tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN September 17, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
and "saturday night live" with 21 nominations each. good luck to all of them. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you very much for being with me. let's go to washington. "the lead with jake tapper" starts right now. could president trump's supreme court nomination be crumbling to pieces? "the lead" starts right now. moments ago, president trump weighing in on the sex assault allegations against brett kavanaugh, defending his supreme court nominee as one of the finest people he's ever known. could trump's own struggles with the me too movement impact his next move? today judge kavanaugh went to the white house after his nomination was thrown into chaos as key republicans with critical votes say his accuser should be heard. plus, towns turned into islands. the death toll rising as the waters rapidly rise as florence may have saved her worst for last.
welcome to "the lead," i'm jake tapper. we begin with president trump's supreme court brett kavanaugh whose confirmation was once seen as a sure bet, now it's in question. all ten democratic members of the senate judiciary committee are pushing for a delay on the committee vote. but far more significantly, four republican senators including one on the committee agree, insisting that they need to hear directly from kavanaugh's accuser, christine blasey ford, before proceeding. the president praised kavanaugh still and argued that the accusations should have been brought forward sooner by the democrats who have known about it since july. >> judge kavanaugh is one of the finest people that i've ever known. he's an outstanding intellect, outstanding judge respected by everybody. never had even a little blemish on his record. at the same time, we want to go through a process, we want to
make sure everything is perfect, everything is just right. i wish the democrats could have done this a lot sooner. >> yesterday ford went public with accusations of attempted sexual assault against nkavanauh to the "washington post." until then she was anonymous, only sharing her identity with representatives in congress. ford alleges that in the early 1980s as a teenager, a drunken kavanaugh held her down and tried to undress her at a party and that she feared for her life as he put his hand over her mouth. ford's lawyer today said she felt the act was an attempted rape at the time. kavanaugh strongly denies the allegation, calling it, quote, completely false and saying, quote, i have never done anything like what the accuser describes to her or to anyone. this never happened, unquote. both ford and kavanaugh say they're willing to testify publicly. let's get to cnn's jeff zeleny at the white house. considering how angry we're told president trump is behind the scenes, those were measured comments he just made.
>> reporter: they were measured comments and disciplined, as well, almost more disciplined than anything i can recall him saying, reacting with on an issue with such consequences. that is why the president was doing that. he knows how serious this is. the white house has been in touch with senate republicans all day long. judge kavanaugh, in fact, was here at the white house for several hours working behind the scenes with officials who now are preparing him for the possibility of another public hearing. the only time the president showed a bit of anger today, when he was asked if judge kavanaugh should withdraw. he said that is a ridiculous question. >> judge kavanaugh is -- >> reporter: president trump standing firmly behind supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. >> he's an outstanding intellect, an outstanding judge, respected by everybody. never had even a little blemish on his record. >> reporter: he said he would be open to delaying the confirmation vote. >> i want him to go in at the absolute highest level, and i think to do that, you have to go through this. if it takes a little delay, it will take a little delay.
it shouldn't certainly be very much. >> reporter: behind the scenes, cnn has learned the president is furious and frustrated by what he suspects is an 11th hour attempt to smear his pick for the supreme court. a california professor, christine blasy ford, accusing kavanaugh of sexual assaulting her while they were teenagers in high school. kavanaugh calling it a completely false allegation. yet his confirmation now hangs in the balance. kellyanne conway, one of the highest ranking women in the white house, trying to set a tone of civility. >> on behalf of the president with whom i've spoken at length about this. she should not be ignored or insulted. she should be heard. >> reporter: sending a message to others around the president this moment is a serious one. it came after the president's son, donald trump jr., mocked want accuser in this instagram post citing judge kavanaugh's sexuality letter found by dems, will you be my girlfriend? yes, no, love brett.
last year alabama republican senate candidate roy moore garnered these comments by the president la-- >> he said 40 years ago this did not happen. >> reporter: less than two months before the midterms when women voters and candidates are playing a critical conditi-- a white house is treading carefully saying kavanaugh and ford should be heard. it's an open question how long the president remains measured. with the midterms in the future some 50 days away, combined with this me too movement, the white house taking this very seriously and trying to send a message both sides should be heard. i think the question is will the president's allies, his own son included, keep on that same message, or are we about to see a new battle here in washington erupt? jake? >> i'm guessing the battle's going to happen. jeff zeleny, we're not there yet. let's talk about there with the experts. simone, i want you to listen to
our own manu raju. just spoke to senator orrin hatch who had spoken on the phone with judge kavanaugh. take a listen. >> what did he say to you? >> he didn't do that. he wasn't at the party. so you know, there's clearly somebody's mixed up. i think she's mistaken. >> he didn't do that. he wasn't at the party. clearly somebody's mixed up, i think she's mistaken, what's your response? >> i'm trying to figure out how judge kavanaugh knows he wasn't at a party that ford doesn't know come party he was at. he remembers he wasn't at a party where he didn't do what he was accused of -- this is why we need a hearing. i think judge kavanaugh has been credibly accused. and senator hatch included, anyone who partiasserts that sh mixed up, mistaken iss do a disservice to -- is doing a disservice to all women. particularly making it hard to come forward with stories.
>> brett kavanaugh says he's willing to talk to the senate judiciary committee, quote, in any way the committee deems appropriate. is there anything he could say that -- i know you oppose him on policy grounds. on judicial grounds. but on this issue, having to do with this accusation, is there anything he could say that would satisfy concerns you might have? >> i think that the challenge is he's already said something, right. he unequivocally denied the accusations and following up on simone's point, i think it's the strongest he could be on it. i think he has denied any wrongdoing in this way. any behavior that looks like this. i think the real challenge, it sounds like he and his friends used to get really drunk in high school. from what i understand, you get really drunk in -- i was a good christian -- i did not have my first drink until i was 24. that's about the only part of the good christian i was, though. but -- sorry, change the direction. i want to be honest. i believe in truth. even when it's damaging. >> we appreciate it. >> the reality here is, you know, he has some really big red
flags to me. and this is just the latest one. this isn't the only one. and i look forward to his testimony. it's not in any form in which the senate judiciary committee deems necessary. it should be public just like anita hill's was public 27 years ago. >> listen to kellyanne conway this morning trying to send a signal to everybody in the white house, maybe even her boss, about what she thinks the tenor and tone should be about this accusation and the accuser. >> she should not be insulted. she should not be ignored. sheep should testify under oath and do it on capitol hill. that's up the senate judiciary committee, they need to decide. >> she should not be insulted. she should not be ignored. if she wants to testify, she should. is that the right tone? >> that is the right tone. that is right messaging, but it is not going to help judge kavanaugh. why? everyone that defended locker room talk from president trump is not going to have credibility before the american people. yes, he does have to defend himself on this. and he is at a significant
disadvantage because he can't have the white house behind him because they are compromised on this issue. and so i think he can make it through. i think he can be confirmed if no other evidence comes up. but if there is one witness that comes out, one more story, a picture, anything, given the categorical denials that he has given, he has no wiggle room. >> you were at the white house during the clarence thomas hearings, right? the bush white house, you worked for the vice president, dan quayle. does this remind you of all that? >> i was there working with the teams reporting, clarence thomas, i never thought i'd see that again. here we are, you know. >> this allegation is more serious than the one -- >> it is more serious. they're quite different in many ways. >> right. >> i just think we need to have the testimony from both of them, and then see what -- what other con temperatutemporaneous evide witness there's are on another seed and make a sober judgment. because you think brett kavanaugh drank too much or
others think that professor ford should have come forward earlier, it's irrelevant. either it's true -- professor ford says something happened, judge kavanaugh says it didn't. let's do our best to find out the truth. >> jake, i want to be clear, for me there is no debate. i believe professor ford. judge kavanaugh has lied multiple times under oath -- >> come on, that's ridiculous. that's ridiculous. >> i'm saying i believe her -- >> you think there's no chance -- >> you were convinced by one allegation about something 35 years ago -- >> i'm convinced, jake, because -- when i was in college, i was intoxicated, and a man who i had previously rebuffed his advances multiple times took advantage of the fact that i could not consent one night. the next day, he denied raping me. that's exactly what he did. and if he ever came -- came up for a supreme court nomination, president of the united states, or congressman, whatever, i don't care, it's been 20 years, 50 years, i would come forward. i don't think anyone that has ever done that, whether it was once in their life or 50 times,
deserves to sit at the highest seat in power -- >> i agree. we have no knowledge whether brett kavanaugh did that -- >> i believe christine ford -- no, because to come forward, she has no -- there's no enticeme enticementleenticements for her to come forward and have her life destroyed. to have folks sit on panels such as these and others and have the senate, the leader in the senate, basically tear down her character and assert that she's a liar. so there's no incentive for her to come forward except to tell the truth. except to do her due diligence this. isn't a criminal proceeding. this is -- >> i think something happened to her. i not there's a ton. potential for gray area in this kind of scenario. if he was stumbling drunk, well, why did it stop? did she stop and maybe he stopped? >> the speculation, it's just wrong. >> the part of -- >> this is why this is such a difficult situation. if you are going to stop this confirmation, we need more information. >> i think this -- >> because we don't teach consent is the issue. >> i think what she said in her letter or what she said and her lawyer has conveyed is that kavanaugh alleged lie wly on to
her and a friend of kavanaugh's, mark judge, jumped on them and knocked him off, and she was able to get out. i think that's how it happened. >> sounds like a terrible drunken situation where a lot of things could go wrong. >> no, look, the letter is compelling in the arenas that it doesn't look like something that was made up. and in fact, she puts in details that could or could not be corroborated. was mark judge in the room, they can probably try to find out if there was such a party and so forth. i am not questioning her motives or at this point saying that i know who's telling the truth. this is -- we need to have the hearing, need to investigate this. >> there are a couple of observations i have. the first is there were 65 women who signed to a letter, you know, attesting to the great moral character of brett kavanaugh -- >> women who knew him back in high school -- >> high school. and chuck grassley who heads-up the judiciary committee released this letter without telling these women why they were signing on to this letter. now, after those 65 women have signed on to it, they found out
what happened, two of them have spoken up. so bill, i would say to you, someone who i enjoy being on panels with all the time, even watching your response to simone right now, the kind of this overbearing, overtalking of -- with women, is exactly the reason why anita hill had the kind of hearing she had when you were helping clarence thomas and the reason why a lot of women refuse to speak up because not only -- i do believe in the criminal justice system. but this is not a criminal justice situation -- >> i agree, and i'm not criticizing her for speaking up. i think we need to suspend judgment we learn more. >> why don't you believe her? >> i'm saying i don't know who to believe, that's correct. i tried carefully to say that. i'm saying i don't know who to believe. >> i think that's okay. the reason for even that doubt, that is exactly why this hearing, this investigation, everything about their testimony needs to be in a public format -- >> i agree with that. i agree with that. >> can we say it's brave that you came out, you did it on twitter also, and shared your story. we all know you. i believe you, i'm sure everybody here believes you. i don't know professor ford. and so i think there are a lot
of people who might just be -- i want to hear what she has to say, i'm not saying she didn't do it -- >> she's got a polygraph, therapist notes from 2013 and 2012. some would say why did it take so long? i had a cousin who told us she was molested, and she's older now. what the timing is. thank god i am privileged, i've never been subject to molestation or sexual assault. i don't know what that burden is like. but i would like for us to at least give these folks to have the grace to come forward whenever they do -- >> that's something that's come out of this. i'm serious. the initial reaction when it came out, a lot of conservative men that i follow on twitter were like, that was 17 years ago, he was a kid, it doesn't matter -- >> more than 17. 35 -- >> deletedet tweets. they saw -- deleted the tweets. they saw what happened, what happens to 15-year-old girls can change the rest of their life. they said, you changed my mind. i think there's greater understanding. even though we don't know for
sure, where the context was, who could have seen it, there is more understanding of the situation. >> and we'll all -- we'll come back and talk more. we'll come to you first. we want to hear more. she deserves her day in court. will republicans delay the kavanaugh vote in that's the question. majority leader mitch mcconnell weighing in moments ago. plus, the worst is yet to come. that's the warning from one city's mayor in north carolina where water is rapidly rising. ♪ ooh, heaven is a place on earth ♪ uhp. i didn't believe it. again. ♪ ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth? ♪ i want to believe it. [ claps hands ] ♪ ooh i'm not hearing the confidence. okay, hold the name your price tool. power of options based on your budget! and! ♪ we'll make heaven a place on earth ♪ yeah! oh, my angels!
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not through the standard bipartisan process, not by advising the judiciary committee colleagues and committee staff through proper channels. oh, but by leaking it to the press. >> majority leader mitch mcconnell attacking democrats for keeping the misconduct allegations. now let's listen to senator susan collins of maine. >> that's why it's important that there be a very thorough interview and that we see bhoeth individua -- see both individuals respond to the allegations. there are questions, inconsistencies, fwa inconsistencies, gaps. that's why to be fair we need to know what happened. it's my understanding that the staff is doing interviews or ploe proposed to do interviews, and that, i assume, would be the pre-tllude to some soerrt of he.
>> do you believe dr. ford? >> i don't know enough about dr. ford and her allegations yet to reach that kind of judgment. that's why having the opportunity to observe her being questioned, read a transcript or a deposition and make that kind of assessment is so important. obviously if judge kavanaugh has lied about what happened, that would be disqualifying. [ all talking at once ] >> you spoke to him on the phone the other day, what but say -- >> thank you. i'm sorry. i'm sorry. >> i want to answer this one last question. >> sure. >> please. >> last week, the judiciary committee staff informed me of this letter. i read the letter. at that point, we had no idea who had sent it, and i noticed
the date of the letter and wondered why the information had not been released long ago. i asked judge kavanaugh when i had my final hour-long telephone call with him on friday about the letter and the allegations that it contained. he emphatically denied that the allegations were true. he said that he had never acted that way, not only with this unnamed accuser but with any woman. he was absolutely emphatic about that. >> thank you -- >> if this turns into a he said/she said, how do you make the decision? >> that's why it's important that we have testimony under oath with a lot of questions asked of both of them. >> should the fbi play a role
here? >> thank you. >> senator susan collins, republican of maine, and one of the key swing votes in the senate when it comes to the kavanaugh supreme court nomination saying that both the accuser of kavanaugh and kavanaugh need to testify under oath about this incident that the accuser alleges took place around 1982. my panel with me. susan collins seems to have an open mind. wants to know what she says, wants what he says. your reaction? >> susan collins is a champion of women's rights, a defender of women. i can tell you that a number of folks have been disappointed in the way that she has handled the kavanaugh nomination, particularly some of her constituents. i think this is something that her constituents would like -- are happy to hear from her, but they'll be watching her. it's not enough to make grand statements and gestures if you are not going to back it up with action. what else does susan collins need to hear? and i just -- on this point that
mitch mcconnell made about regular bipartisan order and process, i'd like to remind everyone that after judge scalia's death, mitch mcconnell kept the seat open, the supreme court seat that was president obama's to fill for 422 days to fill. it's been 46 days since justice kennedy retired y. are we rushing this? >> she says if -- if he's lying, that's disqualifying. that's important. what i do not want to hear, republican senators go on and on about the timing. it's about the person who makes the accusation to determine the timing that goes public. instead, they should say if anyone has information that needs to go public, we need to get it now. we're going to delay this for a week, we want to gather as much information as we can. if someone has information to change votes, come to us. then shut up and listen. >> and just to be clear, i'll come to you, but the timing is
that in july dr. ford, the professor, told both her congresswoman, ann eschew, and dianne feinstein, and the "washington post" about what had happened to her, but was not prepared at that point to come forward. and, in fact, was not prepared until yesterday afternoon. and that's when the "washington post" broke the story. >> i'm with susan collins. i think mitch mcconnell does a disservice to turn this into a partisan fight. whatever's -- whether feinstein could have acted differently in therms of sharing the -- the terms of sharing the letter or differently, is totally irrelevant. susan collins' attitude is the right one. and senators and the white house should stop playing partisan games and say let's try to find out the truth. one thing i would add, i'm not sure we won't -- they'll testify under oath. they'll be pushed on various details. there are others, this is -- you know, this other man -- >> mark judge, who denies it. he it says didn't happen. >> okay. let's see him testify.
let's see him talk about that. and there may be others who have con temperature rainious evidence that -- contemporaneous evidence that sheds light. i think susan collins' tone was right. i think mitch mcconnell did a disservice to judge kavanaugh who i'm told urged the white house to take the they took with kellyanne conway. to say, look, we cannot -- this is not true. kavanaugh says to his friends, this is absolutely false, but we need to treat this respectfully and let the hearing go forward. >> there's a possibility, angela, i want to say, that we had don't ever find out more beyond the testimony of these two individuals, both of whom may prove to be completely credibly saying what they think is the truth. and it's possible that there is no contemporaneous individual who remembers her because professor ford has already said she didn't tell anybody until i think six years ago in marital therapy. she finally said this, that she went decades without telling anybody, as you know. that's not uncommon with
survivors of sexual assault. we might be in the same place in a week or two with two individuals and basically i hate to say the cliche but basically he said/she said. >> yeah. and one legal standard at least in criminal -- in criminal cases is standard of reasonable doubt. and right now there's reasonable doubt at least against judge kavanaugh and a reason he should not go forward. the other thing we should continue to press for are the red state democrats to speak up, to be brave for what they know is right, if partisanship was not at an all-time high and if we weren't having turf wars, i think people would say, you know, there's enough that's happened in katcher -- in kavanaugh's proceedings for me to be uncomfortable. this is the tip of the iceberg where we can not just ram this vote down the american people's throats. i think that the final point is this is a midterm election. it's already very hot. i wish they would -- >> they would what? >> i wish they would continue
down the same road knowing that this man is this potentially compromised. it is very, very bad. it's in bad form. poor taste. a reason we might need the supermajority -- >> what if they withdraw and they nominate amy coney barrett, who is loved by -- i can see a scenario where republicans decide to abandon him and say we're going to bet big on judges again it paid off for republicans in the 2016 election. let's go for it. >> you've got to be kidding. does it help republicans to have -- look, if he's not telling the truth, he's not telling the truth, he will be abandoned, and he should be abandoned by republican senators. >> yeah. >> if he's telling the truth and it becomes -- the evidence is on his side, he should be supported. if, as you suggest, it really remains a genuine uncertainty and dilemma, people have to make up their own minds. >> i think they also have to think -- i hate to put it in political terms but we might as
well, the midterm election will be decided by women, suburban white women, black women, latino women all over this country. if i was a gop strategist, i would not be encouraging folks to put all their bets in the basket of someone that has been credibly accused at this point. regardless -- >> start over -- >> regardless of folks can have that conversation i guess by b they want to see more facts -- guess about they want to see more fact. if i am a woman sitting in the suburb of georgia or in ohio or omaha, nebraska, district two where cara eastman is running, i am looking at this seriously saying in this day and age, is this the treatment women deserve? is this who we have put -- i want to send somebody else to congress cto have my back. >> and we'll go to break, but we'll have more. stick with us. with moderate to severe crohn's disease, i was there, just not always where i needed to be.
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dr. ford deserves to be heard. to railroad a vote now would be a deep insult to the women of ameri america, a lasting scar on the integrity of the supreme court. >> that was senate minority leader chuck schumer just minutes ago speaking about the accusations against president trump's supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. kavanaugh forcefully denies the allegations. two of our legal experts, laura coates, let me talk to you.
these allegations made by chr christine blasey ford, no charges ever brought. according to her and her lawyer, she never told anyone at the time. it wasn't until six years ago in marital therapy that she first raised the subject of this happening to her. what might an fbi investigation which democrats are calling for, what might that even look like? >> technically, this happened in montgomery county, that's maryland, which would mean there's no real limitations period for a felony sexually assault. if this is a misdemeanor level, which may be what she's going for in terms of the allegations she has ascribed of the molestation, of the groping, over her mouth, that may rise to the misdemeanor level. the fbi will have to determine the severity of the allegations. you're right to think about the delayed reporting. that's the number-one hurdle that most sexual assault victims have to overcome. why did you delay? what's your motivation? why now? and why did you choose once he was on the cusp perhaps of a greater level of prominence? this goes into the victim
shaming and questioning her, but it's a real question for investigators. they don't have all the facts in front of them. memories start to fade. and they have to kind of put it in the scope of would a prosecutor now have charged this conduct. >> but -- >> go ahead -- >> well, just that there are also facts that can be determined out there in the world. she says there were four women and two men there. who were the four women? whose house was it at? those are issues that can be determined. apparently according to orrin hatch, brett kavanaugh said that he was not at that party. so he seems to know where the party took place. let's talk to the people who live -- who live there. yes, it is a very long time ago, but it's not like you have to throw up your hands and just say it's one person's word against the other's. investigators know how to do this. and they can learn more than we know. now. >> and jeffrey, there's a 1998 memo from kavanaugh who was at the time working for independent
counsel ken starr. and he wrote that he was strongly opposed to giving president clinton a, quote, break in the questioning about his relationship with monica lewinsky. he wrote, clinton, quote, he should be forced to account for all of that and to defend his actions. it may not be our job to impose sanctions on him, but it is our job to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear piece by painful piece. i've seen a lot of people citing this on the web. what's your response? >> well, in fairness to judge kavanaugh, he seems to be saying, go ahead, ask me anything. ask me about this event. ask me anything about my past in terms of relationships with women. so yes, he is calling for, you know, ugly, detailed scrutiny of bill clinton when he was working for kenneth starr. in fairness to him it sounds like at least that he's willing to subject himself to the same scrutiny. >> and that's what should happen here, though, gentlemen. you're talking about somebody who's looking to fill a position
for the rest of his life which means that before his entire life should be on display about who he is as a person. frankly, just as he was about not wanting to give clinton a break, it makes sense as the head of the sbexecutive branch, for him to violate laws -- a judge would have to interpret or preside judgment over somebody else. it makes sense that he would have to account for. it doesn't mean that he's guilty or innocent. he should be tested. that's what due process is. >> and simone, let me ask you. amanda talked about how some conservative men she saw on twitter were initially writing, oh, this took place when he was 17, 35, 36 years ago, and then they deleted that. they started to think twice. is there a cutoff do you think? when somebody is 15, 16, or does it depend upon the action? >> look, i think some of the same conservative folks are some of the same folks that believe in mandatory minimums. and enforcing and that believe
that michael brown or trayvon martin got what they deserved. i think that if we are talking about we have to remember that we clearly are living in a broken culture. every single day. we're living in a broken culture. a culture that says boys will be boys. that sometimes that's just what happens. a culture that forces some women to say, well, you know, this just happened a lot of the time back in our day. this is unacceptable. and i am fortunate that we -- that in 2018 folks are saying this isn't how it has to be. we have to have a conversation about it. and i believe you have to atone for it. you have to be held accountable. like if i stole from a store 100 years ago, not 100, but if i stole from a store 15 years ago, i should have to answer to it. >> if you didn't steal from the store, you should be able to clear yourself. >> i should be able to do that. >> that's the point. you can not assume he's guilty because he's been accused of something. susan collins, i give her credit for saying if he's lying, it's disqualifying. he's not trying to make excuses. he's not saying it happened -- she's not making excuses, she's not saying it happened 35 years
ago. >> yeah to all that. i think we should take away from this situation if it did take place, not saying it did, brett kavanaugh would probably not be in the situation he is in today because he would have a record that would follow him. and do people have different treatment who come from different kind of families with lawyers in their families? this opens a whole other conversation about how drastically his life could have changed if he had gotten charged. >> jeffrey? >> there is still uncertainty about how this fact-finding will unfold. you notice when mitch mcconnell was talking about an investigation, he didn't mention public testimony. he didn't say there would be a public hearing. susan collins was sort of vague about that. i mean, there are a lot of details to be worked out here. will the fbi be involved, will this be under oath in front of the country at large? who else will testify besides these -- you know, the two protagonists in this story? these are all very important questions, and what you could tell from mcconnell's statement
is that he wants a small, narrow, private, as small an investigatio investigation as possible, and that is not going to be acceptable to democrats. >> angela? >> the fbi is already involved. dianne feinstein passed her letter to the fbi initially. i think the other part of this that we have to keep in context, of course we want to hear both sides of this story. but we need to remember what will be before brett kavanaugh if he were nominated to the supreme court on women's choice, equal pay, workers' rights. if he has a apparent and practice -- a pattern and practice of demonstrating that he can not ever side with women or that women are beneath him, i think that this is another piece of this -- >> but don't you think the professional career he's had speaks to that? >> yeah -- >> he does treat women in the workplace. >> not favorably, no. in fact, we -- >> we can look at the rulings. she's talking about his professional behavior. two different things. >> i'm sorry. i missed what you were saying. i think the other part is
speaking of professional behavior, in the hearing where kamala harris was questioning him, the way in which he chose to engage her is also telling and damning. i think i do have questions about how he engages with women professionally. i have questions about how he would rule in cases about women's bodies. i have questions on how he would side with women on equal pay issues or affirmative action -- >> that's independent of what -- >> not to me -- >> what may taint the nomination today -- >> it's not to me because where i started was, a lot of red flags exist to me -- >> yeah, but you can -- you disagree with his policy. >> no, i disagree -- >> but the nomination, it's ape character issue. >> i agree. what i just spoke to was his professionalism, his character, and to this -- >> but one of the things that i think amanda's trying -- she's trying to talk about here in a lot of these me-too cases, harvey stwoweinstein, we only h
18 minutes left. there's a trail of men who have been -- fallen because of their disgusting past behavior. in almost all of them, it's a pattern. you see more than one. what if nobody else comes forward? does that change things for you? >> no, i think that dr. ford, she has credibly come forward in my opinion. i think the fact that she first came out -- first was anonymous, then came out on the record and is saying she's willing to testify speaks volumes. i hope if there are any other women out there they come forward. these women are probably some of the most powerful people on the planet. if you believe and stand on the side of justice and you don't want to see this happen to anyone else, you do not want to see two credibly accused folks on the supreme court, come forward. even if they don't, i still think that her merits stand on their own. >> thank you, one and all, for that discussion. a rapidly rising death toll in the carolinas as rivers swell. is the worst from florence on the way? stay with us.
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authorities in the carolinas warn that the worst could be yet to come from what was hurricane florence. the now-tropical depression is making its way north while the death toll was just increased to 21. three of the lives lost were babies. because of florence, several rivers are running over their banks, cutting off cities such as wilmington, north carolina, with no way in by car right now. cnn's paolo sandoval is inland in lumberton. what are authorities worried about right now where you are? >> reporter: well, exactly what you mentioned, jake, which is access. you know, floodwaters still remain in communities throughout north carolina including here in lumberton. many interstates and also some
of these roads continue to be flooded each though in this particular city the river has stopped rising. keep in mind "peoplpeople here lumberton have been through this when hurricane matthew swept through two years ago. people i've spoken to tell me it's like history seems to be repeating itself. deadly and deep. floodwaters are rushing through the carolinas as days of rainfall break 140-year records in places. deaths continuing to mount including 1-year-old kaiden lee welch whose body was found this morning. the baby was swept out of his mother's arms as she tried to pass through fast-moving water sunday. >> she was a stranger to this community. driving through this road. she did not know. the water forced her off the road and across an open field. >> reporter: there are ongoing rescue efforts across the region as water levels continue to rise. the lumber river outside of wimbledon invaded many
neighborhoods still not yet recovered after hurricane matthew two years ago. images shot by cnn show the devastation at ground level. dozen who's thought they had survived the worst of hurricane florence now suddenly reliant on rescue workers as they leave their homes behind. >> some people say they've been praying for a while. some people are crying. and some people are just like, thank you, lord. >> reporter: teams searching for survivors in submerged trucks and hovering above flooded thunderstorms airlift citizens to safety. this woman was stranded in her house for days without medication. one myrtle beach official tells cnn, quote, we are slowly becoming an island as some citizens try to make their way through flooded roadways by car and even canoe. >> these are 500-year flood levels. this is a matter of weeks, months, maybe years to fully recover. >> reporter: flood watches and warnings have expanded to include ten states and nearly 30 million people all looking at the carolinas for signs of what
may be coming next. >> some areas have not seen the worst flooding yet. so this is a monumental disaster for our state. >> reporter: widespread power outages continue to be a major issue. just a while ago, i walked to a nearby hotel where people have been waiting to go into their homes for the last five days. they've been waiting there in the dark. last point i should make, during matthew, some of the hardest hit were those struggling economically which means they lost whatever little they had. now here they are again, jake. >> paolo sandoval, thank you very much. erica hill is in fayetteville where flooding is posing a threat to locals. the river levels are keeping locals on edge. >> reporter: they certainly are. that's the major concern. the river is behind us, we sent our drone up to give you a sense of what we're looking at here. this issone area where the cape
fear river has beyonded -- this is one area where the cape fear river has extended beyond its banks. the biggest concern, it's a beautiful day here. people have been cooped up for days with rain. one official said, you know, you should go outside. go outside, enjoy the sun while they're packing their cars to move to higher ground. there are mandatory evacuations in place for the one mile surrounding the cape fear and the little river because that river feeds into the cape fear. we're seeing a lot of the creeks that feed the cape fear river are really contributing to the flooding. the river is expected to crest tomorrow at 64 feet. when it was matthew's turn, it was only 53. >> erica hill in fayetteville, thank you very much. in our national lead, how a woman's narrow escape led police to a border patrol agent-turned-accused serial killer. stay with us. ♪
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new details just in about a u.s. border patrol agent described as a serial killer and a woman's daring escape that led to his arrest. juan david ortiz confessed to killing four women in a two-"newsweetwo hie-week time spain near the u.s.-mexico border. the border patrol agent had worked for the access for a decade. ortiz knew his victims. >> reporter: tasked with protecting our borders, juan david ortiz instead called a calculating serial killer by police. >> ortiz carried out murders in
a cold and callus way. >> reporter: the border patrol sergeant accused of shooting four women in the head. >> i believe that ortiz targeted all four women because of their profession and being vulnerable. in addition, all the victims were defensive and at one point, ortiz, hoped to gain their trust and then viciously shot them. >> reporter: the killings came to light after a would-be fifth victim narrowly escaped. investigators say on friday night, juan david ortiz ended up at this gas station with a woman named erica pena. pena told investigators that they were talking about one of her friends named melissa who had been found dead a week earlier. that's when she said that the border patrol agent started acting weird. when they got to this gas station. ortiz pulled a gun and tried to keep pena from kiting the vehicle. she said -- from skitting the vehicle. she said she ripped off her
short and ran tomorrow a state trooper who was gassing up for help. two of the four killings took place in the hours after pena made her escape but before police tracked him down in the parking garage of this hotel where they say he was hiding in the bed of a pickup. police a he confessed to killing four people between september 3rd and the 15th. four women worked as prostitutes, according to investigators. their bodies were found over the past two weeks. it's fear thursday are more. >> we will look everywhere that he has been to see if we have a pattern of victims such as this, and we'll continue the investigation. >> reporter: as for ortiz, he spent ten years with customs and border protection, rising up to an intelligence supervisor after spending time in the u.s. navy. border patrol officials say there's nothing nowin his disciplinary record to raise red flags. investigators say that ortiz met
with his victims numerous times and that's how he developed a confidence and trust of his victims before killing them. >> thank you very much. follow me on facebook and twitter @jaketapper, or at theleadcnn. we continue right now. happening now, confirmation in jeopardy. sudden questions about the future of supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh after a woman accuses him of assaulting her while they were -- when they were in high school. it could derail his confirmation. a little delay. president trump defends kavanaugh as one of the finest people he knows but says he supports hearing everyone out even if it delays confirmation. will kavanaugh and his accuser both testify under oath? deep trouble. flooding from florence claims more lives as the storm leaves what one official calls a