tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN October 4, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
news, awaiting the undecideds as senators continue to read the fbi report on brett kavanaugh, three key republicans will determine whether president trump's nominee is confirm ed. we're standing by as whether a former justice is weighing in as to whether kavanaugh should be on the court? republicans pushing toward a vote on kavanaugh are praising the fbi probe while democrats are calling it a coverup controlled by the white house. did investigators uncover anything new? supreme anger. anti-kavanaugh protesters hit the streets but the president says his supporters are energized, too, will the high court battle influence the november fight for control of congress. and worse than russia? vice president pence accuses china of anti-trump interference in the 2018 election arguing moscow's meddling pales in comparison to beijing's.
why is the white house eager to call out china and not the kremlin. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you here in the situation room. high drama and huge protests on capitol hill. this hour senators are reviewing the fbi report on brett kavanaugh with the clock sticking toward a pivotal vote on his supreme court nomination. anti-kavanaugh protesters have been out in force as president trump and republicans are sounding more optimistic that kavanaugh will be confirmed. three key undecided republican senators have yet to reveal how they will vote but two, jeff flake and susan collins, are calling the fbi probe thorough. tonight collins went back into the secure facility at the
capitol to get another look at the report. i'll talk about this with former u.s. attorney and senior legal analyst preet bharara. and correspondents and analysts are standing by. let's go to our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. tonight former supreme court justice john paul stevens reportedly says brett kavanaugh should not be confirm ed. >> he said today at an event down in florida that judge kavanaugh should not be confirmed to the u.s. supreme cou court. that is a stunning comment from a retired supreme court justice who was nominated by gerald ford. yes, he was a liberal member of the supreme court but he was confirmed unanimously by the senate when he was put on the high court. he is saying brett kavanaugh should not be confirmed to the
supreme court meanwhile sources close to the nomination process tell cnn republican leaders on capitol hill and white house officials are feeling increase. >> i optimistic about the prospects of brett kavanaugh but democrats are crying foul, arguing the supreme court nominee's background is being covered up. choosing his words carefully about his supreme court pick -- >> i think he's doing very well. the judge is doing well, right? >> reporter: president trump left it to gop leaders to all but declare victory in the battle other brett kavanaugh. >> i feel very good about where this nomination is right now. i don't say that from the standpoint of counting votes, i say that from the standpoint of the qualifications of this candidate. >> reporter: a big reason for the optism? two undecided republican senators sounded satisfied with the fbi's supplemental investigation into kavanaugh's background that appeared to fall short of concluded the judge
assaulted christine blasey ford in the early '80s. senator jeff flake who asked for the expanded robe told reporters we've seen no additional corroborating information while susan collins added it appears to be a very thorough investigation. the white house continued to insist the fbi was given free reign to follow any leads. >> we allowed the fbi to do what they do best. we haven't micromanaged this process. we accommodated all of the senate's request. >> reporter: but democrats are accusing the white house of standing in the way of the truth. stopping the fbi from interviewing kavanaugh and his accuser. >> it appears they also blocked the fbi from doing its job. democrats agreed that the investigation scope should be limited. we did not agree the white house should tie the fbi's hands. >> reporter: ford's legal team fired off a letter to chris wray writing, the investigation conducted over the past five days is a stain on the process, on the fbi and on our american
ideal of justice. republicans say democrats are trying to stall. >> what we know for sure is the fbi report did not corroborate any allegations against judge kavanaugh. and the second thing we know is that there's no way anything we did would satisfy the democrats. >> reporter: still, the final vote could be close. one undecided democrat in a tight race for reelection, senator heidi heitkamp, is voting against kavanaugh. >> the process has been bad but at the end of the day you have to make a decision. i will be voting no on judge kavanaugh. >> hey, hey, ho, ho, kavanaugh has got to go. >> reporter: with protests on the streets of washington, the supreme circus is wearing down nearly everybody. >> because you've humiliated this guy enough and there seems to be no bottom for some of you.
>> if he would apologize it would be over senator graham. >> why don't we dunk him in the water and see if he floats. >> reporter: the final vote is looking good for brett kavanaugh. there's one final x factor, president trump himself. republicans were furious with his comments earlier this week when he mocked christine blasey ford in mississippi. the president has one more rally tonight in mississippi before the senators decide kavanaugh's fate. it could be undone tonight. >> jim acosta, thank you. let's go to capitol hill where we're told republican senator susan collins of maine is reading the fbi report in that secure room. our senior congressional correspondent manu raju is at the capital. how do we expect this key republican? there are a few key republican senators who are still technically undecided to vote. >> we don't know yet i caught up
with susan collins and i said do you have any new concerns? she said, quote, i'm not going to draw conclusions before i'm finished reading. this is after she made positive remarks saying it appeared she had don a thorough investigation breaking significantly from democrats who said it was not a thorough investigation. susan collins doesn't think so. also jeff flake, that other key republican said something similar. he said he agreed to there appeared to be a thorough investigation and suggested that jeff flake also said it was nothing to corroborate those allegation allegations. when we caught up with lisa murkowski of alaska she was noncommittal and said she's still revealing everything but she was not in the closed door briefing that just occurred with
republicans only. only susan collins returned for the briefing among the three undecided senators so we will have to wait and see whether or not flake or murkowski or collins, when they will make their decision final. tomorrow the critical vote when republicans cannot lose more than one republican senator if democrats vote no. that's why their position is critical as susan collins is behind closed doors getting the final details of the briefing. >> what are the republicans that you're talking to saying tonight? >> the republicans are defending the scope saying this has been a thorough job. they dispute the democrats who they say are moving the goalpost and trying to delay a final vote until after the elections. christine blasey ford, one of the two accusers along with deborah ramirez said there were 28 witnesses who should be interviewed who could
potentially corroborate this account after the fbi interviewed nine witnesses. i asked republican senators why not allow for 28 witnesses that have been called for to be interviewed. why not call on the fbi to do that? >> why not green light the fbi, tell the white house to green light the fbi to interview these additional witnesses? >> the fbi has gotten all the permission they need in order to interview whoever they think is necessary. there has been no one to corroborate any allegation made by dr. ford or ms. ramirez and the fbi reported that back to us. they have followed additional leads but the whole purpose of this is delay. this is not a search for the truth anymore. >> reporter: not saying why those additional witnesses have not been interviewed but they believe over seven background check us there the course of brett kavanaugh's career is enough. it is time for a vote and they are confident that their members
will get on board and they can push him through, break that democratic filibuster tomorrow for that confirmation vote saturday but members reviewing this behind closed doors expect it to happen tonight ahead of the key vote tomorrow. >> manu raju in capitol hill. thank you. more breaking news tonight. cnn learned the fbi report sent to capitol hill includes 45 pages of interview summaries as well as 1600 extra pages of information that the fbi collected from its tipline. let's talk about the investigation. supersizery special agent josh campbell is joining us. josh, republicans say the report was comprehensive. democrats say it was a sham. is the fbi being used as a tool? >> with the absense of information that's a possibility. if you look at the way both sides have framed this issue they couldn't be farther from
each other. republicans are looking at the report and asking the question what is in it. democrats are asking something different. what is not in the report. they're still lingering questions about some of the new allegations that surfaced regarding judge kavanaugh. it doesn't appear those were included. >> what are you learned about what the report included? >> as you mentioned 45, pages and another 1600 pages of additional information. the 45 pages appear to be the testimonial documents that fbi agents wrote based on the interviews with the nine witnesses they had spoken, to that was a key part of this information and then the 1600 abeer to be these tips coming in from the public unsolicited from people who are providing information, maybe suggesting they know something about the judge's past. >> what parameters do you think the white house gave the fbi a week or so ago and why won't the white house or the fbi release this information to the public.
>> we did not come up with a list of who if fbi should interview. >> it was a initial list of four provided to us by the senate. they were interviewed and leads were followed up on. >> as you see there, wolf, you have to senate saying we didn't provide a list of names, the white house saying they received four names, that makes things murkier. the question comes down to what did the white house direct the fbi to do? the fbi is not taking direction from the senate. they're taking it from the white house. not sure we will before the vote nomination but that's the key question the public is asking. what were the parameters? what were the constraints? >> josh campbell reporting. let's get more perspective from a veteran of high profile investigations. joining us, cnn's senior legal
analyst preet bharara. preet, thanks for joining us. let's talk about this. the fbi interviewed nine people as they conducted this probe over the past few days. they didn't interview professor ford or judge kavanaugh. if you had been conducting this probe, would you have been able to issue a report without talking to the two most important witnesses? >> i might have been able to issue a report. you can issue a report no matter how short or long your investigation is but i wouldn't have. quite frankly i don't understand why focus on one side of the station where have gotten themselves into an a situation where they have to defend the investigation. i think senator flake did a favor to the administration by causing them to rethink this absolute opposition to having a further opposition to make his vote contingent on further investigation and getting other senators to go with him. during this week the administration had an opportunity to put to rest some
concerns about the quality of the evidence that has been brought out against brett kavanaugh and so when enough back and forth that was just being reported on of whether or not direction was given about who could be talked to and who could not be talked to and restrictions on what the scope of the fbi could do that puts a cloud in the investigation that wasn't necessary. a week isn't a short period of time but not a huge long period of time either it seems if the list of people to be interviewed was more than nine, there are enough resources at the fbi to have just done it. cross every "t," dot every "i" check every box and then you could quiet people who thought it was a short circuit to the investigation and idea that -- one of the reasons it's been profounded for why they didn't need to interview again dr. ford or brett kavanaugh is that they both testified in open hearing at the senate ask any investigator or prosecutor in the world about whether or not
you get at the truth and you ask the questions that need to be asked and get the answers you need in the politically charged atmosphere at a senate hearing and they'll tell you you're crazy. the way this should have been done not withstanding the public hearing was behind closed doors, interviews with both of them after this information came out to make sure they checked the boxes. >> as we were speaking, susan collins, the republican senator from maine has left the secure room on capitol hill. second time she was there going through the documents the fbi provided. she refused to make a statement upon her departure. what about the other witnesses? that professor ford, through her attorneys, supplied to the fbi presumably they could have bolstered her account or at the very least filled in some gaps. >> i think the best practice is to interview the people who have been put forward. it doesn't take that much time.
the events in question lasted part of an evening. i don't think it takes a long time to drain the recollection of those people. some of them don't remember anything and it would have been easier to knock on the doors of the people put forward by these witnesses not necessarily because it would have changed the outcome, i'm not sure it would have. so for that reason i think the administration has made a mistake to the extent it's true in stopping the interviews of other people. see what the evidence is, give it to the senate, let them have their vote. there was no reason to rush it or exclude people. it seems for public faith and confidence, interview the folks. >> as you know the fbi was acting at the direction of the white house counsel. democrats say the administration put unnecessary restrictions on who could be interviewed. do you get the sense preet that the white house unfairly influenced this investigation? >> i think if the white house
did do what had been suggested by your question that others have suggested that they put limits on who can be interviewed then i think, yeah, they unfairly influenced the information. in other reporting you have put forward yourself, there are statements out of the white house saying they let the fbi doing what they wanted to do. the president himself said the fbi should do what they think it's proper. maybe that's the case and they didn't think it was necessary. that's not the sense i get. i think the white house through its communications department and also from the president himself have not earned a reputation for being straightforward about these things. if the truth comes out later and there's clear evidence they said don't talk to x, y, or z, that's a problem. it's not great for the court or brett kavanaugh, it's not great for the administration or public faith in the senate, in the hearing process, in the court, in the rule of law. it's bad all around and people have a right to wonder if there was a restriction placed on having interviews of other
peop people, what do they have to hide? >> i want to get your reaction to this extraordinary development. retired u.s. supreme court justice john paul stevens who initially supported brett kavanaugh's confirmation changed his mind, saying kavanaugh should be disqualified based on his performance during last week's congressional hearing. if kavanaugh is losing support from someone like justice stevens what does that mean for his potential tenure on the supreme court? . >> it doesn't mean anything for his potential confirmation to the supreme court because john paul stevens doesn't have a seat in the senate. on the question of whether or not it will have an impact on his tenure on the supreme court, that remains to be seen. i'm willing to guess that the eight current members of the court are not pleased by how the
has unfold bid whatever perspective they come from. every institution wants itself to be respected and honored and trusted. it's true of a news organization, true of the justice department it will be true of the supreme court and whether or not they will agree ultimately with the opinions brett kavanaugh might have, i think the idea that lots of aspersions have been cast on future member of the court it's not -- i keep going back to the same phrase over and over again, public faith and kfsz not just by one party but both parties in the process and the institutions themselves is important and there are too many institutions that have had crumbling support and had their authority undermined and the propensity for honesty undermined that to have the court which is one of the remaining institutions that has more respect than others, to
fall to the same fate is a tragedy for anybody who cares about the rule of law. >> preet bharara, thank you very much. >> thanks. senators are reviewing the fbi report into the night. we're standing by to learn if key undecided members reveal whether they'll vote yes or no on brett kavanaugh's nomination.
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allegations against supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. tonight, a former supreme court justice, john paul stevens, says kavanaugh's testimony before the senate should disqualify him from serve tong nation's highest court. let's bring in our analysts and talk about what former justice john paul stevens told a group in boca raton, florida. listen to this. >> at that time, i thought he had the qualifications to sit on the supreme court and should be confirmed if he was ever selected. but i changed my view for for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability or record as a federal judge. he's a fine federal judge and he should have been confirmed when he was a nominee but i think his
performance during the hearings caused me to change my mind. >> what do you think? >> a lot of people speculated that he might have to recuse himself from a number of cases that would have some partisan connotation. he was very, very clear that he was anti-the democrats who were against him. he was talking about himself as somebody who was the victim of this siege because preweng because of the clintons. you had this feeling he may not be able to be the non-partisan diplomatic objective arbitor you want to have on a bench. certainly the supreme court. that's not supposed to be a political body and remember from his first confirmation opening statement he talked about that very issue. the supreme court should never, ever be a political body and he comes out swinging because he was indignant. in large respect he did what he was accused of being prior to his confirmation in the d.c. circuit which is being a political operative who had motivations other been being a
non-partisan arbitor. so justice stevens, who is well qualified to say who should be on the supreme court and not is telling you probably that very reason. >> what do you think of justice stevens' statement? will it have an impact? >> no, in the near term. yes in the long term. he belongs to a republican party of memory that doesn't exist. a centrist republican party circa the gerald ford era that has been run over successive generations from newt gingrich to donald trump but in the long term, absolutely. we're talking about a justice who is not just any justice. he's being put on the court to be the fifth member of a republican block that will be a majority for 15 years who is facing these allegations who has a majority of the public oppose or plurality of the public opposing him who is facing these kinds of questions about his legitimacy and in the near term, no. does it make it more likely the house looks at it if the democrats take it? sure. does it create more questions
about the political legitimacy of the court and independence of the court? don't forget clarence thomas, the oldest member of this majority is 70. these five men could set the rules for the country for the next 15 years while we're going through enormous changes and i think that's a ticking time bomb. >> as you know there are few senators who will decide whether or not he is confirmed, goes to the supreme court or not. 51 republicans, 49 democrats. if the republicans -- if the democrats vote against them and republicans lose two, it's over. who are you watching? >> there are three republicans on the fence that are going to be the key deciders, jeff flake, murkowski and susan collins of maine. jeff flake prior to the hearing where he had his dramatic change of heart was planning to confirm kavanaugh. he was planning to vote yes and support him and he decided they want he wanted the fbi investigation as an extra
blanket of security, an insurance policy to make sure nothing had been missed if he reads this report as he suggested in some statements today and doesn't find anything new i would think jeff flake is likely to support kavanaugh. but susan collins, lisa murkowski really the wild cards here. >> susan collins earlier in the day went back a second time. he said she didn't see corroborating evidence. >> and she said the report was thorough. she thought the fbi investigation seemed to be thorough. that would suggest she's satisfied with where things sta stand. >> she's been signaling from the beginning saying he would not overturn roe. describing the fbi report as thorough, you can say a lot about an investigation of nine or ten people but thorough would not be the hill you want to die on in describing this report. >> and if you assume susan collins and jeff flake are yeses, lisa murkowski is probably not going to be the odd man out. >> if two are yeses, it's all over, he's confirmed?
>> and that frees up manchin to jump in. >> heidi heitkamp, a democratic senator who had been undecided today announced she's voting no. listen. >> if this were a political decision for me i would be deciding this the other way. but there's an old saying history will jujt you but most importantly you'll judge yourself. i can't get up in the morning and look at the life experience that i've had and say yes to judge kavanaugh. got a little emotion there. what does her explanation indicate to you. >> first and foremost. heidi heitkamp is one of the most vulnerable democrats up for reelection and several polls have her trailing her opponent, representative kevin creamer so this could be a very politically risky move. based on the conversations i've had with people close to the campaign, there are a couple different elements at play that
you saw. one had to do with the question of impartiality and partisanship. a lot of people thought democrats should have gone harder on that aspect of judge kavanaugh's testimony last week, that he came out swinging, talked about revenge against the clintons. that there was framing that democrats could have made that heidi heitkamp made that can he be a neutral arbitor from the highest bench in the country. she also talked about how she heard from countless survivors of sexual assault and her opponent said recently even if the allegations were true, are theys by qualifying. >> she said she had concerns about judge kavanaugh's current
temperament, honesty and impartiality. >> all qualities you want to have have somebody who judges other judges. and the judgment of all things important in our society. >> and remember, murkowski has a lot ride thong based on fourth coming supreme court decisions in the near future. she won based on indigenous populations in alaska who are supporting her and you have spikes in domestic violence and sexual assaults in the communities. they talked a great deal about that so that same calculus heidi heitkamp was talking about may be the one murkowski will look to to say i may have a lot ride thong but i have to be true to myself and stated principles. stand by, there's more breaking news we're following. we'll have more on the fbi's report on sexual misconduct allegatia allegations against brett kavanaugh. was it just a cover, as some democrats are claiming, with critical witnesses excluded?
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is. we're back with our analysts, following up to the leadup on the crucial vote on brett kavanaugh's supreme court nomination. tonight, a key undecided republican senator susan collins says she's not finished reading the fbi report on kavanaugh after taking a second look at it tonight. she says she won't make a statement on how she will vote tonight. she'll make a statement tomorrow because she'll have to vote on
the procedural legislation to allow the legislation to move forwa forward. rebecca, i want to play a clip for you. kavanaugh's roommate when he was a freshman at yale university said this on cnn's "new day" earlier today. he said he wanted to be questioned by the fbi and they never got in touch with him. >> i don't know very many people who didn't drink in college and i know a lot of people who drank in college to the point of blacking out or throwing up. it's not a proud thing but it's common. it was particularly common then. that wasn't the problem. the problem is does he tell the truth and does he tell the truth when it matters? does he lie easily or for good reasons or to protect embarrassment. >> what do you think? >> that gets at, wolf, one of the two key questions hanging over kavanaugh that the senators on the fence will be looking at. there's the credibility question
and this partisanship question. can he be neutral. and both of these, credibility and temperament are weighted almost equally. there was an interesting comment that jeff flake made at the atlantic festival. he said the interaction with members was sharp and pearce and that concerns me. we can't have this on the court. we simply cannot. >> then he immediately fudged in the his classic manner as soon as he got off stage about well, i wasn't talking about judge kavanaugh. >> so that doesn't mean he will vote no but it shows what these senators want. >> and if there was evidence brett kavanaugh lied to the committee, there would be the end of the road for his nomination. the question is what does jeff flake believe constitutes a lie versus misleading the committee. >> i think orrin hatch made a
comment that he almost inoculated himself by making the generalized statement of sometimes i drank too much, sometimes i drank more than other people. i cringe sometimes thinking about what i have done and they are using this cherry picked statement which belies the overall breath and scope to say he's given himself a enough opportunity that he could not perjure himself. it's almost as though he looked back at the jeff sessions testimony where senator al franken asked him a question and he said i've spoken to russians in the past and then gone on to everything else. they would haven't initially had the comments about perjury. now this cloak says fbi, you need not investigate that aspect because he's already covered himself. >> all of this would be volatile and explosive enough if he was replacing another conservative. they would not consider or confirm miami gardeerrick garla is the quote swing vote but more likely a reliably conservative
vote to look in a five member republican majority that could set the rules for the next 15 years and he will go to the court with this swirling around him. john roberts has often expressed the concern that the court will be seen as another arena in the partisan wars. brett kavanaugh has basically become john robert's worst nightmare. so i think the politics of this, however this plays out in the next few weeks will have unpredictable ramifications for the years ahead. the next predictable thing is more conflict. >> but let's say he's confirmed in a close 50 votes. vice president mike pence who is staying in washington in case he's needed to break the tie. you only need 50 votes plus
pence. he becomes the united states supreme court justice. what's the political fallout? >> there's near term and long term. the near-term fallout is cross currents. on the one hand in the senate where republicans are mostly on the offense against democrats in states trump won that are older, whiter, more christian, more rural. this will galvanize their base. on the other hand, the house is going to be decided largely in these metropolitan suburban districts and if you look at the biggest threats to republicans, it's the sharp movement away from trump among college educated white women. you know in polling yesterday, npr polling, two thirds of college white women said they believe ed dr. ford and 72% said she shouldn't be confirmed if there is a doubt. >> this debate over his confirmation has energized the left and the right. >> absolutely. and i think in some ways it
depends on if he's confirmed but if he is perhaps the republicans who have risen up to defend him, i don't know if that neutralizes the energy on their side. if he is that will create a lot of excitement or resentment prong progressives but to ron's point there is two elements of fallout. there's the judiciary and the perception of the supreme court which waxes and waynes but evwa opinion he makes will be looked at differently. there has been some talk if democrats retake the house should they reopen an investigation into the confirmation process or launch a campaign to impeach kavanaugh? and. >> and those will be 5-4 decisions which will make it more explosive. we could do this in a year and it will look even more volatile. >> stick ahead, the u.s. goes
after russian spies announcing criminal charges, accusing them of launching global cyber attacks to distract from wrongdoing in moscow. this as vice president mike pence tries to convince the world that russia's election interference pales in comparison to the attacks on the u.s. democracy from china. we confess. we stole everything we could. from everything we've ever mastered. and put it here. the all-new lexus es. a product of mastery. experience amazing at your lexus dealer. should happen everydred five hundred years, right? fact is, there have been twenty-six in the last decade. allstate is adapting. with drones to assess home damage sooner. and if a flying object damages your car, you can snap a photo and get your claim processed in hours, not days. plus, allstate can pay your claim in minutes. now that you know the truth... are you in good hands?
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aimed at moscow. seven russian military intelligence officers have been charged with launching global cyber attacks and other crimes. our senior national correspondent is covering the story for us. tell us more, alex, about this indictment. >> reporter: well, the indictments that came down from d.o.j. today span a whole range of crimes from computer hacking to wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering and of the seven russians who were indicted today by the d.o.j. we learned that three of them had actually already been indicted by the special counsel's office for their attacks in the 2016 election, clear evidence that russia is now not slowing down its attacks and today, the u.s. was joined by allies around the world in cracking down on them. tonight, a global condemnation of russia. the department of justice charging seven agents of the gru, russia's military intelligence unit, with malicious cyber activities. >> these seven defendants are charged with a pervasive campaign of hacking, steal, private and sensitive information, and publicizing
that information to retaliate against russia's detractors. >> detractors like anti-doping agencies targeted in the u.s. and canada as well as nearly 250 athletes from 30 different countries. apparent retaliation for russia being kicked out of the 2018 winter olympics for drug doping. the russians also tried to get into the nuclear power company, westinghouse in pittsburgh. it had supplied fuel to russia's enemy, ukraine. >> the defendants in this case should know that justice is patient, its reach is long, and its memory is longer. >> reporter: all this just hours after dutch and british officials unveiled a trove of evidence against four russian agents, expelled from the netherlands. they were caught with a trunkful of electronics trying to hack into the global chemical weapons watchdog, the opcw. it was at the opcw that an investigation into the poisoning and attempted murder in the uk of former russian spy sergei skripal was being conducted.
president vladimir putin calls skripal a scum bag and a traitor. that dutch operation carried out with intelligence help from the unit united kingdom which along with australia and new zealand are accusing russia of wide reaching activities. >> it can no longer be allowed to act aggressively across the world against vital international organizations with apparent impunity. >> reporter: or at least they're trying to act with impunity but make no mistake, this is a failure for the gru agents who are named by the u.s. and others who were caught and those agents who allegedly poisoned the exspy skripal, they were also arrested. the gru has proven they're talented but they don't always act like james bond. one of those agents actually still had his receipt from the taxi ride in moscow, from where? gru headquarters. >> very interesting. good report, alex, thank you very much. just ahead, the vice
president, mike pence, lashes out at china, accusing it of predatory economic practices, military aggression, and trying to undermine president trump. (engine roars) (horn beeps) come on. ♪ feeling unsure? what if you had some help? introducing the new 2019 ford edge with the confidence of ford co-pilot360™ technology. the most available driver assist technology in its class. the new 2019 ford edge. oscar mayer deli fresh ham has no added nitrates, nitrites or artificial preservatives. now deli fresh flavor is for everyone. like those who like... sweet. those who prefer heat. and those who just love meat. oscar mayer deli fresh. a fresh way to deli.
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let's bring in our global affairs correspondent elise labott. what was the vice president's message to china? >> the vice president accused china of focused meddling in american democracy more so than russia, alleging an unprecedented effort to influence american public opinion, the midterm elections, and the climate leading into the 2020 election. saying that china wants a different president and is trying to make it happen. take a listen. >> beijing is mobilized covert actors, front groups and propaganda outlets to shift americans' perception of chinese policy. as a senior career member of our intelligence community told me just this week, what the russians are doing pales in comparison to what china is doing across this country. and the american people deserve to know it. >> president trump made similar claims about chinese election interference at the u.n. last
week, which is part of an effort, of course, to dilute the case against russia meddling, which we know the president does not like to talk about, because he feels that questions his own legitimacy. now, saying china is interfering against trump kind of counters that narrative but pence did not provide any evidence. cyber experts dispute this charge and even the president's own homeland security adviser, kirstjen nielsen, says there is no indication, wolf, that china is actually attempting to disrupt the election just using overt money and basically trying to, you know, use its influence to throw its money around >> so, what is the u.s. going to do about this? did he offer any solutions? >> beyond the tariffs and, you know, military might that the u.s. is showing, the u.s. is deliberating possible sanctions, trying to determine whether this was a violation of the executive order that president trump signed in september against election meddling, trying to determine if sanctions could be possible, but it's also, i
think, a real campaign, an american education campaign is what officials say to try and let them know what the chinese are doing. officials say, well, that china, even more so than russia, is a big threat to the way americans think and americans live because while china is problematic, does a lot of hacking and such, chinese have a lot more money and a lot more influence to influence american decision makers. >> what did vice president pence say that china -- what does china think of the president of the united states, president trump? >> well, he was saying that, you know, u.s. policy, in effect, is working. president trump is getting tough on china, whether it's tariffs, whether it's intellectual property, military issues on north korea, and they say that they want a different president, and that's what they're trying to do. influence american decision makers against trump, going into some of these states where trump won big in elections, and trying to influence americans in those
states where trump might, you know, try and overturn his appeal. >> very interesting when he says what russia's doing pales in comparison to what china is doing, elise, thank you very much for that report. elise labott reporting for us. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "erin burnett outfront" starts "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com just hours away from the first key vote brett kavanaugh's nomination. four senators still undecided. is judge kavanaugh about to become justice kavanaugh? and protesters confront senator orrin hatch over brett kavanaugh. his response, grow up. and a former supreme court justice speaks out, why he says kavanaugh should not be confirmed. the reporter who spoke to justice john paul stevens is my guest. let's go "outfront." good evening, everyone, i'm kate bolduan in for erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, the vote is set, just