tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 4, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
that about does it for our time tonight. i want to say thank you for watching everyone out there in north dakota, and the rest of the country. we'll be back at 6:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow. "hardball" is up next. profile in courage. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. it was a dramatic day on capitol hill as we await now a showdown over the vote to confirm supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. senators spent the morning reviewing the fbi background investigation into kavanaugh, such as it was, after senate majority leader mitch mcconnell set in motion the process of voting for his confirmation. nbc news has learned the fbi spoke with just nine people in its probe, into allegations of sexual misconduct against kavanaugh. six have been identified, including one of his accusers, deborah ramirez.
notably not interviewed, christine blasey ford, whose allegation prompted the investigation, nor did they talk to judge kavanaugh. there was one notable profile in courage today. i must say, north dakota democratic senator heidi heitkamp, who's locked in a very tough re-election battle out there, announced her decision to vote against kavanaugh. >> the process has been bad, but at the end of the day, you have to make a decision. and i've made that decision. >> and that decision will be what, senator? >> i will be voting "no" on judge kavanaugh. >> well, in a statement, heitkamp noted she voted for justice neil gorsuch, but added, when i listened to dr. ford testify, i heard the voices of women i have known throughout my life who have similar stories of sexual assault and abuse. other democrats expressed frustration a that the fbi had not spoken to ford nor a host of other potential witnesses in connection with the probe.
>> the most notable part of this report is what's not in it. it looks to be a product of an incomplete investigation that was limited, perhaps by the white house. >> we had many fears that this was a very limited process, having received a thorough briefing on the documents, those fears have been realized. >> i'm not allowed to discuss it. the public can't see it. it's a complete sham. the investigation was a sham. >> they didn't interview all the potential eyewitnesss. they didn't interview all the corroborating witnesses. i'm actually shocked. i'm actually shocked. >> okay, president trump was briefed this afternoon or this morning, actually, on the contents of the report, which will not be made public. at least not officially. in a series of tweets, trump lamented what he called the harsh and unfair treatment of kavanaugh and the, quote, totally uncorroborated allegations. well, obviously, they didn't get a chance to find them. in a second tweet, trump wrote,
this is now the seventh time the fbi has investigated judge kavanaugh. if we made it 100, it would still not be good enough for the obstructionist democrats. that's trump. meanwhile, mitch mcconnell indicated his plans to move full speed ahead joining the president in defending kavanaugh. >> for goodness sake, this is the united states of america! nobody is supposed to be guilty until proven innocent in this country. i'll be proud to vote to advance this nomination tomorrow. >> well, the first procedural vote, which will test the power of those for kavanaugh will come tomorrow morning. there are still four key senators that remain publicly uncommitted. these are the ones we're watching. republicans lisa murkowski of alaska. she's a strong person. maine's susan collins, arizona's jeff flake, and one democrat, west virginia's joe manchin. i'm joined right now by kasie hunt, nbc news capitol hill correspondent. phil rucker, white house bureau chief for "the washington post." kasie, i have a lot of hopes
that maybe murkowski will show some leadership. she seems more like a leader than the others. how do you figure the order of succession in the decision making of those left to decide? >> reporter: chris, i think that your sense on lisa murkowski is correct. and she actually spent the afternoon here at the capitol, meeting with survivors of sexual assault and abuse. many of whom came out of her office in tears, after having talked about their own experiences. she has very carefully avoided our cameras, so we haven't spoken to her today. but everyone that i've talked to, all of my sources and senators in leadership who i've spoken to off the record suggest, or, excuse me, on background i should say, not off the record, have suggested that she may be more willing to potentially play a vote, a "no" vote. now, susan collins, on the other hand, they tend to say the opposite. that she has been throughout this process looking for a way to vote "yes." but we also don't know yet what her decision is going to be. she's said she is going to have an announcement tomorrow. she spent a good chunk of the
evening, she was one of the last people to leave the secure area, where the fbi report was. so i might put her on the other end of the spectrum. and then, jeff flake and joe manchin are real wild cards here. and i think that the dynamic that i've heard from my sources is that nobody wants to be the 50th vote. nobody wants to be the person that makes or breaks this nomination. joe manchin, i think, would prefer to be able to vote "yes" on kavanaugh from a political perspective, for him, it's really a no-brainer and the way that this has come to the forefront over the last week has made it much harder for him in a race where he has previously felt pretty secure. but the reality is, if it's a democrat that puts kavanaugh on the court, that's going to be an impossible position to be in, too. so it's really kind of this bizarre game of chicken, where they're all watching each other to see what they're going to do. and i think that the dynamic is really very unpredictable at this point. and i also think that, you know, you could potentially see some cracks or fissures in the event that it does seem like this is going down. this is a difficult vote for some other members of the
republican conference that we're not even talking about, like, perhaps senator cory gardner of colorado. i don't want to suggest that he's in play, but you know, this is a tough vote for somebody in a swing state like that. >> let's talk about how the nomination can still be defeated. you've got heitkamp, who's had the guts to be a profile in courage. now you've got, it seems to me, with murkowski, if she moves against this nomination, will flake go with her? >> you know, i'm just not sure, chris. i don't know if you can -- i'm not sure if you can go that far. no one has been able to kind of get inside jeff flake's head, because, quite frankly, there was a time when he was a yes. he put out a statement saying, i'm going to back kavanaugh after hearing all of this, then he wavered and went into this fbi investigation. the person i spoke to most recently with the most position to know says, you know, nobody is inside his head, know one has any idea what he's going to do. >> well, one person could be in his head. >> he's clearly personally
affected. >> that is mitch mcconnell when he agreed to go along with this week long shorthand investigation. >> reporter: yeah. >> did he get a commitment from flake if he does this, he'll vote "yes," if he didn't find anything big? >> reporter: my reporting doesn't necessarily bear that out, chris, although, clearly, mcconnell felt as though this was a way that he could potentially get the votes he needed from this group of people. so there certainly was that level of understanding, but i don't think that there was any, you know, straight out commitment that this is fine, you know, we'll vote "yes." because, also, we don't know what's in the report. >> what are we hearing right now? is that the protesters right now? >> reporter: they're actually right over my shoulder. i think you can only really see the trees, but they're in a trent. they're going to be here totally overnight. we could hear a little earlier bernie sanders' very distinct voice. i spent a lot of time on the trail with bernie sanders, so this was giving me some flashbacks, but we're told they're going to camp out all night long until tomorrow
morning, when we know that mitch mcconnell just announced that the vote will be tomorrow morning. >> good for them. senate republicans have seen the fbi report and argued it vindicated kavanaugh and the allegations against him and pressed to move forward on a vote. >> senators who requested the supplemental fbi background check got what they requested and i am ready to vote. because -- >> step back. >> -- you humiliated this guy enough and there seems to be no bottom -- >> if he would take a polygraph -- >> let's dunk him in the water and see if he floats. >> this is a search and destroy mission. this is not a search for the truth. and this man is qualified. and to put him through this type of a mess, just because they are unhappy that donald trump had the right to appoint him, is just plain wrong. >> barbara, if this is a job application and we've been told that's for all of the republicans, for all of those weeks, of the actual earlier
confirmation hearings, it was a job application, not a criminal investigation. yet if it's a job application and you have testimony that the guy is a belligerent drunk at times, when he drink s too much he gets very belligerent, dangerous to people, why didn't they go down that line of inquiry? it seems that would be one of the things you have to look at. >> it seems they want to have it both way. it seems like they are inadvertently confusing the american public where guilty beyond a reasonable a doubt and presumption of innocence and all of those things. and that does matter when you're talking about taking away someone's liberty. in this instance, it's not taking away brett kavanaugh's liberty. it's, should we be giving him the privilege and responsibility of sitting on the highest court of the land, which oversees the criminal justice system. and, if you have someone with a credible allegation of sexual assault in their past and other allegations, as well, like the one we're getting from debora ramirez, why on earth would we
want to taint the supreme court with someone like that, when there is a long line of other conservative judges who could equally be nominated to this court, who don't have that taint? neil gorsuch, for example, made it through without these kinds of allegations. >> but the allegations also include, swetnick, you can argue whether she's a great witness or not, but she is talking about that should be investigated, this idea of getting women drunk, young girls drunk so he could have sex with them, with multiple partners, a thoughtful, deliberative process. and that's what cosby has been sent away for, rightfully, in prison right now. if this is true, it's incredibly serious and looks like they didn't haveneven want to talk t. they didn't talk to swetnick. barbara? >> yes, and you know, again, it seems that the fbi was given a short leash, due this in less than a week, and had some limitations on who they should be talking to. there have been many people who could corroborate the story to have deborah ramirez, certainly
listening to what julie swetnick had to say. if this is a quest for the truth, you would want them to ask questions of all of those people and provide all of that information. and i think they are gambling on the fact that they're going to get a vote and going to get a confirmation. but that fails to account for, this is only going to be thorough if the senate says it is, because they have to be satisfied that they've had a thorough investigation. and don't think this is the end of it. those people are going to continue to come forward. i think we are going to see journalists telling their stories in the weeks and months to come. and do we want -- a justice kavanaugh and a supreme court to be forever tainted with these stories that didn't come out until later? >> well, this afternoon, president trump told reporters in minnesota that kavanaugh is, quote, doing well, whatever that means. this morning, deputy press secretary ranj shah said they ae fully confident that they will vote to confirm kavanaugh. here's raj. >> we are fully confident after reviewing this information
senators are going to be comfortable voting "yes". >> and press secretary sarah sanders tried to back charges that the white house had micromanaged the fbi investigation by limiting the list of witnesses. >> -- pushes back on the fact that dr. ford wasn't given ample opportunity to make her case and state her case has been living in a cave. >> you know, phil, i've watched this game all day today. the senate, led by mitch mcconnell, says, well, it's the fbi who had to decide what was in that inquiry. they were -- the president told -- oh, it's the fbi. everybody's passing the buck about who limited this to a quickie three days. >> yeah, but the white house had a lot of authority over this process. and talking -- >> are they admitting it? >> well, talking to officials there today, the uncertainty that kasie described on capitol hill, the white house is not conveying. there's a really high level of confidence, even in private conversations there, that this is pretty much a done deal. and what you see the president doing, he's got a rally tonight in minnesota. he's trying to create signs of
political momentum around the vote, create an environment where it becomes just so difficult, if not impossible for those three republican senators to end up voting "no," even though they're still deliberating about the vote, and it may not be as certain as the white house officials are trying to present. >> i've heard it said that if collins, susan collins of maine, who's a republican of some independence, if she votes for this nomination, she's guaranteed a really rock 'em, sock 'em democratic opponent when she runs for re-election in '20. >> and if she votes against kavanaugh, she's potentially guaranteed a rock 'em, sock 'em republican primary challenge in her re-election. >> but that's the -- >> that's the dilemma she's facing. and i think the white house feels like collins and murkowski in particular may end up making a political calculation that they don't want to have to deal, a primary challenge in their own party, and vote for kavanaugh. at least, that's what the white house is counting on at this hour. but tomorrow's a new day. >> i'm thinking the road to hope here for those who oppose this nomination is murkowski,
followed by flake, followed by collins, and maybe by manchin. >> that's quite a road. we'll see. >> anyway, thank you very much, phil. anyway, phil rucker, thank you. kasie hunt, barbara mcquade. coming up, five days and nine interviews. why was the fbi background check on judge kavanaugh so limited in scope? plus, a yale law school classmate of brett kavanaugh withdraws his support after watching his performance before the senate judiciary committee last week. and what is senator heitkamp's brave stand today mean her re-election chances come up next month? and what does the kavanaugh fight mean for democrats' chance of taking back the congress? we'll see. it's up in the air right now. finally, let me finish tonight with the constitutional role of the united states senate. they've got to fill it, now. and this is "hardball," where the action is. "hardball," where the action is. ♪ it's a lot easier to make decisions when you know what comes next. if you move your old 401(k) to a fidelity ira, we make sure you're in the loop at every step
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as we've said, as senators were briefed on the contents of that fbi report on kavanaugh. let's watch this. [ chanting: hey, hey, hey, ho, ho, kavanaugh has got to go ] well, after north dakota democrat heidi heitkamp planned she planned to vote "no" or nay on kavanaugh, the protesters took a break to thank her. and we'll be right back. took a break to thank her. and we'll be right back. [ beep ] would you look at that? unbelievable. [ heartbeat ] [ beep ] [ gasps ] [ heartbeat ] [ beep ] we have serious problems. [ heartbeat ] [ beep ] five seconds to mandatory abort. [ heartbeats ] 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...
this is moving day with the best in-home wifi experience and millions of wifi hotspots to help you stay connected. and this is moving day with reliable service appointments in a two-hour window so you're up and running in no time. show me decorating shows. this is staying connected with xfinity to make moving... simple. easy. awesome. stay connected while you move with the best wifi experience and two-hour appointment windows. click, call or visit a store today. so just to be clear, should the fbi interview all three of brett kavanaugh's accusers? >> it wouldn't bother me at all. i think the fbi should interview anybody that they want, within reason. >> should brett kavanaugh be
interviewed by the fbi? >> i think so. i think it's fine, if they do. >> welcome back to "hardball." despite the president's word on monday that the fbi should have a free hand in conducting their background investigation of judge kavanaugh, there's mounting concern today, thursday, that the bureau didn't do a thorough job. today's 46-page report is the product of a five-day inquiry, including -- actually, consisting of nine fbi interviews. that's it. neither christine blasey ford nor judge kavanaugh were interviewed at all, nor were numerous potential corroborating witnesses referred to the fbi by kavanaugh's accusers. and several took their own unsolicited statements to the fbi, hoping they'd be heard. however, current and former fbi officials confirmed to nbc news yesterday that agents have not been permitted to talk to many of these people who want to talk to them. likewise, bloomberg's reported yesterday that the fbi hasn't interviewed brett kavanaugh or christine blasey ford because it doesn't have clear authority from the white house to do just that. well, despite those reports,
republican senators on the judiciary committee said today that no limitations who the fbi could or could not interview were made. let's watch them play this game. >> we did not come up with a list of people who the fbi should interview. >> just to be clear, we did not give them a list of people and only these people they can speak with. >> the fbi has gotten all the permission they've need in order to interview whoever they can is necessary. there has been no one to corroborate any of the allegations made by dr. ford or by miss ramirez. and the fbi has reported that back to us. >> joining me now is natasha ber trands, a staff writer for the atlantic and greg brower, senior fbi official. greg, first of all, to you. everybody's throwing a hot potato around. i watched the republican senators today say, we had nothing to do with restricting it. the president said in the rose garden the other day, on the canadian trade deal, he said, i told them to go wherever they want to lead. and then we find out all they talked to is a few people.
they didn't go after the drunk and belligerence thing that everybody was trying to figure out about or really going after the ramirez case. they didn't follow up all the leads that have been given to them. they won't even talk to the people coming forward. >> yeah, so i obviously don't know who said what to who, but i will tell you -- >> who tells the fbi to do? >> the white house duds. >> but my experience at the fbi and as a former federal prosecutor, i just can't imagine this investigation being done without the fbi interviewing both ford and kavanaugh. that just -- i think that makes sense to just ordinary folks, as well. >> unless they were told not to, is that possible? >> it is possible, because the white house does guide the process. >> here's the theory that's making the rounds. i got this from david corn today. and i think he's reliable. i know his point of view, but he's reliable as an interview. they didn't want to interview her, because they didn't want to interview him, because they didn't think he could handle an fbi investigation. the whole story, he couldn't stand the muster of in a one-on-one interview with an agent. >> it's possible. >> because he'd have to lie.
>> yeah, it's possible. i think that it would have been limited anyway, because the white house limited the scope, saying that they can only talk about the sexual assault allegations. so all of the witnesses who blasey ford has, who debbie ramirez has, that can talk about his drinking habits in high school and college, they would technically be off-limits for the fbi. >> but every incident that has been mentioned here, in which he was blotto. >> that's right. and that's why republicans have said democrats are now shifting the goalpost and saying that his drinking has become the issue, but his drinking is central to it. because he was drunk, allegedly, in every one of these incidents, as you said. so it's extremely important to not only get information that could corroborate the sexual assault allegations, but also information about his habits in high school and college. >> nobody assumed he would ever have exposed himself, to use the afraid, if he wasn't blotto, drunk, of course. deborah ramirez, for example, his law school classmate, alleged that kavanaugh exposed himself to her while at yale and told "the new yorker," the people who were key to
corroborating my story have not been contacted. i feel like i am being silenced. this is ramirez talking. lawyers for christine blasey ford also said in a letter to fbi director wray, quote, the investigation conducted of the past five days is a stain on the process, on the fbi and on our american ideal of justice. serve? >> yeah, i think the white house and the senate republicans sort of missed an opportunity here to take a big process foul call away from the democrats. had ford and kavanaugh been interviewed. hod all of the ramirez witnesses been interviewed, the democrats still, virtually all of them would be opposed to this nominee. but they wouldn't be able to say that the fbi re-opening was rigged or somehow wasn't full and complete. but that's exactly -- >> you're ignoring the very strong possibility they would have found what they went looking for, the problem. >> exactly. and i think that the fbi, the people in the fbi are naturally, they want to get to the truth. and they are very, very frustrated, from what i'm hearing, that their hands are tied about this. and -- >> so the g-men, or what?
were they g-men ornd? were they acting as g-men or tools of the white house. >> i don't know what a g-man is. >> you don't know the old '30s movies, but -- the fbi guys. >> ultimately, the white house is their client, so they are restricted. but they know and they recognize -- >> well, they're not pinkertons. they work for the united states, not the just the president. >> but the white house is ultimately the client. and as greg said, there are things that the white house can limit the scope on. and they recognize that they're being used by the white house here, they're being used by the senate. >> chris, i would say, as i mentioned with, the white house does control the background investigation process, both the scope and the duration, but obviously, the republicans in the white house have an optics problem here. it just doesn't look right to a lot of folks that those two individuals were not interviewed as part of this. i just don't think it makes sense to people. >> suppose the guy was up for secretary of defense like john tower once was, he had a drinking problem, whatever he's doing, but he didn't pass muster. can you tell if you're doing a
job check on somebody, can you say, yeah, i want you to check the guy out for this job -- being a member of the supreme court, associate of justice. but don't go into this drunken mess thing of his, this dr. jekyll problem of his. because it's showing up in all of these incidents, but don't check that one out. can you actually do that at the white house? can you say, don't check out the main problem? >> that's not likely to happen, because this whole process, the background process exists for the white house's benefit. it's a way for the white house for their potential nominees. >> it sounds like you say you can give the fbi the job of covering up. >> normally they have no incentive to do it. if they say that to the fbi in the case of a normal bi, background investigation, and then later after the nomination is announced, something comes up, the white house would be kbair embarrassed. so in my experience, the white house wants a very full and complete process. >> so let me ask a question, can the democrats, if they get their act together, people like feinstein, if they ever get the house or the senate back, can they subpoena the directions given by the white house to the
fbi in this case? so they know how they restricted the operation? >> chuck schumer is already talking about it. chuck schumer is already saying -- >> he doesn't have the subpoena power, does he? >> no, he doesn't, but the democrats in general do want this directive, because they think -- >> are they in writing? are they in writing? >> the director -- >> from don mcgahn, this character at the fbi, so we may never be able to find out what the restrictions were. that's cute? >> i suspect that democrats in the majority would likely want to subpoena witnesses to ask them those questions q, and tha will turn into a big fight about prinl privileges and other things. does mcgahn get on the phone with christopher wray and say, let's keep this tight. keep this tight, just limit it. >> as i said, in the normal course, the white house council's office does provide that kind of guidance to the fbi. not for the purpose of purposefully not finding things, but just to kind of keep it on track and within dlineclines. >> we're talking trump here.
>> thank you to natasha bertrand and greg brower. up next, a yale law school classmate of kavanaugh's now opposes him. he's coming here and this is "hardball," where the action is. s "hardball," where the action is. once-weekly ozempic®. in a study with ozempic®, a majority of adults lowered their blood sugar and reached an a1c of less than seven and maintained it. oh! under seven? (vo) and you may lose weight. in the same one-year study, adults lost on average up to 12 pounds. oh! up to 12 pounds? (vo) a two-year study showed that ozempic® does not increase the risk of major cardiovascular events like heart attack, stroke, or death. oh! no increased risk? ♪ ozempic®! ♪ ozempic® should not be the first medicine for treating diabetes, or for people with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. do not share needles or pens. don't reuse needles. do not take ozempic® if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, or if you are allergic to ozempic®.
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the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. this is a circus. >> welcome back to "hardball." it's been exactly a week now since that guy, judge kavanaugh, testified in front of the senate judiciary committee that way, getting into contentious exchanges, of course, with democratic senators. >> you're prepared for an fbi investigation? >> they don't reach conclusions. you reach the conclusion. >> no, but they do investigate questions. >> did the word "ralph" you used in -- >> i already answered the question. >> if you're -- >> did it relate to alcohol? >> i like beer. i like beer. i don't know if you like beer, senator? or not? >> um -- >> what do you like to drink? >> next one is -- >> senator, what do you like to drink? >> so you're saying there's never been a case that you drank so much that you didn't remember what happened the night before
or part of what happened? >> it's -- you're asking about, yeah, blackout. i don't know -- have you? >> could you answer the question, judge? i just -- so, you have -- that's not happened? is that your answer? >> yeah, and i'm curious if you have? >> i have no drinking problem, judge. >> well, after watching that hearing, mark oszler, a yale law school classmate of kavanaugh's, who had originally supported his nomination, retracted his support. in a letter written with another yale law school classmate, he wrote, having watched those hearings, we must withdraw our support for judge kavanaugh's confirmation. mike ostler is a professor at st. thomas law school and joins us now. professor, thank you for joining us. and tell us how it's gone through your mind from the beginning of this a couple of weeks ago to now where you do oppose the nomination? >> well, i originally signed the letter supporting judge kavanaugh, because i knew him, i liked him when we were in law school, and i knew that he had a good reputation on the court of appeals. i talked to some people who were
practitioners there. they said he was fair. that he hired the good clerks. then we got into the hearings. and what i saw last thursday was pretty distressing. i'm someone who teaches -- now i teach law students and i teach advocacy. and we view the supreme court as kind of the roman coliseum. and to see that kind of process associated with the supreme court and what we saw from brett kavanaugh on that day a week ago, is deeply troubling. >> you know, it's amazing for a non-lawyer like me and everybody else, and a lot of other people, when we watch the supreme court debate, we love that period of arguments. it's just -- it's crisp, it's sharp, there's no wasted words. an economy of words is fabulous. the people speak in logic. you get it. and that calls for a certain kind of, i guess, temperament, right? >> absolutely. and it's not just the temperament that they show with the litigants.
but they're part of the larger sphere of those who control our government. they have to interact with the other branches of government. and one of the things we saw with the interchange last week was judge kavanaugh having that kind of troubling discourse with a co-equal branch of government. and that added to the weight of what's troubling a lot of people, i think. >> well, mark, let me know what you think of this. at an event today in florida, former supreme court justice john paul stevens who's 98 now, said that last week's hearings caused him to change his mind on kavanaugh. let's watch. >> the qualifications for -- to sit on the supreme court. the hearings caused me to change my mind. he has demonstrated a potential bias and that the senator should really pay attention to it.
>> that was the guy who wrote the majority opinion on roe, i think. we're going way back with him. let me ask you about what you saw. i thought -- i wondered, you know, we had to live through, you and i, we all lived through bush v. gore in 2000, which i thought was a political decision, right? the remedy was 5-4, and it was, give the election to bush. the republicans. so the 5-4 republican court gave it to a republican candidate. i guess you're not supposed to act that way, at least. you're allowed to vote that way, but not act that way. i'm being a little facetious here. but if this guy, kavanaugh, would have sit back on the court back then, he would have said, screw the clintons! we're going with this guy. it's almost the way he's talking. >> well, we have to hope that won't be the case if he is confirmed. but with justice stevens saying that, no one needs to talk to me. and look at what stevens did when he was on the court, as well. in my own field of sentencing, the decision that made the biggest difference in my lifetime was booker in 2005.
and that was sclealia and steve on the same side working together in that opinion. and i'm not sure that we are going to see that -- that kind of collaboration and crossing of lines, if this flpolitical division continues. >> you're at st. thomas out in minnesota, right? >> that's right. yep. >> isn't that g. mccarthy country? i think it is. one of my heros went there. g. mccarthy. thank you. >> we've got a lot of fascinating characters floating around, yes. >> good for you. thanks for teaching. thank you so much, mark osler. up next, voters on both sides of the aisle have been energized by. the kavanaugh confirmation fight. what does that mean for november? apparently, a lot, according to steve kornacki, who's coming up. this guy knows his stuff. this is going to matter in the election, both ways, probably. you're watching "hardball." chin.
is hot right now, tonight, especially tonight. and republicans are sounding, while they are confident, they think they are, anyway, of former top aide mitch mcconnell told axios, the kavanaugh debate has dropped a political grenade into the middle of an electorated that been largely locked in democrats' favor. well, a new poll showed a huge jump in republican enthusiasm since july. now virtually matching that are the dems. well, that enthusiasm may be helping out in one key race, in the senate. a fox poll out of north dakota shows heidi heitkamp trailing her republican challenger, kevin cramer, by double digits now. she had been trailing by only four. let's bring in the "hardball" roundtable tonight. some big shots tonight. steve kornacki, national political correspondent, like tom brokaw, and the author of "the red and the blue," ashley
pratt, conservative commentator, that's a generous title. i think a couple of things are real. and i think -- i wonder if they're still true. you're the expert this year. in this cycle. i think women are going to vote. i think they're going to vote in the 'burbs. i think women and there were some who had a problem with hillary, are going to vote the pure way they were going to vote before all the mishigas with hillary last time and they're going to vote big. and their husbands, the more modern men, are going to vote with them. but i think out west, there's going to be a smaller red wave. your thoughts? >> and even -- not necessarily just out west, there's a lot of districts where they're sort of split in half. and you've got a suburban, metropolitan portion of the district where that democratic energy is high, and all year, republicans have been looking for something that will fire up the rural, the ex-urban parts of districts. and they think just in the last week with kavanaugh, they weren't expecting it, but they think in terms of the polling they've been seeing -- >> who gets fired up on the kavanaugh side of this fight? ashley? >> gender wise, because i'm going to say -- >> people, give me who they are.
paint a picture. >> i'm going to independents and young female women like myself. >> against kavanaugh. so who's on the other side? >> i'm going to say these old, white men. and that's what the republicans have always represented. and this does nothing to help that stereotype. i used to vote republican. 2016 was a huge turnoff to me. they could have recruited me back, but guess what, they're not. this whole disgusting charade that they have put forward has been a huge issue and will be for females further to come. they say they're a big tent party in 2012, in their defeat. they said they wanted to embrace minorities and young women. they've done nothing but discourage that. >> what do you think of the thing they did last week, this investigation? >> well, i applaud senator flake, murkowski and collins for all trying to step forward, but we all knew nothing could be accomplished in a week, nothing definitive, anyway. and this was more of a delay tactic -- >> why don't they vote "no"? it's a cha rarade but they're voting for it. >> it looks like they are. i'm going to hold up that
senator flake being in my home state of new hampshire the other night, he's thinking about being that 2020 never-trump candidate and he'll go down in history for doing something historic. >> so the politics, do you think this is going to help who? >> this is going to help republicans who are worried about enthusiasm. but here's the thing, they were behind in enthusiasm. this is really just a catch-up. it's not really a game-changer at this point. and you have to look at the difference between states where there's a tight senate race and states where there aren't. you look at georgia, there's no senate race there, but you have brian kamp who came out and endorsed kavanaugh. that may end up hurting him. you have rick scott and you've also got gillum who's carrying things along. i don't think this is a general win or a loss for republicans. i think it depends on state by state by state and if he gets confirmed this weekend, where does that enthusiasm go, right? >> you think it's over? >> i think it's over. if he gets confirmed this weekend, who gets galvanized by that? democrats do. the republicans won! they're partying and drinking at
that point, so there's no value to it. so i think this whole idea of enthusiasm that's attention being paid now, but in another three weeks, if kavanaugh is already on the supreme court, it only helps democrats. >> steve, do you think that the kavanaugh, the pain he went through last week, the excruciating look on his face. he was being pounded by the democratic senators. i think appropriately so. is that really going to rebuild the trump coalition? >> what drives -- one of the things that drives politics these days, it's not necessarily what your party's for, it's who's against your party. and on the republican side, what did they look up and see? how is it perceived? in a lot of quarters, it was obviously the democrats, it was the media. >> they didn't like klobuchar, they didn't like kamala harris, they didn't like -- >> they felt their enemies were in a pile-on and they identified with kavanaugh's accused behavior? >> i think as a young woman, what i saw, even today in a press conference, again, these all-white older men sitting
there telling me how i should feel about something, and this is a sham, and this is a problem. and i will never agree with that. and a lot of independent, young female women, there's never going to be -- >> okay, let me go back. i'm going to say something, more dramatic than i've heard in the last three minutes here. trump comes out on national television the other night and trashes the woman who said she was sexually assaulted. >> yes. >> disgusting. >> and there's a message, you're telling women, shut up. >> he's telling women to shut up. >> i'm putting my hand over your mouth like he was supposed to have done. are you getting what that's saying to people? >> look, there are people who like it. >> who?! >> there are republicans people who like it. >> that is true. >> there are women who like it. >> what, they like somebody locking the door, turning up the music, and putting their hand over your mouth. >> they don't think it happened. a lot of republicans are driven more by who they don't like than what they want. when ted cruz put out a picture showing klobuchar and kamala harris and cory booker and said, the coloreds and the women are
coming for you. that's what he's saying. these people who aren't like you are trying to take someone down. you are brett kavanaugh. it doesn't matter if you're not rich or go to georgetown prep. and that's going to work. the problem is, i don't know that that matters once the guy gets in. >> so brett kavanaugh is the last surviving white guy, is that what he's selling? is that what trump's selling? >> well, it is the trump base. the folks who surged in 2016. they have been looking all year, republicans, to find a way to get him to surge again. >> we have some breaking news, it's a live show. judge brett kavanaugh just published an op-ed in the "wall street journal." he wrote in part, i testified before the judiciary committee last thursday to defend my family, my good name, and my lifetime of public service. my hearing testimony was forceful and passionate, that is because i forcefully and passionately deny the allegations against me. at times my testimony in my opening statement and in response to questions reflected my overwhelming frustration at being wrongly accused without corroboration. horrible conduct completely
contrary to my record and character. my statement and answers also represents my deep distress at how these allegations have been handled. going forward, you can count on me to be the same kind of judge and person i have been for my entire 28-year legal career, hard-working, even-keeled, open-minded, independent, and dedicated to the constitution and the public good. he's billy bud. this is melville. he's wrongly accused. >> even-keeled and open-minded? >> you know, jason, what i'm talking about. >> this is what gals sgalls me this. isn't that what everyone with a drinking problem does? i will never do that again. oh, my god, that was only last week. and as i've said before, talking about the rally and the people who were excited about this, this to them is just placating those liberals. they don't believe that. they think that kavanaugh was fine as he is. and the people that rally around him and support him, they're like the crowd of the guys in the accused, they like this violence and they think this fighting back is what they really want to see and he's a
representation of that. >> we'll see. and these are unlikely candidates for john wayne, lindsey graham, this guy. anyway, ashley pratt, thank you. jason johnson, steve kornacki, you're going to stick around. we have more to talk about, especially your book. you're watching "hardball." espek you're watching "hardball. i'm gonna regret that. with liberty mutual new car replacement we'll replace the full value of your car. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty ♪
we're sitting here with steve ckornacki, the red and th blue, the 1990s and the birth of political tribalism. the question i get asked, how did we get to this mess where nothing gets done and parties march in lockstep? >> it's the idea that party came to mean something more than just which issue positions you agree with. party has cultural meaning and identity meaning. there was a poll in twakt that inspired this in part it asked democrats and republicans, would it bother you if your son or daughter married someone in the other party? more than 60% in each party said yes. those are interracial marriage numbers from the old days. >> i'm sorry, aren't there any brothers and sisters anymore who disagree on politics? >> sometimes you're forced with
the family at thanksgiving. but increasingly you see these stories of traumatic family gatherings and trump dividing family. party now is taking on deeply personal significance to people. >> what's the best thing about a democrat? >> the best thing. >> there's good things on both. what's the best thing about democrat. what are they good about? >> well, boy, this is a good question. >> give me one. i know things. >> what do you think the best thing about a democrat is. >> diversity, they're tolerant, not only for white people or one group. >> what's the best thing about a republican? >> it used to be fiscal responsibility, it used to be concerning about not wasting money on everything and not caring where you're spending your money. the democrats in the '60s and '70s were more anti-war. hillary went the other way. used to rely on them to have a both-vietnam sensibility. they've lost that. but i think it's -- >> that's transformation, that moment you're talking about, the democrats trying to recover from
the mcgovern, from mondale, trying to recover from three presidential elections where they got beaten, and that was bill clinton, some of the lessons bill clinton learned and hillary clinton learned being his political partner, you fast forward a generation later and maybe some of those lessons didn't hold up. >> with bill clinton, all the wars we've been in since world war ii, he was for every single war except the one he had to fight in, vietnam, every other war. >> do you remember bill clinton's answer in the gulf war in 1991, the governor of arkansas, doesn't want to take a mogs. they cornered him the night before. he said i agreed with a lot of the arguments of the minority, but i think i might have voted with the majority. a year later he had been -- >> he skated. steve kornacki, a brilliant political analyst. if you want to know what's going on today, look how we got here, the '90s, the birth of political tribalism.
when we return, let me finish tonight with the conscious of the united states senate. they have a job and it's not working for the president. this is "hardball." hi, kids! i'm carl and i'm a broker. do you offer $4.95 online equity trades? great question. see, for a full service brokerage like ours, that's tough to do. schwab does it. next question. do you offer a satisfaction guarantee? a what now? a satisfaction guarantee. like schwab does. man: (scoffing) what are you teaching these kids? ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs,
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against the way the wind is blowing back home. and here's how john f. kennedy described it in his profiles in courage. this prospect, the prospect of forced retirement from the most exclusive club in the world, the possibilities of giving up the interesting work, the fascinating trappings, and the impressive prerogatives of congressional office can cause even the most courageous politician serious loss of sleep. how can you not be impressed right now that senator heidi hydecamp of north dakota declared today she will vote against brett kavanaugh. and senator donnelly of indiana. wouldn't it be wonderful if three other senators would do the same, joe manchin, senator flake. he's shown himself to be a man of conscience by rejecting the behavior of the president and insisting that the fbi be given some time to look at the accusations against kavanaugh. the united states senator does not protect its constitutional
role of the senate as a whole by bowing to the executive. the u.s. senator who votes for this nomination must believe that what we see or she sees in it is worthy of a lifetime trust. the duty to decide now is up to the soul and guts of the senator who says yay when he personally would vote no. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in". >> shut it down, shut it down. >> protests erupt in the capitol. >> how dare you talk to women that way? >> as republicans proceed with the plan. >> we're going to plowright through it. >> and democrats rage. >> this is about hijacking our democracy. >> the investigation was a sham. >> the investigation was a [ bleep ] investigation. >> tonight, new reporting that republicans curtailed the fbi investigation, and where we stand as a