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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  September 22, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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to. >> if you want to see that story, go to cnnheroes.com. thank you for watching. >> there's much more ahead. we turn it over to fredricka whitfield. good morning to you. >> good morning to you. it has been a busy one. >> it has been. going to be a busy afternoon, too. >> good to see you. it is 11:00 on the east coast. i am fredricka whitfield. "newsroom" starts right now. we are hours away from the latest deadline set for christine blasey ford. she's accusing supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh of sexual assault back when they were in high school. ford and republicans are locked in a tense back and forth as they attempt to hammer out details for a possible set of testimonies next week where both sides can share their story. if ford's attorneys do not respond by 2:30 eastern time
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this afternoon with terms for her testimony, the committee, senate judiciary committee says it will vote monday on kavanaugh's nomination. tensions are high. ford and her family have been forced from their home after getting hate mail, death threats, and harassment. and u.s. marshals are investigating death threats to kavanaugh and his wife. where do things stand right now as far as you know from the white house perspective? >> president trump has remained silent about the new deadline. he only tweeted about the economy earlier today. we learned about the deadline from chuck grassley, chairman of the senate judiciary committee in a tweet that read like an apology to judge brett kavanaugh. in it, he says he is typically not this indecisive. as you know, we have blown
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through a number of deadlines already for ford's legal team and republicans on the senate judiciary committee to come to an agreement. ford's attorneys are suggesting that grassley should be apologizing to her because of the stress that the deadlines caused her. i want to read a statement from debra katz, christine blasey ford's attorney. she writes the position of aggressive, artificial deadlines regarding the date and conditions of any hearing has created tremendous and unwarranted anxiety and stress on dr. ford. your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the committee is completely inappropriate. senator grassley has not directly responded to that comment, but we know both sides are far apart on a number of issues, not only when christine blasey ford may testify but also who is going to be asking the questions. we know republicans on the senate judiciary committee want to hire outside counsel to
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question her, something her attorneys do not want. also dividing both sides, who is going to testify first. her attorneys demand that kavanaugh go first. senate judiciary committee republicans ask that ford testify first. yesterday at a rally in springfield, missouri, president trump made clear how he wants this to unfold and how far he is willing to go to make it happen. listen to this. >> a senator, good guy, said to me the other day, it was very interesting. we were talking about frankly about judge kavanaugh. we have to fight for him, not worry about the other side. and women are for that more than anybody would understand. >> again, fred, president trump has not yet weighed in on the 2:30 deadline. we should point out for the first few days after the specific allegations against his nominee to be the next supreme court justice came out, the
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president was relatively quiet on twitter, essentially defending kavanaugh, not questioning ford's credibility. that changed in the last few days. he suggested a number of times there's a democratic effort at play to try to derail the nomination process, fred. >> boris sanchez, thanks so much. keep us posted. let's talk more about this. joining me to discuss, political commentator david swerdlick, law enforcement analyst james galliano, former federal proper, lis wiehl. this deadline of 2:30 p.m. eastern time after moving it from another deadline, is it arbitrary, is it bullying, is this part of negotiations? >> i'll go back to my prosecuting days, when i would have accusers in front of me, and if they were getting death threats let's face that first,
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that became the primary thing that had to be dealt with. and both sides usually recognize when a person gets death threats and has to be separated from their children as is the case in this case, you kind of have to deal with the death threats first and the deadlines kind of take a second place. most people realize that. >> but is that what we can interpret as happening? yes, there has been movement of the deadline, but it seems as though the attorney representing miss ford is working really hard to convey that. we don't know the details of what's being expressed. when you listen to tweets of senator grassley, sounds like this is an annoyance. >> it seems like the deadlines are being pushed back and it is annoyance versus on the other side, she's getting death threats. by the way, those deaths threats and things i would assume they're going through mail or social media, crossing interstate borders, crossing
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interstate lines, she wanted an fbi investigation. she's going to get an fbi investigation. right there you're talking about obstruction, federal laws that are being broken right there. those are fbi, those are federal crimes being broken there. and the fbi should be getting involved. you have a panoply of things going on, beyond what the senators are talking about, moving 24, 3 hours, 6 hours. come on. we are talking about limited time deadlines. she's talking death threats. >> we don't know privately how much that is being extrapolated in detail, david, but we know that publicly it seems like the clock is ticking. there's a deadline. we want to get the supreme court intact by october 1st deadline. senator grassley has been down this road before, david.
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back in 1991 with anita hill, clarence thomas, et cetera. now he tweeted a few times, yesterday into the late night saying as chairman of the judiciary committee, i just granted another extension to dr. ford to decide if she wants to proceed with the statement she made last week to testify to the senate. she should decide so. we can move on. he is directing that to the nominee, kavanaugh. then his tweet later says let's move on with it. but i want to hear her.
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>> it is pathetic anyone would threaten dr. ford or her family in any way. at least senators on both sides of the aisle should be able to agree this is a priority for the fbi, maybe for capital police and law enforcement to protect her and kavanaugh's family. that's first of all. the deadlines strike me as arbitrary. it would be one thing, i don't want to get through the weekend without some rough agreement, that makes sense. to set a random time, 2:30 today, four hours from now, seems likesque pushed by issues that don't have to do with getting to the bottom of this. republicans held open president obama's nomination of judge merrick garland the better part of a year, definitely for months. so a week or two here or there with judge kavanaugh is not going to make a difference to anyone. that's about politics. on the other hand, i do think it
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is a little puzzling to me about how dr. ford's legal team is going about negotiations. it is understandable she wants this on her terms, that she is not used to being in the public eye, and there are safety concerns, but some of the conditions they seem to have asked for are really not in their control. at the end of the day safety aside, it is more up to the senators, members of the judiciary committee, how they will examine her. >> you mean in terms of who will testify first. >> right. who would testify first. who is going to do the questioning. my own view is that senators have an article 2 constitutional responsibility to do this. it shouldn't be farmed out to lawyers. but they have that option. yes, fred, i understand why she wants kavanaugh to go first but i'm not sure. it is up to her and her legal team. >> on the death threats, the fbi
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investigating what she and her family are enduring, she has two kids, she's worried for her safety, if she travels to d.c., that's another extension of the concern for security. what kind of considerations have to be made for her security, where she is in california, in transit if she makes it to d.c., and once she were to get to d.c. >> absolutely. fred, the fbi takes these type of threats very, very seriously. now, we have to understand this is not a criminal investigation for the fbi per se, it is a background investigation for a judicial nominee, and the fbi's role in that is primarily to call balls and strikes like a baseball umpire. it is not to establish credibility or veracity or look at it like olympic figure skating. there's no nuance and interpretation here. i think the fbi's role here is to go back as far as they can. remember, in background investigations you generally go back to the age of 18. the judge has undergone five of
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these thus far. they would have gone back to the age of 18. what's going to be so difficult, fred -- >> he was 17 at the time of the alleged photographs. >> if you asked me about -- alleged offense. >> if you asked me about something 30 years ago, i say absolutely. police, science, criminal investigation technologies have improved. we are going 35 years back where the forensic evidence harvesting will be so difficult here. i don't know how they're going to get any answers other than just testimony. >> that brings it to he said, she said, also brings it to her attorneys saying what about other witnesses, those that were there, those that heard her story, all of that stuff. one has to wonder if indeed she testifies about this, whether it is just she and kavanaugh's word, could it potentially open up, depending what testimony is, could there be an ensuing fbi investigation or even a
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montgomery county police investigation because that's where it allegedly happened. >> there could be, i doubt it because of statute of limitations would have run to get into those issues. bring it back to the hearing, even brought at the hearing level, say she's correct in that she's got a little issue of her going first, wanting to go second, usually the accuser would go first and then the defender would go second, there could be rebuttal, so she could rebut what he said. you get into sur rebuttal, he goes after that, then the corroborating or the other evidence and witnesses. that witness has not been put under oath. yes, there's been a statement he wrote, but that was not an under oath statement. that's critical. bring him under oath. put him under subpoena. absolutely critical.
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and there's no time stamp on that one. >> then there's the issue of does it matter, are minds made up. listen to what senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said yesterday. >> you watched the fight. you watched the tactics. but here's what i want to tell you in the very near future, judge kavanaugh will be on the united states supreme court. so my friends, keep the faith. don't get rattled by all of this. we're going to plow right through it and do our job. >> so david, what does that mean? >> don't get rattled by us doing our job, trying to figure out the facts of what happened based on this allegation. senator mcconnell is signaling to republican base voters that they're just going to go straight ahead and get kavanaugh confirmed by hook or by crook.
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not only is he expressing that attitude but expressing it publicly. have a hearing. determine what senators think, then vote. then if judge kavanaugh is still confirmed, so be it. the idea that a confirmation is almost preordained i think is unfortunate and it shows who is call the shots. senator grassley in my view is not calling the shots, it is leader mcconnell. >> can i bring it back to the courtroom a second? it is like the accuser gets a preview of what the jurors are already saying before she's had a chance to bring her words to the jury. that never happens. >> that's enough to silence someone. >> who has already had death threats against her. >> sharing the story. david swerdlick, james galliano, lis wiehl, i am going to talk to you again. stand by. much more to discuss. ahead, absolutely false.
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that's how deputy attorney general rod rosenstein is responding to reports he considered recording conversations with president trump and discussed having him removed from office. will trump fire rosenstein. plus, the carolinas still waterlogged a week after florence made landfall. residents are bracing for more flooding as rivers continue to rise. as a pro athlete, i know great performance starts with great sleep. and the sleep number 360 smart bed is my competitive edge. it intelligently senses our movements and automatically adjusts our firmness and support on each side to keep us both incredibly comfortable. it can even warm our feet to help us fall asleep faster. it's great sleep i can feel and see. better sleep keeps me at the top of my game. for this team... and the home team. the new sleep number 360 smart bed, from $999. it's proven quality sleep.
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all you have to do to find it is get out... here. ♪ welcome back. deputy attorney general rod rosenstein is doubling down, issuing a second denial he suggested wearing a wire to secretly reported president trump. rosenstein was spotted at the white house last night, hours after "new york times" first reported that last year he also discussed recruiting cabinet officials to invoke the 25th amendment or discuss it to remove trump from office. let's go to lori jarrett in washington. so what is the fallout so far?
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>> reporter: fred, staggering news of memos detailing rosenstein musing about secretly wearing a wire and invoking the 25th amendment to remove him from office rocked the justice department as officials try to do what they can to contain the damage. rosenstein forced to issue a second statement last night saying the following. i never pursued or authorized recording the president and any suggestion that i have ever advocated for the removal of the president is absolutely false. in addition to rosenstein's denials, one person in the room told me he was being sarcastic, but others tell "new york times" he was dead serious. while no one is really reporting either of these proposals came to fruition, the revelations themselves could jeopardize rosenstein's standing in the president's eyes as the russian investigation looms large. "the washington post" reporting he sought advise about whether to fire rosenstein as they tried
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to sway him not to make any rash decisions last night. trump said he didn't trust rosenstein or former fbi director mccabe, author of the memos, according to the post. fred? >> laura jarrett, thanks so much. let's discuss further. david swerdlick, james galliano, lea lis wiehl. "the washington post" said president trump asked advisers awhile back if he should fire rosenstein and he was swayed nod to do -- not to do so. does it appear rod rosenstein's days are numbered despite his statements? >> we heard enough to say the president considered this per "the washington post" reporting and reports elsewhere, whether rosenstein will be fired, whether it will take place, if it takes place before the election in november i think is a key question. i imagine his aides and other
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republicans are telling the president look, maybe at some point rosenstein has to go, at least from their perspective, but to do it before the election, to do it at this heightened stage of special counsel mueller's investigation would be dicey for the president. on one hand, the president will say rosenstein is not conducting things based on this reporting, he can twist it to say look, he is not doing this in a fair and balanced manner. on the other hand, it may make the president look guilty or look like he is trying to hide something if at this critical stage he gets rid of rosenstein who ultimately is who will receive any report from special counsel mueller. >> and james, we know the president has been openly critical of rosenstein, of his ag, sessions, of the entire department of justice, and then last night president trump appeared to allude to the report about rosenstein at a rally in
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missouri by promising to get to the bottom of what's going on at the fbi. listen. >> you're seeing what happened at the fbi. they're all gone. they're all gone. they're all gone. but there's a lingering stench, and we're going to get rid of that too. >> james, what does he mean by that? to preface that, he said there are good people at the fbi and there are some bad ones. then he talks about getting rid of this lingering stench. how do you interpret that? >> fred if we were all scynics, you would think it was done to goad him into a saturday night massacre like with archibald cox in the '70s.
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i talked to many former colleagues at doj and fbi. he is a man that many, many still on the job respect greatly. i think he is a nonpolitical actor, and it bothers me deeply as somebody that spent 33 years in the government, 25 in the fbi, you cannot have a closed door meeting with senior executives and not have information discussed therein floated out to the press afterwards. he is entitled to that just as the president is. he serves at the pleasure of the president. where i come down on this, fred, these leaks have to stop. leaks are expected to come out of the white house. they're not expected out of department of justice and the fbi. those are nonpolitical people. civil servants that need to do their job and stop rushing out with a memo or snippets of a conversation. it is inappropriate, i think it is damaging the fbi and doj in the eyes of the public. >> and lis, how do you see this,
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there's reaction to reporting about what may or may not have happened last year, then the what next. if a rosenste-- if rosenstein i what happened to the bob mueller investigation, what happens to jeff sessions which the president has out loud expressed his displeasure of. how do you see this playing out? >> i don't think the mueller investigation goes anywhere. i think it strengthened if rosenstein is removed because i think the damage for trump politically would be devastating because it shows him looking weak if he would take this and fire rosenstein. look, we have to look back at what just happened in the last 24 hours and say did he say this. yes, he did. did he say it sarcastically, i don't believe he said those things sarcastically. i don't think anybody would say
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anything that sarcastically sarcastically in a meeting with mccabe, and talking to somebody in a culture of fbi 302s, the things they write, memos they write when they talk to just about anybody. my dad was in the fbi for years. my dad would talk to me about my homework, probably go write a 302 about it. >> then what if because of that culture there was feeling at the time that culturally there's usually an agreed upon confidentiality, but that culture may have changed. >> that's right. >> or you're eyewitness to it. >> that's right. culture changing, a, that's going on. b, what's also happening in my eyes with that conversation is that rosenstein was looking at a
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gamut of things. on one side could be as wild as using the 25th amendment to get rid of a sitting president. you have impeachment, you have the 25th amendment. both of those you don't want to use every day. these are not kitchen sink things. you don't want to use them every day to get rid of a president, and other possibilities, other things that are going on, the mueller investigation being one of them. in the same conversation they could come out. none of those things are used sarcastically because they're all put in 302 memos read not only by people in the meetings and down the line. none of them have the note, tenor of voice being able to read that was meant sarcastically. >> if it sounded ridiculous, does it get more credibility because this isn't the first time we heard reportedly talk of 25th amendment without giving
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credence to contents of omarosa manigault newman's book, others have said quietly the 25th amendment was part of discussions. >> i'm not a 25th amendment expert, it involves the cabinet and vice president, all of whom president trump chose. i think that's a far out option if there's ever a point that option would come into play. impeachment may or may not hinge on whether democrats take one or both houses of congress in the midterm elections or subsequent election. just to go back to what lis was saying a moment ago, i think she may well be right. i would just add while deputy attorney general rosenstein was very specific and categorical about not having discussed the 25th amendment, not having made any serious, serious suggestion about going into a meeting with the president and recording, neither of his denials last night addressed sarcasm or
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joking specifically. i think that question is still out there, given the "new york times" report, given what laura just reported. it would be nice per jim's point if all of this information wasn't coming from anonymous sources. >> what he said in his comment earlier today, he didn't advocate for that. he is using lawyer words, didn't advocate. that doesn't mean he didn't say it. >> exactly. >> i agree, right. there's a difference obviously. i think you're right between saying look everybody in the conference room, maybe i should wear a wire versus ha ha, should i wear a wire. those are two different things. to jim's point, if you're at a senior level meeting in a conference room at the doj with all doj and fbi, that's the kind of thing he as number two at doj expects is going to come out. as a journalist, obviously we need to report this.
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from the point of view of justice department, it is tricky. >> james, would this be enough for the president to try to fire rosenstein? >> again, to david's point he has every right to do so, again, what's troublesome to me is you cannot run an administration, run an agency or department without being able to have a closed door meeting and trust those things aren't going to leak out. to clarify one thing liz mentioned, these were not fd 302s. those are testimonial documents. >> right. >> it is a mindset though. >> these were memos which are -- this is my general feeling about what was going on where you can talk about nuance, interpretation, things like that. >> we'll leave it there for now. thanks to all of you, appreciate it. still ahead. florence moved on, but the aftermath from the hurricane persists in the carolinas. residents brace for more
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flooding after record breaking rainfall pushes rivers to the brink. we take you there live next. see a little blood when you brush or floss?
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so they're ready for anything. 44 people now dead in the aftermath of hurricane florence as people across the carolinas endure more flooding. this is a look from high above conway, south carolina earlier this morning. roads look like rivers. homes turned into islands. cnn correspondent nick valencia is in south carolina.
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it appears that you're far out of the woods. people have a long way to go to get to their homes, recovery, et cetera. >> reporter: the water is coming up inch by inch, hour after hour. they have been told all week in conway it was coming. earlier this week this area wasn't underwater, had flash flooding after hurricane florence, residents had enough time to come in here earlier this week to bring out their belongings. some didn't take the cautions from local officials seriously enough. this man in this home said water started getting into his home early this morning. he was here at 5:00 a.m., trying to get out belongings that he could. he just pulled out an rv awhile ago. residents in the area, this is ground zero according to the city administrator. they're seeing every hour water go up inch by inch. we had to push the vehicle back towards that neighborhood. you could see, give you a sense, fredricka, i am underwater, the
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photographer is underwater. you see those individuals assessing water and when it will finally eventually get to them. i got off the phone with the city administrator out of emrick that says water assists are happening in the southern part of the city. that means people can get out. water is too deep for a car to get out, too shallow for a boat, they're having to figure out how to help those that have not evacuated. this is the same community president trump was in earlier this week, touring damage left behind by hurricane florence. you could see this shows how much water was dumped on the area by hurricane florence. all of this from the waccamaw river that's a couple miles from here. as water drains down from north carolina, it makes livers overflow, bursting at the seams. -- rivers overflow, bursting at the seams. they have broken a record, above 19 feet, expect this to crest at
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22 feet sometime monday night into tuesday morning. so as you mention, this is by no means a storm that's over. we're already seeing this water rising in the aftermath. you can see it all around us, fredricka. >> a terrible situation. nick, thank you so much. still ahead. will christine blasey ford testify next week. and the other question hanging over washington, will we hear from ford's attorney before the gop imposed deadline of 2:30 p.m. this afternoon. and the final episodes of "parts unknown" hosted by anthony bourdain start tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. eastern. here's a preview. >> who gets to tell the stories? this is a question asked often. the answer in this case, for better or for worse, is i do. at least this time out.
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first time on this continent. >> yes. >> it is unbelievable. astonishing. try that in new york. new york in your mind is where the writers life was. here we are. ♪ >> anthony bourdain, "parts unknown" the final episodes starts tomorrow at 9:00 on cnn. y everywhere. so why am i sliding into this ski lodge with my mini horse? because hotels.com lets me do me. sorry, the cold makes him a little horse. hotels.com. you do you and get rewarded. you're in the business of helping people.
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or if you have received any other meningitis b vaccines. ask your healthcare professional about the risks and benefits of bexsero and if vaccination with bexsero is right for your teen. moms, we can't wait. ♪ all right. welcome back. we are less than three hours from the deadline for christine blasey ford to give her response to terms for testifying next week before the senate judiciary committee on her claims that u.s. supreme court nominee sexual assaulted her at a party when they were in high school. the committee chair, senator chuck grassley, says if ford does not respond by today's deadline, the committee will vote on kavanaugh's nomination come monday. with me, david mcintosh.
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good to see you, congressman. >> great to be with you, fredricka. >> so why are republicans in such a rush to force ford's decision. 2:30 p.m. eastern deadline today after a 10:00 p.m. deadline yesterday, and 5:00 p.m. deadline. what is the rush? >> look, let's remember the duty of the committee is to determine if judge kavanaugh has the character and abilities to serve on the supreme court. that's what they want to get to. that's the reason chairman grassley said we need to vote on this. >> that's what the exploration of this accusation is about. character. >> the democrats are using dr. ford to stall and delay that vote. >> how is that? >> look back at the summer. senator feinstein who is the ranking member knew about this but didn't tell anybody about the accusation. >> reportedly she did.
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wait a minute. reportedly she did hand the letter over to the fbi investigative body. from there, we don't know what happened until her name became public and then her story was out there. >> then they used leaks and reports in "the washington post." >> it brings us to right now and whether she will testify and whether conditions are there for her to testify. do you see it beneficial when you talk about the character in which someone is asked about during this confirmation hearing process, do you see it is important to hear both sides, from her, from him? >> i think that's what chairman grassley is trying to do, and what we are seeing is the democrats on the committee and her lawyer are not cooperating, they're trying to delay and stop
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this. and he finally said enough is enough, we're not going to let you dictate how the committee proceeds. we want to hear from dr. ford. he offered to send people out to california and hear her story, he offered to set it up in a way that would be very fair to her, and protect her safety. i think what we are seeing here is an effort to delay. it looks to me like it is an effort by political people to use dr. ford to create a smear campaign against judge kavanaugh. what the committee needs to do is let both sides say their say and make the decision. judge kavanaugh, should he be a justice on the supreme court. >> what's worse in your view, if she tells her side of the story, judge kavanaugh tells his side of the story, and the judiciary committee has to make a decision or she doesn't tell her side of the story but there are reports and there's her letter which is made public. he doesn't get to respond to it further in detail.
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and he gets confirmed and this is still hanging over his head. what's the worst case scenario here? what is the better case scenario? >> i think that's the right question. the better case is for dr. ford to be able to come and make her testimony, do it under oath in front of the committee, and i have grateat sympathy, somethin happened in her life that was shocking, traumatic. they should let her share what's important to her. and let judge kavanaugh report his. he has been vehement in denying it. if that zoedoesn't happen, the committee needs to go forward based on the best information they have. >> back to what's the rush. if her party says we would like to testify but it is thursday,
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but then the judiciary committee says first they said monday, has to be monday, now there's a push deadline. the proposal is wednesday. when you yourself acknowledge what could be the potential trauma this person experienced, why feel like one day or an additional -- more pressure onseting a deadline is -- on setting a deadline is -- >> senator grassley has been accommodating. keeps pushing his own deadline back to see if we can make this happen. more importantly, it looks to me frankly like the lawyer and the democrats on the committee are using the professor to stall the thing completely. and i think he's got to say no. we will vote. and a deadline needs to be set. i think he's been accommodating. they're working on it still today. hopefully it will get resolved some time early this afternoon.
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>> david mcintosh, former congressman, thank you. we'll be right back. oh, look... another anti-wrinkle cream in no hurry to make anything happen. neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair works in just one week. with the fastest retinol formula to visibly reduce wrinkles. neutrogena®. no matter how much you clean, does your house still smell stuffy? that's because your home is filled with soft surfaces that trap odors and release them back into the room.
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in iran today, at least 25 people were killed in a brazen attack on a military parade in a city near the border with iraq. senior international correspondent ben wedeman joins me now. ben. >> reporter: this is quite a dramatic event. there was a parade going on in this town near the iraqi border. the parade marks the beginning of the iran/iraq war back on the 22nd of september, 1980.
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during this parade, which has been broadcast live on iranian television, suddenly you hear gunfire and there's panic as people run in all directions. it was a military parade. so there's a fair amount of men with weapons there. but it's not clear if they had any ammunition in those weapons. but what you saw once the sort of panic and pandemonium came to an end was, indeed, at least 25 people killed. among them, apparently, civilians and one journalist. more than 60 people wounded. now, this is the worst attack in iran in several years. it's been the responsibility for the attack has been claimed by several groups. one of them is the avaz democratic popular front. this is a part of iran which has a significant arab minority that for years, with some support from gulf states, has been
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pushing and, some cases, engaging in violent acts in order to get independence for that part of the country. also, isis has claimed responsibility, although it's not clear if that claim is credible. but it does come at a time of rising tensions between iran and saudi arabia throughout the middle east. fredricka. >> all right, ben wedeman, thanks so much. much more straight ahead in the nz right after this. (vo) this is not a video game.
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