tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC September 28, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
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.
>> i think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the fbi continue to do an investigation limited in time and scope to the current allegation that is are there. >> okay. then this happened which caused major confusion. >> because of the two-hour rule we're adjourned. >> what? >> the two-hour rule. >> no vote? >> when did we come in? did we come in at noon? yeah, we did. the two-hour rule. we knew we had to get this all done by 2:00. >> well, is it done? is flake's -- is it going to happen or did you cut off a vote? >> no, we didn't have a motion in front of us. this is all a gentlemen and
women's agreement. >> good to know for a lifetime appointment to the supreme court we're worried about a two-hour vote. the fact is it just seemed like that was more important than chuck grassley probably could have asked his fellow senators to allow extra time. as you can see kelly is there covering stuff at the white house and she broke this news for us, by the way, that that was going to happen with jeff flake. kasie is at capitol hill covering what's going on there and those developments have been rapid since this all happened. so, kasie, since jeff flake said, implied, that he would like a one-week delay and an investigation into this before voting on the floor of the senate to confirm brett kavanaugh, what has happened? >> reporter: well, ali, we are tracking all of the other senators who may be in play for this because the question when flake went and announced this was does he have leverage to actually force the senate to delay this and potentially demand a reopening of the fbi investigation. we know that's up to the
president of the united states and i'm sure kelly has reporting on that. but from this angle on this side of pennsylvania i have a, flake went to the microphones after walking into that hearing room with a statement saying he was going to vote for kavanaugh, and he said, you mo what, i'm actually not prepared to move forward on the senate floor. he did vote to pass kavanaugh out of committee. he said he'd spoken to one republicans and he anticipated they would be onboard with him. we're still wait to go hear from susan collins, who is a critical voice. lisa murkowski said she supports the move and so did joe manchin. that's this coalition in the middle around this nomination because manchin had emerged in recent days as somebody who might be open to voting yes. he comes from a red state, is up for re-election, and the president will be campaigning there. joe manchin is at home talking to constituents about this. but together jeff flake and lisa murkowski on the republican side, that's two republicans that mitch mcconnell can't lose.
he only has 51. he needs 50 to pass this nomination on the floor. so this was a message to him that, you know what, you don't have the votes for this and for mcconnell, that's everything. so we're still waiting to see what leadership are going to do. lindsey graham went over there. republicans are currently huddling as a group in mcconnell's office figuring out what to do next. the concerns that drove this stemmed from questions around what we didn't know about the corroborating evidence between -- of dr. ford's account, or lack thereof, and mark judge is a significant piece of this. we know senator collins at the meeting said, hey, all i have is a statement from a lawyer. i would like to hear from him. they produced a letter signed by mark judge. there was speculation that was going to be good enough for susan collins. we never got a definitive answer to that question. now it looks like we may get more if, in fashgt, the president is really ready to double down on brett kavanaugh
as his nominee. ali? >> we have this sort of unclear from a strategic and logistical perspective request by jeff flake surrounded by lisa murkowski that has to have mitch mcconnell in it and absolutely has to have the president involved. so let's go to the white house where kelly o'donnell is. kelly, again, the president's comments immediately after learning upon this were less than clear as to whether he's saying, yeah, i'll go ahead and ask the fbi to reopen this investigation. >> reporter: and the president was caught in the moment of being host to the president of chile here at the white house today, and so he was learning about this while also engaged in another meeting. and so as lindsey graham has said publicly he expects to be the point perfect to relay to the president and mitch mcconnell and the president speak on a regular basis, according to their aides. we don't yet know if those calls have transpired. what the president did that is notable is a couple of things. in speaking with reporters, he
took questions on this matter, reafirmed his support for judge kavanaugh. but what really stood out is the way in which he described christine blasey ford and did so in complimentary terms, referring to her testimony, which we know from our sources here the president watched with great interest over many hours yesterday, and at the same time also acknowledged that despite being president where there's often an audience of one for various actions in this city, meaning the president gets to be the decider, he deferred to the senate republicans because they will have to carry some of this responsibility. what we don't yet know is after there is a conversation within the republican conference that kasie alluded to what strategically they will ask the president to do in terms of an fbi investigation f. there are senators from the republican party withholding their vote on such time as the president asked the fbi to do this and you heard jeff flake say limited scope to the allegations that presently
exist. so from his point of view not opening the door wide open where there could be a flood of new allegations if that was even in the realm of possibility. so here is how the president responded, again, kind of in real time where he had not yet had a chance to see all of this kind of flush out. here is the president a short time ago. >> mr. president, any comment on the request for a delay from senator flake? he wants a one-week delay so the fbi can investigate further. >> well, i'm going to let the senate handle that. they'll make their decisions. they've been doing a good job and very professional. i'm just hearing a little bit about it because i've been with the president of chile, and we're talking about some very important subjects. i'm sure it will all be very good. i guess the vote was a positive vote, but there seems to be a delay. i'll learn more about it as the day goes on. i just heard about it because we were together. >> what did you think of dr. ford's testimony when you heard that? >> i thought her testimony was very compelling and she looks
like a very fine woman to me. >> reporter: so we don't have an affirmative answer from the president yet on his position regarding an fbi examination of background check material. also, needless to say, the president has a fraught relationship with the fbi at times over things related to the russia investigation. but a good relationship with the fbi director, his own appointee. where does this go next? today and this afternoon this is a moment for the institutionalists, those in the senate who believe the country is better served if the workings of government work together. and so at least for this moment there are signs -- there's a pulse on the institution still. it's not purely tribal partisan. we may get back to that. but for this moment there's at least a sign that there is a move toward working together. >> that's a good way to put it. thank you to both of you for your continued and very active and busy reporting this afternoon, kelly o'donnell at the white house briefing room,
kasie hunt at capitol hill. we'll check in with both of you as things develop. the lack of a further fbi investigation into the allegations against kavanaugh was one of the major points of contention at yesterday's marathon hearing and at today's judiciary committee meeting. >> he claimed the fbi had already investigated him because they did a background check six times. the fbi never investigated dr. blasey ford's allegations. it never investigated deborah ramirez's allegations. it never investigated julie swetnick's allegations. a person who is innocent would want the fbi to investigate their claims and clear their name. judge kavanaugh refused to make that request. >> joining us now to take a closer look is someone who knows the background check process well. greg bower is a former assistant director for the office of congressional affairs at the fbi. also a former u.s. attorney and now a partner at the law firm.
ken also joins us. here is the question. the request done in haste, in the last minutes of this hearing and the vote lacked a little clarity. at one point jeff flake asked for it. dianne feinstein said i'm not clear if that's what you're asking for. chuck grassley quickly called for a vote. that senate judiciary committee doesn't have the authority to call for an investigation. so if such an investigation were to happen how is the scope and scale and size it have determined? >> yesterday's hearing didn't go well for a lot of reasons. in my experience in dealing with senator grassley and his committee, he generally runs a fair process and the committee is a fair committee, to say the least. as was indicated earlier, the process went off the rails yesterday and one of the significant problems i think
that came out of it was the democrats were able to put the republicans on the defensive and effectively calling a process foul with respect to the refusal, at least so far by the white house, to reopen the background investigation. it's a little late now but not too late. it can be done. it's a matter of the white house asking the fbi to reopen it. one of the questions that will have to be resolved is the qualifier that senator flake offered which is that any reopening should be limited in time and scope. what that means exactly has to be worked out. that may not be easy to work out. the fbi could do this if the white house asked the fbi to do it. >> ken, to that point, who will make that determination? and the president said i have to look into it. he didn't say no but the extension for a week has been asked for. we don't know if it's granted because that's up to mitch mcconnell. what has to happen? the president and the justice
department send a memo? >> my sense is the white house will have to work out with the fbi assuming this goes forward. the republicans who want it seem to have the leverage to make it happen. the white house will have to work out the scope of the investigation with the fbi. this would be the fbi reopening the back ground check on brett kavanaugh, and there is precedent for this. this is exactly what happened in the clarence thomas/anita hill matter in 1991. thefy tie did fbi did a three-d and came back with a report inconclusive, ali. i don't know that it's been made public. famously joe biden lamented the fact that it was inconclusive. republicans have been playing that clip of biden saying that in order to suggest that the fbi investigation doesn't get you anything. but in this case there are key witnesses who have never been interviewed under penalty of lying to the fbi.
for example, mark judge, who is alleged to have been in the room, that's the first person the fbi will want to talk to. another question, ali, will this inquiry be limited in scope just to the dr. ford allegations or look at the ramirez and swetnick allegations? that has to be worked out. >> greg, that's an interesting point. judge kavanaugh and the republicans on the committee kept on saying the fbi does not determine culpability or guilt in these investigations. but to ken's point the specific questions that are being asked, the when did this happen, where did it happen, who was there, what do they all have to say about it, that is something the fbi can probably determine. >> that's right. i think since the beginning of this process with respect to judge kavanaugh there's been a lot of confusion, some sort of intentional, some unintentional about what the fbi background process includes. as ken mentioned, this would not be a criminal investigation which would culminate in the fbi recommending to a prosecuting
office whether to prosecute or not. whether there's reasonable grounds to believe a crime was committed. that's not what a background investigation is about. but it can be about assessing the credibility of witnesses in addition to establishing the facts. and so the idea that an fbi investigation at this point, a reopening of a bi, a background investigation, would not be useful in any way, misses the point. it might be very useful. it may not elucidate anything new. we'll never know unless and until it happens. >> and, greg, to the point everybody keeps bringing up and lindsey graham brought it up, this would be fbi background investigation number seven. everything i've heard from people from the fbi is that after the first one they're sort of incremental based on any changes to your situation since the last one. >> well, that's true. any background investigation is only as good as the witnesses who are interviewed and the
questions that are asked. if there is no reason to interview a certain person because the agents have no knowledge that that person might have relevant information then that person is not interviewed and even if they might have information it is not then part of the information gathered in the background information. we have a situation where apparently there are new witnesses, there are new allegations that the fbi i assume, has never had in the past with respect to the judge's prior background investigations. >> to both of you, thank you. greg brower is a former assistant of congressional affairs and former u.s. attorney, former u.s. attorney and ken delailanian is our reporter. i want to play some of what happened during yesterday's highly emotional testimony beginning with christine blasey ford.
i'm terrified. i believe it's my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while brett kavanaugh and i were in high school. i believed he was going to rape me. i tried to yell for help. when i did, brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from yelling. this is what terrified me the most and has had the most lasting impact on my life. it was hard for me to breathe, and i thought that brett was accidentally going to kill me. both brett and mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. they seemed to be having a very good time. >> can you tell us what impact the events had on you? >> well, i think the sexual assault varies by person so for me personally anxiety, phobia and ptsd-like symptoms are what i've been coping with. >> what is the strongest memory
you have, the strongest memory of the incident, something you cannot forget? >> indelible is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense. >> dr. ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe brett kavanaugh assaulted you? >> 100%. >> all right. then it was judge kavanaugh's turn to speak in front of the judiciary committee. >> this confirmation process has become a national disgrace, the constitution gives the senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advise and consent with search and destroy. i intend no illwill to dr. ford and her family. the other night ashley and my daughter liza said their prayers and little liza, all of 10 years
old -- said to ashley, we should pray for the woman. that's a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old. i categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation against me by dr. ford. i never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind with dr. ford. >> all three of these women have asked the fbi to investigate their claims. i listened carefully to what you said. your concern is evident and clear and if you're very confident of your position and you appear to be, why aren't you also asking the fbi to investigate these claims? >> i'll do whatever the committee wants. i wanted a hearing the day after the allegation came up. >> are you willing to ask the white house to conduct such an
investigation because, as you are aware, the fbi did conduct a background investigation into you before we were aware of these most recent allegations. are you willing to ask the white house to do that? yes or no and then we can move on. >> i've had six background investigations over 26 years. >> as it relates to the recent allegations. are you willing to have them do it? >> the witness testimony is before you. no witness who was there supports that i was there. >> okay. i'm going to take that as a no. did you watch dr. ford's testimony? >> i did not. i plan to. i plan to but i did not. i was preparing mine. >> okay. joining me to talk about the latest developments now, "new york times" supreme court reporter and liz holtzman, former member of the house judiciary committee who also voted to impeach president nixon and nbc news presidential historian, thank you for being here. liz, let me start with you.
separate and apart from whether anybody believes the allegations against judge kavanaugh, there was a remarkable stark difference in the two pieces of testimony yesterday. christine blasey ford was almost apologetic about not able to be more helpful to the committee and brett kavanaugh came out like a rocket with a lot of people saying, wow, they were a little surprised by his temperament and his anger and forcefulness. what did you make of it? >> well, i thought she was very credible, very, very powerful, disarming, humble, not arrogant, wanting to be helpful, sorry she couldn't be more helpful, saying she wanted an investigation. she was happy to talk to the fbi. she had been asking for that. i think the demeanor of judge kavanaugh was, to me, deplorable, appalling, and showed him unfit to be on the
supreme court. that's what really surprised me because he was claiming conspiracy. there's no basis to believe that. he was claiming the democrats were basically manipulating all of the people who were making accusations against him. if you heard dr. ford, you know -- >> she didn't want to be a part of this. >> she didn't want to be a bart of it and is no one's pawn. and the fact that he refused time after time after time to answer the question as to whether there should be a full investigation showed to me a lack of comportment. this kind of partisanship does not belong on the supreme court. we can disagree but you have to have someone with an open mind. if he's claiming it's a conspiracy, he doesn't know what he's talking about. and these are scurrilous
comments. they don't have any place in the supreme court nomination process. so i was shocked actually by that and i feel that alone is disqua disqualifying. >> republican senators including susan collins and lisa murkowski are meeting with senator mitch mcconnell in his office right now. the news we have is lisa murkowski has joined with jeff flake in asking for the one-week delay in the vote, the floor vote, the full senate vote to confirm brett kavanaugh while an fbi investigation is undertaken. what we don't know is whether flake and murkowski are saying that they'll vote no if such an investigation isn't undertaken but the trick here is that the white house has to ask for that. we also don't know from the white house whether that's going to happen. adam, another observation a number of people made about kavanaugh's testimony is that along the lines of a lot of questions about drinking and partying and things that were on
this yearbook and on his calendar, he seemed to be disingenuous and inconsistent with his statements to fox news and the things in the yearbook about his drinking habits and some worried if he's lying about that could he be lying about other things. >> he seemed to be a moving target on that stuff, you're quite right. and to follow up on the points about demeanor, in turning the questions around to senators and particularly senator klobuchar saying, have you blacked out? that was not the kind of comportment and demeanor and temperament we're used to seeing from supreme court nominees who we hope are detached and neutral and independent and that is how judge kavanaugh presented himself earlier this month in his first round of hearings where he faced hostile questions on a lot of questions and kept his cool. he was unflappable. this time around he presented a very different face, both angry and emotional and drawing on
partisan language and that kind of look is not good for a supreme court nominee and this kind of confirmation hearing is not good for the supreme court. it could really damage the court's prestige and authority and legitimacy. >> so this is part of the bigger problem, michael, that the legitimacy of the process, a cloud over the supreme court. i think every day we should be thinking that history is writing itself. on days like this guys like you must be making furious notes because this -- today and yesterday are moments in american history. >> they sure are, ali. anyone who is losing faith in the system last night because there seemed to be a thunderous rush to judgment that was being forced by the trump white house and absolute refusal to have the fbi even spend a few days as they did with clarence thomas to investigate the new accusations we saw by dr. ford and that emotional heartwrenching presentation yesterday morning.
now today the system seems at this moment to be working in the way it's supposed to. this is all slowing down. let's say, ali, there was a vote this afternoon as had been set at 1:30 and the trump white house and mitch mcconnell managed to force a vote without the fbi investigation, without taking a few days to absorb that unbelievable display we saw from judge kavanaugh yesterday afternoon plus the information that we took in from dr. ford, history i can guarantee you for the next 50 years would be saying what was the rush? why was this hugely important decision, a justice who may be on the court for decades, forced to be made in literally less than a day after judge kavanaugh finished? now today we're seeing the glimmerings of the possibility the system is working in the way that james madison a couple of centuries ago wanted it to. >> liz holtzman, we've heard some people say the fbi if
committed to it, can conduct the necessary investigation in a week. are you confident? >> well, i don't know because who knows -- it's like a rock that you're turning over. who knows what these witnesses are going to say, other names that may come forward. i think the idea of having it -- not a firm limit but trying to get it done in a week is a great idea. i don't think should be chained to something that's arbitrary in that way. i think because we don't know the scope of it and there are other questions. dr. ford said she would be willing to be questioned. are they going to question kavanaugh? big questions here. >> an fbi investigation, a background investigation, is different -- you can't lie to either of them really. >> you can't lie just the way you can't lie to the senate. they may ask more questions, for example, about his drinking. there were allegation that is came up from his freshman roommate, kavanaugh never really answered them except trying to disparage the person. >> said they didn't enjoy a good
relationship, three roommates, two of them were fighting. >> was that a big problem for him? was he a big drinker, did he recover? what's the story? the worst part is the lack of clarity and the lack of integrity with regard to the senate committee, not being forthcoming. >> this news just in from cnbc, breaking news, a lawyer for mark judge, the high school buddy of brett kavanaugh, has told cnbc judge, quote, will answer any and all questions posed to him by the fbi about serious sexual assault allegation that is have been made against kavanaugh. adam, this was a big deal in yesterday's hearing. there were a lot of questions about why won't mark judge come and do you believe mark judge should come and testify? and he kept saying mark judge sent a letter. he said what he has to say. there's nothing more to say. >> well, you would think it would be crucial. the allegation there were three people in the room.
we heard from two of them yesterday. the third one is a very important witness and it would seem to me fundamental that you try to talk to everybody with direct knowledge of the accusation and not to talk to and closely question mark judge would seem to be an enormous lapse. it sounds like now finally we're moving in a direction of getting direct information under questioning from all three people. >> all right. the three of you, stand by. thank you for joining me with the analysis. i will continue on with this because we continue to get more news. michael beschloss, at this point we do have an experience particularly with clarence thomas about what a serious allegation against a judge looks like that continues to -- where the system goes and confirms that judge to the supreme court. what's the difference here? if brett kavanaugh were to be confirmed to the supreme court today or yesterday in a vote today that might happen on tuesday before this happened,
would it influence him as a judge on the supreme court? >> sure. it would influence him in all sorts of ways. brett kavanaugh would be angry at the process even though he prevailed, and you can be sure that the last couple of weeks have made brett kavanaugh very dependent on donald trump. one reason he was so angry in that presentation yesterday may have been from reports we're getting from the trump white house that the trump people said to him if you don't want the president to rescind this nomination you'd better be a different brett kavanaugh than you were on fox news. you'd better be a little bit more like donald trump. so the result very well could be he could go to the supreme court more dependent on this president than any justice i can think of in modern times and that's exactly what you don't want, these justices are supposed to be independent. there may be a trump case that comes to the supreme court. would you feel that we americans are very well defended if a trump case was ultimately decided by brett kavanaugh who
feels that he has some dependence on the president? >> i want to bring in jeff rosen, my go-to guy on this, profession of law, and jon meacham is joining us as well. he's a presidential historian and an msnbc contributor who was on with me when this news first broke. and i'm going to just paraphrase, john, for you, jeff, because john was sort of talking at the time about the influence of this decision having been taken. jeff flake having stood up to do something and changing the direction that the country thought this confirmation hearing was going in as possibly for posterity preserving the reputation and institution of the supreme court. what are your thoughts on the developments today? >> i think john was absolutely right in saying that this is what the framers intended. michael beschloss made the same
point. madison wanted to slow the system down so that some kind of comity could prevail. i am extremely concerned about the future legitimacy of the judiciary as chief justice john roberts must be. he is the person who will determine whether the court is perceived as partisan by half the country or whether there's some hope of bipartisan legitimacy. the fact the system is slowing down, at least it will appear to be fair raises some hope that we've stepped back from the abyss we were on. it was a distressing possibility to think of how americans would look at the courts had this nomination been rushed through in a way that seemed unfair and the fact that we've slowed down is, indeed, something madison would celebrate. >> michael beschloss, you've had half an hour or two to compose yourself since we were on tv. >> i'm trying, ali. >> what do you think this looks like next? in other words does jeff flake
go down in history as a guy who did what jeff rosen said so we can be deliberate about this? is it maybe a power play that got derailed a little bit earlier today? what do you think happens? >> jeff flake could be saving this country from the abyss. just go this morning. remember when we were watching this morning and pat leahy, democrat on the judiciary committee, served 43 years in the senate, is the longest serving u.s. senator, he said that the senate is in danger of losing its independence, of being, quote, /unquote, an arm the trump presidency. it looked as if donald trump was so powerful he was able to bully the senate no a quick vote on this with no fbi investigation, with possibly a very different verdict from the one that might have reached were it to wait a week or so as we're talking about or more. that's how different things are
just a few hours later than when patrick leahy spoke this morning. anyone who doubts the american system or thinks it's breaking down forever, for the first time in a couple of days i'm feeling optimistic. >> jon meacham, you said something very interesting to me two hours ago, for all the people who were looking for justice here, particularly those who have been animated by the me too movement and the times up movement, what we were witnessing until things changed at about 2:00 this afternoon was power not justice. >> exactly. to me that was the narrative of the week. you had a republican majority, a bare majority, struggling to drive this nominee through. plow through with senator mcconnell's phrase.
and it was about getting that seat. i don't think anyone with a modicum of neutrality on this would think that this would be the same conversation if this were february of 2018. crashing into october and the fear and the fear on the republican side has been this nomination falls apart, they lose the senate, somehow, the map is very difficult. schumer turns around and says to mcconnell, i'm following my friend's playbook and we're not going to fill the seat for two years. suddenly we're in yet another tribal war with the court right in the middle of it. i think that to some extent we've been given at least a brief reprieve from that level of hardball and i think michael's right the senate is
supposed to be like this, deliberative. we have one who said you can always count on americans to do the right thing once we've exhausted every other possibility. we came awfully close there. >> liz holtzman, you are unusual in that you have been a member of congress and you have been a prosecutor and you have studied sex crimes and have understood some of the things that people didn't understand until they heard from christine blasey ford where she not only was recounting her experience but an expert witness, anybody who has experienced trauma recommendation terse it than someone else for whom it was not a traumatic event. do you think the idea of me too and time's up and the influence, the phone calls to the senators' offices and the protesters on capitol hill who walked in front of these senators.
jeff flake doesn't have to run again. >> his comment was this is tearing america apart, and any objective observer and what my colleagues have said previously would see what were the democrats asking for? we want kavanaugh off. they were saying let's have an investigation to see what actually happened and it's very hard to persuade the american people as to why you don't need an investigation, why we should just shut down a process that's incomplete. these allegations came up. so i think what it shows is that there is still a possibility of working together. i just want to bring up a watergate example. why did watergate work? in the end it was republicans and moderate democrats who wrote the articles of impeachment
because what was more important was the country. and here is a situation where senator flake is saying more important than this particular nomination is the country's belief our process is working. it has to be complete and thorough and professional and then let people make up their minds once we have the facts. >> we do have a response on the record from mark judge's attorney who has said, yes, if asked to speak to the fbi he would. in my experience an fbi interview is always confidential. i don't know anything about that. it pertains to a supreme court nomination would remain confidential. that seems to be a condition that mark judge has made. this is brett kavanaugh's friend from high school.
he has agreed to a confidential entry. i guess i have to ask, you, liz, does mark judge now that this is an fbi background investigation -- i guess they can't subpoena him. >> no, but the committee can subpoena him. people call him a witness but he's a potential accomplice. if one believes her allegations, he was a participant in the crime, maybe even accused of attempted rape. he has a lot to be concerned about here. i think the fact that he went into hiding, that he ran away, that he didn't, himself, want to appear, that he still doesn't want to appear, i can understand it. but it is concerning because it talks -- it suggests that he has things to say about kavanaugh that he doesn't want kavanaugh to know he's saying and that's not good. >> that's why he wants the confidential. >> adam liptak, liz holtzman, thank you for your analysis on
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all right. our breaking news coverage continues. let's get you caught up on a dramatic afternoon in america on capitol hill. nbc news has just learned from a lawyer for mark judge that brett kavanaugh's high school friend that judge, if asked, will speak to the fbi. this happens as republicans on the senate judiciary committee along with senator susan collins and lisa murkowski are meeting with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell now in his office to discuss next steps. we're expecting a statement soon. capitol hill correspondent and host of kasie d.c. joins us with the latest. it's such a mickup of people. murkowski and collins are not on the judiciary committee. jeff flake is. murkowski has said that she supports jeff flake's request for an fbi investigation and a one-week delay. >> reporter: correct. you've got it all right. but let me bring you breaking news from my colleagues inside the capitol seeking out that meeting with mitch mcconnell and
senators murkowski and flake. senator cornyn telling us that there will be an fbi background check investigation lasting no more than one week so we're not sure what they know that we don't, if they have been in communication with the president who would have to authorize that, but that is a marked difference from leadership who had previously until this time been saying there was no need to do that, that they were going to push full steam ahead no matter what. this is the result of what we have seen unfold over the course of the past few -- i was going to say past few days. it's actually been hours maybe but over this afternoon as jeff flake seemed to suddenly change his mind. he went into this judiciary committee meeting this morning saying he was going to vote yes on judge kavanaugh but after a lot of private discussions with democrats as well as eventually republicans on the committee he came out and said that he was demanding this delay. let's take a look at a little bit of how jeff flake explained himself today.
watch. >> some kind of bipartisan agreeme agreement. we want to limit it in time and scope. >> reporter: he's talking about bipartisan agreement and this came about because he has a long-standing relationship with senator chris coons and this is the kind of thing, coons, of course, a democrat -- this is the kind of thing that used to define the senate. this was always in the past how the senate did big things but it has become less and less true in recent years as tribalism has splintered the chamber especially around judicial nominees. it started with democrats when they removed the filibuster and then mitch mcconnell took it away for the supreme court and now here we are today. so this is an agreement brokered between senator flake and chris coons. the people who matter in its execution and who will determine how this ultimately plays out are those people who mentioned as you introduced this segment.
flake is on the judiciary committee. the others who matter here are not. senator lisa murkowski, senator susan collins and senator joe manchin that graphic shows a handful of democratic senators from states that trump won but i want to focus on manchin there and perhaps with a mention of heidi heitkamp of north dakota. she's been further out of the mix lately. we still don't know where she stands. joe manchin, on the other hand, has been having increasingly intense private conversations about what to do about judge kavanaugh in recent days. he's back home in west virginia. he has a tough re-elect coming up this fall in a very pro-trump state, the most pro-trump state in the country. he had been doing well against a republican opponent a lot of people thought was basically underperforming. but this has really resonated across the country. the president will be campaigning in west virginia tomorrow. so he's entered into the conversation. but as soon as jeff flake said this, and he did, flake, vote to pass kavanaugh out of the committee so it is moving -- it is at least moving ahead a
little bit, we got a statement from joe manchin saying he backs up jeff flake in this request. we also got a statement from lisa murkowski saying she backs up jeff flake. senator collins hasn't come out and said anything publicly but is a critical piece of this puzzle. >> jeff flake has given everybody some cover? >> reporter: he's given everybody some cover but he's also banded them together and given them leverage. they needed him to have leverage. the more of them there are, the more leverage they have, i mean, they really only needed two but between collins and murkowski clearly that negotiation was still fragile and ongoing. we had a hearing before this that murkowski was leaning no. we had no idea. so flake was in many ways a linchpin and the three of them together can actually force mitch mcconnell to do a lot of things apparently reopen this investigation. >> has anybody heard from mitch mcconnell? >> reporter: we have not. i apologize. i'm going to be looking down at my e-mail here.
they're staking out his office, so john cornyn who was the person i referenced at the top is the number two republican in the senate, often -- or i should say he doesn't speak out of turn when it comes to these kinds of questions with the republican leader. so the fact that he is saying that there will be this investigation is noteworthy and likely tells you what the ultimate outcome will be. >> kasie, thanks for your continued reporting. kasie hunt for us in d.c. all right, when the fbi does its investigation, it's going to look into dr. ford's claims. we're no clearer in knowing with certainty what happened some 36 years ago between christine blasey ford and judge brett kavanaugh. one thing is clear, ford believes for certain, at least that's what she testified under fear of perjury that she was assaulted and there's no doubt in her mind who did it. >> dr. ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe brett kavanaugh assaulted you? >> 100%.
>> what is the strongest memory you have -- the strongest memory of the incident, something you cannot forget? take whatever time you need. >> indelible is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense. >> and, dr. ford, i'll just conclude with this, you do remember what happened, do you not? >> very much so. >> how are you so sure that it was he? >> the same way that i'm sure i'm talking to you right now, basic memory functions and also just the level of the
neurotransmitter of the brain so the trauma-related experience is kind of locked there whereas other details kind of drift. >> that last sentence is important. for more on why ford's memory of the alleged is so clear while her memory of other parts of the same evening might be hazy, i'm joined by the director of clinical training and a professor at harvard university's department of psychology. also the author of the book "remembering trauma." dr. mcnally, thank you for joining us. the encoding on the memory into the hippocampus of a traumatic incident. i'm not sure we've addressed this as much as we should. two people can experience -- can be in the same room. to one it was traumatic to the other it may not have been and hence, one they not remember it at all and the other may remember it in excruciating detail. >> right. that's right. what happens is that the release of the stress hormones during a terrifying, traumatic experience
tends to herender the central features of the event vivid and highly memorable. sometimes at the expense of the peripheral, the more trivial details. and so someone who is experiencing terror in the situation will likely remember this event much better than someone who has -- is not experiencing terror. >> is it possible that the person who is not experiencing terror in the event might even have been the perpetrator, but for whom it was not a traumatic incident or even a memorable incident could not ooremember - is it possible that brett kavanaugh actually doesn't remember this? >> it's conceivable. if, for example, these sorts of things happen many times, when somebody has been, for example, flying in an airplane many times. it's hard to distinguish one flight from another. if there's nothing really distinctive about the event or nothing emotionally salient
about it, the person wasn't experiencing tense emotions or it was not an especially unusual event, they may not remember it, especially if they're drinking to some degree. >> the drinking issue came up a lot yesterday. to what degree does drinking impair memory? >> well, this is most dramatic when someone has a complete blackout and they're still able to act, to behave and yet they have no memory whatsoever of the event. from what i understood from his testimony, he's never experienced blackouts before. he was simply, according to the testimony of dr. ford, drunk. but not so drunk that it would totally obliterate the memory for those reasons. the event may not have been that distinctive or unusual or particularly emotionally salient for him. if dr. ford's testimony is correct, there were other individuals on the first floor of that house. and apparently they said they don't remember anything about this gathering, and that's not
especially surprising. this event was nothing unusual apparently for them. there's only one person who apparently experienced terror on that night. and it's dr. ford. >> let me ask you one other question. she was asked many times about, and i would imagine this is normal, about, is she sure it was brett kavanaugh. the question of misidentification. you've written that it is far more likely when a victim has never -- has no familiarity with the assailant. >> right. yeah, perpetrator misidentification certainly caps. the dna exonerations would be an example of that. someone has the wrong person identified. this is far less likely to happen, however, if the person has prior familiarity with the individual. if they know the individual. so, for example, you would be far less likely in a case of date rape or acquaintance rape to make a mistake than you would about some attack by a stranger whom you've never seen before. >> all right, dr. richard mcnally, i really recommend in
the world we're in that people read your book and just get smarter about memory. it's such a sophisticated issue as it relates to trauma. dr. mcnally is a professor at harvard. coming up, much more on today's breaking news and the seemingly changing minute by minute news that we're following. this is msnbc. it's time for "your business" of the week. this serial entrepreneur in the hair care industry cannot stop himself from founding companies. he's created five brands, 300-plus products and earned millions for himself. find out what his winning formula is and why he keeps coming back. that's on "your business" sunday morning at 7:30 eastern on msnbc. don't forget that the past can speak to the future. ♪ ♪ i'm going to be your substitute teacher. don't assume the substitute teacher has nothing to offer... same goes for a neighborhood. don't forget that friendships
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our continuing breaking news coverage. nbc news has learned from a lawyer for mark judge, brett kavanaugh's high school friend that judge, if asked, will speak to the fbi about dr. ford's accusations against him and kavanaugh. currently there are numerous allegations against brett kavanaugh. three women have come forward publicly to say that kavanaugh assaulted them or was a witness to other assaults. one of the women, julie swetnick is going to tell her story this weekend. that's at least according to her attorney, michael avenatti who spoke last hour. >> and her allegations include that they would routinely conduct themselves in a way and undertake activities designed to get women inebriated or under the influence of drugs or other things so they could be taken advantage of. and that brett kavanaugh often demonstrated aggressive, very aggressive and/ally abusive behavior towards women, especially when he drank in
excess. that it included grabbing women inappropriately, trying to take their clothes off, grinding up against them. she's going to have a lot of details relating to things that she observed. she has also alleged that mark judge, together with his friend brett kavanaugh, would routinely undertake efforts to spike the punch at these parties so that unsuspecting predominantly women would drink this punch not knowing that it was laced with either grain alcohol or quaaludes with the hope that they could then be taken advantage of. >> and i have yet more breaking news within our breaking news. the moment that christine blasey ford has been waiting for. a statement from the senate judiciary committee which reads the senate judiciary committee will request the administration instruct the fbi to conduct a supplemental fbi background investigation with respect to the nomination of judge brett kavanaugh to be an associate justice on the supreme court. there will be an investigation.
to say it's been a busy week is an understatement. before we go, a quick programming note. msnbc is teaming up with the global citizen festival to help bring an end to extreme poverty. the global citizen festival is tomorrow. there will be performances by janet jackson, janelle monet and john legend. catch it all here starting at 3:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. thank you for watching. "deadline white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. breaking news this afternoon on the supreme court nomination fight that has gripped the nation. republican senator jeff flake dropping a bombshell on his senate judiciary committee colleagues saying he would only vote yes on passing kavanaugh out of committee if the fbi investigates dr. christine blasey ford's allegations of sexual assault before any final confirmation vote on the floor. flake will not support final confirmation until the fbi concludes its limited