tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC September 28, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PDT
a week ago, the majority leader declared, quote, in the near future, judge kavanaugh will be on the united states supreme court. so, my friends, keep the faith. don't get rattled by all this. we are going to plow right through it, end quote. this was not about insuring a fair process. this was about doing the bare minimum. finally, to my republican colleagues who are so upset about the time that has passed, let's be clear, dr. ford asked for confidentiality. that's what i did. we all know that if i referred her allegations to the fbi, when she would not come forward, there would have been nothing to do. the fbi would have had an anonymous allegation with no name, no contact information and no way to follow up. in addition, dr. ford's allegations were referred to the
fbi on september 12th, over two weeks ago. if the president and the republican majority had asked for the fbi to do an investigation at that time, like we asked, it would likely be finished by now. most importantly, when judge kavanaugh talked to republicans repeatedly, none of us have spoken to or questioned mark judge, patrick smyth, leland keyser. none of us approached james roche, lynne or chris. not one senator, as far as i know, has had the opportunity, from, opportunity to or question deborah ramirez or julie swetnick. my colleagues are right, we should not rush to judgment.
it's not fair to assume judge kavanaugh is guilty without gathering the information. but, it's equally unfair to have heard from a credible, poised and brave witness and simply ignore what we heard and move forward immediately. i don't know deborah ramirez. i don't know whether her allegations are credible. i don't know julie swetnick. i don't know whether her allegations are credible. but, i do know this, dr. ford provided credible, powerful testimony that deserves to be considered and not dismissed as a partisan smear campaign, which it was not. in my opening statement yesterday, i talked about the differences between me too and the year of the woman. i highlighted the seriousness of sexual assault and harassment. i started out by saying, i hoped
we would do better and show women that our country, our committee, has, in fact, changed. this isn't a political battle for power as some have said. this is a serious undertaken, with serious allegations. while the republican strategy is no longer attack the victim, it is ignore the victim. the entire country is watching now how we handle these serious allegations. it is, in fact, a real test for the united states senate and for our country to see how we treat women, especially women who are survivors of sexual assault. i believe we can do better and i hope we are better. thank you. mr. chairman, i would like to submit for the record, a longer statement that addresses some of the attacks regarding my
office's handling of dr. ford's allegations and the republican administration. >> obviously, without objection, those will be included. before i call on senator hatch, since this keeps coming up about the fbi investigation, i would like to repeat what you have heard from me so many times, but i guess we never get this or get people understanding. we can't learn anything from the fbi that we can't learn ourselves. the senate has our own constitutional duty and our own investigators to follow up on these allegations. i'm not -- i don't think we should discredit the senate's constitutional duty of oversight as an independent branch of government. if the people on the other side of the aisle sincerely want an fbi investigation, i would ask
why they did not notify me of dr. ford's then confidential letter way back in july so the fbi could weigh in. the fbi would honor confidentiality and so would i and i have had 38 years reputation of protecting confidentiality of whistleblowers. another span of time for an fbi investigation as my democratic colleagues have called for or even more recently, people outside calling for would result in another time of brutal attacks on dr. ford and judge kavanaugh and their families. they don't deserve those sorts of vile threats that they are receiving and it's unacceptable.
dr. ford has stated, no objections to an fbi investigation, so why has the need for an fbi investigation only come to our attention here in the last several days, probably less than two weeks? it's been 60 days since dr. ford's letter was -- dr. ford's letter was made public. then, we have had some comment about why we didn't investigate ramirez. when i learned of miss ramirez allegations, i acted immediately to investigate them, unlike our democratic colleagues, some of whom sat on their story and conducted their own private investigation rather than share it. >> mr. chairman, excuse me for interrupting. can we have order? >> i would agree on the order. the order is we go back and
forth. apparently you can have two republicans speak and one democrat. is that what -- >> that's what -- absolutely. after i get done, i'm not giving an opening statement. i'm explaining, as a chairman ought to explain the work of the committee to people who don't seem to understand it. i'll call on senator hatch when i'm done, then you senator leahy. when i learned of miss ramirez's allegations, i acted immediately to investigate them, unlike our democratic colleagues some of who sat on her story and conducted their own private investigation rather than share it with the chairman. i first learned of her allegations when they became public in the article new yorker publishes late sunday evening, september 23rd. my staff immediately contacted her asking when she was available for an interview with committee investigators. the next afternoon, monday, september 24, council responded
that miss ramirez, quote, has accurately relayed what she recalls to the new yorker, end of quote. council added, however, that, quote, she would welcome an investigation by the fbi into this investigation and would cooperate with such on appropriate terms, she would agree to be interviewed in person, end of quote. over the 24th and 25th of this month, my staff repeatedly asked miss ramirez's council two questions before setting up a call to discuss her allegations so such a call could be meaningful and useful. number one, whether she had, quote, any other evidence, including other statements in addition to those that are contained in the new yorker article, end of quote and, two,
whether she was, quote, willing to provide her evidence, including her testimony to committee investigators, end of quote. my staff made clear they would welcome, quote, the receipt of miss ramirez's allegation to the chairman and ranking member, a letter or e-mail from council or statement to committee investigators. miss ramirez council has not provided any evidence to committee staff, if evidence emerged, we, of course, would proceed as appropriate. my staff also acted swiftly to set up an interview with judge kavanaugh. he denied her allegations. i regret my democratic colleagues, again, failed to timely bring this relevant information to his attention. the article makes clear that some democratic senators have
known of miss ramirez's allegations for some time and quotes one democrat member of the committee saying this allegation, quote, should be fully investigated, end of quote. that is what i have done and should have been done if the information was not kept to themselves. the other deals with the swetnick allegations. she claimed judge kavanaugh was involved in a gang rape ring around washington, d.c. area in the 1980s. my staff has been trying to get evidence of her claims and interview her since sunday, three days before she made her allegation public. but, her attorney has, so far, not cooperated in the investigation. by the accuser's own description, she regularly
attended parties where she knew girls were being gang raped, instead of telling authorities about this serious criminal activity, she continued to attend them. somehow the fbi missed judge kavanaugh's six background investigations while he worked in a high profile position in the white house and the judiciary. the fact that he was a regular participation in these gang rape parties. now, that ought to get a lot of people's attention. we had six full field background investigations by the fbi and what he was accused of by miss swetnick never showed up. that ought to be, if it was that much of an activity on his part, surely the fbi would know about it.
senator hatch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this has been a very difficult set of hearings and a difficult mark up. i think it's handled very well. i compliment all of our people on both sides of the aisle for approaching this very seriously. it should be approached seriously. it's been 81 days since president trump nominated judge brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. since then, we are reviewed more records of this nominee than any other supreme court nominee in history. ever. judge kavanaugh testified for well over 30 hours, including in a closed session. he has answered nearly 1300 written questions, more than all other past supreme court nominees combined. in the more than 12 years judge kavanaugh has been a judge in the d.c. circuit, a reputation
for honesty, courtesy and integrity. clerks and colleagues since his praises. he volunteers in the community. he's been an advocate for and mentor to his students. after democrats unleashed the allegations against judge kavanaugh, chairman grassley sent out a dlib rative process to investigate. he has not been, as some claim, a boy, far from it, but rather than working with us, my democratic colleagues chose not to participate in the process. before that, they never asked judge kavanaugh a single question about the allegations. yet, again and again, the refrain has been the same, delay, delay, delay. i can't blame them for that because they are partisan people. i guess they figure that would be to their advantage. it's not. when we heard the serious allegations made by dr. ford, we
recognized we needed to hear her testimony. chairman grassley was committed to making sure she had a safe forum in which to tell her story. he tried to make it a forum of her choosing, either public or private. although, it appears the lawyers, my democratic colleagues suggested to her, had other plans. yesterday, we finally were able to hear from dr. ford and judge kavanaugh. i want to personally thank them. i want to thank them both for attending the hearing and speaking to the committee and to all of us and to the american public as well. after the hearing, i saw that mr. avenatti decided the best place for his client to give an interview was on a show called "the circus." the title is fitting. that is what this process has become. all my democratic colleagues said for weeks, they would vote against judge kavanaugh.
here is where i stand. we can't allow more time for new smears. we can't allow more time for new smears to damage judge kavanaugh, his family, his reputation, the reputation of the court and, of course, the reputation of the country. we cannot allow more time for partisans on the left to try to beat judge kavanaugh into submission. we can prolong this process knowing that, in the meantime, we shouldn't prolong it is what i'm saying, without knowing that in the meantime, judge kavanaugh's family and our country will be dragged through the mud. or we can end this circus and, frankly, we reached a point it's time to end the circus. it's time to show dignity around here. it's time to vote. people can make their closing statements, they can vote whatever way they want to. nobody is telling them what to
do. frankly, we have had enough time on this to chuck a horse. i have to say, let's be fair about this. let's vote, whichever way we want to and let's move on this. i personally am tired of the games and the games that have been going on around not just this nominee, but others as well. mr. chairman, as a former chairman of this committee and chairman of two other committees in my time in the senate, i want you to know, i think you have done a terrific job. you have been fair. you have been very decent in your approach. you have treated everybody with respect. you have especially treated our democratic colleagues with respect, which they deserve. frankly, you are a great chairman. i think we all ought to acknowledge that and start treating our chairman with a little more respect and dignity. we all respect him and know what
a good man he is. i also think the ranking member has been good through this process as well. i like her very much. she's very sincere. she's on the other side of this from me, but she believes in what she is doing and i have to stand-up and say she has a right to do that. i want her to know that i appreciate her and her leadership on this committee but it's time to vote and quit making political -- you can make political statements, but in lieu of the vote and make a final determination where this nominee is going to go. for one, senator lee -- >> i'm not finished. >> i know judge kavanaugh. i have known him a long time. he has an impeccable reputation. he is well respected as a judge in this country, by democrats and republicans who know him well. it would be a crying shame if we keep treating him like he's some
sort of imposterer or some sort of person that can't do this job. he can do the job. he has done the job. he's doing it on the d.c. court of appeals, the second highest court in the country and i have a lot of confidence in him. those who don't can vote no. >> senator lee? >> you know, in some ways, it feels like alice in wonderland around here. it's unbelievable where we are today. it's almost surreal. this judiciary committee is no longer an independent branch of government and we are supposed to be, the senate is supposed to be an independent, equal branch of government. we are no longer that. we are an arm in a very weak arm of the trump white house.
every semblance of independence has just disappeared. it's gone. i think that is something historians will look at and call it a turning point in the united states senate. this committee, after months of breaking precedent after precedent in a manic rush to fill a supreme court seat is on the verge of voting in a nominee who has been credibly accused of sexual assault and the committee hasn't conducted a meaningful investigation. yesterday, we heard the powerful and courageous testimony of dr. christine blasey ford. following her testimony, i doubt not one of us in the committee room doubting her creditability. i'm sure nobody doubted her
credibility. but, then, judge kavanaugh angrily denied the allegation. i'll get to that shortly. we should all agree that a credible allegation of sexual assault against a nominee to our nation's highest court demands we proceed with the utmost caution. our constitutional obligation, at the very least, is to investigate these allegations property. this isn't about delaying a nomination until after the election. even though we have that precedent when the republicans did that. this is about doing our job. this is what we were elected to do and paid to do. the first is an fbi investigation. that has always been the first step when new derogatory information comes to light about a nominee. even in one instance when the
information was as minor as decades old marijuana use. republicans made sure we had an fbi investigation. why is judge kavanaugh, who is facing much more serious allegations, serious allegations of sexual abuse, why is he being held to a lower standard than all the nominees before him? certainly, all the nominees i have seen in 44 years. a proper investigation also means hearing from all the witnesses, that includes the four witnesses who signed sworn affidavits offered by dr. ford. most stunningly, this committee refused to call the sole eyewitness to the alleged assault, mark judge. all we have is a brief letter
from mr. judge vaguely asserting he has no memory of this alleged incident. i would like to ask him questions about that under oath, a lot of us would. he is affectively nailed a do not disturb sign and apparently the republicans on this committee are satisfied, as if oral testimony and opportunity to question a witness is unnecessary. now, whether you believe judge kavanaugh or you believe dr. ford, the fact we are not allowed to hear from the sole eyewitness is outrageous. everybody here knows that. i suggest today, at an earlier time the senate failed anita hill, whom i believed. today, we are doing even worse. at the time of anita hill, we
had an fbi investigation and almost two dozen witnesses. here, republicans are not willing to do either, even if it delays the nomination a week or two. certainly far short of the november election. they don't want to hear women who have relevant evidence. is that really what the senate judiciary committee has warranted itself to? i'm at a loss how republicans could think they have heard enough about dr. ford's allegations and are ready to move on. i think you should look at what the reactions are getting around this country. dr. ford captivated the nation yesterday with her horrifying story of sexual assault. every minute of her testimony was credible.
she knew brett kavanaugh. she knew mark judge. this was not a case of mistaken identity. a moment i'll never forget, when i asked her for her strongest memory, something from the incident she couldn't escape, she testified, the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two, as a teenage judge kavanaugh drunkingly pinned dr. ford to the bed and attempted to sexually assault her. the memory of the laughter. the uproarious laughter between
the two. as a member of this committee, as a former prosecutor, as a husband and a parent, i found dr. ford's testimony to be wholly credible. not one member of this committee suggested she was not. and the same cannot be said of judge kavanaugh. judge kavanaugh's veracity has been an issue every single time he's ever testified before this senate. whether it's repeatedly telling senators they had no role in vetting or working on various controversial bush era judicial nominees, something that turned out to be a blatant untruth. or whether his testifying in response to more than 100 different questions from both republican, a half dozen
republican and democratic senators, he never received or believed he received obviously stolen materials from democratic senators computers. that was another blatant untruth. we found we could not impend on judge kavanaugh to tell the truth under oath. we only learned the truth years later. we only learned the truth of what he had said when he said untruthfully after we reviewed the small portion of his white house record, that chairman grassley was willing to request for this nomination. time and time again, when confronted under oath with questions about his involvement in bush era scandals or
controversial matters, he misled the senate. now, the fact that he misled the senate over and over again does not make him guilty of sexual assault as a 17-year-old nor does the fact he minimized the heavy drinking in his youth and misrepresented the massageny in his yearbook, but it goes to the heart of judge kavanaugh's truthfulness anytime he's faced with potentially incriminating questions. yesterday, judge kavanaugh falsely claimed over and over again, that every other person dr. ford placed in that house said the assault didn't happen. that's just not true! we know it's not. the only person who claimed this incident didn't happen is brett kavanaugh. the others said they had no knowledge or memory of it, just
as dr. ford assumed they would say, given it was for them, an ordinary night. one of them even stated she believed dr. ford, which, of course, judge kavanaugh conveniently failed to acknowledge. judge kavanaugh's defiance and evasiveness is partisan attacked on members of this committee in the face of powerful, incriminating testimony surpassed even that of clarence thomas at the time of anita hill. he tried to portray dr. ford's allegation as part of a calculated and orchestrated political hit. my years as a prosecutor, i saw a lot of ties with people trying to blame the victim, not own up
to their own deeds. he angrily had baseless tirades, too eager to promote the republicans. the allegations driven by revenge on behalf of the clinton's. it's hard to make this stuff up. that amounts to conspiratorial madness. i have never seen such volatility, partisanship and lack of judicial temperament from any nominee, for any court or any administration. it's no secret i have concerns about what a justice kavanaugh would mean for women, unchecked presidential power and other important issues. i also believe he is unfit to serve on our nation's highest court because of his history of misleading the senate while
under oath. but, as serious as these concerns are, this is different. voting to advance and confirm judge kavanaugh while he's under this dark cloud of suspicion will forever change the senate and our nation's highest court. it will politicize the u.s. supreme court. it's a part of the government that should be above politics. for victims and survivors struggling with whether to come forward, the consequences may be even worse. every one of us whose been a prosecutor has seen how hard it is, sometimes, for victims to come forward. and are we sending the signal that you stay there, don't come
forth? you know, how this committee handles this domination reviews a reflection of how seriously our society views credible claims of sexual misconduct. during dr. ford's testimony, the national sexual assault hot line sought an unprecedented 147% increase in calls. when survivors see us taking sexual assault seriously, they are empowered to come forward. if they see us callously sweeping it under the rug, there will be disastrous consequences. if victims think they will never be believed or won't matter, why come forward at all? dr. ford deserves to be heard. that must mean more than just checking a box. remember, dr. ford did not spend her entire life preparing for
this moment. she is not backed by the most powerful officials in our nation's government. she did not come here with a political agenda. she did not testify with a job promotion on the line. she did not evade our questions and she did not demean our motives by the republicans or the democrats. she said plainly, with grace, at times emotionally, recounted the trauma that she experienced as a 15-year-old girl. trauma has been haunting her for the 36 years since. she had nothing to gain, everything to lose by coming forward. i listened closely to her and judge kavanaugh and i believe
her, as i believed anita hill. i'll be voting no on judge kavanaugh's nomination. he does not have the veracity or temperament for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in our nation. and no such nomination should be confirmed in the face of serious, credible and unresolved allegations of sexual assault. >> senator graham. >> thank you. i know i'm a single white male from south carolina and told i should shut up, but i will not shut up, if that's okay. i got here the way everybody else did. the people of south carolina voted for me and senator scott to be their voice, men and women. i'm going to try to be their voice today, maybe not just for south carolina, but what i think is going on here. joe biden, i can't believe we are saying this on our side, listen to joe. but joe was right a lot.
joe biden is a unique guy. if you have one last conversation before you die, you would want to have it with joe. you would be around for a while. he's a decent guy. if he runs for president, he will be hard to beat. he came to senator thurman's funeral and gave a long eulogy. i said, joe, that was incredible. it can't help you in delaware, but i just like the old guy. i didn't agree with him and i didn't like some of the things he did in his life, but when i was down and out, he was there for me. as to my colleagues on the other side, this will end and we'll see what we do next. i hope we can muster the ability to move forward. but some observations about where we find ourselves and how we got here. i wrote a book and i think senator blumenthal is the only
person i know that actually read it. it was online. i ran for president and i got 1%, so i have had my time to be president. didn't go very far and i lost. i didn't think trump would win. i ran out of adjectives to describe how i felt about his campaign. he won and i lost. he's president. i try to help him where i can. say no when i must. and the election is over for me. i would like to tell him that you had a choice to make for the supreme court vacancy of justice kennedy. i think you did a good job, mr. president. for somebody who is supposedly crazy and chaos everywhere, he did a good job here. why the difference between
gorsuch and kennedy i mean gorsuch and kavanaugh. gorsuch is an even swap for scalia. this is high stakes stuff. right? this is the seat where the guy in the middle is at risk. kavanaugh clerked for justice kennedy. would you have picked him? no. but you lost the election. that does have consequences. when i said it, about obama winning, i meant it. mary garland. scalia dies in the election year, the last year of the term of president obama, the primaries are already under way. not in 100 years has anybody been nom internationinated unde circumstance. as for sotomayer and kagan, i
was told you have to keep them off the court because they are going to be a pro-choice vote. they hate guns. on and on and on. i tried to go back to what this committee used to do. thurman voted for ginsburg. you will never convince me because he agreed with his philosophy. he saw in her a qualified person. voted for scalia, the same is true. 96 and 97 votes. what happened. most of the nominees never had a hearing, it was assumed they are qualified and not hacks, they are going to go forward. elections do matter. when it comes to president trump, elections do matter. now, about the law. and to my friends who have been prosecutors, i have been a
prosecutor, i have been a defense attorney and a judge. every woman who has been victimized needs to be heard, count me in a thousand times over. count me in for the proposition for every one woman who comes forward, only god knows how many women and children go to their grave with the abuse. if you don't realize that, you just don't know this area of life. but, you are going to be heard in the united states. i had a young man accused of sexual assault when i was in the air force as a defense attorney. the case eventually fell apart and he almost killed himself. i had women who have been gang raped and didn't want to testify, but they did, along with counselors, i sat up with them all night. tough stuff.
emotional. believe. i have been doing this legal stuff most of my life. i have never heard a more compelling defense of ones honor and integrity than i did from brett kavanaugh. he looked me in the eye, everybody in the eye and he was mad and he should have been mad. he could tell you where he was at and what he was doing during high school in a way that blew me away. brett kavanaugh and women. if you are a gang rapist when you are a sophomore and junior in high school, you don't let it go. every woman who actually knows brett kavanaugh, has come forward to say he is not that kind of guy. he has been at the highest level of public service under tremendous scrutiny, six fbi investigations and we missed the sophomore junior gang rapist. we didn't miss it. it's a bunch of garbage.
we are in the twilight zone and here is what i would say, miss ford, all i can say about miss ford i feel sorry for her and i do believe something happened to her and i don't know when and where, but i don't believe it was brett kavanaugh. as a prosecutor, you couldn't get out of the batters box because in america, before you can accuse somebody of a crime, you have to tell them when it happened and where it happened and you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt it did happen. the reason this case will never be brought in maryland or anywhere else, you just can't get there. if you wanted to get a warrant, which is a probable cause standard to search or arrest somebody, you have to prove by probable cause where it happened and when it happened. how are you supposed to defend
yourself is the burden really on you to prove that you were not at a party 35 years ago and they won't tell you where and when it was? all i can say is that under any reasonable standard, any concept of the rule of law, this would not go forward. there have been five allegations here. the fifth allegation was brought to me by senator whitehouse who did absolutely the right thing. somebody contacted him in rhode island and said, a friend of his was on a boat with mark judge and brett kavanaugh and they treated her badly. he went down and beat them up and she won't come forward. i said i'll make sure we let the fbi look at it. turned out not to be true. the fourth allegation was an
anonymous allegation, a letter without a name or return address sent to corey gardner a few days ago and he turned it over to the committee. somebody on that side leaked it to nbc news and it made it on the news, the fourth allegation. that really bothers me. i don't know what's going on over there, but that's not right. it was somebody over there. now, about miss ford. i feel really bad that she wanted to remain anonymous and could not. the one thing i know for sure, is diane feinstein did not and would not do this. somebody did. it wasn't chatter from a friend. three groups had this letter that was requested to be
anonymous. dianne feinstein and her staff, the congresswoman and her staff and the lawyers. somebody betrayed her trust and if you can't figure out why, you shouldn't be driving. to delay this hearing, to send a motion to the destruction of this man to keep this seat open past the election. that, i know beyond any, any doubt. what else do i know? i about fell out of my chair when dr. ford said yesterday, i didn't know you would be willing to come to me. the e-mail interactions between this committee and her lawyers, my staff would still welcome the opportunity to speak to dr. ford
anytime, any place convenient to her. come to us or we to you, i'm willing to have my staff travel to dr. ford in california or anywhere else to obtain her testimony, september 19th. well, that wouldn't fit in the plan. it wouldn't be public. and it would get over with sooner than people wanted. i don't know what to believe, but i tend to believe that dr. ford did not know about this invitation. i have been a lawyer most of my adult life and somebody needs to ask the question to her lawyers how could she not know about this? are you beginning to understand what's been going on for a very long time in this case? it's not that hard to figure out. so, if this is the new standard,
the accusation proves itself to those who want to ask questions, you hate women. god help us all. if the new standard for the committee is that there's no presumption of anything, that you have to prove why somebody would accuse you, not just say i didn't do it and here is why, you have to prove the motives of your accuser. god help us all. the avenatti moment tells you what's going to happen if we keep this farce going. plenty of time, plenty of opportunities to get to the truth, this has never been about the truth. this has been about delay and
destructi destruction and if we reward this, it is the end of good people wanting to be judges. it is the end of any concept of the rule of law. it is the beginning of a process that will tear this country apart. and if i am chairman next year, if we keep the majority and senator grassley moves over and i hope he doesn't because i think he's done a great job, i'm going to remember this. there's the process before kavanaugh and the process after kavanaugh. if you want to vet the nominee, you can. if you want to delay things for the next election, you will not.
if you try to destroy somebody, you will not get away with it. jeff is leaving. he has wrestled with this. he is trying to be fair. i cannot tell you, jeff, what happened 35 years ago. i can tell you this, that through any legal system, this thing would not get out of the batter's box and everything i know about judge kavanaugh screams that this didn't happen. and all the other things. so, to my good friend, friends on the other side who are struggling, i think an fbi investigation is going to do nothing. it's not going to tell you anymore than we know now. it's going to keep it going and going and going until he breaks and he won't. and to the next five come
forward. i'm going to vote yes. i'm going to tell his two daughters, that i'm proud of your dad and i really, really believe he's a good man. i'm going to tell dr. ford, i am sorry you had to go through this, too. >> senator durbin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thursday was an historic day in the senate committee with its fair share of history. in our deliberations of judge brett kavanaugh to fill the vacancy on the supreme court, we have confronted some of the most serious charges leveled against a nominee. those charges were made at a moment in our nation's history living tl living through a cultural thing. women are moving to more and more positions of responsibility.
they are airing grievances of sexual abuse. caught in this shift, there is not a person in this room who can truly measure the trajectory or ultimate outcome of this historic change. america is marching forward in the pursuit of justice for women in this country. sadly, many on the senate judiciary committee are still mired in the dead space it was 27 years ago during the clarence thomas nomination hearing. yesterday, in this room, america saw this inflammatory issue in realtime, in real life. dr. christine blasey ford was credible and resolute. when i asked her, directly under oath, the degree of certainty she had that she was assaulted by brett kavanaugh, she responded, 100%. when the prosecutor on the
republican side tried to weave a political conspiracy or make her a tool of her lawyers, it fell flat. this woman, who identified brett kavanaugh as her her husband anx years ago, believed she had a responsibility as a citizen, as a citizen to come forward and tell her story. i thought about the words she used during the course of her testimony yesterday. the word she used more often than not to describe her motives was helpful. helpful. she wanted to be helpful to this committee and to her nation. i believe her. she was afraid in wakening those carefully guarded and painful memories, and she was afraid for her family. she confided in our colleague dianne feinstein with the clear understanding that dianne would
protect her identity and i have no doubt she accepted that responsibility and kept her word. yesterday two members of this committee leveled personal attacks at senator feinstein. they said she concealed dr. ford's letter for partisan reasons and one went so far as to say that she leaked the contents of that letter or her staff leaked that letter to the press. perhaps in this trumpian era, those sorts of baseless personal charges are to be expected, but if we descend to this level of political discourse, we will have forsaken the traditions of the senate and the -- which is essential to our public service. and for the record, this baseless claim was refuted immediately by the intercept which was first to publish the story about dr. ford's allegation. their reporter said last night, and i quote, feinstein's staff did not leak the letter to the intercept.
yesterday dr. ford made the personal decision to tell her story publicly. she came before this committee under oath and volunteered to answer every question. none of the republicans on this committee were willing to question or confront her, not one. they sat silent as their prosecutor, ms. mitchell tried to do their work, but after dr. ford completed her testimony and left the building, it was a different story. last night on a tv show one senator said, and i quote, ms. ford has got a problem. and destroying judge kavanaugh's life won't fix her problem. how could you listen to her honest and direct testimony and draw that conclusion. judge kavanaugh's opening statement yesterday was filled with raw emotion. looking at his family and friends gathered to support him, one could not help but feel as our colleague senator flake reminded us, that this undertaking is deeply personal and there is humanity to reconcile on both sides of the
ledger. i could feel the intensity of what he has experienced over the last few weeks, but i could not understand how judge kavanaugh could say that he, quote, bore no ill will towards dr. ford, then called her charges a calculated, orchestrated political hit citing apparent pentup anger about president trump and his 2016 presidential election and quote, revenge on behalf of the clintons. revenge on behalf of the clintons. this locker up grace note in judge kavanaugh's remarks may have raised a cheer in the white house, but a sad moment in the history of this committee. the exchange i had with judge kavanaugh was an honest effort to loose the knot this committee faces when two sworn witnesses are in direct contradiction. what i asked for, what many have asked for is obvious. turn over the facts we know to
the federal bureau of investigation. let them connect the dots. let them complete the investigation. then let us meet and evaluate their findings. remember yesterday on several occasions the republicans made a point of quoting the american bar association. mr. chairman, i would like permission to enter into the record a letter sent to this committee on september 27th, 2018 by american bar association. >> without objection it will be entered. >> let me read it. this is what the committee received. the american bar association urges the senate judiciary committee to conduct a confirmation vote on judge kavanaugh's nomination to the supreme court of the united states only after an appropriate background check into the allegations made by professor ford and others is completed by the federal bureau of investigation. we make this request because of the abas respect for the rule of law and due process under law. the basic principles that underscore the senate's constitutional duty of advice
and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the fbi. each appointment to our nation's highest court as with all others is simply too important to rush to a vote. deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the senate's reputation but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the american people to have in the supreme court. it must remain an institution that will reliably follow the law and not politics. respectfully the senate should recognize that a thorough fbi investigation will demonstrate its commitment to a supreme court that is above reproach. that letter was signed by robert carlson, president of the american bar association. all the quotes yesterday about the aba's finding on judge kavanaugh are a distant second
to what we've been asked by the sames same organization to do and it is not an unreasonable request. so who is telling the truth? two sworn witnesses in direct contradiction. there is one significant difference. one of these sworn witnesses has stepped forward ask said i will submit my testimony and myself to the federal bureau of investigation understanding that anyone who lies to the federal bureau of investigation is subject to criminal prosecution. the other witness evaded that question over and over and over. i'll leave it up to the committee. it's up to the chairman. you're going to have to decide on that. you make that decision. judge kavanaugh knows better. he knows if he had turned yesterday to the white house counsel and said suspend this until we have an fbi investigation to clear my name, my reputation, and my nomination to this court, it was the right thing to do because those scales had been tipped in favor of the one sworn witness who was
willing to take her case before the federal bureau of investigation, i'll be voting no on the nomination of brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. before i call on senator cornyn, since the aba letter came up, i have this comment that the president of the aba called for an fbi investigation as you just heard, and to do it before a vote. i've explained many times another fbi investigation is not necessary. the aba is an outside organization like any other that can send us letters and share their advice, but we're not going to let them dictate our committee's business. also, this letter is from the president of the aba. one individual. he doesn't represent the hundreds of thousands of lawyers in the united states. it isn't at all clear that the aba president has authority to speak for the organization on this matter. this letter doesn't say that he
conferred with anyone else or that he convened the judicial qualification committee by conference call or otherwise. the aba president's opinion doesn't alter the fact that judge kavanaugh received a very well-qualified rating from the aba standing committee on the federal judiciary and the standing committee did not join this letter. senator cornyn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i've said before that i believe that in considering dr. ford's testimony we should treat her the same way i would want my wife, my daughters, or my mother treated if they were in similar circumstances.
conversely, i want to make sure we treat judge kavanaugh the same way we would treat my father, my brother, or a son. we owe that to both judge kavanaugh and to dr. ford. it is simply false to say that somehow we have in drawing attention to the fact that this has been an orchestrated effort to delay the vote on this nomination that we have somehow been disrespectful of dr. ford. i'm proud of the way this committee treated dr. ford yesterday. i thought it was appropriate, dignified, and apparently the -- our friends across the aisle are somehow upset that we got a trained lawyer who handles claims like this on a daily
basis to handle it in a thoughtful, appropriate way to elicit facts and information from dr. ford. i thought ms. mitchell did a good job. but to somehow wrap themselves in the normal compassion we would somehow -- that we do feel for somebody in dr. ford's situation and claim that we have -- are not treating her well by pointing out the overt politicalization of this process is simply trying to take our eye off the ball. there has been a calculated effort to manipulate this process in a way that is blatantly unfair to dr. ford