tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC September 18, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
public opinion instead of acting on the facts. the question of brett kavanaugh's fitness for the country's highest court does not begin with the reaction to the story. it began this weekend. does the man who nominated kavanaugh believe her. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. tonight on "all in". >> what happens at georgetown prep stays at georgetown prep. >> the kavanaugh controversy continues. >> i feel so badly for him that he's going through this. >> as an embattled supreme court nominee gains a character witness. >> this is not a man that deserves this. >> tonight, will there be a real investigation. >> i don't think the fbi should be involved. >> democrats raise alarm bells. >> we should not be rushing to judgment a sham hearing on monday. >> plus -- >> i want to say to the men of the this country, shut up and
step up. >> new reporting that the all-male republican judiciary committee may neuse female staffers to question the accuser. >> the battle of credibility is settled, hands down in favor of clarence thomas. >> on the republican strategy, this time around. >> the claims of sexual harassment were just not even worthy of the senate. >> and "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes, we are now just six days from what could be the most ex-employees evplosive con hearing. the senate to discuss the allegation that she was sexually assaulted by trump supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh when both were in high school. what the hearing will look and what will even happen remains very much up in the air to this very moment.
chuck grassley and dianne feinstein say that dr. blazi ford whose lawyer said is willing to testify has not responded to a request to appear at the hearing monday which was scheduled without her consent. "the new york times" reports she's been inundated with vulgar e-mail and even death threats, has moved out of her house. effectively in hiding with her teenage children. kavanaugh who deny it is allegation does plan to testify monday. but amazingly senate republicans say they don't want to hear from anyone else, not even the alleged eyewitness to the alleged crime, kavanaugh's high school friend mark judge who the doctor says was present for the alleged assault and alternated, she says, between encourages kavanaugh and telling him to stop. >> we've got two people involved and two people ought to be able to present the stories and we'll have to be the jury. >> according to newspaper
accounts dr. ford has said mr. mark judge was in the room at the time of the assault. mr. judge denies remembering anything like that. should mr. judge testify? >> at this point we have two people testifying, that's all i can tell you. >> in a letter today mark judge himself writing i have no memory of the alleged incident. brett kavanaugh and i were friends in high school, but i do not recall the party described in dr. ford's letter. more to the point, i never saw brett act in the manner dr. ford describes. judge goes on to say he does not wish to speak publicly on the matter any further. there's a lot for senators to ask him about under oath, including his memoir about his schoolboy days of blackout drunk. and his assertion -- we found ourselves genuinely shocked at the stuff we got away with. anita hill laid out how the committee could do a better job in assessing dr. ford's allegation than they did when she testified against clarence
thomas 27 years ago, including vague a neutral body -- investigate the incident in question and present its findings to the committee. but senate republicans have refused to allow an investigation, and the president dismissed calls for the fbi to examine the investigation. >> i don't think the fbi really should be involved because they don't want to be involved. if they wanted to be, i would certainly do that. but as you know they say this is not really their thing. >> it's not really their thing. in fact, it could be their thing, but according to bloomberg the white house hasn't asked the fbi to be involved. dr. ford reportedly first discussed the assault with her therapist in 2012. president trump declares his deep and profound sympathies lie elsewhere. >> i feel so badly for him that he's going through this, to be
honest you. it's not a man who deserves this. this should have been brought to the fore -- it should have been brought up long ago. i just think he is at a level that we rarely see, not only in government anywhere in life. and honestly i feel terribly for him, for his wife, who is an incredible lovely woman, and for his beautiful young daughters. i feel terribly for them. >> joining me now for her perspective on the allegation, the plans for the hearing, senator kirsten gillibrand. first, do you understand what the goal of the hearing that republicans have set for this monday is? >> no. i think it's intended to be a sham hearing because they only want a he said/she said scenario. in fact, they should be allowing the fbi to do a complete background check now that they have this allegation which has
not been done, which is the normal course of any supreme court nominee. >> is that normal for all investigations? >> yes, for judges and supreme court justices. they need to do a complete investigation and they haven't been able to do it because this is a new allegation. we shouldn't even have the hearing until the fbi completes their background check. >> so we just got word that dr. ford's lawyer has announced she has written a letter, her client has written a letter to the committee asking for precisely that, asking that an fbi investigation be conducted before a hearing. what do you think happens next? >> well, i think she -- we should have that investigation because as you mentioned, dr. anita hill's editorial, she wrote that you really need to have a non-partisan review of facts so that the senators can then use those facts as the basis to form their questions. if you have the sham hearing intended for monday, it's joust going to be set up to be one
word against the other. why isn't his former colleague being questioned? why isn't her therapist being questioned? there's corroborating evidence that should be brought to bear in this hearing. >> what do you make of the fact that senator grassley and others seem to have no interest in mark judge who is named as the other persons present in the room during the alleged assault, they have no interest in hearing from them and he has no interest in talking. >> mark judge first should be questioned by the fbi, that investigation should take place under oath. and then second, he should have to answer questions by senators under oath as well. >> there's also talk, susan collins float it had following scenario for the hearing i want to get your reaction to. i had not heard of this idea. take a listen, tell me what you think. >> it might be effective to have the two attorneys who are representing judge kavanaugh and professor ford do the questioning for the first round. >> what do you think of that?
>> i think that would turn the hearing into a circus. it is not the job of outside lawyers to cross-examine witnesses in front of the judiciary committee. that is the job of the senators on the judiciary committee. if the republican senators are unwilling to do that they shouldn't be on the committee. >> what do you think about the idea that apparently has been floated that republicans are considering using women who work for them on their staff, all-male group as you well know on the reasonable side, using women staffers to ask the questions in the hearing. >> i think that's an absurd idea. if they literally can't do their jobs as senators on the judiciary committee, and need to ask female staffers to do it for them, they should step down from the committee. it's their job. >> one thing i think that's unclear to a lot of people, what are we trying to -- what's the thing that gets determined and what's the standard of evidence that you're looking for? what -- as someone who's going to vote, and i suspect i know how you would vote even before this allegation, but as someone who will vote if this nomination
goes forward, what is your understanding of the standard you're looking for? >> the question is, is judge kavanaugh fit to be a supreme court justice, the character and integrity necessary to be a justice. if he has this violence background where he has assaulted a woman and covered her mouth when she's trying to scream why should he be a justice on the supreme court with a lifetime appointment who's going to make fundamental decisions about women's lives. i don't think he's qualified because of his record on women's issues specifically. he doesn't believe that women should have the ability to make decisions about their reproductive freedom. he believes that your boss should decide whether or not you have access to birth control. if he has this history, then he is unfit for the court. and he doesn't have the character integrity. you add to that, chris, a lot of things that have been actually documented during these hearings that perhaps he wasn't straight in the last set of hearings when he received his confirmation for his last judgeship. >> there has been a lot of
controversy around -- there's been a lot of questions about sort of me too and accusations and the standards we use for them, the ways different parties have reacted to them, and senator franken's departure from the senate. you get singled out for it, which i'm not clear about it, has been a source of controversy ongoing. donors have said they're unhappy with it, et cetera. i wonder what you think of that moment for the democratic caucus and democratic party in this era at this particular moment when judge kavanaugh faces allegation. >> the question is, do we value women? that's the fundamental question, do we believe women, give them an ability to tell their story, to be heard, to have some measure of accountability? and sometimes it's very hard and you have to do what's right even when it's hard, especially when it's hard. so i think that this is a moment when there's a reckoning for the u.s. senate, we need to have a proper hearing where this
witness can tell her story. and that the corroborating witnesses can also be questioned. and so that they can tell their story and it's really important that we have tharansparency and accountability. we should not relive the hearings anita hill had to go through. that was a dark moment for the united states senate, one of the lowest moments of the u.s. senate. if we can't do better than we did then, that's shocking. and so we need to have a transparent and accountable hearing. that starts with an investigation by the fbi to develop the facts. and then you can have an appropriate questioning of the witnesses. >> final question, do you believe that dr. blasey ford is telling the truth about what happened. >> i believe her. her story is credible. if you listen to everything about it, the fact that she told her therapist about it five years ago, a friend most recently, told a reporter before kavanaugh was named as a nominee. a woman who has endured trauma and experts have said this is what trauma looks like. it gets relived much later in
time. >> right. >> a lot of -- you don't remember everything, you remember the most -point gapoig moments. she should be heard and this senate should treat her with the with respect and dignity she deserves. >> senator kriirsten gillibrand thank you very much. >> you're welcome. we have a white house correspondent of the daily best. sun, let me start with you, things seem to be moving around a lot in terms of what's happening. let's start with the republican side and then let's talk about the democrats. the republicans seem to have scheduled this on monday with the idea of we're having the hearing monday no matter what, it's going to be two witnesses, that's it. is that basically their approach? >> that's essentially, yes, i mean, the judiciary committee had reached out to dr. ford through her attorneys at least twice so far, one to schedule a
follow-up to the background check call, a version of call they already had with judge kavanaugh monday evening and then a second time to notice them of the hearing scheduled for monday. that's been the protest coming from democrats saying this hearing was held, first of all, without consultation from senator dianne feinstein, the top democrat on the committee, which they usually coordinate to set hearings and to kind of set the dates up with no -- with no invitation or no consultation with dr. ford herself. we kept asking questions of republican senators such as, are you going to ask mark judge, this friend who was allegedly there when this alleged incident happened, is he going to come? and republicans started making clear earlier today there would only be two witnesses, kavanaugh and dr. ford and release a letter from mark judge earlier this afternoon saying i don't have a recollection of this incident and also i am not going to testify before this committee. >> locklin, do you have a sense
of what the white house is thinking right now, that the judge spent the second day there for the better part of the day, swirling stories coming out about them making the decision to plunge ahead or not. >> the white house spent the day yesterday really making the rounds, hitting the phones, talking to allies to get their sense of where things stood and making sure they were on board with kavanaugh. the white house has no plans to pull the nomination and they see backing away from this as absolutely politically disastrous heading into the midterms. donald trump's two planks are that he will take the fight to the democrats, won't back down and that he will stack the judiciary with conservative leaning justices. to back away from kavanaugh would not necessarily alienate trump's base, but would -- that's how pro-trump political folks see it. they're absolutely determined to stick by him. i think this sort of rushed
hearing was planned in anticipation of it being almost infeasible from dr. ford's part at least in the hope they could continue moving on this. >> if you want to hear from her, if she had surgery scheduled on monday, clearly she -- you have to schedule it with her. right? i mean, it seems to give away the game a little. seung, i also just wonder, the republicans, i get the sense the republicans on the committee think she's not going to show up, like it almost feels a little bit like a bluff, that they don't actually want to go through with it. >> we sense some growing impatience from some republican senators when we just continue to not hear from dr. ford nor her attorneys throughout the day. even senator jeff flake, one of the first republican senators to say, look, let's put this on pause, we need to hear from this woman, kind of express some frustration to us earlier today saying, well, we're -- you know, we are happy to hear from her if
she wants to poifr appear. and whatnot. and i think a lot of that -- everything that's going on, kind of all adds to this changing sentiment that i have noticed through my reporting the last couple days, i think, on sunday and monday there was a sense that his nomination really was in trouble. you had a lot of republican senators saying we needed to hear from her, expressing a lot of discomfort about going ahead with this key committee vote on thursday. my conversation with republican senators throughout the day today, as we continued to have no word on who dr. ford was doing to come to the committee on monday, they seemed increasingly defiant and ready to defend kavanaugh, the judge has been making private calls to senators and telling them i did not do this and i am ready to fight. >> dr. blasey ford through her lawyer released a letter. it broke in the last few minutes, endorsing the position that anita hill called for it, there should be an fbi
background check that looks specifically into her allegation and she present those findings. the president was asked about that today. the white house and republicans seem to want to have nothing to do with that. is that right? >> the fbi kind of punted on it a little bit early this morning. saying as far as they're aware no one's alleged a federal crime. ly tell y-- i will tell you thi trump in a difficult position, and jeff sessions, the president's perceived imperilling his supreme court nominee, there would be absolute hell to pay for the attorney general who of course is already on thin ice with the president. i think the odds of that fbi investigation are relatively slim. and i expect that certainly the white house is going to push forward with a committee vote and a floor vote. the question, of course, is whether there can be that -- at least a facade of thoroughness to the degree that can keep susan collins, lisa murkowski and even someone like jeff flake
on board. >> my understanding of this here is that the call for the investigation on the fbi is not to open a criminal inquiry, but rather to use the people inside the fbi to do background checks that have already done background checks for all sorts of federal positions. security clearances, federal judges, the background check that revealed that rob porter, for instance, had been accused of spousal abuse by two previous wives. that already exists within the fbi. those folks do this kind of thing all the time. they go talk to people. i think my understanding of what's being called for here, seung is not the opening of a criminal inquiry, but rather that that process be used or that facility or capacity of the fbi be used. >> the fbi said last week it was in no way opening a criminal matter. there's a statute of limitations issue with this. crimes of this nature are not federal anyway. democrats are calling specifically for them to reopen the background check
investigation, the version of the probe judge kavanaugh has gone through six times. to add to this information, add this to the file. but there are procedures in place. the fbi, what they did when they received this letter, late last wednesday night from senator feinstein, they referred it quickly -- they referred it and added it, basically, to kavanaugh's check file, sent it to white house counsel's office and the white house counsel's office quickly sent that back to the senate judiciary committee. but in terms of reopening a background check investigation there are no indications that the fbi is going to do that at this point. >> right, absence, i think, a directive. seung min kim, and lachlan, thank you for your time. we're trying to get the lawyer from dr. blasey ford and her lawyer, the letter. stick around. we'll get to that next. ould onle enjoying a slice of pizza. now it's as easy as pie.
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minutes, after a day and a half in which the committee members of the judiciary committee said they had not heard from dr. blasey ford or her attorney, we have now a letter that the attorney sent to senator grassley, the chair, basically asking the judiciary committee has recognized and tone before, and as the judiciary committee has recognized and done before, an fbi investigation into the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegations, a full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner and that the committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions. i have peter baker now who is the chief white house correspondent for the "new york times." peter, whatst t's the backgroun this letter? >> it's a letter basically intended to say slow down, that the committee shouldn't have this public hearing or even a private hearing on monday as senator grassley has scheduled. and in fact, that it's basically
saying their client, dr. blasey ford, does not plan to be there, there has to be an investigation of her charge before she goes before the committee. it describes her already feeling aggrieved by this. she says -- the lawyer says in the letter the hearing was scheduled in six short days, an interrogation by senators who appear to have made up their minds, that she is mistaken and mixed up, unquote. and she obviously is looking ahead to the prospect of, you know, an anita hill type scenario. she doesn't want to feel like she's under the gun without some sort of non-partisan assessment by the fbi or something else to back her up. >> it also seemed crucial here that they ask that this line here, which has been a theme in some of the conversation today, a full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that crucial facts and witnesses, plural, in this matter are assessed in a
non-partisan matter. it seems crucial from the perspective of dr. blasey ford that it's more than just she and the judge who talk about what happened given the fact she says, alleges there was a third individual present in that room. >> that's right, the third individual is mark judge, a friend of brett kavanaugh's from school. but he says that nothing like this happened, or he doesn't remember anything like this happening and that he never saw judge kavanaugh ever behave in the manner that dr. blasey ford has described. he sent a letter of his own to the committee today saying he didn't want to testify, didn't have anything more than to share with them than these two, you know, assertions. so, you know, obviously he doesn't have the ability to resist a subpoena, presumably, if one were to be issued and the committee, you might imagine, moi might want to hear it. senator grassley said he wanted to hear from judge kavanaugh and dr. blasey ford. but just the two of them. democrats think that's not enough. >> we should also note in this
letter that dr. blasey ford's lawyer says the following. "in the 36 hours since her name became public dr. ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across the country. at the same time, however, her worst fears have materialized. she's been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats. as a result of the threats her family was forced to relocate out of their home, her e-mail has been hacked and she has been impersonated online." it seems that dr. blasey ford is well aware that however much notoriety and attention she has now, a live televised hearing before the nation is going to be an absolute irreversible step in her life trajectory. >> well, that's certainly right. and, you know, obviously, it's hard to know what she expected when she first wrote that letter back in july to senator feinstein on the committee. but you have to understand, in today's political world, that this is where it was likely to head, that if you're going to
make allegations like this, that it can't remain, won't remain secret if you want it to be, to have any impact on the deliberation involving the judge. so it was almost inevitable that it would end up in a public hearing. but she, understandably, perhaps, is not, you know, excited about the idea, and probably nobody would be. probably judge kavanaugh's not either. but that seems to be where the senate wants to go at this point. republicans for the moment are saying we're not planning to reschedule because she wants to do it on a different timetable. >> have they responded already to this letter? >> before the letter came out senator lindsey graham who's on the committee appeared on fox news and he said that, in fact, we're not going to reschedule it. if she doesn't appear on monday, we will go ahead and schedule a vote on wednesday and move the nomination out of committee. >> all right. peter baker of the "new york
times" with that breaking news. thanks so much for joining me. i want to bring in melissa murray who testified earlier this month at kavanaugh's senate hearing against his nomination. and msnbc legal analyst jill wine banks, co-author of this nbc show think piece today explaining why this is not a he said/she said situation. your reaction to where we stand now and the letter to the committee? >> i think this is exactly right. an fbi investigation slowing this down, i have always said that this entire nomination process has been like a juggernaut and there's been so many unprecedented efforts to force this through. when some more thoughtful and contemplative deliberation would have been in order. it's important to slow down and think about what's happening. >> what do you say who people who support kavanaugh, democrats and others who want to oppose want to slow it down, because it
will give them a chance to kill it and this is just their latest excuse for that. >> i understand the partisan griping here, but these are serious allegations. regardless of whether they are true or not they warrant an investigation. they warrant some discussion in a contemplative way about what's been said here. i don't think you can do that on monday. i don't think you can push this through and vote on thursday. >> jill, what is your thought about this development? >> i think the entire rush to judgment is unwarranted and unnecessary. there is absolutely no reason for this. and now it looks like the senate wants to repeat all the errors of the hearing for clarence thomas, which has left him with a permanent cloud over his sitting as a supreme court justice. it is wrong. and they need to take the time. i think the letter is 100% correct. that is exactly what we wrote on nbc.com today was that the fbi should investigate before
there's a hearing, not after, not during, but first you need some facts on which to question witnesses. so they're proceeding in all the wrong way. it is not a he said/she said. prosecutors deal with this all the time in sex offense cases where it isn't he said/she said. there is also some corroboration for one party or the other, something that will make a jury, which in this case would be the senate or the american people, believe one over the other. we have at least one witness to the actual assault. but in addition, i don't know who she might have mentioned it to or someone who might have seen how upset she was after the fact. and so there's a lot of other potential witnesses, there's her therapist, her husband, and there are a lot of classmates who should be asked about both georgetown prep. not only has she been corroborated by her therapist, but he has made himself look bad
by his comment about what happens at georgetown prep stays at georgetown prep. that's a good thing for all of us who were there. that really does show something that says what did he do there that he was saying that about? so i think there's a lot. >> his defender would say that was a joke about high school high jinx about what happens here. it takes on a different cast in light of what's been alleged. the hometown paper corroboration, amidst the kind of me too moment we've had over the last year and a half that she spoke to the friend back before kavanaugh was nominated to the supreme court, when he was a federal judge and said she had been subject to a violent attack, on the record, doesn't corroborate at the time, but there is corroborating evidence there. >> certainly -- >> i think we cannot let what happened at the anita hill hearing where there were three witnesses waiting to testify. >> right. >> and they were cut off. they wouldn't give them the time. we have the time, we need the
time. and it must proceed with all possible witnesses. >> melissa. >> i think this is right. we have an eyewitness who should be brought forward and his account discussed, although he may have issues with remembering some of those details. >> he wrote a book about being blackout drunk through high school. that's his memoir. >> that's relevant given everything she said. >> brian boiler made this point. he said if a friend of mine from high school was falsely accused of rape in the national spotlight, i would rush to any venue anywhere under oath to say it was not true. right? i mean -- >> one would expect. >> there's a certain logic there that so far has not manifested itself in this phase. >> there are other things to corroborate her story. she's provided so many detailed aspects of this night, of the house, the staircase, finding people who could corroborate these aspects of her story i think would be really important. an investigation seems
appropriate. >> let me ask you this, i'll ask both of you this question. what's the standard? i mean, you testified in opposition to his nomination before this, right, so put that aside, there are other reasons you don't think he should be on the supreme court. but were this, say, a nominee who you did think should be on the supreme court and then this happened, this exact same fact pattern, what's the standard to you that makes someone fit or unfit, confirmable, unconfirmable? >> it's not a criminal case, the standard is not beyond a reasonable doubt. but i think here where someone is about to take on the mantle of supreme court justice, have the power to interpret the constitution, to interpret former precedents, you need to have a person of sterling and impeccable integrity. if there is any doubt that this person doesn't meet that standard, and i think it's a lower standard than proof beyond a reasonable doubt, then i think you ought not confirm. the it's not as though there aren't other people who might be able to meet the standard. if you think this is a person
whose account you don't find credible, and in that situation, may have abused what power he had as a 17-year-old, i don't think it's appropriate to give that person the kind of power that a supreme court justice would have. >> what do you think, jill? >> i agree with melissa completely. i think in this case there are so many indicators of red flags for judge kavanaugh. there are the standards here which would not be the criminal standards. but which would be something that we would look at as part of a pattern of his behavior. he clerked for a judge who was forced off the bench because of sexual misconduct in his chambers. but he claims he knew nothing about it. that strikes me as really hard to believe. and i think that if you would talk to and investigate that and talk to the people he clerked alongside who were in the office i think we might find that to be unbelievable, as i would find his saying i didn't know anything about those stolen democratic documents when it's clear from the e-mails that he
did know about it. that makes his earlier testimony a lie. so when you put multiple things together it accumulates into a pretty compelling case that he is not qualified to sit on the supreme court. and that's not have anything to do with politics or his views on issues that probably melissa and i would not agree with. that isn't what i'm judging it on. i'm judging this on his character. i think it's something that we should all be looking very closely at. >> just some more news here. i should say that the attorney for dr. ford says that she will not appear on monday, absent the fbi investigation. that can't happen by monday. part of the point. and the ranking member on the judiciary committee, dianne feinstein says that she agrees with the course of action that is being advocated by dr. blasey ford, the decision to come forward or not come forward has
always been a difficult one. and she says that she should -- that everyone should proceed with some kind of fbi investigation, that's the statement there from dianne feinstein, just a few minutes ago. melissa murray and jill wine-banks, thank you both very much. ahead, a man on the inside of the operation to smear anita hill is here with a warning for brett kavanaugh's accuser. david brock joins me nekt. next.
supreme court confirmation vote. for good measure, in case you didn't get the idea, two more op-eds one of them comparing the accuser to women from the salem witch trials. not surprising. the last time republicans faced a nominee imperilled by accusations of sexual misconduct, the conservative media did everything it could to destroy her, a rising star in conservative circles, david brock wrote a piece viciously attacki attacking anita hill, a stance he has regret. i lifted the republican playbook against hill, the same playbook ford should now expect to be used against her. david brock joins me now. he now has an nbc news think piece predicting that kavanaugh's accuser should unfortunately expect the anita hill treatment from republicans. that is a perfect segue to the fact that she seems intent on avoiding precisely that. >> yes.
well, that's what she's learned a lesson, clearly. and there have been warnings and i issued a warning myself. because what she will face is a full scale smear campaign. people have to understand the mind-set of these people. i knew brett kavanaugh. i knew orrin hatch. horn hatch helped me with the real anita hill. >> he did? >> yes. there's a voluminous fbi file on anita hill, by the way, they did do an investigation, and they should do one now. the point about the mind-set, one, win at all costs because they have to cement this conservative majority for a generation. and two, it's okay to lie to outsiders. so let me tell you what their playbook is, what's going on in this nine hours in the white house with the white house counsel's office and brett kavanaugh, okay, they have a problem and republicans have a problem and kavanaugh has a problem. they need a theory of the case. okay, there are basically two options. he's categorically said it didn't happen. >> can't say -- >> it can't be high school or
something else. >> this should not be disqualifying. >> i lost control, blacked out. >> they're committed to denial. >> right. so here are the possibilities, one, she's lying. but for that, you need a motive. what they did, and i did to anita hill, was impute a political motive. there was a shadow senate behind her. i don't see that happening here. i don't see much evidence for political motive. my favorite quote from "the wall street journal" editorial page last couple days, they said she misremembered in a caldron of a therapy session trying to save her marriage. option two, i wrote anita hill was nutty and slutty, something i deeply regret. it's actually payablefinful to t it, but this is where they're going.
you saw it with orrin hatch. mixed up. it's a case of mistaken identity, something off with her. >> that is absolutely, clearly, and we should note that dr. blasey ford's lawyer's letter, appear to have made up their minds she is, quote, mistaken and mixed up. they understand that is the argument they will make as well. it does seem to me that we're in a very different political context -- there were two women in the united states senate during the anita hill period. >> right. >> it was not in the crux of this seismic social reckoning with story after story after story after story of men engaging in sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. going after the victim seems to me a far dicier proposition politically in the year 2018 than it did back in 1991. >> yeah. i don't think you're going to see any nutty/slutty this time,
self-evidently monstrous. >> it was monstrous then. >> right. here's what you're going to see. the change is tonal. you can see it. they're going to respect the accuser. the accuser should have her fair say. i imagine that kavanaugh's demeanor will be that, and i imagine to the extent they can control themselves, the republican senators will not be as -- the role of interrogator the way they went after anita hill. people remember they really went after her. >> they have also set up a situation, i think, in which because we now -- she's saying i'm not going to come to your hearing where there's only two people and it's set up precisely like the anita hill hearing. >> right. >> they are now going to say, i think, well, we gave her a shot. >> that's what it seems like. >> this has been the gamble all along. it was a bluff, basically, to be like okay, fine, cocome in, create conditions that were wildly unfavorable to her in many ways. when she didn't come, say -- >> the mind-set is to brazen this out. >> yes. >> people have a hard time
understanding this mind-set because people are basically decent. but they want to win this. and that's what they're going to do. >> what do you know -- brett kavanaugh was in the circle, he was with -- the -- running hhs, ann coulter, yourself. >> laura ingram. >> this is the crew of people around the star investigation who were determined to bring down the clinton -- >> that's right. >> presidency. >> that's right. and, you know, i mean, there was unethic unethical behavior by brett kavanaugh then in my view. i witnessed it. he took a starring role in the starr investigation in leaking to the press. some of that was clearly unethical and may have been illegal, he pursued obsessively the vince foster case even after it had been closed once, spent millions of dollars. there's one anecdote, blinded by the right, my book, i remember very clearly kavanaugh making a kind of -- losing a little bit
of control and making an obscene comment about hillary clinton when she came on the air. that's an attitude about hillary, and maybe women. >> this is someone who in some ways have been in kind of conservative knife -- this is someone who's been a federal judge for a while. before that he was working on the starr investigation, went to florida to work on the recount there. been in high stakes conservative knife fights before. >> yes. we were all partisan warriors and we were being groomed for the next level of media politics and government. he was in that. but we were all a very hard core group. it was raw politics. he wasn't involved back in the day with thomas. he's a little younger than i am. but it's the same kind of thing. >> david brock, it's great to have you here. thanks very much. >> thank you. we'll have much more on the breaking news tonight, right after this. and if you think these sale fares are low, you should see what we charge you for two checked bags. low fares. no hidden fees.
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breaking news again tonight, the woman who says she was sexually assaulted by brett kavanaugh is now saying through her lawyer that she will not appear before the senate judiciary committee until an fbi background investigation into the allegations is initiated. helping me understand this is senior director for progressive programming in sirius xm. and linda chavez. this entire thing has struck me
as people kind of flying by the seat of their pants and the republican members of the judiciary basically trying to check a box when it became clear they didn't have the votes. what's the position they're in now in now in response to this letter? >> well, i think everybody is in a very tough position now. by the way, i should mention that brett kavanaugh once co-authored an amicus brief for my organization, the center for equal opportunities, so i know him and respect him, and i had been an advocate for his appointment. but in terms of what we're seeing now, i was, as you may remember, a nominee for secretary of labor under george w. bush. and when allegations were made that i had taken in a woman into my house who is illegally in the country, i can tell you by the time i got home, after i received the call that that news had broken, the fbi was on its way to reinterview me. so i think it is absolutely normal that the fbi should, in fact, reinterview brett kavanaugh.
they should interview mark judge, and they should interview the accuser, and perhaps also the therapist if she is willing to talk and if it does not violate ethics, and if the accuser allows her to do that. so i think that is accurate and true that that's the way it should proceed. but i also think that dr. ford has to come forward, and she does have to make these accusations in public. and i think not doing so and not doing so quickly is very unfair to judge kavanaugh. >> what do you think, zerlina? >> i think with anita hill and her history, what dr. ford is trying to avoid is anita hill 2.0. i was really young at the time, but that was one of my first examples of what sexism looks like because it was very clear that a panel of white men were berating and shaming this very poised and articulate african american woman who really
dressed up like she was going to sunday school to make the point that, you know, i have credibility. i'm just coming in to tell the truth. i have no agenda here, and they still shamed her and smeared her. and so i think dr. ford is doing the right thing here, asking for an investigation. because at the heart of this is something very serious. i think when you see orrin hatch say she is a little mixed up, that makes it seem like this is a misunderstanding and not a crime, that if he had been caught at the time it happened, he would have been investigated by the police. we're talking about something that's a crime. so while it's way back in high school, it's still relevant because he is denying that any of it ever happened. >> right. >> so if that is a lie, it goes to his present integrity. >> jim, what do you think the next move is here? >> well, it's another interesting plot twist, but i think the fact is that his nomination is still taking on water. so what we're looking at right now is a hearing next monday with 11 white guys on the
republican dais questioning kavanaugh, i assume with kid gloves, and we'll see how folks react. but, you know, the reality is the outside groups are beginning to throw their smear and fear stuff out. you know, i think this has still got the potential to be really, really, really ugly. >> the thing that's strange about this whole thing to me is it's very clear, linda, i feel like the republicans of the committee don't want to have the hearing with her there. there is almost this kind of pretext yurlism to it, the president saying today we'll do it and we'll have the vote. lindy si graham came out we'll do it and move on to the vote. well, if you're saying you're going to move on to the vote, maybe that says you've already made up your mind, right? >> well, first, the best thing donald trump could do as a favor to brett kavanaugh is to keep his mouth shut. i would not want donald trump as my character witness on this kind of an issue. >> you could see alarm bells going off today as the president
edged further and further into his real opinions about the matter. >> but i do think it's unfair to assume that brett kavanaugh is guilty because an accusation has been made. we do live in a country in which there is a presumption of innocence when you're accused of essentially a crime. and so, yes, i think the fbi ought to reinvestigate, go back and question witnesses. i think mark judge should come before the committee and have to testify under oath as well. but i don't think it's fair to assume that brett kavanaugh did these things. and everybody seems to be jumping to that conclusion on the other side. >> i don't think that's what's happening. what we are taking seriously is her account, which was detailed and documented by a therapist. that's not assuming that he is guilty. because, again, chris, we're not in a court. we're actually just in the public. he is trying to essentially apply future a job. and so is the bar to entry that job which is a permanent position that, i mean, essentially is forever until he dies, right? that's going to impact policy for women's bodily autonomy for
the rest of my life. and so is the bar to entry that there should be no suspicion that he may have attempted to rape someone in high school? i think that's a reasonable bar to have. >> the question to me then, right, is the accusation enough, right? i think you can have the position that say look, the accusation is enough to be disqualifying. >> yeah. >> there is some small risks that this is true, and that small risk is enough to disqualify. >> yes. >> or linda, it sounds like what you're saying is what's important is to make a statement as best as possible to the veracity that this happened. and i think you and i agree and everyone agrees that the senate judiciary committee asking in open session is not the way to do that. >> it is and it isn't. david brock, at the risk of falling right into his conspiracy theory, one of the question is had is it took 32 years or however many for the woman to remember this incident and to bring it out in therapy. you know, there was a whole
scandal back in the 1980s involving therapy and so-called recovered memories. i would want the make sure that this is not a so-called recovered memory, because we went through that. we had a lot of people go to jail on the basis of recovered memories. i do think that it needs to be questioned, and that we don't automatically assume that the party who is making an accusation -- i'm sure that dr. ford believes, you know, what happened is what happened, but i'd like to know how she got there. i'd like to know more. she does have an awfully lot of gaps in the memory. so i don't think we can just automatically assume that because a woman makes an accusation that that is going to ruin someone's career. >> we should note that as far as i can tell, he is under no threat of anything other than not getting the supreme court job. >> well, i think if -- no, i think he might actually be forced out of his current judgeship if -- >> right.
again, i think it depends on what the evidence says. i think we all agree at that level. >> right. >> that i would like to -- -- >> i want a full accounting. i want to hear from everybody. >> and also, jim, just to harp on something that i've harped on before, people use the cliche he said/she said to describe incidents in which men and women are in a private setting and when an allegation is made. >> right. >> that's not what's true here. there is a third person which basically almost never happens. mostly it is the cliche, he said/she said. in this case, jim you have this third person. the senate does have the power to compel his testimony, right? >> they sure do, and i really doubt they're going to go for it, in part because his credibility has already been seriously questioned. this is a guy who bragged about being a blackout drunk and also denied knowing anything about the situation, despite the fact that he was drunk. so this is really treacherous territory for republicans.
and to harp on something you said earlier, i got a sneaking suspicion a whole bunch of senate republicans, despite all the tough talk from the usual suspects, lindsey graham, et cetera, there is a whole bunch of republicans that don't want this nomination to go forward. >> linda, let me ask you this. you said brett kavanaugh, i know that among conservatives in washington and i know even on the d.c. circuit among people across partisan backgrounds has a good sort of personal reputation as a genial guy and all of those things. all of that said and whatever your personal feelings about it, it does strike me he is not irreplaceable from the perspective of the kind of general world view of the court for conservatives, right? >> that's true there. >> are people, you could get someone else. >> amy barrett, her name keeps coming up. a lot of conservatives actually preferred her. she is actually more hard right on some issues and would be less to the liking of your -- my fellow panelists. and yes, there is a political consideration. and i certainly didn't have to
step down and step aside when my nomination went into trouble, but i did because i thought it was in the best interests of president george w. bush. so, you know, there are political considerations. but i think it's just a terrible precedent that something like this can happen at the last-minute. and if brett kavanaugh really is the man described by dr. ford, i would think that we would have heard other people come forward. even in the clarence thomas case there were other women who came forward with allegations. >> yes. >> of his body talk and stuff. and we haven't seen anybody else come forward. >> who we should note for history's -- posterity's sake were not allowed to testify, were kept out of testimony, much to the chagrin of many people, including anita hill. joe biden has subsequently apologized for that. and of course clarence thomas is now a supreme court justice. it does matter ultimately, linda. i've heard what you're saying echoed by others sympathetic to
judge kavanaugh. and ultimately that sympathy does turn on whether it's true or not. >> right. >> that's really what it comes down to. if it is the case that he has been falsely accused at this point in his life and that's the thing that derails him, i think anyone would think if he is being falsely accused, it is unfair. >> right. >>. [ overlapping dialog ] >> but if it is true, i think it is disqualifying. that's why i think we need to have -- i do think the fbi should go back and requestion all the witnesses involved. all those involved. >> we have achieved consensus for america here moving forward. zerlina maxwell, jim manley and linda chavez, thank you all. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening. thank you very much. much appreciated, my friend. and thank you at home for joining us this hour. happy tuesday night. one year ago, hillary clinton published this book, which is simply titled