugh's nomination. hijacked from dreams. pulled from decades of obsession. taken from the souls of artists. we confess. we stole everything we could. from everything we've ever mastered. and put it here. the all-new lexus es. every curve. every innovation. every feeling. a product of mastery. experience amazing at your lexus dealer. this is the angel oak. some say the oldest living thing east of the mississippi. it's weathered countless storms. battered, but never broken, it stands for the resilience within us all.
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interested to hear what christine blasey ford says. but he said if it's no different than what she said in her letter, i'm optimistic that he will get 51 votes. now, what does that mean? that letter of course that christine blasey ford wrote detailing her allegation, the republicans believe if she sticks to that, that's enough to get her -- get him confirmed to the post and at the end of the day they believe they think it's a he said/she said and enough of their republican senators will come on gourd to get him confirmed. a lot of unknowns. so much anticipation in this building just behind me scores of protesters and onlookers waiting to hear the testimony. they won't be able to get near the hearing room, but still a lot of questions on the testimony. >> thanks.
the white house reports that both president trump and vice president pence have phoned brett kavanaugh to offer him support. let's go to outside the hearing room. tell us what you are seeing there. >> well, jake, many senators, of course, arriving to this key hearing. we are seeing senators walk down the hallway. we just saw the chairman of this committee, chuck grassley, arrive and go into a back room of the committee hearing. he was asked what he is hoping for today, and he just said simply a fair hearing for everyone and certainly worth remembering that chuck grassley has so much pressure, over sized pressure on his shoulders today to construct a fair hearing as the chairman of this committee. he has at times over the last 48 hours shown signs of frustration as the back and forth and the fast moving developments have engulfed him at times. jeff flake is a key voice.
he is a republican on this committee who has not yet decided about brett kavanaugh. he took to the senate floor yesterday and gave a big speech to try to reset the narrative. he basically blasted both sides for politicizing, you know, the allegations around brett kavanaugh, for politicizing the allegation that christine blasey ford has brought forward. so really trying to hit the reset button. he did not say anything going in. silence from jake flake. >> thanks very much. in today's hearing, all eyes will be on key members as they hear testimony and form their decisions on the fate of judge brett kavanaugh. david is over at the magic wall for us. david, break it all down for us. >> yeah. let me provide you a little bit of a scorecard. as you are watching some key senators to watch. first of all, three of the senators on the committee today were on the committee back in 1991 when anita hill was
testifying at the clarence thomas confirmation hearings. these guys are veterans at being high stakes hearings like this. also, of course, the women on the committee will have a key voice here. they're all on the democratic side. there are no female republicans. dianne feinstein and others, these four women, three of whom have real prosecutorial experience are likely to have very prominent voices at the hearing today. of course, potential presidential politics is never far away, either. there were several members of the judiciary committee who are eyeing a possible run for the presidency in 2020 and big high profile moments like this matter for them as they are trying to make national appeals on the democratic side. you have corey booker, pamela harris and on the republican side, ben sasse of nebraska, ben
flake have hinted at the notion. jeff flake is headed back up to new hampshire that they may be looking at a 2020 run for the presidency. no doubt they will have their future politics in mind as well. off of the committee, key members to watch. we have been talking about these three all day: lisa murkowski of alaska, bob corker and suzanne collins of maine, critical votes here. this group of three republican senators, that's the target for today's hearing in terms of swaying the outcome here in any way. and of course don't forget the democrats in those deep red states that voted for neil gorsuch. they're already on the record. voting for supreme court justice that donald trump nominated. we will see if, indeed, they are just joining ranks with the democrats when all is said and done after this hearing or if they also show that they're willing to break from their
party on this. all key senators to watch as we go into and out of today's historic wearing, wolf. >> all right. thank you so much. supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh's historic hearing is now just moments away. we will see christine blasey ford live for the first time in that senate hearing room. let's bring back our panel and talk about this and let's start with a couple new panelists, senator rick santorum. you have been through this process. although, the nominees you voted for, this was certainly not as contentious. what are you going to be looking for today? >> well, i guess, you know, if i was a member sitting there, i would be looking at dr. ford as someone who is a, i hate to say this, but a pawn in a bigger chess game. and that -- and i'd be sympathetic, frankly, because this is someone who came forward, didn't want to have her information disclosed, got outed
and, you know, has now been thrust into the limelight. it's not something she sought, and you have to recognize that there is truth behind that. and, so, that's one thing. number two, something could have happened to her. but some people don't remember things correctly. there was a study done of 300 prisoners who were released after dna showed that they were innocent, and three-quarters of them were because the accuser misremembered. they just got it wrong. something happened to them, but misidentified the person. something could have happened to her and she's innocent in the sense she brought it forward and trying to be helpful and now she's thrust in the middle. newt gingrich said it is time to get tough. i don't think it is time to get tough on this one because i think she is very different than maybe some of the other accusers that have come forward. >> you still think she is lying
that it is brett kavanaugh? >> i think there is a very good chance she's not lying. i think she believes it is him. but sometimes as we all know our memories are wrong. we misremember them. >> i've never been sexually assaulted, but i think i would remember. >> of the 300 people in jail, some for as long as 30 years, and the dna evidence showed that the person got it wrong. >> but those aren't people who were raped. those were people who were wrongly prosecuted. >> no, no. these were folks released because of dna evidence. so it could have been a variety of different crimes. >> usually people who are released on dna are because of bad prosecution. i don't think it is because somebody got mixed up. the idea that a woman wouldn't remember who raped her is fairly farfetched. >> two men have come forward and said they were the ones who did
it. >> that has been discredited or not found credible. we should point out that brett kavanaugh has not >> attempted rape is how show sees it. i think the thing to remember about what we're about to watch is that it's not a real investigation. it's a show hearing. it's basically two people coming in, giving their stories. there are a lot of other people who could come in, who could be corroborating witnesses who may actually back up what judge kavanaugh has to say. mark judge, we don't know what he would say, but the point is he is not going to be there, when you have somebody who is allegedly a witness under normal circumstances when you're trying to find the truth, you would have that person there. debbie ramirez, who is another person who has made an accusation who is willing to testify, will not be there, and according to her lawyers, the judiciary committee won't even return the phone calls. this isn't a real attempt at
getting at the turuth. it's an attempt to put these people next to each other, let people draw their conclusions and have a vote. >> debbie ramirez, the class mate of judge kavanaugh when they were freshman at yale university. you're getting new reporting on the democrats, what their strategy might be? >> i was told by one democratic source on the committee, there was some discussion ahead of time, whether because there are ten of them and five minutes is what they're allotted isn't much time if you want to continue a train of questioning or a line of questioning, whether they would consolidate and some would sit back. they're all going to take their time, but they're coordinating. not consolidating but coordinating which is something you would expect with a whole litany of issues and dynamics that go into this. >> i don't expect much to be funny today, but one funny thing is to think of united states senators doing anything in just five minutes. now, rick and i don't agree on very much, but i bet we agree on that. the idea that these senators are
going to ask questions and get answers in five minutes when they can't even say hello in less than five minutes. >> but it does make sense that they're coordinating. >> what senator spends less than half the time talking? because i guarantee -- >> none. >> most of them will spend five minutes of them talking, not hearing from the wince. >> it does make sense they're coordinating. they're going to take different parts and try to deconstruct, and i think -- >> but they're going to do the deconstructing. >> let me ask you a question, john. if you were chuck schumer, trying to come up with the best way for democrats to do this, i can imagine somebody saying, why not just have the four democratic women on the judiciary committee ask the questions and all the other men just back off and be quiet? >> that's rachel mitchell, the woman who is sitting down. she will be asking the questions. the republicans asked her as an outside counsel from arizona to come with a lot of experience in sexual harassment crimes, to do
the questioning. >> to your point, it's a great point. it's a valid point. why don't the men get out of the way here? however, richard blumenthal is a former state attorney general. he thinks he's perfectly qualified. cory booker is a potential presidential candidate. he wants to use this platform. i don't want to make it about politics. everybody knows into that room or they're in the room now, that hearing starts in seven minutes. everybody has a position and everybody has a plan. but the unpredictability is this woman we have never heard or seen. we don't really know what she looks like, what she sounds like. she goes first. if she's credible, if she is compelling, then when there's a pause, the republicans have their strategy for brett kavanaugh, the democrats have their strategy for brett kavanaugh. all could go out the window depending on what happens with the first wince and the questions from this woman that republicans have smartly brought in because they have 11 white men, most in their 70s and 80s, and they remember the anita hill
debacle and they don't want to go through that again. everyone has a plan. most people have already decided how they're going to vote, at least as they walk into the hearing, but we all need to open our minds to the possibility that most cakes are baked in this town well before. everybody knows their position because of partisanship and polarization. this is going to be a groundbreaking, compelling, historic day, and chris teeb blasey ford has the potential to change everything. >> president trump even talked about the possibility. he talked about the possibility that if she's really credible, he might be open to changing his mind. i'm sure that's not something if you're judge kavanaugh you actually wanted to hear. >> i think he meant changing his minds in terms of how much he'll support cavanaugh, whether or not he'll believe ford. >> if you're kavanaugh, that's important, right, if you're pulling support from your pick, i mean, that's pretty significant. it's riley going to be fascinating to see whether or not the pick of rachel mitchell is actually more advantageous to
the republicans because she's going to have that 50 minutes to build a case, and on the other side, if you're the democrats, you're going to have all of these people, ten senators, in coordination, but, i mean, all sort of different personalities trying to build a case. she might be much more effective. >> we know senator susan collins of maine wants to slow this down. that could all change based on the hearing today, but if professor ford is credible, can they keep the genie in the bottle for republicans who say wait a minute, we need to have a more thorough process. why are we in session on a saturday. why don't we have 24, 48, 72 hours to look at this, to ask questions, to have follow-up conversations. that comes down to the next eight or ten hours. >> i think the president, listening to him yesterday, it's not, he didn't exactly throw kavanaugh under the bus. but he kind of parked him in the middle of the street. i think. because with him saying, as nia point out, oh, maybe i could change my mind. i want to listen to her.
well, i'm sure kavanaugh people, i'm sure george mitchell -- mcconnell, wasn't thrilled with that. and maybe the president, who thinks he can gather his base on this, wouldn't mind a slowdown because he said yesterday, women are angry. remember that? and his base is with him on this. so maybe a slowdown in fact would help him. >> but mitch mcconnell thinks they'll keep the senate in 40 days but he's not certain. he's not certain. he knows if he's going to get a judge confirmed, we keep forgetting the consequence of the seat, for anthony kennedy's seat, a more conservative to be put in the seat of who was the swing justice, then brett kavanaugh is his only guarantee. there's no guarantee, can you get a nominee through in the lame duck? i don't know and mitch mcconnell is not sure. he is not a man who likes to think, he likes to know. he knows if he can pull it off in the next 72 hours, he can get
brett kavanaugh on the court and reshape it for the next 40 years. mitch mcconnell does not like unpredictability. >> can i be cynical? i think donald trump saying he's keeping an open mind is not true. i think this is a messaging thing that republicans are doing, because the republicans have really signaled that they're not really being open minded. that they have already pretty much made up their mind. >> every republican? you don't think susan collins? >> right, we have two senators who basically are keeping open minds. the rest of them have spoken very much like this is going to happen. there's going to be a vote. you know, he's probably going to make it. and so i think they're trying to shift on the messaging to say, oh, we're having this hearing and we're really open minded, but i don't really believe that donald trump is going to change his mind based on anything that dr. ford says. >> senators are arriving. also getting in a tweet from the attorney representing debbie ramirez, another woman making these serious allegations
against judge kavanaugh, debbie ramirez, who knew him at yale university. john clune, the lawyer for debbie ramirez, tweeting this from debbie ramirez, quote, thinking of you today, christine. they want us to feel alone and isolated, but i'm there, wrapping my arms around you, and i hope you feel the people of this nation wrapping their arms around all of us. holding you up in spirit. that from debbie ramirez. >> and once again, the more that this hearing becomes about that, about the movement of women who are sick and tired of men abusing, harassing, degrading them, the more beneficial this is to the democrats, to professor ford, to the debbie ramirezes of the world, and the more it's specifically about brett kavanaugh and the allegations against him, the more it's beneficial to kavanaugh. when president trump comes out and makes it about the movement, he hurts himself and he hurts brett kavanaugh. >> and i know you want to weigh
in, senator, but the mood today with the me too movement is a lot different than it was in the early '90s. >> i get that. and i think what republicans believe is that democrats, for partisan and for political purposes, have weaponized the me too movement to attack brett kavanaugh in order to stop a fifth judge to be on the court. when i said that christine blasey ford is a pawn, there's a war going on here. and she is an unwilling participant in that war because she didn't want to be. >> the war to stop kavanaugh. >> but it's a bigger war. this is the big schism that we see in this country between the left and the right. and the progressives and the conservatives. and the central role that the court has played in moving this country to the left. and now we see it, the principal vehicle for the transformational change we have seen in a lot of the progressive ideology is now being threatened.
that vehicle to be turned on them, and they're going to use -- what republicans feel is they're using every last effort, uncorroborated accusations at the last minute, obvious political players like michael whatever his last name is. >> avenatti. >> and all these, dianne feinstein, who wants an fbi investigation, held this thing for five or six weeks, when she could have had an fbi investigation. >> she was asked to keep it quiet. >> but she didn't. >> that is how senator santorum sees it, which is the left/right, push and pull about the supreme court, and yet there is without question a movement, the me too movement, that is felt not just conservative men, but liberal men, democrats, people in media, people in entertainment, and a lot of women look at what's going on here through a different prism, through the prism of it's enough already. women need to be taken seriously. >> yes, that's true. but i think, look, you know, i can speak to somebody who is not -- i'm not o