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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  July 9, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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family, their parents are to be able to hug each other, finally once again and begin to put this all behind them. >> just absolutely incredible. of course as they get ready to try to continue this miraculous rescues again this morning. thank you so very much, arwa. and thanks to all of you for joining us. "a.c. 360" starts now. good evening from washington in just an hour or so, president trump will get to do for a second time what some presidents never get a chance to do at all. he'll announce his second supreme court pick, his second opportunity to establish a legacy that if history is any guide will extend far beyond his presidency. neil gorsuch, his first nominee made his mark on the court. tonight's pick to succeed anthony kennedy, a swing vote in many key cases could do more on abortion, marriage equality, the affordable care act, issues yet to come. sources tell us the president made his decision this afternoon. these four are said to be the front-runners. all federal appeals court judges, all vetted by the
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conservative federalist society. will one get the nod late today? we learned that judge amy coney barrett is not in washington tonight or will it be someone you do not see, senator mike lee. when it comes to confirmation, will any republican senator vote no? will any democrat from a red state vote yes? a number were invited to the announcement tonight. their answer could say a lot, already the battle lines are being drawn. >> now normally in the senate we have a process of advise and consent on the supreme court. in the old days, the president would consult with republicans and democrats in the senate on a qualified judge. and then after careful deliberation nominated jurors could get bipartisan support. what we have here is the exact opposite. >> tonight, president trump will announce his nominee to fill the current supreme court vacancy. we don't know who he will name,
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but we already know exactly what unfair tactics the nominee will face. they won't be new and they won't be warranted. >> well, that's the same mitch mcconnell who blocked consideration of president obama's supreme court pick two years ago and the resulting political bad blood is what tonight's nominee will face. again, we'll learn who it is at the top of the hour. let's start with what we know in this hour, starting with jim acosta at the white house. what have you learned, jim? >> anderson, late-breaking developments in the last couple minutes. we can tell you cnn has confirming now on the ground in michigan outside the home of judge raymond kethledge that he is at home in michigan, so he has not made the trip to washington. that would, i think, strike him off the list at this point. then within the last hour judge amy barrett at her home in south bend, indiana, confirmed to reporters she is at her house this evening. so she, too, did not make the trip to washington. so i think that means you can knock off two of those names off of that list of final four
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candidates. that leaves the final two, unless there's a big wild card announced in 58 minutes from now, that means that we're talking about judge hardiman and judge kavanaugh at this point. thomas hardman is a favorite of many inside trump's supreme court team because he is friendly with the president's sister who is also a judge. they both served together in pennsylvania. but anderson, interestingly we should point out brett kavanaugh is stirring up a lot of buzz late this evening. i talked to a source earlier today that pointed out that judge kavanaugh back in 2009, he had no idea what was going to take place with respect to the mueller investigation, wrote an article for the minnesota law review that really threw a lot of shade, you might say, at the notion of presidents being indicted. he essentially wrote in the law review article that presidents should not be indicted because it would have very negative consequences for the presidency. and so that may be a tantalizing
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prospect for people inside the president's supreme court team. of course we'll find out about all this in about 55 minutes from now. anderson the white house appears to be ready to go right to work selling whoever the president's pick is going to be. i'm told that there is a surrogates call that supporters and allies of the president will be on a conference call about 9:45 this evening. it was supposed to happen around 9:15, it was pushed back. this event in the east room may take longer than we previously expected. >> it's this live event around 9:00 p.m. the president invited red state democrats. will any be there? >> interesting. might be some midterm preelection season trolling at the white house is doing over here. they're confirming that, yes, that invitation were sent out to endangered red state democrats, people like joe manchin, heidi hiet camp, joe donley in indiana and doug jones, who won his seat not exactly endangered democrat but won his seat against roy
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moore, he was apparently also invited. all have turned down the white house. it appears to be a fairly partisan affair inside the east room. we expect something along the lines of 30 or so republican lawmakers in the east room of the white house when the president announces his pick. whoever the president picks, anderson, this is going to be a very big knife fight up on capitol hill. obviously the president, because of the names that have been brought to his attention, are all bitterly and adamantly opposed to row versus wade, the expectation is that much of the fight that will take place in the coming weeks will center on that issue as the president and the white house fights for this pick up on capitol hill, anderson. >> jim, thanks. we have a team of political and legal pros. jake tapper joins us, dana bash, jeffrey toobin and david axelrod. jake, on just the politics of
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this, no matter which of the four or any others are picked, the battle lines are drawn. >> they are. really the focus is on two republicans who support abortion rights, susan collins of maine and lisa mur cow ski of alaska and whether they're willing to trust a republican nominee for the supreme court who doesn't give any assurances one way or another on roe versus wade. as the white house tried to make clear, on the red state democrats, democrats up for re-election in trump states this november, can the president put pressure on them to vote for their pick, given the fact that it's not good for them to be seen necessarily in an election year as part of the democratic caucus doing what chuck schumer wants them to do. so it doesn't really matter which of the four. we really narrowed it down to just two now, which of the two the president picks. the pressure is going to be on those seven or so senators. >> we should just point out two black suvs have just pulled up
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to the white house. we do not know who is in them. obviously all of this -- the buildup to it, david axelrod, in a minute i want to ask you just sort of the -- without giving any state secrets how you sneak people into the white house like this. more importantly what do we know about the main two whose names are being discussed? and their records? >> well, i think we need to go back to the campaign, the 2016 campaign. and what president or then candidate trump said is that he will appoint pro-life justices who will overturn roe v. wade. i think what he meant by that was that he will appoint pro life justices who will overturn roe v. wade. i think that's what's going to happen. >> he stated that very clearly. >> very clearly. >> it was a litmus test. >> that's right. and i think, you know, there are subtle differences between judge hardiman who serves on the third circuit court of appeals based
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in philadelphia and judge kavanaugh who serves in the d.c. circuit, but they were picked. remember, this was a group of 25 judges picked by the federalist society, the conservative legal organization because they are not justice kennedy. because they are not the kind of republicans who will commit the sin of moderation on abortion rights. on gay rights. on affirmative action. on the death penalty. areas where justice kennedy usually conservative voted with the liberals. i think we just need to be realistic and accurate about understanding what the stakes are here. >> in terms of the record of both the two men who right now seem to be kind of -- one has a record that may cause more problems during the whole -- brett kavanaugh is the definition of the washington
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insider. he spent his entire career here. he was a prosecutor in the kenneth starr investigation. he wrote all the dirty sexy parts of the starr report. he then went on to work for president george w. bush as staff secretary, very important job, has been on the d.c. circuit here for 13 years, really a creature of washington and a very accomplished, respected conservative judge. hardiman is very different. hardiman -- brett kavanaugh is yale, yale law school. hardiman is from pennsylvania. he worked for a law firm in pittsburgh. he was a district court judge in pittsburgh. he's been a circuit judge since 2007, which is not as long as kavanaugh and he doesn't have his distinguished or as notable a record as a judge, but he is known as a confident,
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conservative and someone who served with mary ann barry who the president's sister who is also on the third circuit court of appeals. >> having a longer record, having more documents out there, it gives more ammunition for democrats to go through during the confirmation process. >> that's exactly right. it's sort of the catch 22 for any modern president. you made this point earlier today. it used to be that having a very long list was seen by both sides as a good thing, you have experience, a long career. now days the plus for in this time conservatives is you can see exactly where the nominee is on various issues or at least you have a better idea because of how he or she has ruled. and the negative is you just don't know. i mean, stephen briar is the ultimate, you know, example of somebody who you just never know
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what they're going to do. so, yes. that is why there are confirmation hearings. that is why you have a number of red state democrats and others not even red states but people who are not sort of knee jerk saying i'm going to vote no, saying i just want to see what the record is. it really wasn't that long ago that you had democratic and republican nominees for the supreme court who were overwhelmingly approved in both parties. we shouldn't forget that. this idea of being so partisan is really relatively new. >> justice scalia was obviously knew he was very conservative, was confirmed in 1986 with more than 90 votes. >> exactly. >> ruth bader ginsburg, the american civil liberties unions women's project, someone built her career on feminist law was confirmed with more than 90 votes. >> that's right. >> those days are over. >> i know they are. i know they are. but it seems just because everything is so heightened now
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it's easy to forget that it really wasn't that long ago. >> you also no longer need 60 votes in order to get -- >> that's a great point. >> to get the confirmation. >> just on the politics of this. the federalist society wouldn't have forwarded these names if they weren't confident of the positions they think these folks are going to take on the court, but this is about a game of plausible deniability. they want to give to susan collins, lisa murkowski, the three red state democrats the ability to say well we don't really know how they would vote and they didn't give an indication they would vote to do it or wouldn't respect precedent and so on. we saw it in the gorsuch hearings. there's an elaborate game played. one of the reasons why amy coney barrett didn't make it. she was the favorite of the social conservatives she was viewed as a bit too overt in his zeal on some of these issues that would make it hard for a susan collins to cast a vote. >> she is overt in her zeal on
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issues but has a very thin record. she just got on the court within the last year. >> one other thing in terms of brett kavanaugh who is really one of the two last contenders and jim acosta mentioned this, he wrote an article for the michigan law review in 2009 in which he basically argued that presidents should not have to be bothered with lawsuits or investigations. if i were donald trump and i had the focus on the investigation that donald trump has very obviously just from reading his tweets, that would seem to be very appetizing for me, given that it is likely that there will be something that ends up before the supreme court. >> that would certainly stand out. we'll talk more shortly as the minutes tick down to the president's announcement. there's breaking news next, a judge just ruled on a key precedent in the immigration mess involving thousands of migrant kids separated from their parents. also perhaps the one attorney we know will not be named to the high court any time soon is michael cohen the president's former fixer. we have new reporting on his plans to tell prosecutors what he knows and the mystery
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surrounding the signals he now appears to be sending, perhaps to his former boss. also big impact tonight's pick will have on abortion rights. we'll talk about that. i can do more to lower my a1c. and i can do it with what's already within me. because my body can still make its own insulin. and once-weekly trulicity activates my body to release it. trulicity is not insulin. it comes in a once-weekly, truly easy-to-use pen. it works 24/7. trulicity is an injection to improve blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes when used with diet and exercise. don't use it as the first medicine to treat diabetes or if you have type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. don't take trulicity if you or your family
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we're about 45 minutes or so away from the president's announcement of the new supreme court nominee, some more suvs have been arriving by the side of the white house. not sure who is in them. obviously a lot of people are trying to figure out who is being -- who is coming to the white house to get an advance idea of who the nominee is. again, we will know that in about 40 minutes from now. as we're waiting to learn the name of president trump's supreme court pick the top of the hour, it's worth noting whoever it is could rule on investigations involving or affecting the president's. jake was talking about which makes tonight's breaking news apt. president trump's former fixer and personal lawyer is hitting a reset button with with respect to his former boss, that's what
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two sources tell cnn that he's done. he's already ditched his vow to take a bullet for the man. he already said it's country and family first, but from here on u out, but he now appears to be upping the anti. his answer to trump attorney rudy giuliani's expectation that cohen will tell investigators the truth is loud and clear. quote, the truth is not you or your client's friend. cnn chief political analyst gloria borjer broke the story. she joins us now. i find the strategy behind this. explain what both sides are saying? >> first of all from my sources who are familiar with what michael cohen is thinking, i was told that he will, quote, not be a punching bag for anyone's defense strategy. that means the president of the united states. and i think cohen believes that the president through rudy giuliani are trying to send him a signal, which is your story better match up with our story or else -- or else we're going to continue attacking you.
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we're going to assassinate your character. and that is why cohen is upset because don't forget over the weekend rudy giuliani said that i do not expect that michael cohen is going to lie. i think he's going to tell the truth as best he can, given his recollection. and if he does that, we're home free. so, the signal here is you're not home free if i tell the truth. does that explain it? >> i guess. but why would they be publicly sending these signals? is this a ploy by cohen to get a potential pardon. >> first of all, michael cohen hasn't been charged with anything yet. we do not know that prosecutors are interested in talking to him. we do not know whether his attorney has actually even met with prosecutors at this point. and if he expected a pardon from the president, i think this probably may not be a way to go
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to go about it. but we really don't know the details at the heart of this. we don't know the answer to the key question, which is what does michael cohen know that is so threatening or that could be so threatening to the president? i mean, rudy giuliani seems to think nothing. >> if michael cohen wants to tell what he knows, he can just talk about what he knows. there's nothing stopping him right now. >> look, and it's possible, we don't know, that his lawyer has already made overtures to the u.s. attorney's office and is having conversations with them, telling them the kinds of things that michael cohen would be able to testify about if there were a cooperation agreement. we don't know. it's not always the case that people in this world, including the president of the united states, do things based on what's smart and strategic and intelligent. i do think it was an intelligent thing for michael cohen to hire his attorney who i worked for in private practice and worked for me as a chief of the criminal division for a period of time in the office that's investigating michael cohen.
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he's a smart, thoughtful lawyer. lenny davis, the president keeps talking about the 13 angry democrats, the phantom 13 angry democrats, there's one angry democrat that i'm aware of is lenny davis and working for the personal lawyer of donald trump. >> how do you think that goes over with the president? >> probably not well. it seems to me a lot of this activity that's not legal and that's going on over the air waves on programs like this and other places, you need somebody who is going to be able to talk, stormy daniels has someone named michael avenatti and a guy like michael cohen thinks he needs someone and that person is lenny davis. >> that's sort of a myth. as you know far better than i, the fact that lanny davis is talking on bhaf of michael cohen, how much influence is that going to have with the u.s. attorney. >> zero. >> exactly. why do it? >> it's two tracks. guy is an incredibly careful, thoughtful, meticulous, accomplished, intelligent lawyer and so he has guy presumably for
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that who is going to be interfacing with the u.s. attorney's office and trying to get whatever deal he can, plea or no charges whatever. for whatever reason, michael cohen thinks he needs to fight for him on the air waves, completely separate from the legal proceedings. >> i think look -- >> i'm not saying it's smart. >> is part of it sending a message to the president who is watching television? >> yes. >> what good does that do him? >> he doesn't want to be a punching bag. he gets to talk back. >> but by the way, he's been a punching bag for the president for his entire career? >> so i was told, this is his july 4th moment. as in, independence day. so he's no longer going to take a bullet for the president, as he has always said he will do. it's clearly a signal. we don't know what he has. but he also feels frustrated, rejected, double crossed, whatever you want to call it by
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rudy giuliani and the president feeling that he hadn't gotten the support that he should have gotten given the work he did for the president. >> isn't it generally a rule that the people who actually would take a bullet for you don't say they would take a bullet for you. they don't need to say it. you just know it. >> that's true. and there is this compulsion on the part of so many people in public life and as a journalist thank goodness for that, but why are these people talking at all? what is the advantage he's getting out of this? i don't see it at all? >> it's the same question we've been asking about the president of the united states who tweets constantly about his case, who says things constantly on television act his case. there's no strategic value for him in that either other than to think he's doing it cynically and successfully which is to undermine the integrity of the investigation. >> that has a purpose for him. >> also we're waiting obviously to learn the president's pick for the supreme court. that should be coming in about 35 minutes. quite a night for judges. we've just heard from a federal judge in the immigration crisis ruling that goes against the
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trump administration. i want to go to our justice reporter who has the latest and joins us by phone. what has this judge ruled? >> hey there, anderson. a federal judge in california has really flatly reflected an attempt by the justice department to try to modify this decades old settlement agreement, you heard it the flores settlement agreement which tries to limit the length of time that children who cross the border can be detained. and we have been repeatedly pointing out there's a 20-day limit. the justice department tried to go in last month and say we need some flexibility here, judge. we'll be detaining families together and easily could run beyond the 20 day limit in asylum cases. the judge tonight, anderson, out in california, flatly rejected it saying essentially there's no basis for such a modification. now, she does say, of course, the parties, it's a contract. they can try to come up with a modification if they wanted to. there's no basis in law for her
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to modify it. she calls it a cynical attempt to shift responsibility to the judiciary for over 20 years of congressional inaction and ill con considered executive action that have led to the current stalemate. actually the justice department and the trump administration writ large are facing another deadline tomorrow for reunifying children under 5 years old. so now there are different court orders, i should say, both in california that have really put the trump administration in a bind here, anderson. >> a bind to say the least. laura jarrett, appreciate that. we'll have more on that obviously throughout the evening. coming up soon to be a newly reconfigured court may face its most radio active decision coming to abortion. a talk with cecil richards and a look at what's to be a bruising fight on capitol hill.
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president trump made no bones about it during his presidential election campaign elect him and he'll put justices on the supreme court who are against abortion rights. here he is in the final presidential debate when asked if he would want the court, including the justices that he would name, to overturn roe v.
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wade. >> do you want to see the court overturn roe v. wade. >> well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that's really what's going to -- that will happen. and that will happen automatically in my opinion because i am putting pro life justices on the court. i will say this, it will go back to the states and the states will then make a determination. >> joined now by cecil richards, the immediate past president of planned parenthood. you heard what the president said there during the campaign. should anyone expect anything otherwise from his nominee tonight? >> i don't think so. he obviously sort of contracted out this whole process. it's the most political process i've ever seen for a supreme court nomination and said very clearly, gave the federalist society they want a judge that would overturn roe. this is a right that women have had in this country for more than 40 years. and i think that's why women in this country are concerned. i think you'll see mobilization all across america.
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we already saw it the day after the inauguration, but women are deeply concerned that this president is committing to eroding rights to health care access, birth control access and safe and legal abortion. >> jeff tuben said that with a conservative judge in justice kennedy's place, abortion will be illegal -- >> jeff may be right. certainly we have -- i think there's more than 20 cases that are one decision away from going to the supreme court. we know there are laws in the books in several states that could be implemented that would actually make abortion illegal. and again, that's what you just heard the president of the united states say himself that he wants to take away a right that women have had for 45 years and now put it back to the states. look, i think the important thing, anderson, is that abortion didn't start with roe versus wade. it simply became legal and safe. in fact, it's one of the safest medical procedures that women have in this country.
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what happened before roe women died routinely. that's what the president is promising to go back to those days. i just think that women are going to rise up in this country and they already are. >> yesterday leonard you mentioned the federalist society the leader of it, he who helped vet the nominees, he was asked if anyone on the list is likely to be an opponent of roe v. wade. i want to play what he said. >> no. first of all, nobody really knows. we've been talking about this for 36 years. going all the way back to the nomination of sandra o'conner. after that, 36 year period, we have a single individual on the court who has expressly said he will overturn roe. it's a bit of a scare tactic and ranks speculation more than anything else. >> what about this is, is it just a liberal scare tactic? >> absolutely not. he knows better. it's disingenuous when you heard what the president himself said. we know that kennedy was the swing vote in protecting
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abortion access in this country. been so many 5-4 decisions. my home state of texas where they've tried to make it illegal and impossible to get, we overturned a law there. with this new change, with another nominee it could tip the balance and basically make abortion impossible to get in states across the country. and the irony of this, anderson, is that we're actually at a historic all-time low for abortion in this country. we're doing a better job of getting women birth control access. but of course the nominees that we're putting forward are the ones that are rumored to be in the running are ones that also oppose women having full access to birth control in this country. it's not going to end with abortion. it's reproductive health care writ large. >> they are looking to murkowski, collins to vote against the nominee and protect roe v. wade, is that what you and others are betting on as well? >> well, absolutely.
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the senator murkowski, senator collins have been incredible supporters of women's rights, of access to safe and legal abortion and i think they recognize how important this is. obviously they didn't go to the white house tonight. and i think that they are going to take a careful look at whoever is nominated. i trust them because obviously the fate of women not only in their states but all across the country is somewhat in their hands. >> cecil richards, thanks for being with us. >> good to see you. >> take a look, protesters on both sides of the abortion debate making their voices heard. these are live pictures you're looking at. congressman, dent, the president clearly pledged during the campaign that he would appoint people and roe v. wade would be overturned. >> yeah. he certainly did say that. but as i guess what is considered to be the last pro choice republican in the house,
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i'm not convinced we can predict what any judge will do. remember john robert's court was going to overturn the aca? well, that didn't happen. i'm not so convinced. we heard this back of the day of sandra day o'connor and anthony kennedy abortion rights were at risk. maybe it will be different this time. i will not be as quick as some to stay these judges will overturn roe v. wade. they may, but i wouldn't bet on it. >> do you agree with that, mike? >> well, it is hard to know. senators -- there's all this hypocrisy of what senators said in the past and now it's coming back to haunt them. one of the things chuck schumer said, you shouldn't base your vote on one issue. he was saying that in defense of a democratic nominated judge at the time. so this is now turning into because the left wants it to be a big litmus test on abortion. and we had an election on that. hillary clinton, there was no question that hillary clinton would have appointed someone who was pro choice. absolutely no doubt about that. she lost. and so president trump was asked in that clip you showed -- >> he was very clear. >> yes, i'm going to appoint
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someone who is pro life. i do believe it will be a game. they're not going to come out and say, yes, i'm going to 100% be pro life. they shouldn't say that. they're going to look at the cases as they come in and interpret the constitution. but obviously when you're republican, you nominate someone, you expect them to probably be a pro life vote. and so that's what happens when you win the election. >> there's a lot of things that go into supreme court decisions, precedent, other the impact reversing of previous supreme court ruling may have on society. so even if somebody holds a personal view, judges do take into consideration other considerations? >> no question. i mean, just the idea of roe v. wade that we're talking about. there are some conservative judges who -- and some conservative elected politicians. maybe you know some, who are -- they call themselves pro life, who believe that roe v. wade is settled law because it is so
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entrenched in society. >> or marriage equality for gay people. >> exactly. exactly. already it's so entrenched in society that it would really be so tumultuous that it would be hard to change. >> keep in mind, the obama care decision was justice roberts. a republican judge. what conservative judges do, tend to do and why they are appointed in sort of the ideology of the right is to be strict constitutionalist. when a legislature passes a law, does it pass constitutional muster. that's what they're basing their judgment on. as opposed let's change the law the way we want to. that's how conservatives want their judges to be. obviously this fight is going to say no, they're not. they're going to be pro life no matter what. that is how conservatives approach this. that's how they put their list together. will they be strict institutionalists. >> it's difficult to revoke a right once it's been granted. i think marriage equality abortion rights very, very difficult. so those who say it will be very
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easy. i think they're wrong. you saw the contortions that judge roberts went through on the aca to avoid overturning a law that was enacted by the congress and the president. so watch the politics of this, though. the cross currents here will be really interesting. i think republican house members in suburban swing districts, this issue will not play very well for them. by the same token, the joe don nely, the high camps, the manchins, they would rather not deal with this issue either. >> definitely not. >> congressman, what is it like to be under that pressure? both sides now, on the issue of abortion or other issues, are gearing up for a fight? there will be a lot of money poured in on all sides on this? >> interestingly, supreme court nomination really was never a big issue in a house race. >> because you don't get to vote. >> you don't get to vote. it's that simple. it was never a very big issue. it's changing a bit this time. but the politics is interesting
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that if donald trump gets what he wants. he'll win on this. probably before the november election. this will supercharge the democratic base, i think, more than anything else. yeah, it will help stoke up republican turnout, but the democrats will be very angry and they'll be motivated. this will make them more angry. >> but the cross-currents that you're talking about, i think, particularly for joe manchin in west virginia where the president won by 30 points, is he needs to make sure that trump/manchin voters, there will be a lot because people in west virginia like him and like donald trump, that he has to try to please them but also the liberals, even though it doesn't seem like there might be very many liberals in west virginia, there are and they're the ones who have the energy. so i think those are the cross-currents. that's the really, really difficult balancing act. >> there's a lot of groups that will drive clicks and make a lot of money by making this the fight. even though they know they're going to lose and putting these senators in a horrible position, they don't care about this.
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>> that will happen in the left and right. >> i'm saying this from experience. the professional left will do what our people have done which is drive clicks, make money. >> all act raising money. >> yeah. i have to take a quick break. we are minutes away from the president's announcement on his supreme court nominee. when we return a conversation with a professor alan dershowitz who talked with the the president about this selection. ♪ [ coughs ] ♪
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selection. president trump will walk into the east room with someone who it might be and what he or she might do as anthony kennedy's successor on the supreme court. as we've been talking, protesters have also been speaking out. we are joined at the court. as we near the top of the hour, what's the scene? >> reporter: well, the protesters are out here tonight because they understand, anderson, that this pick is going to change the court behind me for decades. and as you said, all along we've had one top contender and that's brett kavanaugh. a former kennedy clerk. he's 53 years old. he's written 300 opinions that conservatives really like. some have reservations about a couple of those opinions and some say the president should look past the belt way, because he spent his entire life within the belt way. another top contender is tom
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hardiman. he is only 53 years old and he's important because the president really liked his personal story. it was the first in his family to graduate from college. he drove a cab for a while. and the president liked what he could bring to the table. he was the runner up last time around. and there are two other people we don't think that they're in play tonight, largely because they're in their home states. but one was ray kethledge. he was considered gorsuch 2.0 because he shares the same judicial philosophy as neil gorsuch and scalia. finally judge amy coney barrett. president trump put her on the bench for the lower courts. she doesn't have a very big track record of opinions, but she has a lot of academic writing on religion. and some people here thought that maybe she would be a vote to overturn roe v. wade. and that's what these protesters are talking about tonight on both sides of the issue, anderson. >> are there any potential wild cards at this point?
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>> reporter: boy, we don't think so. we've been told there were these four for the last week or so. it would be a real surprise if the president pulled that off tonight. >> the president, whoever -- which ever of these four or others are picked, it certainly marks the beginning of what could be a profound shift and we're talking about a shift for decades. >> reporter: you're absolutely right. for this past week we've been only talking about anthony kennedy's replacement. we lost sight of the big picture here. remember he was the key swing vote and he voted with liberals on issues such as abortion, affirmative action, lgbt right. when he stepped down, it was only 12 days ago. the president said he was looking for someone for maybe the next 40 years. that's 2058. that's around the time of my grandchildren. that's how long this could last at this court. >> appreciate it. we'll continue to check in with you with the supreme court announcement looming, alan
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dershowitz, never known to be shy with his opinions, talked with president trump a few days ago about the selection. professor dershowitz is the author of the case against impeaching trump. you probably won't go into details what you said to the president. what can you tell us about this phone call with the president? >> well, i think the president is looking at the big picture. this is only one of several nominations he expects to make. and i think what he's thinking about tonight or what he thought about today was who should be the first of my picks? he's anticipating making two, three, four, maybe five picks over the years. and so he's kind of setting out a program for who he would like to pick over the years. i think tonight it will be kavanaugh, at least that's the message that sources close to the white house are sending. now, they may be sending it because it's a head fake. we know the president likes to keep secrets until the last minute. but certainly the white house is sending a message through its surrogates that kavanaugh seems to be the pick for this one. and i think he's anticipating
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perhaps his next one if justice ginsburg retires that maybe he will put judge barrett on the court next time. i think he's thinking of this one as today but not his final choice for supreme court nominations. >> with kavanaugh, there's obviously long track record, a lot of decisions that kavanaugh has made over the years. that can present some challenges if democrats, you know, wade through them, try to use it to slow the nomination process down. >> i don't think so that's correct. i think his long record hurt him among republicans and conservatives more than among democrats. i think that he's passed that test. i think you'll see series of opinions that are relatively routine, court of appeals judges don't get to make a lot of law. he clerked for two very, very distinguished judge and a justice. he went to an elite law school where he was the top of his class. and he's supposed to be a person
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with an open mind, who doesn't have a rigid, judicial philosophy like some others. he is also supposed to be someone who supports precedent. i do not believe roe versus wade will be overruled. i think it will be chipped away and made less powerful and women will have difficulties getting abortion, but it will be absolutely foolish to overrule roe versus wade. it would be bad for the president. ultimately bad for the republican party, bad for the supreme court. and i think there are smart enough people to realize that the real harm they can do to a woman's right to choose is to chip it away and let states like texas and other states impose such difficult barriers and they can do that while -- >> which is already happening. >> it's already happening and kennedy stopped that a little but he didn't stop it completely. so i think we see a process tht begins and will exacerbate now over time but it won't be as dramatic a change. certainly with kavanaugh, it
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won't be as dramatic. if it had been judge barrett, i think we might see an ideological dramatic change she will vote clearly to overrule roe versus wade. the president does head fakes. don't be surprised if there's a surprise. >> yeah. professor dershowitz, appreciate it. as always, we heard the road to senate confirmation won't be a particularly easy one. joining us is richard blumenthal. senator, thanks very much. we're getting our first look at the east room where this announcement will shortly be made. some systenate democrats said t will vote against that person no matter who is nominated tonight. >> anderson, i served as law clerk to justice blackman of the united states supreme court, the year after he wrote the roe v. wade opinion. and i have argued cases for them in the united states supreme court. i have extraordinary reverence and respect for the court and its justices.
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and i take more seriously than almost any other this vote that i will cast as a member of the judiciary committee. so i'm going to listen very carefully, but i will tell you, this president has corrupted the selection in a way no other president has done. no other president has outsourced the decision to outside groups like the federalist society and made himself a puppet of those groups. and in effect, imposed a litmus test with all due respect to professor dershowitz, the president has said he will nominate someone who will automatically, his word, overturn roe v. wade and he has made clear that he will nominate someone only if that person has been debted in screen by the federalist society to also overturnkey health care rights, like protections for millions of americans who suffer from pre-existing conditions.
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and finally, and maybe most importantly because we heard rudy giuliani just over the weekend say the president would not voluntarily comply with an interview request if mueller does not give him evidence of a crime he's committed, this this justice will be the swing vote on whether the president is compelled to testify before a grand jury, whether he can pardon himself or others and other key decisions. >> i know that you say a president shouldn't have a lit mu muss test but do you have any doubt if hillary clinton would be picking a nominee that would be upholding roe v. wade. >> whether or not she would have her own test really, with all due respect, is irrelevant to what we're facing here. never before has a president explicitly and definitely said, i have a litmus test in effect. roe v. wade must be overturned,
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and i'm going to demand also that this nominee answer very specifically and explicitly questions that we put to him or her. no more deferential or courteous acceptance of evasive, rehearsed, canned answers like "i'll adhere to established precedent." no more business as usual. we need to be very demanding so the american people know where this justice stands. >> so could you see any scenario where you could vote for whomever the president nominates tonight if it's of the four whose names have been out there? >> if the president nominates someone on this list, i will be a "no" because this nominee has passed the trump litmus test, is the product of an outside, fringe, right-wing group, the federalist society, and would do enormous harm, perhaps lasting, destructive damage to key rights
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and liberties, not only reproductive rights and health care rights but also voting rights, civil rights, gay rights, marriage equality, and would be turning back the clock to a time when abortion was criminalized. women were prosecuted. they died. they were denied access to contraception like the morning after pill. >> about eight minutes away from this announcement. let's check in with jim acosta in the east room. looks like the room is filling up there, jim. what are you seeing? what are you hearing. >> reporter: still a closely guarded secret as to what the president is going to announce. there has been a lot of kbuz within the last couple of hours about brett kavanaugh. that's somebody we're going to be looking to see in just a few moments if that is indeed the president's pick for the supreme court. just to give you an indication of just how tightly under wraps they're keeping all of this, there's a seat up in the front row of the east room of the white house here, and it says
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"nominee's spouse," so that's how closely guarded they're keeping this secret. they don't obviously want to put the person's name on the seat card. but there are a lot of notable republicans in the room. right now the vice president is making his way into the room. the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell. interestingly because there's been so much speculation about the fate of rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, he's also in the room, rudy giuliani, the president's outside attorney, he is also here, among many of the other top republicans coming in the room. there is also a seat for jon kyl, who is going to be the sherpa for this nominee pick. so, anderson, at this point, you know, the reading of the tea leaves essentially has to come to an end at some point. but it does seem there's a lot of momentum moving in the direction of brett kavanaugh from the d.c. circuit court of appeals, somebody who is obviously known as a staunch conservative. i was talking to a source close to the white house in the last hour who said, yes, this person, judge kavanaugh, is widely
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regarded as being very tightly linked with the bush administration and george w. bush. but people from all walks of life and the republican party are linked to the bush administration and george w. bush and george bush's father for that matter. so this person was saying you sort of have to put that aside. but at the end of the day, anderson, you can set aside all the reality tv show comparisons. this is a big night for the president. he is obviously now going to put his second pick on the united states supreme court in less than two years. that is an amazing accomplishment and ability for this president to do that. and at this point, anderson, you know, when you talk to a lot of republicans -- and i talked to them earlier today about the president and this pick he's about to make. one of the things they keep coming back to, the reason why they stick with this president, put aside his behavior, put aside his antics, his tweets, is the ability of this president to shape the supreme court of the united states and these about to
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do that in the next several minutes. >> back again, jake tapper, dana bash, jeffrey toobin and david axelrod. i don't think we've had a buildup like this from any president for an announcement like this. i mean the president has been promoting this announcement, 9:00 on monday, for i think more than a week now. >> almost as if he comes from the world of reality television, one would think. i have to say also i don't think we've ever gotten this close to an announcement of a vice president or a supreme court pick without it leaking. >> what makes this even so unusual is this isn't exactly a white house that's known for not leaking. >> that's the thing. >> this is a leaky sieve. but on this particular announcements, they've been very discipli disciplined because he wants the show -- he's the producer. he doesn't want anybody messing up the show. >> the white house put out a video on twitter earlier building it up almost as if it were, you know -- >> the trailer. >> the season finale of this show. but, you know, we shouldn't
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discount what jim was talking about. this president is, you know, barring some truly momentous event, going to be able to put his mark on this court and change it on the social issues that jeffrey was talking about, affirmative action, abortion rights, same-sex marriage, death penalty cases in some instances, and change it in a more conservative direction. one of the reasons senator blumenthal was president trump for outsourcing in his terminology, this to the federalist society, it's because they didn't trust him as a candidate because his sister is a judge. i think she's kind of moderate. he obviously has been all over the map in terms of his pronouncements on various social and legal issues. republican voters didn't trust him, so he did outsource it. i'll just pick whoever these guys tell me to do. if that checks your box, and for a lot of republicans it did. >> he was very clear during the debates where he stood. >> it was anathema for any of us
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who have covered republican politics for five seconds that somebody with his social -- his history on social issues, especially abortion, would be the republican nominee. and he had to make this choice to put this list out, and it worked for him. it was a political calculation that was successful. we'd like to say elections have consequences and now -- >> especially with all the talk about kavanaugh in these final minutes, let's talk more about him. what is -- >> well, you know, the one thing kn no one will be able to say is he's incompetent. he is an accomplished judge. he has been a judge on the second most important court in the united states for 13 years. that's a big deal, and it's the court that produced john roberts. it's the court that produced ruth bader ginsburg, antonin scalia, clarence thomas. it has been a supreme court farm team. he has written serious opinions. so the issue of competence, i think, will be off the table.
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the challenge will be to discuss the substance of what he will rule. i think it's all well and good to talk about conservative and liberal, but the question that i think, you know, the people are going to answer is what is it going to be like for a gay person to go to a restaurant and have the owner say, well, you know, it's my first amendment right not to serve you here? that's the kind of cases that are going to be so different in front of the supreme court. what happens when the first physician and nurse in texas is prosecuted and goes to prison for performing an abortion? those are the kinds of questions that i think democrats are going to want to have answered. but as long as the issue is competence and integrity and intelligence, kavanaugh is in perfect shape. >> but those aren't the questions that are going to be answered. >> that's right. >> by the way, we're just minutes away now. we're supposed to be seeing the president any minute now. >> i mean he is a very skilled
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person, very sophisticated person, and he is not going to fall into traps. he is going to be well rehearsed not to answer these -- >> judge kavanaugh? >> judge kavanaugh if he indeed is the nominee. and so, you know, these positions will be imputed to him with some good evidence, including what the president has said in the past. but he will, as i said earlier, he will give plausible deniability to those two women in the senate who are pro-choice and to some of the red-state republicans to say he is not -- he is not what we fear. >> if i could just say, i interviewed senator collins, susan collins, who is one of the republican senators who supports abortion rights. and i asked her about neil gorsuch as an academic matter. doesn't she think that neil gorsuch ultimately when given the chance will vote to overturn roe v. wade. she said no. she met with him when he was a nominee. he was big on precedent. he assured her -- i guess he had
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written a book about precedent, the importance of holding up precedent. but in any case, i don't know how tough an audience murkowski and collins are going to be. that's really the question. i don't think -- i think the groups like planned parenthood, all those groups, they expect murkowski and collins to vote against any trump nominee. i think that that is not in the cards. you're really going to have to make a case for them, and they both voted for neil gorsuch. >> susan collins has never voted against a supreme court nominee of any president. i mean she -- so it would be extremely out of character for her. >> it would be out of character, but this is obviously different because it's -- >> the first lady just walked into the room. sorry. go ahead, dana. >> it's different because it's a piece of legislation, not a position on the highest court in the land. but they have a sense of responsibility, these two female republicans who are self-described pro-choice republicans, on obamacare, for example, on