tv MSNBC Live With David Gura MSNBC September 29, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
ooh, david gura, look at the time. i'm early. >> are you going to the global citizen fest? >> yeah, but i'm going to be watching it. they're going to have monitors. i'm going to stop talking because we're late. go. >> hey, everybody. i'm david gura at msnbc headquarters in new york. the fbi has one week to investigate brett kavanaugh. will they find something? what they can and can't investigate and who the new person the fbi has reached out to. brett kavanaugh plays the politic cards but lashing out at democrats during that hearing and his senate supporters double down. he addresses a crowd of
supporters tonight in wheeling, west virginia. and kavanaugh's impact. the political drama and how it could affect the mid terms. let's start today with the dead line. one week is what the fbi has to conduct a limited supplemental background investigation into the allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against judge brett kavanaugh. the fbi has reached out to deborah ramirez, who has accused brett kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during their time at yale university. jeff, let me start with you. before we look back, let's look forward. what are investigators going to be looking into this week? >> hey there, david. it's an interesting point you
make, interesting question rather. i'm told by legal experts that the white house, if they show choose, could really determine the outcome of what the fbi finds by limiting the scope of the overall investigation, if they choose to do it. you see there "the washington post" reporting that if federal investigators have reached out to sarah ramirez. it's an open question. i'm told that the claims made by julie swetnick, this third owe cues -- accuser, do not fall under the umbrella of claims that are credible. those are the claims. now you have a situation where president trump is left in the role of spectator. he doesn't really have a good relationship with the three senators who now sit at the center of political gravity to where this whole debate has shifted, jeff flake, susan collins, lisa murkowski. so the strategy is what it used
to be. so yesterday in the oval office, he referred to dr. ford as a very fine woman, said he viewed her testimony to be credible. remember what he said just last week well before the hearing, he really cast doubt on her credibility. so we haven't heard from the president on twitter, which i think is notable. he put forward only this tweet about the investigation, the president saying just started tonight our seventh fbi investigation of judge brett kavanaugh. he'll someday be recognized as a truly great is justice of the united states supreme court. their expectation is this seventh investigation, like the other six, will turn up nothing. >> jeff will be in west virginia tonight speaking to supporters in wheeling on the ohio river, focusing himself attention on the campaign that joe manchin is waging in west virginia. let's talk about how this deal
came together, how it all coalesced. give me a sense of what lawmakers will be doing over the next seven days. how are politicians going to fill the vacuum? what are they are going to be doing over the next week? >> sure, david. so these critical senators, jeff flake, susan collins, lisa murkowski, they really pushed the president's hand on this and also pushed mitch mcconnell's hand on this and forced them into this fbi investigation. there's still questions about the scope and how deep this investigation will go. what senators are going to be doing is figure out what that scope is going to be. democrats were thrilled yesterday that this investigation has been opened, but now there's some questions on how deeply the fbi could investigate. and so they're going to be watching very closely, see how -- be in touch with the fbi to see how this investigation is going. but still as we move forward,
it's still this group of senators that we're going to be watching, collins and murkowski, jeff flake, there's these red state democrats, including heidi heitkamp and joe manchin up for reelection. so as serious as an issue this is, there's still a lot of politics at play. donald trump will be in west virginia today. he's probably going to attack joe manchin, who is in a tight reelection race, and joe manchin has stayed on the sidelines throughout this entire confirm ace process. he met with jeff flake and susan collins and lisa murkowski. they're going to wait to see what the fbi says and see how this investigation is handled before they make their decision. david? >> michael schmidt, you have a
big piece in the "new york times," lee ann talking about how senator flake met with those at the center of all of this. how did we go from that meeting in one senator's office to the uncertain situation we had in the dirksen senate confirmation room yesterday? >> there was that dramatic scene in the elevator where flake was confronted by these women and standing there be stuck and i think it had a real impact on him. it was only a few hours later that flake was then standing outside the hearing room flanked by democrats and republicans on both sides, senior senators, arguing to him about why they should or should not ask for this fbi investigation for another week. the republicans saying this would just give more time to what they said were false accusations to come forward about kavanaugh and that this would be just more taxing on his family and it wasn't going to change any votes.
the democrats saying, look, thi it. in order to take that cloud away and have some real clarity to this, we need to have the fbi look at these and sort of assess them. it was sort of an acknowledgement in a as soon se the committee had filed. and coons goes into one of these small phone booths and they get on the phone the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, who once again found himself in the middle of a hot topic in washington. >> that was a forrest gump moment for rod rosenstein. he keeps popping up in all of those things. >> let's watch the scene that unfolded so dramatically live on cable news yesterday. >> what you are doing is
allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit on the supreme court. >> you're telling all women in america that they don't matter, they should just keep it to themselves because if they had told the truth, they're just going to help that man to power anyway. that's what you're telling all of these people. that's what you're telling me right now. look at me when i'm talking to you. you're telling me that my assault doesn't matter, that what happens to me doesn't matter and that you're going to let people do these things into power. that's what you're telling me when you vote for him. don't look away from me. look at me and tell me that it doesn't matter what happened to me. >> mark, you've spent some time thinking about that moment. let me read from one of your most pieces. "in a sense, those two women picked up where christine blasey ford left on friday." how much import do you give? >> quite a bit.
she said i am here to tell my story. what these wiomen who flooded te capitol said is if this guy is really guilty and we believe he is, you cannot in good conscience put him on the united states supreme court. they put subtext into text. and they sort of reframed the narrative around victims, around the survivors of sexual assault. after thursday's hearings ended, republicans had a lot of momentum because kavanaugh had presented himself as a kind of victim, a victim of a smear campai campaign, of a conspiracy to destroy his reputation and good name. republicans were playing that up a great deal on thursday and feeling really good about that committee vote on friday, right up until that elevator encounter suddenly turned everything around and jeff flake was on his way to the committee room when that occurred. this was a last-minute thing and i think flake realized if i cast a vote and just say i'm going all in for kavanaugh right now,
i will be creating a toxic political moment here, i will make everything worse. flake has already said he recognizes this is tearing the country apart and he would have presented himself as someone going all in for kavanaugh and saying i just don't believe ford and i don't really care that much about her claim, certainly not enough to vote against this nominee. he felt he couldn't do that. so he brokered this last-minute compromise. he did vote to push kavanaugh out of committee and on to the senate floor. as he did so, he said i'm not going to give him that final vote, which he will probably need, until the fbi has come fle completed the investigation. he calmed down the drama and proved he does care at least a little bit about how those survivors feel and the trauma the ford incident did inflict.
>> let me ask you something that the nominee brought up in that hearing in a dramatic way on thursday, talked about the political ramifications of what we're seeing here. how much of this was jeff flake the institutionalist? how much of this was motivated by his concern for the state of the u.s. senate in light of what we've seen in the last few weeks? >> i'm not sure. flake is in a pretty interesting position. he's not running for reelection. this has unshackled him to criticize president trump in ways that other republicans haven't. it may have played a factor here. i'm not sure whether he was running for reelection whether he would have done this but it's given him a certain amount of freedom. some say flake has to rahal consid -- really consider what he's doing he here. you know, we'll see where we are in a week. the fbi, you know, a traditional investigation never has a time
frame on it. you know, bob mueller never came out and said i'm going to do my investigation in a year. this is a little different. it's a short period of time. so we will probably only get so much information. there's only so much work that can be done then and then that information will go back to the committee. actually, it will go back to the congress and the senate will have to make a decision. the committee will be taken out of it and it will be on the floor and be mitch mcconnell's thing to run. >> comedy, it ain't dead yet. is that what we saw yesterday when we saw the gentleman reaching across the aisle to the gentleman from arizona? what does it say to you about the state of comity in this legitima legislative body? >> i talked to him about that a lot yesterday. he said that was a big reason he
decided to forge ahead and get this compromise. he's made the degradation of the senate the central theme of his tweets. there is a little bit of comity left in the senate and that's what senator flake was trying to show yesterday. >> partisan politics on pull display during this week's hearing. that outburst by senator lindsey graham yelling. what will president trump say tonight when he speaks to his supporters in wheeling, west virginia? you wouldn't accept an incomplete job
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>> with this seat open, you hope in win in 2020. you said that, not me. you've got nothing to apologize for. when you see sotomayer and kagan, you said i say hello to them because i voted for them. i would never do to them what you've done to this guy. this is the most unethical sham in politics. >> the fbi has gun to reach out.
that was republican senator lindsey graham questioning the motives of his democratic colleagues in the brett kavanaugh battle. several senators have a little more time to decide how they're going to vote. those were the most at take are incumbent democrats running for reelection in states that president trump won handily in 2016. senator joe manchin and senator heidi heitkamp of north korea have yet to say publicly which way they plan to vote. but both them save they do support the newest fbi background investigation. president trump played golf today at his virginia resort and now he is readying to leave for west virginia where he's scheduled to hold a rally tonight for senator manchin's republican challenger. that is patrick morrisey.
mike, let me start with you. we know what's at stake here. we know what's at stake for the democrats, health insurance democrats, what's at stake for the republicans as well. given that, why did the republicans go along with this? >> brett kavanaugh made a conscious decision, whether he was advised to or not, he was going to come out and he may have overplayed his hand. the definiancdefiance, indignat umbrage of that hearing really offended a lot of people. if you look back at clarence thomas, he was also quite
defiant but brett kavanaugh kicked it up a level and made this almost a test of party loyalty. he threw it back in their face and a lot of people had their eyebrows raised but if you look at the reaction from those on the right, those who are the base of the party and, after all, we understand what base politics is and the role that it plays in capitol hill and across the country, then it did have some effect. and that's why what jeff flake did was so shocking, david. i've been watching this for a long time. i can remember very few moments like that that were genuine surprises when people couldn't see what was coming. all throughout the course of that hearing yesterday where they were going to vote, the speeches leading up to the vote in the committee, you heard the usual rhetoric, the very expected polemic, people talking
at length, trying to hit all of their talking points and to have jeff flake do that in the course of that resource where he huddled with some 14 senators, you just don't see that. it was shocking. whether or not it's going to have any effect in the end depending on what the fbi comes up with when we're talking a week from now, that remains to be seen. still, you never see this kind of -- something like this happen, this snag at the last minute. the senate was supposed to be in today starting the process for this confirmation. the place is deserted. >> beth, i want to ask you about the effectiveness of history when you look at how they might vote. let's look back at how they voted for neil gorsuch. joe donnelly is a no on this nomination, did vote for neil gorsuch, so did heidi heitkamp and joe manchin. how is the calculus different
for those two this time around? >> there was no cloud over neil gorsuch like this is with this one. it's lucky for heidi heitkamp and joe manchin that this fbi investigation is going forward. that's exactly what democrats have been asking for. they've got it. the process will be undertaken and the fbi will render a report at the end. that will give those red state democrats, the ones that are still on the fence, some cover one way or the other. either the fbi comes up with very serious issues to be addressed or it will essentially clear him and that will give a good indication of where safely manchin and heitkamp can go at that point. it's a good break they've got this week for the fbi to do its job, do what democrats have asked for and either way at the end they can cast a vote feeling they got sufficient information to make the best judgment for themselves and their states.
>> i want to ask you about gallop polling looking at the gender gap. approval for the supreme court by men and women. you see this yawning gap here, a 17 percentage point men. for men, 60% approve, when you look at women, 43% do. help me understand, when we talk about the gender and the context of the supreme court and the judiciary, where are you looking the most, what states, what areas? >> big picture, a republican pollster i spoke to yesterday predicted this will be the largest gender gap of any american in american history. in the house this only really breaks one way and that's in favor of the democrats. the critical battleground are in very suburban districts. they're already sour on president trump and rove lueluco support republicans. in the house it works against republicans. in the senate, it's a
complicated picture. we do see democratic candidates in critical states like arizona and florida according to recent nbc polls leading by double digits among women. but, on the other hand, the senate map is very red. it's very republican. if states like west virginia and north korea, it -- north dakota it's not clear if it's going to be a better fit there. one way or another, they're going to alienate somebody. they also might lose with their own base. >> jason, let me ask you about the fear that some of these elected representative feel at this point. i'm going to put up a tweet here from guy cecil. "i will never personally or professionally support any democrat who votes to confirm
kavanaug kavanaugh." how much does that matter, jason? >> oh, money always matters. your average voters is not that concerned about this. everyone was riveted to thursday, but most people's opinions are already baked into the cake. what's going on in the senator will go to levels of enthusiasm, levels of anger, of position. it may not change whether they pull the lever. it may change whether they go out and knock on doors. it's not so much a fear of losing voters because most voters already know how they feel about these kind of issues one way or another. you know, what flake did, it wasn't that brave. nothing that they're doing is all that brave because justice that is truncated into a week is not true justice. it is an insult to any and all
victim of sexual assault to say your justice has to fit into our electoral timeline as opposed to seeking the truth. i give no credit to that. >> i appreciate all your time this afternoon. coming up, more on that prabreag news into that investigation of brett kavanaugh and the new woman the fbi has reached out to. at look at just how much the fbi can accomplish in one week's time. how much the fbi can accomplish in one week's time
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the fbi has reached out to deborah ramirez. she is the third woman accusing brett kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. i want to bring in shane harris, he covers national security through the paper. shane, get us up to speed here. this was authorized by the president last night. what does this tell us about the progress of that investigation so far again, when it's only going to last one week. >> i think it tells you, david, that it moving quickly and also that it's not going to be limited to just investigating the allegations raised by christine blasey ford in her testimony earlier this week before the judiciary committee.
there had been some question when the president authorized this new expanded background investigation exactly which allegations were we going to be seeing here that they would examine. now we know at least these two women, christine blasey ford as well as deborah ramirez is going to try to probe into those to some degree. we should say we don't know that they've set down yet with deborah ramirez. my understanding is they have reached out. importantly deborah ramirez has said publicly when she spoke out to the "new yorker" that she expects them to investigate. >> and deborah ramirez is a yale college classmate of judge brett kavanaugh. let me ask you, shane, about the mandate. i'm going to read from the statement. it says the supplemental fbi
background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today. current credible allegations, who decides what those are? >> that's a good question. i think the fbi would have to find them credible to even spend time looking at them. we should emphasize here, too, this is not an investigation meant to determine who is right, who is wrong, whether charges should be brought. this is simply to add material to the background investigation that the file that the senate white house and judiciary committee has in front of them when the senate is ultimately weighing its decision. i would imagine in the fbi feels that it's credible enough to at least talk to deborah ramirez and start to get her side of the story, there is a third woman who made allegations this week as well. we have not gotten any indications yet that the fbi is reaching out to her.
>> that's shane, harris, he's one of four that broke that story this afternoon before the post. shane, thank you very much. the question we ask ourselves now is how much can the fbi get done in one week's time? joining me is maureen o'connell, along with jill winebanks. both of them are msnbc legal analysts. maureen, to that question, we have a one-week limit on that investigation. what can you accomplished during that time? what are investigators doing at this point? >> everything can be accomplished in this amount of time. the fbi has solved huge investigations in as little as 24 hours. what they're doing is known as a spin or a special inquiry, which is given numerous parameters to be met and it's narrowly focused as the information was given to us by the committee.
they're going to be talking to everyone or attempting to talk to everyone. people have the right to say no or my statement that i gave to my attorney is my statement and i'm going to defer to my attorney. that's within their rights and we respect that. however, if there is any information at all that is negative or bares a bad light on judge kavanaugh that, will be dug into deeply. even though there are five different tiers of back ground investigations, in any background investigation, the fbi will say at the conclusion, is there any other information that you have for us that might be beneficial or detrimental? if so, please give us that information. from that information we will move forward and either corroborate or disprove that information, which is exactly what we saw happen when dr. ford gave her testimony and they went right out and interviewed all
those other witnesses who all said they weren't there, it never happened and they doesn't know him. >> what maureen is talking about there is the teeth that the fbi investigators have to dig into this. how much does that concern you that you could have mark judge saying i'm willing to talk about x, y and see? but he might recant that. he might never say that. your sense of how this process is going to unfold, how fair it going to be. >> well, i a little disagree because a week is a very arbitrary time difference. depending how many agents are put on this, they can accomplish everything that needs to be done and i hope that will be the case. they have already got i don't know to some witnesses, we that, and i hope it will continue. but it is true the witnesses have a right to say, no, i don't want to talk. the senate can subpoena them. that's where the difference comes. they can be subpoenaed.
and the senate has shown no interest in the truth so they aren't going to subpoena these people. i hope they will cooperate and i hope that the fbi will ask each and every one of them who else is a witness, who else knew him in college, in law school, who knows him as a judge? we'll look to the people who can testify to his drinking habits then and now, testify to his behavior toward women then and now. we've heard a lot of rumors, the anonymous allegation about him pushing a woman in a bar. that's anonymous, it's not worth considering. but if the fbi found that person and could question another person, there's a question of whether there's corroboration that can be believed on either side. >> during the hearing yesterday, the senator from rhode island
pointed attention to the entry on brett calendarkavanaugh's ca who was on that. a lawyer for prchlts j. smith saying my client is happy to cooperate fully with this investigation. your sense of the import of that date at this point. >> i think senator whitehouse hit the nail on the head. that is a hugely important date. from the face of it, it seems like it could be the date, could be corroborating her memory. i think you're going to see sort of two tracks here with this investigation. you've you're going to see the allegations -- can they figure out whether that was the date? can they figure out where the house was? if they figure out where the house was, they can go look at that house if it hasn't been renovated in the last 36 years and try to determine if it
matches the description of dr. ford. they will of course speak to everybody at that party. but dr. ford -- secondly, there's going to be a question as to everything he testified. let's ask everyone else, did you understand what a double triangle is, do you understand what boofing is? at the end of the day there are the allegations of sexual misconduct but also a lot of rum blings and suspicions he was not truthful when he testified. either one of those could be disqualifying and both of those should be included in the fbi
investigation. >> you and you look at the first interview and the second interview. there was a yawning gap, as he said, having beers, liked beers. what do you make of that? >> i think he has evolved on this. that wasn't true. he got caught in facts and had to back away to admit what was in plain sight. that causes my concern. then when you saw his behavior on thursday, which was anything but judicial, it was outrageous behavior. no judge should ever in public display in that manner. no one would want to be a litigant in front of that judge. and for the senate not to see that -- and it wasn't just his push back on the drinking with senator klobuchar but i believes
it was with the white house that he did the exact same thing, diverting attention. those are the things you can say are spy the lie. that's when people are really desperate. >> thank you very much. thanks for coming in on this saturday. coming up, brett kavanaugh's political attack on democrats and how it could affect him on the court. d how it could affectn the court. man: tom's my best friend, but ever since he bought a new house... tom: it's a $10 cover? oh, okay. didn't see that on the website. he's been acting more and more like his dad. come on, guys! jump in! the water's fine! tom pritchard. how we doin'? hi, there. tom pritchard. can we get a round of jalapeño poppers for me and the boys, please? i've been saving a lot of money with progressive lately, so... progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents. but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us. so shark invented duo clean. while deep cleaning carpets, the added soft brush roll picks up large particles, gives floors a polished look,
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independence and loyalty to the constitution. >> this whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about president trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked by my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside, left-wing opposition groups. >> if conformed, brett kavanaugh is likely to be a deciding vote on many issues. we are joined by our guests. let me play a bit of tape here. this is dianne feinstein reacting to what she heard on
thursday. >> if i were in one of those groups -- >> judge kavanaugh used as much political rhetoric as my republican colleagues, and what's more, he went on the attack. this was not someone who reflected an impartial temperament or the fairness and even handedness one would see in a judge. this was someone who was aggressive and belligerent. >> apologize for that. let me just ask you what the consequences are here. what are the concerns that folks have raised about the way this judge comported himself on thursday? >> i think you've got to look at who brett kavanaugh is. he came up in washington through partisan politics. he worked on clinton impeachment, on bush v. gore. he's got to establish himself as a neutral arbiter and he tried to do that in his first hearings.
he said the supreme court doesn't sit on opposite side of the aisles, but in this hearing he really let the gloves off. and i do think that that's a problem for him. the supreme court is an auguste institution in our society, it's nine people. it needs to project sort of an image of being above politics. you might remember when ruth bader ginsburg criticized candidate trump, she was forced to apologize because it was looked on as behavior unbefitting of a supreme court justice. i think that conduct and language that has pushed back on amy klobuchar gives him what he was trying to avoid.
>> what are the real consequences of what he said, if he goes back to the court that he now presides over, if he goes to the supreme court, what's that going to mean for people who come before him? >> i don't think he would ever recuse himself. he could never admit he was so political as to be impartial. it would entirely undermine a lot of the outside view of any opinions he wrote or any decisions he made now that he has come out so staunchly really ascribing to conspiracy theories. that's what it is. essentially you're saying all of these allegations are funded by the left for revenge of the clintons and are completely fabricated in order to get back at him because he was on the clinton impeachment thing. this is really far afield. it almost seemed like he was the 12th member of the republican side of the senate judiciary committee at that hearing on thursday. it was very unbecoming of a judge. i clerked for two judges on the
federal court. i could never in a million years imagine any of them in private, let alone in public like that. >> charlie, i wonder how this might have rung out across the street? the supreme justice, how is he likely to react to what he heard if judge kavanaugh becomes justice kavanaugh? >> i think the supreme court does have an institutional legitimacy problem coming up if judge kavanaugh is confirmed or if he withdraws or another movement conservative replaces him and is confirmed, we'll look at a period in which there are five movement conservatives controlling the court for a long time. just as in the first decades of
the 20th century had you a conservative court repeatedly quashing progressive efforts to regulate the economy and labor and child labor and wage control and so forth, culminating when they started striking down the new deal, we may be facing a period when democrat start regaining the congress and passing that next iteration of what dodd-frank or that era is, that five-member block will be very tempted to repeatedly and systematically strike down that kind of thing. and so brett kavanaugh's performance here in which he's sort of reembracing his roots as a partisan player will complicate the institutional legitimacy of the court if that does come to pass. to get to your question, david, i think chief justice robert has developed a reputation of being moore concerned with preserving that legitimacy.
that probably was behind him trying to find a way not to strike down obamacare over a year or two. they may be using power to select cases to stay away from controversial things for a while and let the heat die down a little bit. >> thank you very much to my panel joining me on this saturday afternoon. that is for me. you can join me at 2:00 and 3:00 eastern time. up next is msnbc's live coverage of the global citizen festival taking place on the great lawn here in central park in new york city. that's coming up right here on msnbc. right here on msnbc.
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