tv Deadline White House MSNBC September 28, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
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 investigation. here was that announcement.
>> we've had conversations ongoing for a while with regard to making sure that we do due diligence here. and 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 allegations that are there. and limited in time to no more than one week. and i will vote to advance the bill to the floor with that understanding. and i have spoken to a few other members who, on my side of the aisle, that may be supportive as well. but that's my position. >> his position ultimately prevailed and we learned he had at least one important republican ally, lisa murkowski saying she was on boortd with
flake saying, i think it's important that we do our due diligence and this is yet another step in that due diligence. flake's democratic colleagues on the committee expressed emotional relief that the process for a final vote on kavanaugh would be informed by an fbi investigation. chris coons who flake consulted before announcing his decision, had an emotional reaction. >> let me simply say this. senator flake is a genuine conservative. he's written a book about the conscience of the conservative. he and i do not share a lot of political views, but we share a deep concern. sorry. senator flake and i share a deep concern for the health of this institution. and what it means to the rest of the world and to our country if we are unable to conduct ourselves respectfully and in a way that hears each other. >> of course, it's the white house not senator flake or any of his allies who will have to ultimately request that
investigation. we've just heard more about what an investigation would entail. breaking in the last hour, mark judge, kavanaugh's longtime friend who dr. blasey ford says was in the room during kavanaugh's alleged attack says he'll cooperate with any law enforcement agency that investigates confidentially. that's according to reporting from the ap. here to help us track the latest breaking developments, capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt. matt miller, former chief spokesman for the justice department and jonathan lemire. jonathan swan, for axios and careen jean pierre for moveon.org. some news breaking before we came on the air. tell us what it means. >> we are learning that chairman chuck grassley putting out a statement saying they will, in fact, request the administration instruct the fbi to conduct this investigation. and john cornyn told my colleagues here on capitol hill that they will proceed with this. and what that tells you is that the leverage that we've been
talking about all morning and all day that flake has, he decided to use and he's gotten backup from senator murkowski and we're still waiting on susan collins. this means there's going to be another week for information gathering, as well as for the country to kind of react and digest what we saw unfold yesterday if that istoric and contentuo c contentious hearing. first, flake himself and the institution of the senate, this is an example of something that hardly happens up here anymore. this was built on a personal relationship, personal trust between jeff flake and chris coons who is a democrat. they were conferring. that's how this dramatically unfolded over the course of the afternoon. and they're relying on that to carry them through. and those key senators that we've been talking about all the way along, i'm going to add joe manchin to the list of flake and murkowski, all still officially
undecided. flake has said he'll vote yes on kavanaugh but this condition does have to be met. so there's still a lot of questions going forward, but it's also unpreductable, right? you've been through enough of these types of fights on the other side, on the white house side of this, to know that it is possible when you extend the process, you open it up to more variables, it's entirely possible this could ultimately derail the nomination. and part of this is going to have to be up to judge kavanaugh as well. do he and his family want to go through another week of what has already been a very, very difficult process for everyone involved? >> kasie hunt, it's my understanding that if they want judge kavanaugh to be on the supreme court, they'll have to. this was a condition that had to be met. when they started whipping votes on the committee and in the full senate, they weren't there without senator collins and jeff flake's desire to have some questions answered. do you have any reporting on the specifics of what -- i know one of them, i believe it was for senator collins, was this mark
judge piece. she wanted to know what mark judge knew. are there other specific threads of this investigation and was any of it based in what even president trump called incredibly credible testimony, and i don't think anybody watching felt differently from professor ford herself. >> right. i think there's a couple elements here. one of them is strictly from a -- evaluating the case, if you will perspective. and i think that's what susan collins was getting at. she went into that meeting and said at the time when they had that meet, they hadn't heard from mark judge directly. she said to her colleagues, i need to hear from this guy. this is somebody she puts in the room. how can we listen to all of this and not hear from him. that's how you got a signed statement from judge himself. and there was some speculation this morning that that was going to be good enough for her. it was going to be okay. and it's possible that if flake hadn't changed his mind, that may have been the case. but instead, she is going to be
able to actually potentially hear from him further as you reported at the top of the show. his lawyers are saying, okay, we'll cooperate along these lines. but, you know, i do think, nicolle, some of this is still political. it's political for each person who is trying to make this decision. it's weighing all of what we heard in the hearing. so that incredibly credible testimony from dr. ford and how that might affect women constituents or people who are counting on you or potentially prepared to oppose you. how, you know, susan collins case, she's got potentially a primary challenge in 2020 in maine. she'll be up for re-election. if she sinks president trump's supreme court nominee, you could bet that he might go in there and help somebody who is running against her. so that has to weigh on you. but she also, you know, prides herself on being an independent voice. and has been very reluctant to say how she's going to vote so far. >> matt miller, kasie's spot on, on the politics of this.
but if this gets kicked to the fbi, they'll not give a hoot about any of that. they'll follow the facts and what ford's testimony did was, obviously, raise questions in the minds of important anchors on fox news. in the minds of the president himself. in the minds of senators that had to vote on judge kavanaugh's nomination that perhaps we should know a little more of the events of 37 years ago. how will the fbi proceed? >> they'll go out and immediately start to interview all the available witnesses related to dr. blasey ford's allegation and potentially the other allegations made as well. it's important to remember. this is not a criminal investigation. so it's different in two ways. one, they don't have the investigative tools they have in criminal investigations. they can't compel anyone's testimony through a grand jury subpoena. all interviews are entirely voluntary. so they'll seek to interview judge kavanaugh, christine blasey ford, mark judge and potentially once they've interviewed those key principle witnesses they'll move out to other people, some who have been identified in the press. some of whom dr. ford has identified in her testimony.
and what they will do at the end, instead of reaching a conclusion like in a criminal investigation, where they say recommend charges or recommend no charges to the justice department, they'll compile all of the evidence they've found and get it to the appropriate decisionmakers which in this case is the senate. so the big question going forward, the judiciary committee said in this statement that they -- the fbi investigation should be limited to current, credible allegations. i think the real question for me is, who gets to decide what's a credible allegation. does the fbi get to decide or the white house, which can limit the scope of this investigation. do they ask them only to look at dr. ford's allegation and not the others that have been made by deborah ramirez and swetnick and others that may come in anonymously over the next week. >> kasie hunt, are you waiting for mcconnell to either rubber stamp the recommendation from the senate judiciary committee and make that formal request, or is the request from the committee sufficient for the
white house to go ahead and do what matt miller just described? >> the committee's request is the one that matters. mcconnell will always say i defod defer to chuck grassley. but i do think the question that matt raised is the right one and i meant to mention that at the top. the statement does say credible allegations. and i do think that that demand is likely to come, at least in part, from the senators. so what do jeff flake, susan collins, lisa murkowski think are the credible allegation gops they want julie swetnick's allegations visit gated, for example? or do they want to set that to the side? are we only looking at the incident from dr. christine blasey ford? the committee had been in receipt of a couple anonymous allegations, some that seemed more credible than others. is any of that going to be subject to the investigation? and i'm sure that the administration is going to have a lot of say there. but again, let's just not forget that the leverage is with flake, collins and murkowski.
so we're going to have to let them define that. i've already put this question to the committee about what they consider to be credible. so far i haven't had a response. >> and with that kind of leverage comes responsibility. what is the white house -- take me inside the white house yesterday in that i understand the period between ford's testimony and the commencement of kavanaugh's testimony was incredibly fraught. and that really everything was on the table. >> that's right. there was great concern among the president himself and those around him as to what happened. they want -- the president started his day yesterday in new york and traveled back to washington, leaving from the united nations. he is catching up on dvr on air force one and back at the white house. glued to the television watching everything happen. as he said today in the oval office, he found dr. ford's testimony to be very credible and people around him were very concerned that judge kavanaugh was going to have a very uphill climb to overcome that. they then rallied. when he went out there and delivered a fiery sort of defense of himself and sort of
attacked the accusations, they were heartened. and we heard that our -- everyone's phones were blowing up from people at the white house saying he's done it. this is what we need to say. the president was encouraged and his tweet immediately afterwards saying there must be a vote now. of course, now we have push pause. >> was there any possibility after ford had test feud and before kavanaugh taking the stand of pulling the nomination again? was the concern that grave? >> it was heading that direction. my reporting does not suggest they were quite there. >> how about calling for an fbi investigation? >> the president had said repeatedly, he didn't think that was necessary up until that point. that at point there was a discussion. i don't think a firm decision had been made. right now, the president does have to give his okay. they have to make the formal request. he said in the oval office an hour or so ago he was deferring to the senate. if that's what they think, then that's okay. he still has to put pen to paper to sign off on it. mcconnell has been in his ear in
the last week or so saying don't blow this. he was very angry about some of the tweets we saw last week that attacked dr. ford's account. and i think he's trying to knock that off. and i think he would defer here perhaps the idea of this is what the senate wants, this is what they should get and he shouldn't get in the way cognizant if he says no, he'll lose the votes and his nominee will go down. >> take you inside your reporting yesterday and how this came to be today. the president not believing that another fbi investigation into kavanaugh's past around these allegations was necessary. at some point yesterday, that changed. >> trump just wants to do whatever he needs to do to get him confirmed. he hasn't thought about this in like, oh, we need to investigate further. you know, oh, let me look into blasey ford. no. he just wants brett kavanaugh confirmed. and the supreme court is one of the areas where he actually listens to advice. >> yes. >> he deviates at times. he -- sometimes he can't help
himself but he listens to advice. for goodness's sake. they wrote him a list and he put out the list. trump didn't know those people on the list. he knew like three of them. he released a list in the campaign. he listens to advice. he knows how important that list was to his victory. he is proud of gorsuch. he wants kavanaugh to be confirmed. and it has been rammed into his head by the people around him, forgoodness's take, if you say anything incendiary today, there's collins and mccowsky and flake gone. >> he doesn't know anyone from adam. the federalist society clicks, she's a these are not his circles. he didn't run into them in his -- >> trump is not steeped in constitutional law. i don't think that's a controversial, like, assertion to make. trump had no idea really about the supreme court beyond a very pop culture conception of it. >> had you picked up any sense that this period between ford's
testimony and kavanaugh's, anything and everything was on the table? >> i don't know about on the table. i don't think there was ever a moment. i didn't get that from my reporting. it's possible others did, that they were ever going to pull kavanaugh. but, for sure, they were nervous about kavanaugh because they thought he was very unconvincing on fox. a lot of them did. and they thought his first testimony on the hill was really poor. and that he was evasive and not particularly telegenic and so they were very, very nervous. and the message to him was, don't screw up. >> the worst case scenario for kavanaugh was described to me on the day that "the washington post" piece ran and everything -- and i don't know for whom seeing dr. ford was necessary to believe her. i thought reading her account in "the washington post" was enough for me and enough for most men and women that i spoke to. but certainly seeing her cemented something in a much wider group of people's minds, including, it would appear, the president based on his comments. where do you think we are that
the democrats were moved to tears at something that should have been baked in. an fbi investigation into serious and credible allegations of sexual assault? >> i think that we are in a place of -- we haven't learned from 27 years ago. we should not be in this place today. if you think about it, dr. ford is getting less than what professor anita hill got 27 years ago. if donald trump had asked for an fbi -- i shouldn't call it investigation, but to reopen the background check, just like george h.w. bush did in 1991, we probably would be done right now. the fbi investigation would be done. we'd be one step closer to wherever we were with this scotus pick. but something that did happen today which was surprising is we had bipartisanship. and that is the first time we've seen that in a long time. you had flake work with senator coons and others coming together and saying, you know, we can't move forward. we need to hold this. we need to have the fbi reopen the background check on
kavanaugh. and i think that's a big step. also, let's not forget what happened to flake this morning. he was in an elevator and you had women survivors confront him and say, you don't believe me. >> i wonder if he was tempted to say, wait twoe20 minutes. i'm about to drop a bomb in the committee. >> they said his head was down, he couldn't -- he just couldn't even believe what was going on with the process. >> i want to ask you something, matt miller. brett kavanaugh believes -- he believes in his own innocence. i think that came through in his testimony yesterday. how does his testimony and what he presented to the senators, how is that going to be different from what the fbi presents to them when their product is stripped of emotion and it's simply, i imagine it will be a report on paper that they submit. but can you contrast those two pieces that will now be in front any of democrat or republican senator who has to vote on kavanaugh's nomination? >> i think the most important thing is it will be stripped of all the emotion and anger we saw
yesterday because -- >> that might help him, right? that could have been off-putting. >> it depends. that hurt him with a lot of people. it rallied the republican senators on the committee. you saw it regurgitate the same emotion and anger. what it will look like is the standard fbi 302. they'll go out and interview him and ask him a lot of fact-based questions. the more important thing is, he'll be forced to answer a lot of factual questions he wouldn't answer yesterday. if you looked at the democratic senator's questions, they were asking very specific questions about his alcohol use, about whether he ever blacked out, and he was very uncomfortable answering those questions and sometimes he wouldn't answer them and would turn around and in an add way ask a question of the senator who was asking him. you can't do that with an fbi official and fbi interview. it's completely inappropriate. so what you'll see is he'll have trained investigators who aren't interrupted after five minutes who can ask him a long series of detailed questions, and most importantly, when they go get
accounts from other witnesses, they can come back to him and follow up and put that in a detailed written report that's turned over to all the senators on the committee. >> matt miller, thank you for being here today. kasie hunt had to run off to chase somebody. if she gets a scoop we'll bring her back to you. we'll show you that moment. the man at the center of the kavanaugh compromise. jeff flake confronted by protesters before his bombshell call for an fbi investigation. will today's announcement help bring both sides together after yesterday's raw testimony? we'll be right back. . when i found out i had age-related macular degeneration, amd, i wanted to fight back. my doctor and i came up with a plan. it includes preservision. only preservision areds 2 has the exact nutrient formula recommended by the national eye institute to help reduce the risk of progression of moderate to advanced amd. that's why i fight. because it's my vision. preservision. also, in a great-tasting chewable.
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to me. that you let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they did to their bodies. >> do you have an answer, senator? >> no, no thank you. what do you think? >> ma'am -- >> no, i want to talk to him. >> what do you think? >> are you going to respond? >> i understand, but tell me. i'm standing right here in front of you. >> why now? why not wait? why not wait? why not wait for the investigation? there's no harm. >> i watched enough aaron sorkin meetings to think maybe that was them. that was jeff flake before he went public with his call for an fbi investigation into blasey ford's calls. the kavanaugh's side case against the fbi investigation was a weak one. >> why would you resist that kind of investigation. >> sir, i welcome -- i wanted the hearing last week. >> i'm asking about the fbi investigation. >> the committee figures out how to ask the questions. i'll do whatever. i've been on the phone multiple
times with committee counsel. >> judge kavanaugh, will you support an fbi investigation right now? >> i'll do whatever the committee wants to -- >> personally, do you think that's the best thing for us to do? you won't answer? >> look, senator, i've -- i have said i wanted a hearing and i said i would welcome anything. i'm innocent. >> joining the table, my colleagues, msnbc anchor stephanie ruhle and al sharpton host of "politics nation." and president of the national action network. you were on the air when a lot of this was going on today. i was e-mailing you n wanted you to come back. this has had time to sink in. mitch mcconnell is on the floor now. kasie hunt said going through the formality of approving what the judiciary committee request chd is something that if they'd asked for at the beginning they might have avoided a lot of carnage for professor ford and
the kavanaugh s. >> this has been so damaging for professor ford's family and brett kavanaugh's family. the fact they'll have this brief investigation doesn't give a final determination but gives the opportunity to get all of these unanswered questions addressed. brett kavanaugh should welcome this. no doubt he's going to have a difficult week ahead, but maybe a week that will give him justice and peace at the end. look how devastated his wife was yesterday. and while he gave that very impassioned and heartfelt speech, then there was the next hour where he told white lie after white lie. whether he wouldn't answer the question about an fbi investigation and he also qualified, well, nothing that professor ford said is true. in fact, leland keyser has refuted it. she didn't refute it. she said i wasn't there, i don't recall it but i believe my friend.
if you're a member of the senate judiciary committee and the republican, do you want to push this through n then you have to carry the weight that if something comes out, you own that. this is simply about giving it a bit of time, opening hearts, opening minds and that's what the american people want. >> i totally agree. >> thank you. >> you need the investigation. and if you're innocent, you welcome it. he should have called on the investigation. because the one thing he said is true -- >> and if any -- why do you think he didn't? >> obviously, there's some nervousness there for some reason. >> there might be, but he acted like someone who believes what he is saying. so if you believe you're innocent -- >> he didn't answer the question. >> he didn't answer the question. >> even when he said they don't come with a conclusion -- >> then why not let them -- >> if they come back saying we can find no evidence for this, no evidence for that, it's better for it to come there than for him to sit there and say that. >> totally agree. >> so what was there to risk?
>> if mark judge is your best buddy and can clear you, bring him on down. for mark judge's attorney to san public. last time i heard -- >> that will be something that will be different about the fbi investigation or background check than yesterday's testimony. this is what christine ford says he saw. >> mark seemed ambivalent, at times urging brett on and at times telling him to stop. a couple of times, i made eye contact with mark and thought he might try to help me, but he did not. during this assault, mark came over and jumped on the bed twice while brett was on top of me. >> so that's what she says about mark judge. the fbi will give him a chance to respond to her claims about his participation or him as a witness. if you have a different account,
if you're judge kavanaugh and you're saying -- doesn't that help you to talk to a witness that saw something different than dr. ford describes? >> not only that but you cannot conduct an investigation of an incident where there were allegedly three people in a room without talking to the third person in the room. and this has been looming over this the whole way through because mark judge, we have his writings. we have -- >> let me read them. let me read some of them. this is what mark judge wrote about bart o'kavanaugh. he wrote a book. having puked in someone's car the other night and passed out on his way back from a party. a former classmate of judge kavanaugh's said he earned the nickname after a teacher garbled his name. >> clearly they were close friends. mark judge is mentioned in his calendar from that summer. there's even an evening on the calendar where he's with two of the people that she names, p.j. and mark judge. and his name was always
mentioned in the backdrop because he clearly has a very checkered history, mark judge does, and he was off at the beach hiding away. this was someone who was going to be a critical witness. i don't know that it was ever tenable that he could get away with that participating. so they are worried about the mark judge testimony because it's -- it inserts a hugely new variable. and people certainly in the white house that i speak to, they don't know this guy. all they know is what they've read about him and it doesn't instill them with a huge amount of confidence. >> is this why the white house blinked when they had an opportunity to go toe-to-toe in terms of acting as confident in their nominee as ford was acting in her account. is this why they weren't more proactive in calling for an amended background check? >> i don't think -- >> is it like the x-factor, the things they couldn't control? >> the white house was very aggressive. they were very wary of the
optics of a bunch of old white republican men going after a female accuser. and that's why they -- >> not calling for the background check two weeks ago. why didn't the white house get ahead of this. there was an expression to always start where you'll end up. they could have predicted -- they were worried from the minute "the washington post" published the interview with her that if she took the stand in a public setting, she might be credible. she was certainly all of that. but -- so why not get ahead of this and say we don't want a he said/she said, so the fbi looked into it. >> when the story first came out, they perhaps thought they could brazen their way through it, just by saying this is absolutely absurd. and then he just more and more rocks kept accumulating in his backpack and you had story after story after story and i think they weren't as cool and calm and strategic as, you know -- >> you worked for a different white house.
>> i don't romanticize the one i worked in either. >> it comes from the top. donald trump's m.o. is to always attack, specially women. if you are innocent and don't operate from that, you'd say, let's have a fair and open investigation because i know that that is not what happened. and it -- if anything, it may discredit who is accusing you. donald trump doesn't think like that. and the white house follows what donald trump thinks. >> donald trump is also willing to turn on anyone, and yesterday brett kavanaugh gave this opening lying about basic disprovable things. beach week ralph. that's not about my drinking. i've got an upset stomach from spicy food. did you go to high school on mars? we all know that. renatta dolphin. me and my buddies just wanted to honor her name in the yoorbook. >> and not mention it to her for 36 years. it's clearly hard partying behavior and the american people might forgive you for it. lots of people partied in high school but to show up on fox on
monday and say i was all about academics, basketball and my faith in god and yesterday is a beer jamboree that he doesn't want to answer for, that leaves people with questions. >> i want to make one more point and then let you jump in on all of this. what the -- i guess i keep coming back to the strategic mistake the white house made by not calling for a background check. it seems to be the original strategic mistake once this nomination had landed in the crosshairs of this 37-year-old allegation. and if you see -- the vacuum resulted in investigative journalists turning up more accusations. and in senators making it look to the american people if they could look at the calendar and prosecute a case or cross-examine a witness, why couldn't the fbi do that. here's senator whitehouse doing that. >> here's kavanaugh's calendar. dr. ford said that kavanaugh and judge and p.j. and at least one other boy were all at a house.
well, we know bart kavanaugh was there. and here's judge and here's p.j. here are all those three named boys and others at a house together just as she said. she said kavanaugh and judge were drunk and that she had a beer. skis is brewskies, beer. they were drichk inking. just as she said. now i will concede that the two girls aren't mentioned. but spot me this. if -- if you had just sexually
assaulted one of the two girls, would you add the girls' names to your calendar? i doubt it. >> so to your question about why didn't they be more strategic and do the fbi investigation ten days ago whenever this story broke in "washington post." i think the reason why is what is happening in 40 days is the midterms. and they wanted to plow this through because they wanted a win. they wanted to energize their base. and as it comes to donald trump as we were talking earlier about where he is on all of this, he loves a win. he got gorsuch. when gorsuch went through, his numbers went up, right? if you tell him, oh, trump it's your legacy, he's going to eat that up. so that's what was happening. the ego was there. a midterm election. the donors were on top of them to make sure they got this pick through. and for republicans, especially voters, scotus picks energize
their base. and what is donald trump talking about? a red wave. there's no proof there's one but that's what they wanted to do is to excite that base as well, i think. >> just having spoken to the people who were on the team involved in realtime, certainly when the first story broke in "the washington post," they were, i think, much more confident that they could squash this. that her credibility would fall apart. that there wouldn't be any additional stories, even though there were rumors that ronan farrow was working on stories. they were much more confident this would be over quickly. and they just, i think, believed him and there wasn't a lot of strategic thinking as you describe with the fbi, you know, i think they thought this would collapse. >> in the last week, people have probably said to you the same thing they say to me. what would you want for your son? what if this was your son, your brother. if this was your son, you'd want more questions answered. you wouldn't want just go with the guy or just go with the girl. you'd want an investigation and
open minds. so to that question of, oh, you're only going with one side, no one is asking for that. and that's not what jeff flake is asking for today. he's simply saying let's ask more. >> and ask me what i'd want for my son or colleague or friend or family member. i'd want them to have more than their word. i'd want them to do what he did yesterday. i wouldn't want him to go in after professor ford and have it be his word against her word because i thought she was -- i mean, she was -- chris wallace talking about it. i accept all the reporting about how the president was so compelled by what he saw and all the anxiety in the white house between her testimony and his. so it ties my brain in a knot that they didn't want their nominee to have more than just his word to go on. >> it didn't have to be he said/she said. everything that could have gone beyond that, she was open to and he was not. >> she called for an fbi investigation. >> and he was not. >> the alleged victim called for an fbi -- you don't trust me. go investigate me.
>> he should have called for it or the white house should have moved in a more strategic and faster manner. and i appreciate that they were looking at the midterms, but the fact -- you are talking about someone that's going to sit on the court the rest of his life. >> that's so true. >> and you need to be very cautious and you need to act like you take this seriously. and they didn't. now whatever happens, i think that they've got -- it could go either way. we still don't know what they may uncover. they may come back with facts that may help kavanaugh. they may come back with facts that makes it clear that he's lied. but now we'll know. but we could have known a week or two ago. >> i'm going to give you the last word. any predictions? >> brett kavanaugh didn't say he wanted an investigation. he said he would have testified a week ago. what is that? he would have yelled louder? let's just hear what we find out. we know it will be more than we know today. and that's a positive.
today we got a moment of civility and bipartisanship. >> we'll take it. >> we'll take civility. >> thank you. when we come back -- catching up with another key vote. what lisa murkowski has to say about the fbi investigation into judge kavanaugh. personal loans. that's right no fees on loans to remodel your bathroom. ♪ no fees on loans to consolidate your credit card debt. see no fees just feels good. ♪ boo yeah. if you've got the drive, you can do a lot with no fees on personal loans. boo yeah.
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senator murkowski, how do you feel about what's been agreed to? >> i think it was a good step today. thank you. >> thank you. safe travels. >> thank you. >> let's bring in nbc news capitol hill reporter leann caldwell. senator murkowski thinks it's a good step. any sense on where she's leaning? >> hey, nicolle. we just heard from murkowski. she's one of these senators who were undecided. the critical ones who have come out and said they support this flake proposal to delay and to support an fbi investigation.
we've now heard from all of the critical senators. we've heard from susan collins. we've heard from red state democrat heidi heitkamp, all of whom are saying now they want this pause. they want the fbi to investigate. it's really been a pretty monumental afternoon, nicolle with this delay. democrats are elated with this and that they're finally going to get this fbi investigation. republicans are spinning it. look, we're still moving forward. this is progress. we do know that mitch mcconnell and republicans wanted kavanaugh seated on the court the first week of the firm. that's not going to happen now since the earliest the vote is going to take place is next week. but the hours leading up to this committee vote were pretty incredible. you have senator jeff flake who reached out to his clegolleague senator chris coons who is known for working across the aisle. the two of them discussed the
importance of the optics of this. they say that there needs to be a bipartisan process. that it just looks horrible for the country that this process has been so broken down. so they worked from that place. and flake wanted democrats to agree to this just one week delay if they could agree to the fbi investigation. and that's where we stand, nicolle. >> thank your, leigh anne. it's been an extraordinary week. let's turn to democratic congressman eric swalwell. first your thoughts on what counts as extraordinary bipartisanship and compromise. jeff flake calling for a delay so the fbi background check can look into professor ford's allegations. >> good afternoon. it was the right thing to do. the claims are serious. the witness yesterday was credible, and it is something that falls within the purview of what law enforcement can do and should do. so i think they should let law
enforcement do their job and not rely on five-minute question and answer questions with senators. >> i want to ask you about sort of the ugliness of the day yesterday. i think it was a wrenching day no matter what your ideology. i don't think you could watch the hear,s and not be gutted. chris christie called it a primal scream of our political system. john harris writes in politico that kavanaugh was fluent in the language of contempt toward our adversaries. and jonathan swan from axios is here he's writing about a double eye. double impeachment conversations. not just for donald trump but for judge kavanaugh should he be confirmed. let's throw a question your way on that topic. >> how are you? quick question. michael avenatti, i spoke to him today. he's already said there should be a litmus test for 2020 democrats that the supreme court should be expanded to 11 to make up for the two seats he believed were sfotolen. a new litmus test should be a
full investigation of kavanaugh, not just dr. ford but the other allegations. and if he's caught perjuring, he should be impeached. what do you think of such litmus tests? >> i think, first, we should let the senate do their job now. count on them to do their job. we don't want to see a judge sent to the supreme court with asterisks or question marks around him. and that's not to threaten that the house would conduct impeachment proceedings in perjury if there's questions around judges but to say to the senate, don't allow these witnesses to go unquestioned. question them so that we don't have serious questions around this nominee. but i think first things first. let's let the senate do their job and hopefully we don't have to get to what the house is capable of doing. >> just to press you on that. would you demand that they investigate all the claims so julie swetnick, all of the women? >> sure. >> do you think all of them need
to be investigated? >> any woman that's come forward publicly with her name and allegation should be investigated by the fbi. i don't think it's a thorough investigation unless they're interviewed. and unless mark judge is interviewed. it's telling that he's unwilling to come forward publicly. you know, he is the -- >> he has agreed to be interviewed by any law enforcement agency that promises to do so confidentially. that seems to be the one real output of what's different in this fbi investigation or background check than what we had and saw yesterday. >> that's right. and miss ford did not testify confidentially. she raised her right hand and subjected herself to questions. now i hope that mr. judge means that he will be questioned in private by the fbi, but that eventually those interview notes would be made public and that he's forthcoming with those investigators. >> you and i talk a lot about the intersection of donald trump's war on the justice department and any effect on politics on both sides. i've been very frank about thinking that it's terrible for our country and terrible for the
republican party to always be at odds and to constantly take the side of harsh partisans like devin nunes over republican appointed fbi director chris wray. but is the opposite true? does the democratic party have any sort of peril if it calls for the impeachment of a sitting supreme court justice after he goes through what is the process we have. deeply imperfect, but we do have a deliberative process in the senate. you saw senator chris coons moved to tears, sort of relief that that process seemed to be working. is there peril in moving forward with what jonathan swan reported today about trying to impeach a sitting supreme court justice at the suggestion of michael avenatti, no offense to mr. avenat avenatti? >> we shouldn't threaten that until the senate completes its course. we shouldn't step on their proceedings and presume what they're going to do or not going to do. yesterday was excruciating. one of the hardest days in my six years in public service to watch. you know, 27 years ago, that hearing with anita hill was
regarded as a disgrace, yet 20 witnesses were heard from. now we only heard from two witnesses, and it feels like we've gone backward. emotions are high. the stakes are high. but again, i want to be able to count on the senate. i think today was a good day. lets see what the fbi is able to produce. >> it's not that i don't love asking you questions but i have two of the best reporters in the country here so i'm going to have jonathan lemire ask you a question. >> i'm going to pick up on the thread about impeachment. this time the president. we're hearing the idea of republicans are rallying around the idea that if democrats are trying to make impeachment a central issue this november, for this midterm, that they welco w. they think that could backspire. is that a smart tactical move or would they be looking at investigations and using the power of the subpoena? >> they're trying to make fetch happen. they're talking about impeachment. no democrats are talking about that.
we're promising we'll conduct the investigations the republicans are unwilling to conduct but this election really, from the candidates i talk to and the places i go, it's about protecting health care and protecting paychecks. but, of course, we're not going to allow anyone to be above the law. we'll do the job that we are sent to do and hopefully that's a job in the majority. >> let me ask you to weigh in on the other big story. only monday of this week that rod rosenstein was summoned to the white house under a cloud of speculation about his job being in jeopardy, either that he might resign or be fired. what's your sense of his security and his importance at the justice department? he was supposed to meet with the president in what became a day overwhelmed with kavanaugh and ford testimony. that meeting has been delayed. still a lot of questions about a new fight. a new front between the justice department and the republicans on the house intel committee over another round of deeply sensitive national security related documents. >> yeah, rod rosenstein is bob mueller's boss. firing rod rosenstein is the
same as firing bob mueller. it would be viewed by most americans as committing obstruction of justice in plain sight. and the president, we shouldn't be fooled. this "new york times" story where he is now relying relying sources to justify concerns about rod rosenstein, this is the latest pretext for wanting to fire rod rosenstein. he's attacked deputy attorney general rosenstein objen twitte. we should see this investigation to its completion. and no person has delayed the russia investigation more than the president and the people around him who have obstructed, tampered with witnesses and refused to sut down with investigators. >> congressman, we love having you. thank you for indulging all of our questions. we are waiting for news from the white house. will the president make the formal and official instruction to the fbi to reopen judge kavanaugh's background check? ene kavanah'ugs background check oh!
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we're waiting for the white house to rubber stamp when the senate judiciary committee has asked for, which is to et reopen the background check into judge kavanaugh. picking up on jonathan's analysis, do you think he goes along with this? >> i think that he is the personification of political expediency. has he ever done anything that wasn't expedient for him? >> what else is there for him? >> let's remember now, the guy that was attacking her just yesterday or day before said today all of a sudden she was credible. she was believable. so he's already starting to lay the groundwork for him to do a real switch. i would not be depending on the president to have my back unless he was going to handcuff me and walk me out. if it was in his interest.
donald trump is going to do what's in donald trump's interest. >> i us wanted to just, you're so right. you know trump very well. i also wanted to talk about the historical moment that we're in right now. we are in the me too moment. and you have women who are coming out, telling their stories. you have dr. ford who gave this compelling just credible statement yesterday. and women are not going to forget what they saw yesterday and they are not going to forget what they saw in november. and so when you think about collins and those red state dems, they are thinking about the movement. >> let me state on the poiblt of ret staid dems. do we have the chris wallace sound? this is from fox news. you live inside donald trump's head. this is what he saw yesterday. >> this was extremely emotional, extremely raw and extremely credible. and nobody could listen to her
deliver those words and talk about the assault and the impact it had on her life and not have your heart go out to her. she obviously was traumatized by an event. i think you're actually being too nice about the hearing. so far we have heard from six people, rachel mitchell three times for three senators, three democratic senators for themselves. this is a disaster for the republicans. he came back and was just as convincing and that's part of the pity of all of this is that it is a he said, she said. we're never going to know the truth of the matter. it was an ugly process. >> so no resistance voices there. that was chris wallace, fox news anchor. >> dr. ford has everything to lose, nothing to gain. and i do believe republicans are going to lose women for a generation because of their behavior and because of this president. >> we have some breaking news from the white house. kelly o'donnell there for us?
>> a couple big developments. the president has ordered that the fbi will reopen an investigation, a supplemental background check investigation into judge kavanaugh as the senate has requested. this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week. that's the prescription of jeff flake wanting something to deal only with the issues, as he described it, that were already to some degree in the public per view and then a limited timeframe. in addition to that, we also have a statement from the judge issued through the white house. throughout this process, i have been interviewed by the fbi. i have done a number of background checks and calls directly with the fbi and the senate and yesterday i answered questions under oath about every topic the senators and their counsel asked me. i have done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate. that from judge brett kavanaugh. this is a major development for the white house. the president's choice to sit on the high court is telling us
that he is forthcoming in this process. but. the big bulletin is that the president is doing something that in the context of the president's relationship with the fbi is on its face stunning. asking them to reopen an investigation, something this white house could have done earlier, did not do until the plolitical pressure of a handfu of senators rose to a sort of kettle boiling point to bring this about. this is a a new moment in the brett kavanaugh nomination after what the president called compelling tail ligcompel ing testimony from a fine woman in dr. ford. >> thank you so much. this is stunning on so many levels. you two cover this white house every single day. we all live in all of it every day as well. a reversal, a rare reversal. he digs in and stays there usually. and relying, putting the entire fate and if you look at the outcome of the midterms as
determining the fate of his presidency now in the hands of an agent sill he maligns more than any other, the fbi. >> it's such a good thing he has such a good relationship with the fbi. they don't have the votes. we are only going to support the nominee if you do the background check. the president's hands are tied. as much as he loathed to give the fbi this sort of power, if it you will, over his political future, he doesn't have a choice. they have to do this. the same with kavanaugh who is going to say he's going to cooperate. >> karma is is a you know what. >> also we talked before about the downside risk. we talked about another week transpires, who knows what other stories come out. we haven't talked about the upside risk. there's every risk they interview mark judge, he denies everything has he's done before and this creates a veneer of authority that gives the senators the cover to vote yes,
which is what they us want to do any way. so this could actually work out quite well. >> that's the problem. the word limited scope. what does that mean? and does donald trump sit back a week from now saying i gave you your investigation. you're never satisfied. i want a vote. or he'll go the other way and pull kavanaugh back and nominate a woman and put ivanka in charge of vetting her. >> thank god you're here to help us sift through the wreckage. that does it for our hour. >> i think jonathan just hit the nail on the head. we're going to get more into that in a moment. happy friday to you. if it is friday, president trump just ordered the fbi to conduct a background investigation.