tv MSNBC Live With Katy Tur MSNBC September 28, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
this country together, say that we would feel better. i'm not expecting them to vote yes but not to complain that an fbi investigation has not occurred. this is what i'm trying to do. this country is being ripped apart here. we have to make sure that we do due diligence. i think this committee has done a good job but i do think we can have a short pause and make sure that the fbi can investigate. my understanding is that some of us would have to and i'm prepared to do it, make a request to the white house to ask the fbi to do that investigation. it would be short and limited in scope to the current allegations that have been made. i would just encourage democrats who we talked to before to endorse that kind of thing that we can then move on. >> because of the two hour rule,
we're adjourned. >> what? >> i was thinking that. >> it's kind of remarkable. i have to say this. jeff flake has tried to be thoughtful about this. chuck grassley's behavior in this is kind of remarkable. the rush with which flake hadn't finished speaking suggesting a one week delay so the fbi investigate. the minute he said i'll vote to advance this to report this to the senate which means his vote goes through. the second he said that, chuck grassley was call the role. the clerk had to call the role. >> senator dianne feinstein didn't know what they were voting on. she's going i'm sorry, what. let's bring in nbc kelly o'donnell and we still have presidential historian john me chum who anchors this today historic hour. kelly, to you first.
what's going on here in. >> well part of what is so difficult is that as outside observers, some of the rules of the senate seem odd when you're not familiar with it. under the senate rules, a committee must adjourn at 2:00 p.m. if there hasn't been an extension granted on the floor. he was trying to get the vote in before the clock ran out. that's something that i think you have to just understand in the rules of the senate and for a chairman that is incredibly important. obviously, something unexpected just came into all of this. we were first to report here on msnbc that the serious discussions had reached a level where the idea of a short term fbi background check re-investigation was on the table. it changes the dynamic mightily because of who jeff flake finds himself to be. he's a voice in the republican party who has been drummed out because of the rise of the more
conservative right, not seeking re-election in his home state in arizona. often at odds with this president and a month after his senior senator john mccain passed away who at times exhibited this sort of a, i will buck my own party to do what is right ethos. he's positioned in the party to be the guy to do this because he's not seeking re-election and doesn't have the pressures that come with that. he also has long tried to work with others on the committee during an era when cooperation on the committee was more common. what we saw happen is without jeff flake, chuck grassley is in some trouble. they were saying about this is only a gesture at this level because mitch mcconnell decides what gets on floor in what order. they cannot on their own is extend this. jeff flake is said you don't have my vote until this is done.
that's the leverage. >> the judiciary committee has voted along party lines is 11-10 to report the nomination to the senate. he's been reported up. let's listen in. >> with the understanding that jeff flake and chuck grassley and perhaps others will advocate for a one week extension in the floor vote to permit an fbi investigation and were satisfied that is meaningful because of the close status of the vote. we think it's a good likelihood this might transpire. >> thank you. >> all right. this is now going to be reported to the full senate. basically as kelly said, jeff flake has said if you don't allow the fbi to investigation and delay this for a week, you won't get my vote. this is unprecedented. it's historic. >> it's also not what we have been complaining about for days which is extreme partisanship.
>> it's a light at the end of the tunnel of a week. absolutely. i think it's the result that a lot of people and sort of the middle of the country, the middle spectrum are in favor of. questions have been raised. we have the means the see if there's light to be shed. the only rush here is because of the political quirk of the calendar and if you're interested in justice and the ongoing health of the court as opposed to raw -- s >> john hang on. this is amy klobuchar. >> this was a surprise to all of us. senator flake has expressed, including in his speech yesterday, his concern about the divide in the country that's being exacerbated by what's happening here. we have been asking over and over again for follow ups on the
evidence. senator flake is saying to his leadership, i want to see this additional investigation before i vote for this nominee. if he's joined by one or two other republicans in that request, then they wouldn't have the votes unless the investigation occurred. it's that simple. >> you know anybody else? >> i don't know. you'll have to ask them. one week is what senator flake was interested in. you can do a lot if you have the whole fbi looking at things in one week. >> did senator flake bring this idea to the democrats? >> you should talk to senator flake about that. i think you've seen him to be quite an independent in terms of a lot of decisions he makes and what he says. he felt he had a very important role to play as a member of the committee. thank you. >> is he still in there? >> i believe he's still in there. again, a number of us had suggested the week. i suggested it today as did senator coons.
did we actually think this was going to happen today, no. we're in a better place than we were at 8:00 a.m. this morning. >> why do you think he switched? >> i think you should talk to him. >> we're probably going to see this happen a lot. jeff flake is still inside. they are moving to a room. here comes lindsey graham. >> i think i know what happened. i hope some democrats will say if we do what jeff said, that would end the process dispute, at least a few of them. i don't expect them to vote for the guy but if we ask the fbi to look at what's in front of us, no later than a week, no longer than a week and they would say that would be a better process. that would be progress and jeff's trying his best to bring the country together and vote the best way he knows how. i don't know if that's the agreement. i'll get back with you.
>> do you expect him to honor it? >> i don't know. that's why i'll talk to him. >> do you think it would be a good idea if he honored this? >> last time i looked you need 50 votes. all i can say is right now what jeff is saying is makes sense to me. i don't know. i'm not speaking for mitch. i'll talk with jeff. somebody's got to explain this to trump. i guess that will be my job. >> are you going to back this mover? >> if i'm nothing, i'm practical. okay. >> somebody's got to explain this to trump. i guess that's my job. that was interesting. president trump is speaking right now about brett kavanaugh. he has said this. he's deferring to gop senators.
he spoke fondly about christine ford's testimony. he said whatever they think is necessary. i thought was interesting is what lindsey graham just said when he said are you going to support -- are you going to talk to mitch mcconnell about doing what jeff flake asked, delaying for a week. he said last i checked you need 50 votes. if that's what jeff flake wants, that what jeff flake gets. >> how much his tone has change inside the last 24 hours. he was the most visibly upset. he was devastated. what jeff flake has carefully and artfully asked for is he's supporting chuck grassley. he's respecting sort of the chain of command and saying just a week. let's get some more info. what's your take here? >> i think this all comes down to whether or not the president re-opens this. senator graham said just as much. someone has got to explain this to the president.
he's got to agree to re-open it. i think that's still a very big question of whether he will do it. i don't think that senator flake, who the president doesn't like very much, saying that in the committee hearing or the committee meeting is necessarily going to convince him. i think it would take more republicans saying firmly, we will not vote yes for this nominee unless you re-open the investigation. that still remains to be seen. i wouldn't rule the other option out which is that flake says a week from now, i asked. he didn't want to do it. what can i do. i still believe brett kavanaugh. i'm going to vote yes. i'm sorry so pessimistic about this way things work in congress. >> so was i but now i have to -- >> i know you were and you're not growing hair, are you? here's the thing about this. there's been a routine for how things have gone in the senate. it's remarkable that the majority of the republicans went yesterday and today in that
committee to say an fbi investigation would do no good. it would do no good. here's blumenthal. >> the general appeal,privatelyw the facts. this decision is too important to rush to judgment without an fbi investigation. senator flake has made very clear and i appreciate that he wants know more. he believes this delay is the responsible step to take. let me be very blunt. i was about to be recognized to make this point and motion. this fbi investigation has to be real and penetrate iing so the truth and facts are all
uncovered. it cannot be a show or cher rar. it must be real. >> your understanding that flake had the assurances of other senators in his party before he decided to make this move? >> he talked to a number of senators in his own party as well as on our side. i appreciate he was seeking common ground. >> what can he do if they decide to press ahead? >> he can vote against the nomination. >> has he told you that? >> he hasn't indicated what he would do. following his wishes, they need his vote along with the other members of the majority. thank you. >> thank you. >> who initiated these
conversations? >> senator blumenthal pointed out, nobody heard jeff flake say i won't vote yes on the full senate if you don't do this. >> nobody heard that. that still remains to be seen. not to throw cold water on this. i think it's a great thing when you're looking for more information and trying to find out as much as you can about allegations that are as serious as this. i want to say the republicans in the committee said over and over again yesterday what good would an fbi investigation do. they were adamant about it. chuck grassley was not happy about this. they were not happy about this. if we suddenly lly see lindsey graham say we're going to do it, it doesn't ring true to me. it feels like this is a tactic to appease a certain portion of the population, the people that are calling flake's offices, confronting them in the elevators in the hallways of
congress in order to cool things down. if we get an fbi investigation then let's see where we are on thursday or friday of next week but i do think right now we're in much of the same position we were yesterday. >> we kept hearing from brett kavanaugh the fbi has no conclusions. it's not fbi's job to have a conclusion. >> they will gather facts and the senate can come up with their own conclusion. >> so many questions unanswered. at least this we could possibly get that. >> we do need to hear what the president has to say about this whether he's clear on what exactly is being asked and whether he will open up an investigation. here is president trump. >> any comment on the request for a delay from senator flake? he wants a one week delay so the fbi can investigate further. >> i'll let the senate handle
that. very professional. i'm just hearing a bit about it because i've been with the president of chile. we're talking about some very important subjects. i'm sure it will all be very good. i gez tuess the vote was a posi vote. i'll learn more about it as the day goes on. >> what did you think of dr. ford's testimony? >> i thought her testimony was very compelling. she looks like a very fine woman to me. very fine woman. i thought that brett's testimony, like wise, was really something that i haven't seen before. it was incredible. it was an incredible moment in the history of our country. certainly she was very credible witness. she was very good in many respects and i think that -- i don't know if this is going to
continue onwards or we going to get a vote. i'm here so i'm not out there watching because i can't be. maybe we'll go watch together. we'll watch together. i think it will work out very well for the country. i just want it to work out well for the country. if that happens, i'm happy. >> have you thought about a replacement for judge kavanaugk? >> not even a little bit. >> what's your message to collins and murkowski? >> i have no message. they have to be comfortable with themselves. i'm sure that's what they are. >> would you will willing to re-open the background investigation? >> i'm going to rely on all the people including senator grassley who is doing a good job nap wi that will be a decision they will make. they will be making some decision soon whether to take a
vote or do whatever else they want to do. i will be totally relienant on what they decide to do. >> are we going to talk about venezuela today? >> i was waiting for that. a lot of interesting things going on in that part of world. chile is really something special. if do you look at what they've done and how far they have come. you look at how well run the country is. i want to say it's an honor to be with you. >> kelly o'donnell has been covering not just what's going on in the white house. to satisfy everybody's various views on this, what is -- what has happened? what's asked to be done and the likelihood it will get done? >> as we look at this moment, one thing i would say to our viewers is that when you're considering the senate, you have to look at the set of circumstances in each increment. everything that's come before is
important, but not necessarily determinative. what happened today is the committee votes to move this nomination forward. it's striking what we just saw from the president of the united states who is typically one to lash out at accusers and to defend the accused and here have we ever heard the president speak about a woman who claims sexual assault in such a manner? i'm not sure that we have before. at the same time maintaining support for brett kavanaugh but notably the president acknowledging the co-equal br branch of the government. everything changes because of what jeff flake said. that doesn't mean that i know the outcome. here is why it changes. every vote matters and in the senate, unlike most other bodies, the power of one is exceptional. one senator can stop debate. one senator can bring things to
a halt for a period of time. one senator when the margin is this close can determine the outcome. jeff flake is using some leverage that he has in order to talk about this with colleagues of both parties. that is notable. there are republicans who very mu much want to see brett kavanaugh on the supreme court but would like him to be on the court without the sort of aura that something unappropriainapproprid or he's not worthy of the court. they want him on the court in a way they are proud of. is there a middle ground they were not on just days ago, hours ago? there is. is lindsey graham going to be the appointed person to explain this to the president? he has influence. jeff flake does not. flake and graham are close. what i'm saying is we don't know where this will go but it's powerful. it's influential and the
calculus changes. everything that happened before, put that in context. what happens now means flake has power of when the timing of the vote is. he can persuade other colleagues and the decision maker is mitch mcconnell. what does he want? he wabnts brett kavanaugh to be confirmed. likely it will take jeff flake's vote. >> many people have been asking th themselves what would john mccain do. both very close to senator mccain. john, meachum what is your take here? just 20 minutes ago we were saying this is about metoo. t t tribali tribalism. what about now? >> this is a triumph of common
sense. we were talking about if we were united states senator, we would want these questions answered that's what's happening. i think senator flake had an enormous amount of credit. this is a sensible outcome here. if you watched yesterday, if you were compelled by the testimony in the morning, if you were struck by the testimony in the afternoon, then i think most fair minded people would come to the end, would have come to about 6:45, 7:00 p.m. last night in the east and say i'd like to know a bit more. there's a third person in the room, allegedly. why are we just relying o ining letter here? why can't we find more about the calendar? as was said, you can do a lot in
the week when you have the entire fbi there. who knows what the outcome of this is. if you were in flavor of more information, of trying to introduce reason instead of reflexive passion, this is a good afternoon. >> as we've been saying for the last couple of hours, you're a historian. you write these things as it happens. this is not how we thought would happen. this does, to kelly's point, it changes everything now. everything that happened until this point half an hour ago is different. one senator, one senator is very powerful. it could give cover to other senators to do something. we could come out with a slightly different view than what you called the cloud that was over it until this point.
s >> we still don't know, right? it's sort of frustrating because stephanie was calling it the other lane. the lane here, instead of yes or no was let's find out more. that's the lane that flake has now opened up. i think used his leverage quite ef effectively. i think it's a sensible thing to do. he may get to the end of this and his initial vote from this morning, yes he wants judge kavanaugh to go on the court, he may well end up there. the thing about tribalism and what we fight so hard against is leaping to convenient conclusions as opposed to letting the facts dictate and shape what we think. >> that third lane --
>> if you're disspirited about american politics, this is a better afternoon. >> that's a good context. >> that third lane is not a no or a yes. it's leaving the door open and we have to remember, when we watch lindsey graham speak yesterday and some other republicans say this is dirty politics and brett kavanaugh has been bamboozled. this is a chance for that not the happen. we learned from across the board people said they found dr. ford credible. she was not part of extreme politics. she came forward months ago. >> everything about her testimony suggested she was not wishing to be a part of this. >> brett kavanaugh did go forward and tell a series of small lies yesterday. he was under oath. a lie is a lie. leaving at very least questions. >> we're focussed very closely on jeff flake now. there's two other senators on
whom we also need to focus because we don't. they have kept their cards close to the chest. susan collins and lisa murkowski. i want to bring in kacie hunt about what the two senators are thinking. >> reporter: the short answer is we don't know very much. we're waiting for them to give statements. we haven't seen lisa murkowski on capitol hill all day. senator collins has been engaged with her colleagues. she's been the most reluctant to step in front of the cameras. senator jeff flake, you would have heard it in this hearing, he said he's aware he has support from his other or some of his other republican colleagues.
if i have any experience covering politics around here, you don't walk a plank if you don't know there's a couple of people that will stick behind you or jump in the water after you and pull you out. the three of them together and, again, we want to underscore we're still asking for comment. the three of them together having incredible leverage. it means that mitch mcconnell doesn't have the 50 votes to confirm. they will get whatever they demand. if the white house doesn't give in then perhaps they are sinking the nomination of this man. there are a couple of interesting back stories here. one is that senator chris coons was a central player in this drama. he and jeff flake have long had a personal friendship and when coons showed up to the hearing today, he was visibly emotional. he's a very polite guy. he used some inappropriate language in a very emotional more sad than angry way. very unlike senator coons.
then you saw all of them go behind closed doors and this unfolded. coons is something of an institutionalist. he cares about the body. that's not always the focus. there's a lot of people here who have higher ambitions. he loves being a senator. i think you saw in the back and forth a reflection that the two of them have on how broken this process is and it's an attempt to fix this. that one week time frame is very important. why is that? a lot of republicans who are really dug in on the right have sort of seen what democrats have been doing and thought all they are trying to do is delay as long as possible just to sink this guy entirely. what krcoons has been saying before today is this one week, brief investigation would benefit the country. he's been saying, in good faith, i think a one week investigation
is warranted. we should be willing to say that's what we're going to do. this investigation shouldn't drag out. it seems like he managed to convince jeff flake that's true. a week long fbi invest -- investigation is a fraught time for brett kavanaugh. we could see this play out in a public that could swing the dynamics here on capitol hill and it's another week that judge kavanaugh and his family have to live through what they live through. it's a difficult place to be. >> when you see chris coons, jeff flake, two men who have deep respect for one another bring back some decency and civility and brett kavanaugh's family deserve decency return. what they have had to experience, awful. much like dr. ford and her family had to experience.
ken, walk us through the logistics here. can the senate force the fbi to investigate this? when president spoke he said i'll leave it to the senate. the senate is not in charge. >> that's right. the answer to that question is no. obviously donald trump doesn't understand how this works. only the white house can ask the fbi to re-open the background check. the justice department has a memorandum of understanding with the white house for the fbi to conduct background checks on supreme court nominees. the fbi said this background check is closed. only the president -- sgh hahan one second. >> i believe he has the support of several colleagues in holding off the final vote until that happens. i'm hopeful he will hold firm until that happens. i'm going to insist this be viewed as an opportunity to work together across the aisle.
>> did he tell you he has the support of senator collins and murk murkowski? >> i encourage you to ask him about that. i think that's an admirable thing. >> do you think there's a chance you could vote yes after this one week period? is that part of the negotiation or no? >> what i'm intending to do, what i'm. doing now is celebrating that senator flake is holding a door open for further investigation in the interests of the american people seeing that dr. ford came forward and they are judge kavanaugh and his family are gener tormented by some of the extreme allegations have been made and in both cases a further investigation is warranted. thank you very much. >> you just heard a bit of
coons' own description of what happened. one thing he said when he need to ask the other offices and senator flake. he seems confident that senator flake has the support from his other colleagues that he'll need to make this one week delay a reality. >> the support means there's one, maybe or two other senators who will say put a hold on this until it gets done. let's bring -- >> do you remember earlier in the hour john meachum said one thing that was unprecedented even if the vote went through, democrats were intent to still dig, still work on this. if that were the case, then those who republican who is voted him through, they would have to own that. now that they are saying let's open this up and see, that takes some of the onnous off of them. if they weren't willing to ask the questions and they had been asked without the fbi and things came out, those senators would have that over their head.
>> absolutely. i think it's a recognition not just of that political reality but this is a good development because it's not that the kavanaugh come natinomination h stopped. it's not that can country or committee has decided she's right, he's wrong or vice versa. it's what a lot of folks in the middle of the spectrum who are about six people left who are not either hard left or hard right is what those people with common sense thaupought as they watched yesterday. they thought are people to talk to. there is -- it's not as though the supreme court is not functioning today because there are only eight. they aren't in session yet. they're not even working until the first monday in october. it's not an urgency. sf >> we're going to contribute this going to kasie hunt again. >> reporter: we have breaking
news. my colleague at the capitol where we can't bring our cameras spoke to senator lisa murkokski says she will support jeff flake. they are two republicans. mitch mcconnell has 51 republicans. if you subtract them, there's only 49 senators left. this is a major blow for senator mitch mcconnell who were trying force this through. we were expecting to have a full vote as soon as noon tomorrow. again, we don't have an update from senator mitch mcconnell. lindsey graham went to talk to him. senator lisa murkowski says she
supports jeff flake in his call for a one week delay and one week fbi investigation which means they have the leverage to delay this vote. >> this is important news now because one thing that kasie said is the president needs to open up the fbi investigation but mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer have to delay on the vote. he's asking for something over which he doesn't have control over which chuck grassley doesn't have control. let's go back to ken on this. chris coons said he talked to jeff flake about an investigation by the fbi limited in scope. assuming the president will open this up and we don't want to make that assumption, who determines the scope. >> it's clear that the president
doesn't get his supreme court justice now unless he agrees to re-open the fbi background check. nu enough republicans have said they will not vote until that happens. lisa murkowski said a week ago she thought it was a smart idea to have the fbi. >> we can't let you finish a sentence. here is jeff flake. >> limited in time and scope. >> you put out a statement this morning judge kavanaugh -- did you have this in move in mind? >> that would help provide leverage going and the democrats to agree they were willing to come out publicly we would accept this and we would say the process is fair. >> did you start this conversation or did the democrats come to you? >> i started. >> who did you go to?
>> did the woman have any role in changing your mind this morning? >> were you feeling any pressure from democrats? what was being said? >> a larger discussion about how we could lend more legitimacy to this process. that's been my concern. >> you talk to about this? we have been speaking. >> re-opening the investigation? >> i'll say more later. >> have you spoken to the fbi
director? >> i would have given up a longtime ago if i was the photographer. it changes a bit with news that lisa murkowski is involved. >> they have leverage to delay a vote. you have to consider and i know ken just said this but i want to gently correct them. neither flake nor murkowski have said they will vote no if there's no fbi investigation. they are both calling for an fbi investigation. you have to be clear with the wording here. if senator flake or senator collins or senator sasse or any of the other republicans that people are eyeing to see where they stand on this said i will not vote yes for kavanaugh
without an fbi investigation, then the president is left with no choice. then he has to open one in order to get that done, to get this nominee threw or pull the nominee and present a new one that he would hope would get confirmed quickly enough. without saying that we will not vote yes, the leverage only goes so far. >> let's get some clarity from kasie hunt. >> katie is right. they are not saying they will vote no on kavanaugh. excuse me, they have made up their minds and that's their decision. jeff flake said he would vote yes and he supported him many the committee. that's true. senators do have a lot of tools at their disposal that can influence what mitch mcconnell is able to do.
mitch mcconnell has unlimited control of the floor of the senate as the republican leader with a decimated filibuster in the context of nominees but not if he doesn't have a majority. any senator can stand in the way. it's a matter of one senator sticks their hand up and saying i'm sorry, i'm not going along with that. flake and murkowski together by removing those 50 votes is a pretty significant road block. even if the president says i'm not doing it, they could still dig in and prevent him from holding this vote on saturday. i realize it's really complicated and down into the weeds. there's a little bit of an important middle ground here where we want to be clear they
have not only leverage but some power over that plays out. sdp >> they do have that. my question is do you take stock in there not being specific language used when jaeff flake s asked will you vote no. that's a question he's not answered. i'm just looking at the words. >> reporter: i think we're back to where we were this morning before he put out that station. now he has a condition on his vote which means we haven't satisfied the condition. he won't answer the question. we don't know where he stands. we should ask everybody that murmu murkowski and collins have not said how they will vote. tv it was strongly suggested in the hearing shefr ining he was. we are still in this undecided area.
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if you're just tuning in, about 45 minutes ago jeff flake decided to pull an audsabible, you will. he did say this morning he would vote yes for brett kavanaugh and then he told senator grassley, the chairman of that committee, he believes there should be a one-week delay for the floor vote in the senate for brett kavanaugh in order for the fbi to have a chance to re-open the background information. in order for him to vote yes to move kavanaugh out of committee, he said he wanted that delay. he did acknowledge that he ultimately has no power with that. it will be up to senator mcconnell when ever that vote gets brought to the floor. also, up to the president of the united states, donald trump, to decide whether to re-open the investigation. joining me from capitol hill, kasie hunt. if you get any news, flag us, immediately. kelly o'donnell.
>> i've been jumping up and down behind the camera. >> do you have something? >> not at the moment. continue. betsy woodruff is with us. new york times political edtorial. former u.s. attorney in michigan barbara mcquaid and john meachum. nick, i want to start with you. i've been a bit cynical. flake is asking for a delay but he's not specifically he will with hold his vote if there's not that week long delay. mitch mcconnell is a political master mind and a political maneuverer. if he doesn't think he has flake, he's not going to call that vote. this has to go to the president of the united states. he has to say i want to re-open this investigation. what's the chance of that
happening? >> there's several senators who want more cover. they don't want to vote unless they can say there's more probing of the claims against him. that's what this is all about. i think yjeff flake is taking te heat from his side, from republicans and the president. >> who do you think? >> i think susan collins and lisa murkowski. i think it's hard for them to go forward on this nomination when there's so many evident questions unanswered and easy steps for an investigation to take place. just basic ones like trying to question the only person said to have been in the room with the accuser and the accused. >> betsy, it's remarkable that all the republicans on that senate judiciary committee said what good would an fbi investigation do. now senator flake is breaking from them on that point. i wonder if the fbi comes out
with corroborating evidence or just more facts, is that going to end up changing any minds here. >> i think it's very safe to assume that if the fbi found new information that adds to the evidence that dr. ford is already presented, it's certainly possible that would affect the way moderate republicans and red state democrats think about the way they cast this vote. that said, the important big picture to keep in mind here is that we just don't know. over the course of this next week, it's another seven days when activists, constituents, voters can put pressure on the senators to represent them either way. either to support kavanaugh or push back against him. what we'll see over the course of this next week is very much, it's likely very much we're going to see an escalation and an increase in just the push back and the noise of voters who care deeply about this process. one thing i can tell you is that i've been in touch with
republicans close to the confirmation process over the course of the day and the consensus i sense especially since flake made this announcement in the judiciary committee people expect this fbi investigation to move forward. i haven't spoken to anyone that thinks mcconnell will try to play hardball and force a vote given the current state of play where we have flake and murkowski indicating they want an investigation to happen. it looks like this investigation will proceeds the way that flake wants it. >> can they convince the president of the united states to re-open that investigation? kelly o'donnell, what are you hearing on that? >> reporter: i think we have to look at how the center of gravity has changed and changed dramatically. it will likely change again. in the moment what you have is a president who wants to see his nominee move forward. a president who notably today spoke in favorable positive,
complimentary terms about dr. christine blasey ford, that in and of itself if these other developments haven't happened, might be dominating our conversation. you have the tactical planning of mitch mcconnell. >> kasie hunt is jumping up and down. we promised we'd go to her. kasie? >> reporter: i hope you're not actually showing me jumping up and down on tv but i was with the control room because we do have some additional breaking news. joe manchin is supporting flake's call for an fbi investigation. why is this important? senator manchin is a democrat, obviously. he has not been the focus of a lot of our reporting in the last week but has emerged as a potential swing vote in the final days leading up to this as it has become something the nation can't look away from. it's increased pressure on him back home in west virginia. he has a really tough race coming up, a deeply trump state, something that a lot of people are paying attention to. he's back in west virginia today listening to his constituents. he says here that he applauds senator flake's decision, and
these are manchin's words, rise above the partisan circus on display during this entire process t. took courage to stake a stand and call for a one-week investigation to get to the bottom of the allegations against judge kavanaugh. this has been a partisan and divisive process. again, this puts them all together in a block and you should think of this block of undecided voters on one side manchin, a democrat, and then collins, murkowski, senator jeff flake, four in total. we had talked about some of the other red state democrats as well. they took themselves mostly out of the game today. we heard from joe donnelly saying he was going to be a no. we are waiting on heidi heightkamp. >> we have the polling as of right now. joe manchin has a nine-point lead over patrick morrissey. i wonder if that might change if
joe manchin decides to vote no on this supreme court nominee. kelly, i'm told you have something as well. >> reporter: the president is going to west virginia tomorrow. in knowing both flake and manchin over the years i can tell you that they were both taking heat from their party because they would have lunch together on a routine basis as a way of trying to bridge the partisan divide. that seems quite innocuous in the secular world, but inside the capitol that was considered something unexpected and unusual for them to do for a long time. so the fact that even not in washington, while he's in his home state this alliance kasie outlined is important. also, it is joe manchin who is up against the current attorney general of a state the president
won by 42 points. manchin himself had previously been governor, never an easy race for a democrat in west virginia. he's a popular person. but this is important. of course manchin voted for neil gorsu gorsuch. of course collins and murkowski are not on the ballot in november. this is the strength of the new block. there are always important, influential votes when there are issues that cross party lines. and so the kind of power they possess in this moment, this afternoon, is to be respected. we don't know where it's going but watch that space. >> lisa murkowski, i believe, lost the gop nomination for her primary in alaska. she won as a write-in candidate. >> reporter: where you had to spell her name correctly. >> don't underestimate how hard it must have been for a lot of people to figure out -- not to figure out how to spell
murkowski but to remember how to spell murkowski. it's not the easiest. it's not like tur, t-u-r. it's much easier. barbara, the fbi investigation, if it is reopened, where does the fbi start, and can they do this in one week? >> they absolutely can do it in one week. there's a finite list of people you would want to talk to. first is mark judge, the person at the scene. he is someone you would talk to. i would want to talk to everyone else at the party that night, the four people who have submitted affidavits on behalf of dr. ford. there's some question whether the other two women who have made accusations about brett kavanaugh would be interviewed and would be within the scope of it. that group at least. it could take longer than a day or two if they give you names of other people you ought to talk
to. it seems like that's the list. and so you could assign one agent to each of those people and do it in a day. it's realistic that could be done. i have been on both ends of a background investigation. my own and interviews of others including judges and the fbi agent will often say, i've been given a three-day deadline to complete my work. can i please talk to you today or tomorrow. so it is very common. one week is absolutely sufficient time to get this done. >> daniel? >> the fbi in doing this background investigation does not have subpoena power. if mark judge were to say i don't want to talk to you, then the fbi would have to go to the senate judiciary committee and get them to issue a subpoena for him, i believe. and then he could say i take the fifth. in which case we're throwing up our hands where this will go.
there are a lot of hiccups. it's a little bit different when you're talking about a criminal investigation and a background investigation. the open question is that july 1st date on the calendar where two of the names dr. ford said were there are listed on that calendar, something in a criminal investigation the fbi would look into. barbara is right, we are really wondering about the scope of this and what happens if mark judge just refuses to talk. >> could there be a smoking gun they could find all these years later? >> there's not going to be a smoking gun but a critical component is if they can find the house where this party occurred and it matches the description of dr. ford, which is quite specific, that is very, very persuasive corroborating evidence, and that could move the needle without any witness testimony. and then the mark judge stuff, there's a lot out there about him admitting to his girlfriend
in college about some of these gang rapes that are alleged through michael avenatti's client. barbara is right, the scope of this is open. mark judge has a lot to talk about here and particularly even as dr. ford testified they locked eyes. mark judge also somewhat oddly seemed to jump on them as brett kavanaugh was allegedly assaulting which is an odd thing to do. >> you've been waiting patiently. thank you. as the presidential historian among us, i want to you wrap this up for us. what is today? where will it go down in history? and will it, i guess, will it mean more if ultimately this nomination does not go through? or will it mean more if it does go through? where do you think? what do you think? >> that's a great question, and i think it will mean more if it
doesn't, but it shouldn't be that way. it should mean the same no matter what the result is because a lot of us argued, and i think this is the potential historic significance of the day, a lot of us have been arguing for a couple weeks too much of this process was about tribal points and not a search for the truth, what jefferson said, you should follow the truth wherever it may lead. that was one of the points of the american revolution was to have an ethos, a world view, that respected facts, respected data, respected new truths, and when we watched yesterday, i think a lot of folks thought these were two sides that made up their minds before they heard the first word. and what this news this afternoon does, and i think senator coons, if he's the one who brokered this deal, he's the henry kissinger of the afternoon with senator flake's act of
conscience here as well is you have a chance to legitimize this process for both sides. i think as the week goes forward, whatever the result, i think a lot of people will have a lot more faith in that result because this is a case where a system that a lot of us thought was broken seems to be working. as difficult as it can be for the american system stumbling forward. >> yeah, and i would love to know what made jeff flake call that audible today whether it was conversations he was having with senator coons. he said he was the one that approached senator coons. or whether it was that moment that he had in the elevator where the women survivors of sexual assault basically cornered him and said listen to me. you need to listen to me. i wonder if that changed his mind.
jon meacham, thank you very much, daniel goldman, barbara mcquade, kasie and kelly o'donnell, appreciate it, everyone that will wrap things up for me. good news, ali velshi is back. >> katy, thank you. we will continue to cover this news. back with you this hour, the country is being ripped apart. those are the words of arizona senator jeff flake, a key gop member of the senate judiciary committee about the proceedings to confirm supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. the division in washington has been on full display after yesterday's almost nine hours of emotional and fiery testimony from judge kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault, christine blasey ford. but senator jeff flake shocked the room and the nation when he joined his democratic colleagues by calling for an fbi investigation and a one-week delay of the vote on the full senate floor. the final vote needed to give brett kavanaugh a lifetime appointment on america's highest court.