tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN September 24, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
coverage this week in new york at the unga. i'm out of time. i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for being with me. let's go to washington "the lead with jake tapper" starts right now. it is only monday, folks. only monday. "the lead" starts right now. it's a decision that could leave the fate of the russia investigation in question. is deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, who supervises the investigation, staying on the job or is he being fired or is he resigning? it will all come down to a face-to-face with president trump. then there's a second woman accusing brett kavanaugh of inappropriate sexual behavior as the first accuser christine blasey ford agrees to testify thursday. democrats are now saying about that hearing, hey, not so fast. plus, these two major stories all unfolding while
president trump is in new york at the u.n. will he be ready to focus on threats such as north korea, iran and syria, or might he be distracted by all the d.c. drama? welcome to "the lead," i'm jake tapper. we begin with high drama in washington. drama that could have a major impact on the russia investigation. president trump moments ago discussing the fate of deputy attorney general rod rosenstein after sources say rosenstein submitted his resignation to white house chief of staff john kelly this weekend. >> our meeting with rod rosenstein on thursday, when i get back from all of these meetings. and we'll be meeting at the white house. and we'll be determining what's going on. we want to have transparency and openness and i look forward to meeting with rod at that time. >> it will be a meeting of tremendous consequence, given that rosenstein oversees the mueller probe. sources telling cnn that
rosenstein was expecting to be fired today at a meeting with chief of staff kelly at the white house. president trump is in new york for the united nations general assembly meeting. this comes after the stunning "new york times" report that rosenstein considered secretly recording president trump, and that he talked about trying to gain the support of cabinet officials to potentially invoke the 25th amendment to remove mr. trump from office. rosenstein has reportedly denied both of those claims. let's get right to cnn's laura jarrett. rosenstein's fate, potentially that of the russia investigation hang in the balance until thursday. >> that's right, jake. major confusion over here at the justice department today, as officials tried to dust off that old plan, perhaps ready to rearrange the deck chairs over here at the justice department to figure out who would be the new number two in rod rosenstein's place. and while things appear to have stabilized for now, the storm isn't likely over yet.
drama and uncertainty this afternoon regarding the future of the russia investigation. the man in charge of the probe, deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, may be out of a job in the next few days. after meeting with white house chief of staff john kelly today and talking on the phone with the president, the white house announced rosenstein will meet face-to-face with president trump on thursday. saying in a statement, at the request of deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, he and president trump had an extended conversation to discuss recent news stories. they will meet on thursday when the president returns to washington, d.c. rosenstein's fate wasn't clear after the "new york times" reported friday that rosenstein had suggested he wear a wire to secretly record the president and even discuss recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment in order to remove trump from office. according to a person close to the president, trump was too concerned with the news about his supreme court nominee, brett kavanaugh, to focus on his
deputy attorney general. >> i think it's a very sad story. and people are obviously -- we are looking into it. but it's a very sad state of affairs when something like that could happen. >> but will you fire rod rosenstein, based on this treachery? >> i don't want to comment on it until i get all of the facts. i haven't gotten all of the facts. but certainly, it's being looked at in terms of what took place, if anything took place. and i'll make a determination sometime later. but i don't have the facts. >> reporter: sources tell cnn, rosenstein over the weekend discussed with kelly the prospect of resigning, but wanted to control the timing. this morning, white house sources tell cnn they believe rosenstein had every intention of quitting today, but justice officials say when rosenstein went to the white house this morning, he instead expected to be fired. neither of those things happened. if rosenstein does get fired or quits, who then takes over the russia investigation? >> noel francisco --
>> reporter: those duties would go to noel francisco since jeff sessions has refused himself from the investigation. as solicitor general, francisco is responsible for arguing cases for the administration before the supreme court. as he did last year with president trump's travel ban. francisco was narrowly confirmed among party lines one year ago. >> the yays are 50, the nays are 47. the nomination is confirmed. >> reporter: jake, meanwhile, the president's personal attorneys are weighing in on the potential shakeup over here at the justice department. jay sekulow saying on his radio show this afternoon, that if a new person is in charge of the mueller investigation, then there should be a time-out of the inquiry. jake? >> laura jarrett, thank you so much. appreciate it. let's discuss with my experts. i want to start with major garrett. we should note you have a book out, "mr. trump's wild rides" a
rollicking and insightful read. congratulations on that. >> thank you very much, jake. >> based on what you know of president trump, do you think rod rosenstein's job is in jeopardy, and separate question. do you think the russia probe is in jeopardy? >> i don't sense the russia probe is in jeopardy. i sense rod rosenstein wants a resolution of this, thought there would be one today. i write in the book about an episode involving the attorney general last year when he did resign, tried to resign. gave the letter to the president. and he didn't accept it. or he sort of held it in advance and the chief of staff intervened, then reince priebus, to dramatically stop that from happening. why? because jeff sessions wanted to resign on the day robert mueller was appointed special counsel. kind of a chaotic political environment that the chief of staff quite understandably wanted to avoid. we're sort of on that same vortex right now. one of the things i write in the book is the dichotomy between that's not possible and it just happened defined the first year
of the trump presidency. quite obviously, it's defined the second year, as well. >> kayla, laura just pointed out that jay sekulow, one of the president's attorneys, seized on the news of rosenstein's potential departure to make a point. i want you to listen and then get your response. >> i think it's important that we take a step back here and then a review and it has to be thorough and complete. and a review that has to include an investigation of what has transpired with all of these statements and all of these allegations going back to the strzok and page and bruce orr and basically a time-out. >> rudy guiliani told the daily beast he agrees with jay sekulow. they're seizing on the news, if rosenstein goes, there should be a time-out on the russia probe. >> pretty convenient for them to say this, of course. and jay sekulow isn't trustworthy because he's been contradicted multiple times. president trump wasn't involved in this, and then we only find out that he did. but, of course, they're seizing on this, because this is what they want. they want the russia
investigation to come to an end. they said it was going to come to an end on september 1st. clearly, that didn't happen. and so that is really just something they're using this to their political gain to message something about the russia investigation. but, of course, we know actually that president trump and rod rosenstein's relationship had improved in recent months. it was really bad at some points. he was telling people he's no ally of mine, weak, not on my team. all of those things. and lately, they have started to get along better. there haven't been as many tweets negative about rod rosenstein. they meet frequently at the white house. so that's why this reporting on top of that president trump was skeptical about the "new york times" reporting, because they came from the memos of andy mccabe, who he had fired, because he did not like him, and he doesn't trust him. so he's skeptical about this. it's interesting to see how wary the president is being when people thought he would be volcanic in response to this "new york times" reporting. >> what's your take on this? do you think the russia probe is in danger? do you think rod rosenstein's job is in danger? >> job is in danger. when i see him talking about resigning, that suggests one of two things to me. number one, maybe he did
something that was wrong and he's going to go say i'm sorry, i've got to get out. number two, and people don't talk about this outside of this city. sure he talked to his family over the weekend and said how long am i going to do this. in terms of the russia probe, why the heck would we have a pause? why? the trump team stays the same. they have been investigating now for more than two years. the special counsel has been around since, what, spring of '17. it's like we're in the midst of the nfl season and changing the general manager. let's take a couple games off. why not? there's a little chaos in the front office. we're not going to do the monday night game. it's a clear political move, but it's goofy and plus mickey and minnie. makes no sense to me. of course, the probe is going to go on, unless somebody says, mueller, you're gone. >> would you as a prosecutor, you're a former prosecutor. if you worked for the mueller team, would you be concerned about the solicitor general, noel francisco taking over? would you think, oh, he's not going to protect us as much as rod rosenstein did? >> well, i think they've all along known that rod rosenstein has been vulnerable through his entire tenure.
this has been contemplated by them, i'm sure, about the line of secession, including the solicitor general at some point in time. and so they are already aware of this being a possibility. if i were the prosecutor on this team, i would realize, i do have some oversight with the person who is the deputy attorney general. largely, they function autonomously. that's a good thing and they're supposed to by virtue of the mandate they have. and so they're supposed to truck along. they have some clearance issues about whether or not i can go forward on everything i want to do. can i get the indictments, the grand jury subpoena power, can i form some things out as they did for the michael cohen case? they have operated under this guice of uncertainty all this time. this probably won't impact it that much for them. >> major, take a listen to president trump from geraldo's radio show this morning. the white house officially nominated rod rosenstein as deputy attorney general. but listen to the president distance himself from that decision. >> it was jeff sessions. i was not involved in that process, because, you know, they go out and get their own deputies and the people that
work in the department. >> factually correct, but he did formal formally nominate him. >> jake, thank you so much for huh softball. read the ten days in may where i recount the ten days in which many decisions were set in motion, starting with the firing of james comey. and i repeat and quote the president and his vice president directly about the sterling credentials that rod rosenstein brought to the job to which he was appointed by president trump. that's a fact. it's an unhe is capable fact. it doesn't take away what he himself said about the person he nominated as president of the united states. backed up by his vice president. it's all there. the president would like to forget that. he puts a lot of things in the forget me machine. happily sometimes there are books to counter that. >> phil, i want to read you something rosenstein said 11 days ago in a speech. quote, most people are familiar with the first clause of our
oath, the requirement to support and defend the constitution. some overlook the final clause to well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office. do you think he has a message there that he's trying to send to the president or to those who would doubt him? >> i think that there is a message there, and i think that message will go beyond what happens this week. if you're working next to rosenstein or directly below him, you're saying, look, we weren't elected by the american people, but the rule of law transcends whatever the president of the united states does over the next week. so if you're rosenstein to cut to the chase, he's got to be there sitting with the staff saying, you're going to go on. it doesn't matter if i'm here or not. but the mission to execute an appropriately opened legal case has to go on. and nobody can stand in the way of that in this country. >> and there are a lot of critics of the president who say he seems to think the justice department is like his own private law firm. >> he does. he thinks they're his minions. but in reality, they are supposed to be, although they fall under the umbrella of the executive branch, they're not supposed to act at the whim of the president. particularly when it is his own
campaign they are investigating. remember that part. there's not a tangential relationship of the president of the united states to the subject of the inquiry. in fact, it's part of his campaign. now, he may not be a target or a subject quite yet or if at all if he ever will be, but kwebsme are. so for him to assert himself is not only toxic, it's particularly transparent as to why he would want to do so. and it's a problem. >> all right, everyone stick around. we have a new line of attack from republicans as a second woman is accusing brett kavanaugh of sexually inappropriate behavior with focus on one word. what is that one word? stay with us. got directions to the nightclub here. and if you get lost, just hit me on the old horn. man: tom's my best friend, but ever since he bought a new house... tom: it's a $10 cover? oh, okay. didn't see that on the website. he's been acting more and more like his dad. come on, guys! jump in! the water's fine! tom pritchard. how we doin'?
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allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior by brett kavanaugh when they both were in college. this comes after christine blasey ford reached an agreement to testify publicly this thursday. she says kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. despite extensive effort, cnn so far has not spoken to anyone who is willing or able to corroborate deborah ramirez's story reported by the "new yorker." kavanaugh has written in a letter this afternoon to the senate judiciary committee, these are smears, i will not be intimidated to withdrawing from this process. the coordinated effort will not drive me out. the vile threats of violence will not drive me out. the last-minute character assassination will not succeed, unquote. let's get right to jessica schneider. democrats want to halt thursday's hearing with christine blasey ford in the wake of the second accusation. is that possible? would that even happen? >> reporter: yeah, not likely, jake. senator grassley's team is standing firm here.
this hearing will happen on thursday, and there will be two witnesses only, judge brett kavanaugh and his accuser, christine blasey ford. and as the anticipation slowly builds toward thursday, judge kavanaugh's denials have become more and more forceful. tonight, supreme court justice nominee, brett kavanaugh, denying an allegation reported by "the new yorker" he exposed himself to now 53-year-old deborah ramirez at a dorm room party in the 1983-'84 school year at yale. kavanaugh in a two-page letter to senate judiciary chairman chuck grassley and ranking member dianne feinstein, saying, once again, those alleged to have been witnesses to the event deny it ever happened. there is now a frenzy to come up with something, anything, that will block this process and a vote on my confirmation from occurring. these are smears, pure and simple. ramirez never told anyone about the incident and two of the male classmates ramirez alleges were involved in addition to three others dispute ramirez's account
of events. reporter ronan farrow stands by the story. >> the fact that she took several days to carefully think about whether she wanted to cast herself into this maelstrom is i think certainly, you know, an acknowledgment of the fact that there were gaps in her memory, as is so often the case with traumatic memories influenced by alcohol. we did severe, however, several direct accounts from people who said they were told right after or saw her describing it right after. >> reporter: cnn has not corroborated ramirez's claim and her lawyers told cnn no comment when asked to confirm the details in the "new yorker story." the "new yorker" could find no one with firsthand knowledge of the alleged sexual misconduct. the president continues to defend his nominee. >> judge kavanaugh is an outstanding person. and i am with him all the way. for people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and never mentioned
it, all of a sudden it happens, in my opinion, it's totally political. it was totally political. >> reporter: on capitol hill, protests erupted outside senators' offices, including republican susan collins, a key undecided vote, whose aide tried to apiepease demonstrators. the plan is still to move forward with thursday's testimony from judge kavanaugh and christine blasey ford, the first woman who accused him of sexual assault. chairman chuck grassley spokesman says the committee will also look into this new allegation of sexual misconduct by ramirez, but democrats are demanding an immediate postponement of the confirmation proceedings and renewing their call for the fbi to investigate. and this afternoon, majority leader mitch mcconnell, blamed democrats for all of these allegations, saying they're doing all they can to destroy kavanaugh's personal and professional life on the basis of decades-old allegations. and jake, judge kavanaugh will be continuing his own vigorous
defense. he'll be on fox news tonight in an interview alongside his wife and really it's an unprecedented move for a supreme court nominee. >> never heard of anything like that. jessica schneider, thank you so much. let's go back to our experts here. kaitlan collins, what does the fact that brett kavanaugh and his wife are doing an interview on a network that i think it's fair to say is generally friendly to the trump administration? is it desperation, smart politics? how do you see it? >> it shows how worried they are about these allegations and the mounting number of them coming after them. they're pretty concerned about that. that's why he's sitting down. it's no accident his wife is going to be there with him, showing a strong sign of support in light of these allegations, allegations of sexual assault that are upsetting a lot of women voters out there. but you have to take into consideration that, obviously the white house approved this. they have been working hand in glove with his confirmation team and white house aides this week as they have been prepping for that hearing with ford and for her to give her testimony. but pair that with her,
christine blasey ford, and her letter to chuck grassley said she had also been inundated with requests to do television interferes and said no to all of them. and she was waiting for the senators on capitol hill thursday. so we're going to instead of just hearing from her and then hearing brett kavanaugh defend himself against her, we are going to hear from him first and then again on thursday, which is going to ruffle some feathers for people, i think. >> interesting. and simone, the white house has been looking at this new story in the "new yorker," about deborah ramirez and allegations she is making about brett kavanaugh at yale. and trying to find holes and the story is very nuanced. ask there's and there's a lot of gray there. and they've been e-mailing out sections from the "new york times" report about it, including this one that says ramirez contacted former yale classmates, and told some of them she could not be certain mr. kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself. the "new york times" editor has come out and said they're not trying to disprove the new yorker story, just doing their
own story. what do you make of all of this? >> i think this is a very compelling case, jake, for why there needs to be a reopening of the background investigation into judge kavanaugh by the fbi. this is a fairly common practice. it's happened more than ten times in the last three months, reopening a background investigation. and so i think what chuck schumer and senator dianne feinstein have called for, and many other democratic senators, is not something out of the norm. if we want the facts, if we want to get to the bottom of it, if we wanted to all come out, why not reopen the investigation? >> why not? >> i think judge kavanaugh has been through five, six background checks. those are very rigorous security checks. they haven't found any type of pattern of sex abuse. so to think that they're going to open an investigation and suddenly find in a new background check evidence that he, in fact, has engaged in sexual harassment, it's ridiculous. i think, look, let's be honest.
let's look at this objectively. this is an effort to delay or derail the confirmation of judge kavanaugh. >> do you think the women are lying? >> i don't know. but the truth is that these are allegations that happened decades ago. i think that at least with dr. ford, she should have the opportunity to testify. she's going to do it on thursday. in the case of deborah ramirez, i mean, that's a very sketchy allegation. she didn't remember very well. >> she's had a lot to drink, she said. >> she had a lot to drink. she actually didn't initiate the process of coming forward with the allegation. she was contacted by the democrats. i mean, look, i'm sensitive to the pain of these women. but i think they're surrounded by democratic activists that are trying to use this, again, to delay or derail this confirmation process. >> major, take a listen to senate majority leader mitch mcconnell speaking on the senate floor just a few minutes ago. >> but even by the far left
standards, this shameful, shameful smear campaign has hit a new low. a smear campaign, pure and simple. it sounds like a choreographed smear campaign. democrats wouldn't let a few inconvenient things like a completely lack of evidence or an accuser's request for confidentiality to get between them and a good smear. but the smear campaign didn't stop there. let's put aside this last minute, unsubstantiated smear. let's return to the facts. >> starting to get the impression there's a message he's trying to convey. >> what's the word, jake? >> the word is smear. >> this is important for -- >> just to remind people, "mr. trump's wild ride," major garrett's new book about covering the trump white house. >> so what is a part of this brett kavanaugh story is two things that relate to the first year of the trump presidency,
neil gorsuch being confirmed and the process through which don mcgahn, the white house counsel, not then, top trump attorney then, but white house counsel now, and senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell put together the political impetus, first of all not to have a hearing for merrick garland, and antonin scalia. now feeling vindicated by the trump election. they are using every procedural tool to ram this confirmation through. even up against all of this political backlash. that is the subtext for where we find ourselves. and you talk about the process. mitch mcconnell complains about the process. democrats say cry me a river. don't give us this process garbage, because you didn't even give merrick garland a hearing, let alone a confirmation vote. so all of this simmering rage about the future of the supreme court, what did or didn't happen in 2016, is playing itself out. tactically, politically, and potentially if kavanaugh is
confirmed, legally for the next 20 years. >> mainly, let me push back on something you said. i don't think republicans are trying to ram the process. we had a hearing. these allegations come after the hearing, at the very last minute. i mean, let's try to be a little bit objective here. i mean, it's a suspicion that the allegations come at the very last minute. they're not substantiated. >> no. >> no? >> and they could be substantialed if there was an investigation. i think the senate majority leader calling this a smear campaign is a small dog whistle to the base of the republican party. maybe even trump's base, suggesting he doesn't believe these women. suggesting that there's no there there. because a smear campaign means if you really believe this is a smear campaign, you believe these are made-up allegations by these women. so how can in one breath you say dr. ford will get a fair hearing and in the second breath say this is a smear campaign. >> this is a court of law. they're going to provide due process in the context of a
confirmation hearing. and what the senate has to do is provide consent and advice. they're going to hear her. >> but mitch mcconnell announced this nominee would be confirmed before the mid terms. he established the date long before. that was their imperative. why? >> for a couple of reasons. trump wants two nominees confirmed. they also know they face an uncertain environment after the mid terms. it is imperative for the objectives of this administration, mitch mcconnell and not incidentally the white house counsel, all of which work together in 2016 to see this. >> everyone stick around. nor talk about. are there other allegations the senate judiciary committee is aware. we'll talk to a democratic member of the committee, chris coons, next. stay with us. we think it's timee, for the financial world to stop acting the same old way. in today's complex world, you need a partner that is driven to provide you with better solutions for these challenging times, one that is willing to disrupt the industry, and break free from conventional thinking.
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a fine man. and we certainly hope he's going to be confirmed and quickly. his family has suffered. his family has suffered. what's going on is not something that should happen. brett kavanaugh is an absolute, outstanding person. hopefully he will be confirmed quickly. thank you very much. >> that was president trump just moments ago, speaking about the now two accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior that have been launched against supreme court nominee, brett kavanaugh. let's bring in chris coons from
del, delaware, on the senate judiciary committee. i'd like your reaction to what president trump just said there, including his argument that brett kavanaugh is suffering and his family is suffering. >> well, i was struck that president trump initially made some positive and appropriate statements. he actually said we should have a full and fair hearing process and we should hear dr. ford's allegations. that didn't last very long. and there wasn't much substance behind it, because the president and the white house declined to direct the fbi to actually investigate dr. ford's allegations. and as you've heard, majority leader mcconnell and president trump have both taken the side of judge cavanaugh, said this is a shame. they do not believe dr. ford, and a number of other republican senators have said slighting or disparaging things about dr. ford. and now deborah ramirez. and frankly, i'm concerned that what we've heard from majority leader mcconnell, that he intends to plow through the confirmation of judge kavanaugh
is the majority opinion of the majority party here. >> the argument from trump and kavanaugh supporters, we just heard from a trump supporter on our panel, is that brett kavanaugh has already been through five or six fbi background checks. they haven't found anything untoward. why conduct another one? >> great question. why would the fbi have known to go back and question judge kavanaugh about an alleged sexual assault in high school or college, if no accuser had come forward? so he may very well have cleared previous fbi background checks in which there was some questioning about high school behavior. every federal nominee for a federal judgeship is questioned about drug abuse, alcohol use. but they wouldn't have known to ask any questions about sexual abuse or assault. and one of the things, jake, i think is important for members of the senate judiciary committee and the general public to better understand is that the
vast majority of victims of sexual assault don't come forward, don't share their terrible experiences, even with their closest friends and family members, often for decades. >> what do you make of the "new yorker" story about deborah ramirez, who by her own admission, had been drinking a lot on the night in question and doesn't have a full memory of the incident? do you think that there is enough in that story to merit another investigation? >> well, i think that's exactly why we should have the professionals at the fbi conduct a prompt but thorough investigation of the allegations of both dr. ford and miss ramirez. i'll remind you, 27 years ago, when professor anita hill came forward with disturbing allegations of sexual harassment by then judge thomas, the hearing that was held in the room right behind me had an fbi investigation that preceded it. and there were 20 witnesses, witnesses who were brought forward in no small part by that
fbi investigation. and it didn't take months, it didn't even take weeks. there is still plenty of time for the fbi to investigate these allegations. this is about the reputation, the credibility of the supreme court. why would we want two justices on the united states supreme court who have a cloud over their service of unresolved, not fully addressed allegations of sexual assault? >> do you believe the accusations made by christine blasey ford and made by deborah ramirez? do you think they're telling the truth? >> i believe them both. and i think it's important for other senators in order to assess their truthfulness to have them testify in front of us, and to have an fbi investigation that would put in front of us more facts. an easy question, i think, is why not have mark ford come forward and testify? excuse me, judge. why not have judge kavanaugh's friend, named by dr. ford, who has written and spoken widely
about his drunken and lewd behavior in high school. why not have him in front of us under oath? it seems to me that there may well be something here that the majority is trying to not have put in front of the senate judiciary committee. >> you have said that you agree with senator dianne feinstein, the ranking democrat, on the judiciary committee. you want thursday's hearing postponed, because you want the fbi to investigate all the investigations. >> correct. >> obviously, there is a lot of effort made to bring professor ford and the judiciary committee to an agreement. is there any sign that chairman grassley is at least considering that? i mean, and what do you say to the argument that let's just let professor ford tell her story thursday? she's willing to do it. let's do it. >> i do think that it is a positive thing that we are going to hear the testimony of dr. ford. i do think we should also be hearing from miss ramirez. and the point that i keep making and the ranking member of the committee, senator feinstein, keeps making, is that for us to be able to assess these facts,
we need them to be further investigated by the fbi. in the absence of that, it really is likely to turn into a he said/she said sort of hearing. >> senator -- >> i'll remind you, dr. ford is not on trial here. it's judge kavanaugh who is seeking a lifetime appointment to the supreme court. >> mitch mcconnell says we -- we only have 30 seconds. mitch mcconnell says this is a smear campaign by the democrats because you couldn't stop brett kavanaugh. >> i disagree, and i disagree fervently. i think what we have here is an opportunity for the judiciary committee to show that we can give a respectful hearing to the allegations of victims of sexual abuse. >> what do you make of the fact that brett kavanaugh and his wife are giving an interview to fox news? >> well, they're welcome to give interviews to any outlet they wish. what matters is what they're going to say in front of the judiciary committee. i wish he would also submit to a lie detector test, which dr. ford did. or submit to further fbi background questioning. you know, if judge kavanaugh wants to set this record straight, there are easy ways
for him to come forward. an interview on fox news doesn't quite rise to that standard. >> a lie detector test. senator? lie detector tests aren't even admissible in court. you know that. >> yet they are widely used by the federal government in order to conduct certain background checks and to confirm that certain folks are appropriate to serve in federal law enforcement functions. i'm just pointing out that compared to doing an interview on fox news, dr. ford volunteered to have a former fbi agent administer a lie detector test. what really would count, in my view, is if both of them would submit to further questioning by the fbi and bring forward names of folks who they would suggest would be able to corroborate their side of the story. >> democratic senator, chris coons of delaware, thank you so much. drama unfolding on both sides of pennsylvania avenue while president trump is front and center at the united nations in new york. a look at the white house's strategy on how to deal with all of this, next. i'm a fighter. always have been. when i found out i had age-related macular degeneration,
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as the president tackles global issues at the united nations, they're scrambling to handle two crisis in washington. the confirmation of brett kavanaugh is in jeopardy after a second woman accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior, raising stakes for the hearing with christine blasey ford. thursday, a crucial meeting between president trump and deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, who supervisors the russia investigation. rosenstein does not know if he will have a job beyond that meeting. he was expecting to be fired today. jeff zeleny filed this report. >> reporter: president trump on the world stage today, but
overshadowed by troubles far closer to home. sitting alongside south korean president, moon jae-in, mr. trump besieged with questions about the latest episode in his long-running feud with the justice department. >> thank you all very much. >> i have a meeting with rod rosenstein on thursday when i get back from all of these meetings. and we'll be meeting at the white house. and we'll be determining what's going on. >> reporter: it was a day of dueling drama's for the trump administration. deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, the man who oversees the russia investigation, went to the white house, expecting to be fired. he was seen leaving with chief of staff john kelly. after hours of speculation about his fate, white house press secretary, sarah sanders, issued a statement, saying, at the request of deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, he and president trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories. because the president is at the united nations general assembly and has a full schedule with
leaders from around the world, they will meet on thursday when the president returns to washington. the new story in question is an explosive report from the "new york times" that said rosenstein secretly discussed recording the president last year, and had conversations about invoking the 25th amendment to remove him from office. >> i do want to have transparency, and openness. and i look forward to meeting with rod at that time. >> reporter: all this as the white house fought to keep supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh's knconfirmation aliv amid new allegations of sexual misconduct which he categorically denies. >> people have come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago. and never mentioned it. all of a sudden it happens. in my opinion, it's totally political. it was totally political. >> reporter: his close adviser, kellyanne conway, who just last week set the tone for the white house response to kavanaugh's first accuser, christine blasey ford -- >> she should not be insulted. she should not be ignored.
>> reporter: now changing her tune. >> this is starting to feel like a vast left wing conspiracy. are we going to put decades of pent-up demand for women to feel whole on one man's shoulders? >> reporter: the president standing squarely behind kavanaugh, and signaling its time for republicans to fight back. >> there's a chance this could be one of the single-most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything. but i am with judge kavanaugh. and i look forward to a vote. >> reporter: now, just a few moments ago, jake, the president again reiterated his support for judge kavanaugh. he called him a fine, fine man and a scholar. he said it would be sad if anything stopped his confirmation. jake? >> all right, jeff zeleny with the president at the u.n. let's talk with my experts. i want to bring in major garrett, on loan from cbs for us, because he's promoting his new book, "mr. trump's wild ride" covering the presidency. we just got exclusive sound.
let's roll that clip. >> and say, i'm out. this is enough. this just isn't worth it. >> i'm not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process. and you know, we're looking for a fair process, where i can be heard and defend the -- my integrity. my lifelong record. my lifelong record of promoting dignity and equality for women, starting with the women who knew me when i was 14 years old. i'm not going anywhere. >> seem to be getting a little upset there, major. your reaction? >> this is an odd tactic. it's kind of a prebuttal. but those who are curious about his demeanor, his orientation,
are also going to have fodder they can pick at and discuss. and it will change the atmosphere before this thursday judiciary committee hearing. they were willing to risk changing the atmospherics to begin to get their pushback out there. to do that by themselves as a nominated supreme court justice is un -- we say this word a lot. and i'm always cautious about using it. because sometimes we overuse it in our trade. but i've never seen this before. it is clearly unprecedented. >> no, we talked with our supreme court reporter, who says that clarence thomas did an interview with "people" magazine after his confirmation hearing, after he was confirmed. but this is the first time we've ever seen anything like this. >> it's unheard. so this signals to me that judge kavanaugh thinks he's in trouble. and he thinks he's in so much trouble that it is in his best interest to go out there with a prebuttal before the american people, or at least the fox news viewers, okay, and try to make his case. i think it's telling that dr. ford has not run to the cameras. she's not running to the cameras, not running to "people"
magazine, "variety," "vanity fair," had he she is waiting. her only incentive is to tell the truth. frankly, this makes judge kavanaugh look real iffy, if you ask me. i don't think this is a sound strategy. >> let me actually agree which is simone in the sense that i think the white house is concerned. we're not going to find out the truth about the allegation. we're going to hear two different sides. i think what they're trying to do, and i agree with you, this is unprecedented. this is very unusual. is to humanize him. show that he is an honest person. that he is -- doesn't have the personality of a sex abuser. but, again -- >> that his wife is willing to stand by him in an interview. >> again, this is not a court of law. what we're going to see is a pr strategy from both sides. and we're going to have to see thursday what happens. >> but we haven't seen the pr
strategy from dr. ford. she haes -- >> i agree. >> we have seen kavanaugh pontificate on fox news. >> i question the people around her, manipulating her. >> i want to change the subject, to rod rosenstein, and this big important meeting he's going to have with president trump on thursday where he and potentially the russia investigation, the fates of both of them hang in the balance. you have some new reporting. >> well, there's been so much confusion over why would rod rosenstein offer his resignation? did he? what was the confusion going back and forth on that? we're learning more behind the reasoning, and that's because rod rosenstein was under the impression that president trump is going to be a lot angrier about that "new york times" story that said he suggested secretly recording the president and discussed weighing -- invoking the 25th amendment to get him out of office. rod rosenstein thought when that story dropped, which they had a heads up on, obviously, because they reached out for comment, that president trump was going to be really angry. he was going to be fired by president trump. that is why, in part, he offered his resignation to the chief of staff, john kelly, on friday, and we've had that, you know,
continuing drama over what his status was today. president trump was angry about it. he was skeptical of it, though, because the reporting came from andrew mccabe in those memos. he asked people, should i just fire him, what should i do? but he wasn't as angry as people thought. he was much more preoccupied with the kavanaugh drama than he was with rod rosenstein. >> for good reason. president trump prioritizes the fate of the supreme court and its attachment to his legacy over almost everything else in domestic politics, especially now. he also feared, and i heard over the weekend, that he was being set up. that this "new york times" story was meant to create -- a volcanic reaction, and get him to do something that would be damaging to him politically in the short term and potentially the long term. and there were parts of that story to me, based on my reporting, that didn't add up, either. if you're going to talk about the 25th amendment, you don't take that to jeff sessions and john kelly at dhs. those are the two least likely allies you're going to have with that. that didn't add up. the president thought maybe this was something working him in a
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in our national lead, what's being billed as a history-making flight for women who risked it all to serve their country. a veterans group flew more than 330 female veterans to washington, d.c., today. the oldest to make the trip, a 98-year-old woman who was a nurse during world war ii. she was joined by female
veterans from vietnam, the gulf war and the wars in iraq and afghanistan. the veterans were also treated to a guest appearance by loretta switt who played major margaret h hulahan on m.a.s.h. happening now, breaking news. you're fired. or not. after a day of confusion as to whether he might resign or be fired, the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, will meet with president trump thursday. will rosenstein stay or will he go? crisis of confidence. as the president considers firing the man who oversees robert mueller's russia investigation, a key republican warns against such a move. what would be the ripple effects in washington of firing rosenstein? i'm not going anywhere. as the second woman accuses him of sexual