tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN October 1, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
what do you say to that? >> i say that, you know, we've been talking about this, obviously, for weeks. the possibility of losing. the possibility that kavanaugh will be confirmed and we'll have him as a supreme court justice, who was already problematic before dr. blasey ford. >> tarana burke, thank you. "the lead" starts now. president trump says judge kavanaugh is the one who has been through trauma. "the lead" starts right now. president trump today defending his supreme court pick by saying that what kavanaugh has never said, that he did have difficulty as a young man when it came to drinking. as the republican-hired prosecutor says professor blasey ford's case is weak. the investigation is not limited. that's the message from the white house to the fbi following phone calls from some republican senators. so who might they talk to? plus, new today. democrats have a list of everyone they want to hear from in the kavanaugh probe.
what is the red line that could sink his nomination? one of the veterans of the senate judiciary committee will join us live. welcome to "the lead," i'm jake tapper. we begin with the politics lead today. president trump's rose garden press conference was intended to be a victory lap on the issue of trade, but instead it was pulled into the vortex of his controversial supreme court nominee, brett kavanaugh, the new fbi investigation, and questions about kavanaugh's drinking in the past, with the white house pressured by congress now expanding the ability of the fbi to investigate the sexual assault allegations, and anything else they might deem relevant. just moments ago, the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, spoke about this. >> if you listen carefully, mr. president, you can practically hear the sounds of the democrats moving the goalpost. let me make a small prediction. soon enough, the goal posts will be on the move once again. >> now, whether you think the
goal posts about kavanaugh's behavior have unfairly shifted from sexual assault to drinking too much, as republicans are saying, or if you think there is additional cause for concern over whether kavanaugh has been honest about his drinking as a young man, this is now topic "a" in washington, d.c., with at least one key republican senator saying if the fbi probe proves kavanaugh was not honest about this, it would be the end of his nomination. now, cnn's kaitlan collins earlier today asked president trump if he was concerned about kavanaugh's honesty before congress on these issues. >> i really believe that he was very strong on the fact that he drank a lot. and so i don't know whether there would be a big discrepancies. >> here's the discrepancy. kavanaugh has acknowledged drinking too much as a young man, but denied blacking out or passing out or ever having had a drinking problem. tellingly, that is not how president trump today described his pick. he said instead, that kavanaugh had difficulty with drinking as
a young man. now, that discrepancy might seem significant, given that former classmates of kavanaugh's are saying that he's being misleading about how much he drank back then and his belligerence when he did. take lynn brooks, who says she knew him and got drunk with him at yale. >> there had to be a number of nights where he does not remember. >> now, some of kavanaugh's friends from that time sighed against that, and with his version, and perhaps it's true. that kavanaugh drank to excess on occasion, but never passed out. never blacked out. and never had any memory loss. it's likely unprovable. or maybe kavanaugh feels he cannot acknowledge ever having had memory loss, because the moment he does, democrats will seize upon it and accuse him of having committed horrific crimes, crimes he said he never committed. the problem is to many people, anyone who has really ever had too much to drink, the claim he's never had any gaps in his memory might be hard to believe. that's certainly the position of senate judiciary committee democrats, such as amy
klobuchar. >> it doesn't quite make sense to me, because, first of all, you have these other people from parts of his life who have said that he was belligerent when he was drunk and other things. >> tellingly, when i asked kellyanne conway whether she believed his claim that he never had any memory loss, this was her answer. >> do you have any concerns that's not true? >> jake, i didn't go to college with him. i've never been out drinking with him. this is what he has said under oath. >> this is what he has said under oath. does that refusal to say she believes his claim reflect any internal skepticism about kavanaugh's testimony? is that why president trump's description of kavanaugh's drinking difficulties in college is closer to what all those classmates at yale are now saying about him than it is to how kavanaugh describes it? for more on all of this, let's get right to cnn's kaitlan collins at the white house. president trump was vocal about his difficulty with drinking. i can imagine kavanaugh was surprised at how president trump talked about his drinking today.
>> reporter: two different versions of what it was that happened when brett kavanaugh testified on capitol hill. today president trump i mplying that brett kavanaugh admitted to a bringing problem in his younger years, but brett kavanaugh sought to do the opposite, to tamp down the notion he drank too much, and possibly he doesn't remember sexually assaulting someone. that is what he denied. but president trump used that line today to go after those democratic senators who raised questions about brett kavanaugh's drinking. president trump saying today, he believes they're just being hypocritical. president trump growing frustrated in the rose garden today. over mounting questions about the fbi investigation into his supreme court nominee. >> do you have a question on trade? >> reporter: our evensing several questions -- >> excuse me, don't do that. do you have a question on trade? >> during what was supposed to be a victory lap for the president's new trade agreement with mexico and canada, trump initially refused to take questions on the drama surrounding brett kavanaugh.
>> my question is on judge kavanaugh. >> please, yes. >> you said the fbi should interview whoever they believe is appropriate. does that include julie swetnick, the third accuser, and can you promise to release the full findings -- >> give her the mic, please. >> but trump finally took questions on kavanaugh. saying he won't limit the fbi's investigation into the sexual assault allegations against him while making clear it shouldn't take long. >> i want them to do a very comprehensive investigation. i want it to be done quickly. >> after democrats complained about the limited scope of the investigation, trump said he would defer to senate republicans on who should be interviewed. >> i think the fbi should interview anybody that they want, within reason. >> amid the fbi investigation, kavanaugh is now being accused of lying about his drinking habits. by a former yale classmate who says kavanaugh wasn't honest when he testified in front of congress. asked today if he'll pull
kavanaugh's nomination if it's proven he lied, trump said -- >> this is not a man that said that alcohol was -- that he was perfect with respect to alcohol. >> trump adding he was impressed by kavanaugh's candor, but not answering the question. >> i watched that hearing. and i watched a man saying that he did have difficulty as a young man with drink. >> though kavanaugh never described a difficulty with drinking. and instead attempted to downplay his consumption, characterizing it as normal. >> i liked beer. i still like beer. but i did not drink beer to the point of blacking out. >> trump instead turning to his own sobriety. >> i can honestly say, i never had a beer in my life. okay? >> right. >> it's one of my only good traits. can you imagine if i had? what a messy would be? >> now, we are told by sources, jake, and it's a little loud as president trump is leaving right now, the white house on marine
one. but we are told by sources that the white house has told the fbi, it is not limited in its probe into brett kavanaugh and these allegations made against him. and president trump made clear today, he's okay if the fbi wants to talk to judge kavanaugh. jake? >> kaitlan collins at the white house for us. let's talk about this with our experts. so take a listen to president trump characterizing brett kavanaugh's experience as a young man with alcohol. >> i was surprised at how vocal he was about the fact that he likes beer. and he's had a little bit of difficulty. i mean, he talked about things that happened when he drank. i watched that hearing, and i watched a man saying that he did have difficulty as a young man with drink. >> now, that's not what i recall from the hearing. >> that's not what he said. >> that he had difficulty and that he has had things happen when he had a little too much -- that's not how kavanaugh described it. >> that is explicitly not what
kavanaugh said. but also, keep in mind. what you see is a position, donald trump doesn't drink. he really truly is probably the only thing he can tell truthfully without even glimpsing or blanching at all. he hasn't ever had any alcohol. >> because his brother fred was an alcoholic. >> was an alcoholic and died tragically. and he decided from that point moving forward, he would never have any drugs or alcohol and he told his children that religiously throughout the course of his life. and if you have never had any alcohol, the difference between one beer or a couple of beers or blacking out may not be that nuanced. it might just be black and white. and so you can imagine from president trump -- i mean, trump's mixing the message, probably based on his own lack of understanding about how alcohol affects the body. >> are you accusing our president of lacking nuance? >> i know you feel strongly you agree with mitch mcconnell, democrats are moving the goalpost. what do you make of this? because that is not how kavanaugh characterized his drinking. >> right. he's carelessly stating, as he carelessly states many things.
if you could prove that brett kavanaugh never took a drink, that would be another fact sort of running against what ford is alleging. but the fact that he drank doesn't prove anything. you can be a drinker, you can drink to excess as he acknowledged in his testimony, and still not black out and sexually assault people. >> that's true. but one of classmates from yale, were discussing him, a professor at north carolina state. said in a statement to cnn, quote, i can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking and downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, brett has not told the truth. >> and that is the point. it is entirely possible that you could not drink until the point of blacking out or drink to the point of blacking out and still not be guilty. the problem is, he's taken an implausible position by saying i drank all of the time, i was at parties, but never blacked out, despite what all these witnesses are saying. that goes to credibility. >> no witness says he blacked out. i don't know how you would prove that. and i have little -- jake
earlier said we were experts. experts in what, gentleman i can? >> i meant -- >> drinking. >> i drank a fair amount as an adolescent. i didn't black out in college. some people don't black out. >> did you ever have any -- was there ever -- can you say that -- i don't mean to probe. i'm sorry. i'll do myself first. absolutely, i had memory loss. >> of course. >> you're foggy. but blank hours where you turn into this zombie who is sexually assaulting someone. >> but that's not the question. the question is did he have memory loss. >> the core allegation is sexual assault. and so far there is no core ran legislation of a 36-year-old memory that hasn't been properly interrogated, in my view. >> there is intentional blurring right now. and it's because kavanaugh chose a tact to present himself as a choir boy and football player, primarily. and that probably doesn't comport with the way he acted in college or high school all of the time, or indeed most folks. and i think there is a sense that maybe frat culture is on trial here.
and we've gone a long way. culturals change. but the fraternity -- deke was one george. w. bush was a member. bush can say i was young and irresponsible. and he was running on a popular vote, not going for a supreme court seat. >> and also said i stopped drinking at 40. and we don't hear that. >> there's no allegation he's an alcoholic. >> yeah. >> there's no indication he's an alcoholic. and i would underline primarily. he could have been a choir boy primarily and he was an upstanding student to get as far as he did and still drink a lot. these things are not inconsistent. and he never denied that. >> that's a bit -- >> blacking out. so the extreme. >> memory loss and drinking to excess -- >> but the suggestion in blacking out he did this and does not know it. >> the plausibility of, you know, what one person thinks is implausible and another thinks is plausible simply can't be the
basis for how we determine our supreme court justices. this is why we have to have a basis and investigations of the truth and we have to discern what the truth is. otherwise, if it's just what you believe versus what i believe or anybody else believes, this is just a power grab and not the rule of law. >> i want to bring up the fact that rachel mitchell, who the arizona prosecutor, who the republicans brought in to question, she issued a report. now, obviouly, it's not a full fbi investigation. she did what she could in the time she was given. but her conclusion was that a responsible prosecutor would never bring a case, based on the evidence presented last week, and she noted, quote, dr. ford, professor christine blasey ford, identified other witnesses to the event and those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them. she went on to cite inconsistencies to the post, her therapist. i mean, this doesn't look very strong when it comes to the effort to convict kavanaugh on this case. this doesn't help her case. >> and if we're using the logic of a criminal justice proceeding
to incarcerate someone, of course it wouldn't be a strong case. but when you have someone who passes a lie detector test and who has a strong case, when you have kavanaugh who keeps saying things that seem somewhat implausible, i think it does raise questions about credibility and character and temperament, as we saw in the hearing last week. those are questions we do have a right to ask in terms of determining our supreme court justice. that's different than determining whether or not someone would pass or successfully be prosecuted. >> kellyanne conway seemed to suggest she believes something happened to professor ford, just doesn't think that brett kavanaugh was the person who did it. obviously, memory is a tricky thing. that's not what ford says. she says she's 100% person. what do you think? >> memory is not reliable. especially given decades. there would be no such thing as the innocent project, which gets people out of jail, based on dna, because they're in jail based on dead 100% certain witness identifications. so what matters is not the memory, it's some corroboration. and there is none at the moment. and in fact, the people that --
the two witnesses she said were at the party say they have no memory of such an event. >> somewhat of a misrepresentation of how we understand witnesses. typically, when it comes to intimate partners and sexual assault from people we know, misidentification of the assailant is almost never the case. >> everyone stick around. president trump is claiming he's seen a democratic senator in some compromising situations. wait, what? the latest on the claim. plus, with classmates publicly countering the claim, cnn is speaking to several of kavanaugh's peers. what do they have to say? stay with us. if you have psoriasis, ... little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not a cream. it's a pill that treats moderate to severe plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla,
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president trump making some uncorroborated claims today that he has dirt on a democratic senator, and then, of course, refusing to provide any of evidence. >> i happen to know some united states senators. one who is on the other side who is pretty aggressive. i've seen that person in very bad situations. okay? i've seen that person in very, very bad situations. somewhat compromising. and you know, i think it's very unfair to bring up things like this. >> mr. president, you just said some senators are not angels, and you've seen some of them in very -- >> i would say some of them, yes. >> -- compromising situations. >> yes. >> could you tell us who and exactly what situation? >> no, i think i'll save is for a book like everybody else and i'll write it. i'm not giving it to you. >> back to our team here. are we supposed to think this is
a real -- or is this just like thousands of muslims celebrating 9/11 in new jersey, just like the nonsense? or is this a real thing? >> i mean, what's the point of calling it the bully pulpit? you're not going to just knock them down and scare them to death. it's absurd. >> it's also, i have here in my hand a list -- >> oh, mccarthy. >> yeah. and, look, you know, trump playing -- always plays it for a laugh. he's calling a democratic member of the senate an alcoholic, but i'm not going to say who. the reality is, though, that it is odd to see the senate passing judgment on people's morality, not about sexual violence or allegations, but drinking in particular. because the history of that body outside the tower, you know, hearings is a lot of folks who have drunk a lot throughout history, as your novel -- itself is a witness of. >> this becomes, again, talking about moving the goalpost. it seems like that's happening on the other side, as well. now we're having a conversation about who drank too much, who is the moral authority to speak about drinking. and we're moving our eyes away from the question of sexual
violence and sexual assault. and so suddenly we can laugh about this and not think about the fact that, hey, someone was assaulted here. >> maybe -- allegedly assaulted. >> well, yes. yes. >> what do you make of this? do you think he's actually thinking of somebody in particular? or is this just -- >> who knows? he might be. but obviously, people on my side of the aisle now want to push back -- against reckless accusations. so it's not great to make any of those at the moment. >> margaret, listen. cnn's kaitlan collins asked the president if kavanaugh lied in his testimony and if so, would he be fit. this name he attacked individual senators, this time by name. listen. >> look at blumenthal. he lied. cory booker. he ran newark, new jersey, into the ground. dianne feinstein, knew about this two months earlier. >> pushback. >> with anything donald trump says, i have a terrible time humoring it. you have the president of the united states sitting here, naming out individual senators
who is clearly just on the opposite side of a partisan fight for his second supreme court nominee. it's hard to even substantiate these allegations. >> certainly not going to have the guy on the bully pulpit talk about the politics of personal destruction. he's a master. he's got a black belt. that said, it is -- that is the problem that republicans are having right now. they are railing at the politics and personal object trucks and the added irony, some people date that to the starr report against the clintons. that's where you get to how are we going to heal this breach? it's not going to happen easily. >> what do you say about dianne feinstein is completely sound. the one chance and may not have happened, the one chance to handle this in a responsible manner, would have been fair to everyone, would have been to do an investigation in private, behind closed doors first. and she put that off the table by holding it, doing nothing with it. >> because ford said -- >> even -- >> ford said she wanted to stay anonymous. >> right. but you can investigate it. doesn't mean you have to do
nothing with it. ford really wanted nothing to happen with this? why does she call the "washington post"? why does she contact her congressman? why does she contact the senator? so there was some chance to do it the way it should have been done, and feinstein made that impossible. >> what did you make of the president going after booker and blooming that will and feinstein? >> again, classic trump tactics. but beside the point. let's assume cory booker did run newark into the ground, the bustling of the metropolis, what does that have to do with the fact he's making procedural issues, and saying this is wrong? i think both things could be true. the fact that trump is doing that and playing what aboutism to me is not the point. >> let's take a listen to president trump joking about drinking, a drunk trump? because such a thing does not exist. >> i'm not a drinker. i can honestly say, i've never had a beer in my life. okay? >> right. >> it's one of my only good traits. i don't drink. whenever they're looking for something good, i say, i never had a glass of alcohol. i've never had alcohol. you know, for whatever reason. can you imagine if i had?
what a mess i'd be? would i -- i would be the world's worst. but i never drank. i never drank, okay? >> it's good standup, but this is a serious issue. allegations being made about his supreme court nominee drinking in excess, whether or not he committed sexual assault. >> in a weird way, maybe he's crazy like a fox. we're waiting for a week and nothing is going to happen for a week. we have to wait for this fbi investigation. deflect, distract, make them laugh. keep their attention. because what's going to happen in the meantime, right? and so he's making it about himself. frankly, it was the only resounding line, everybody laughed. >> this is trump -- he should be in the self deprecating mode more often. almost never is. but it's very entertaining. and charming. >> humor is very effective from all presidents, especially this one. but as usual, he also steps on his message. he had a big win today for redoing the nafta deal. and because he's making comments about -- well, you know, kavanaugh had a problem with drinking in the past, and you know, thank god i don't drink, because that would be really crazy. he steps on his own message. and an administration
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with the white house this afternoon telling the fbi that agents are not limited in their investigation, the question then becomes, who are they talking to? and who is not on their interview list? i want to bring in cnn senior investigative correspondent, drew griffin. and drew, who has the fbi spoken to so far? >> jake, cnn has learned the fbi has interviewed, debby ramirez, the second accuser from yale, along with christine blasey ford's friend, leland kaiser and pj smith. the question is, if the fbi is investigating or even interested in interviewing several people who dispute kavanaugh's claims about his drinking habits. >> my white house will do whatever the senators want. >> reporter: what republican senators want, according to sources familiar with the discussions, is for the fbi agents to not be limited in their investigation. cnn has learned on their list, pj smith, leland kaiser and mark judge, who, according to christine blasey ford, were all
at the party where she says she was attacked. they also want the second accuser, deborah ramirez, questioned. one of the most important of those is mark judge, brett kavanaugh's high school friend, who put his own hard partying exploits in a book called "wasted," and later posted a video tour of georgetown prep. >> let me show you something interesting. the dean of student's office. spent a lot of time in there. >> reporter: judge says he may have been wasted, but disputes christine blasey ford's allegation he and kavanaugh were involved in assaulting her at a party. no other witnesses have corroborated the story. the fbi has already interviewed debby ramirez who claims kavanaugh, in a drunken stupor, flashed her at a college party. no other witnesses recall that event, either. at the center of both, though, excessive high school and college drinking, which under oath judge brett kavanaugh says was to excess, but never out of control. >> have you ever passed out from
drinking? >> well, passed out would be, no. but i've gone to sleep. but i've never blacked out. that's the -- that's the allegation. and that's wrong. >> reporter: in addition to speaking to classmates who say kavanaugh did drink to excess, cnn has spoken to a half dozen college and high school classmates of kavanaugh who say they never saw kavanaugh drink to the point of blacking out, and never aggressive. that was contradicted this weekend by chad ludington, the yale classmate who released this statement. at yale, he writes, brett was a frequent drinker and a heavy drinker. i know, he says, because especially in our first two years of college, i often drank with him. he goes on to write, when brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. the yale roommates of debby ramirez, the woman claiming brett kavanaugh exposed himself at a party, said this about kavanaugh at yale. >> he was a sloppy drunk.
he was more interested in impressing the boys than he was in impressing the girls. i never saw him be sexually aggressive, but he definitely was sloppy drunk. >> i was witness to the night that he got tapped into that fraternity, and he was stumbling drunk in a ridiculous costume, saying really dumb things. and i can almost guarantee that there's no way that he remembers that night. >> reporter: no one cnn has contacted claims to be a witness to aggressive sexual behavior or even unwanted sexual advances by kavanaugh. jake, based on the short list of witnesses the fbi is interviewing, it does not appear kavanaugh's drinking habits and if he told the whole truth about them, are even being looked at. jake? >> drew griffin, thank you so much. joining me now, two people who know a lot about fbi investigations such as this, former congressman and former chairman of the house intelligence committee and former fbi special agent, mike rogers. also special agent at the fbi,
josh campbell. josh, the white house told the fbi to expand the scope of whom they can talk to. how might that impact the investigation now? >> so, jake, i think there are still questions surrounding what that specifically means. and what i mean by that is, there have been conflicting reports whether this means that the fbi can now go out on its own and chase down whatever lead that it thinks needs -- is warranted, additional investigation. or whether the fbi has to go back to the white house and say, here's what we found. here is what we want to do, and then essentially get permission to go beyond that. the reason a distinction is important, i think what's happened today is you have the white house realizing, if they're being crushed by this news cycle, there are a lot of people irate at this notion that the fbi would be limited in scope. if you want a serious investigation, you do a thorough investigation. but to set guard rails and parameters, i think they're feeling the blow back against that, and i think it's hypothetical. if they're requiring the fbi to request permission, yeah, they can say the fbi can do whatever it wants. ultimately, they're the final arbiter. i believe believe it when i see it. >> mr. chairman, you used to conduct fbi background checks
years ago during the george h.w. bush administration. let me ask you, this idea that the fbi has done six background checks on brett kavanaugh, therefore there can't be anything to find, is that accurate? usually i heard the fbi only starts looking at somebody's activities 18 and over and really college and after. no? >> yeah, that's right. i mean, they would have to reengage this notion they're going to go back into his adolescent years, high school, and college. to try to determine the veracity of the claims, if there is corroboration or other things. and i will say, they start with a review of the investigations they have. and i'll tell you why. it was very important that when we ask questions, we asked about drinking, you know, alcohol consumption and drug use. and the levels of alcohol use and did it ever impact them. so they'll have a strong record over those six investigations that span about 30 years of his life that will answer the drinking question into when he was an adult and a professional. and i think they'll use that.
this notion that it's all about drinking, i think with the folks who have made up their mind that was an influence, what they're trying to insinuate is that drinking caused him not to forget that he conducted a sexual assault. that's a very different thing. so this notion that his drinking is a problem clearly, those six investigations didn't determine that. it didn't impact him when he graduated from college and became a working adult. so they'll try to consider all of that information. this is different, and if you get seven days, you can do a pretty good investigation. you don't need to interview, you know, 400 people to come to your conclusion. they'll go and try to find corroborating evidence for the witnesses who have come forward and said that something happened. that's what i think they're going to focus on. and they can do that in multiple places all at the same time. and then bring that information back for the committee's review. >> josh, is it even possible to disprove brett kavanaugh's claim that he never blacked out, and that he never had any memory loss? i'm sure people -- we have now a
litany of individuals who say that they saw him being sloppy drunk. but beyond that, i don't know how you get in somebody's brain and prove that that person passed out, blacked out, had memory losses. >> so the one similar aspect of this investigation that we have seen that is similar to a regular criminal investigation is that at the end of the day, it's going to come down to witness testimony. who do you believe? now, we've talked about the differences. the fbi conducts criminal investigations, they prosecute people. this is determining someone's suitability, someone's character. in order to get at those traits, you have to talk to people who know him. as you mechanics, this is some 36 years old. there are going to be people coming forth with hard evidence to say here is a picture of the judge blacked out. it's going to come down to witness testimony. i have to tell you, the more you see, the volume of people that are coming forward and making allegations, that gives you pause. and i'll disagree with my friend, mike rogers, as far as the time line here. i think that the one-week time line being placed on the fbi is actually arbitrary. in order to conduct a thorough investigation, i think you can't
set those parameters. the fbi has to do what it has to do. we saw over the weekend cnn was reporting that mrs. ramirez, for example, provided the names of additional witnesses, additional people that the fbi needs to go out and talk to. so i don't think we shubham stringing or constraining the fbi in that respect, because it is about who knows what, what they saw, and are they believed? at the end of the day, that's what it's going to come down to. >> mr. chairman, the president said today, he's okay with the fbi talking to kavanaugh for this investigation, which might be news to kavanaugh. do you think they should? >> absolutely. i mean, he is clearly important into this equation, and if there is anything they talked about in the previous investigations that doesn't cover either this time period or this event, and i would argue it doesn't, then yes, in fact, they should do that. and i'm going to disagree with the supervisory agent, josh, because we did these things in very short time lines when the bush administration came and we had very short deadlines, and what we did is schedule our resources according to the time that we had.
and i think that you can do it. i think the democrats are going to come out with a list of whatever it is, 25 people they want to be -- the parties should stay out of the investigation. the time line can be completely appropriate. they will come back and say, if we don't think we got it right, here's some more interviews that we need to do. but, again, i think the fbi should be able to do it in the time they have been given, given the nature of these issues and the limited number of witness, some of which i understand are not willing to talk about, you know, something that happened in high school or college. and so they'll have some challenges there, but they can come up with a picture of, and i think it's going to be very unfortunate, but it's going to be he said/she said at the end of the day. and the determination of those witnesses and the ability to corroborate information will wait on their conclusion in the executive summary on this. >> take a listen to president trump talking about the third accuser, julie swetnick. >> the third one, i don't know much about. but it wouldn't bother me at all. i mean, i've been -- heard that
the third one has -- i have no idea if this is true -- has very little credibility. >> josh, what do youthink the fbi is going to do? >> well, first of all, that's not the president's determination to make. he can obviously opine about it. but the fbi is going to look at this without a partisan lens, without political lenses. they're going to determine, are these people serious people, can they be believed, can they be trusted. again, if you look at some of the allegations that are going to be made, i think what we have seen, at least according to the reporting, is that her testimony or her allegations are not part of this limited scope that has been, you know, basic three thrust upon the fbi. you have to stay within these guard rails. so thank they can actually determine and assess that credibility until they sit down and talk to her. so for the president to say that, you know, it's not credible, i don't think any of us know that. but, again, if the reporting indicates that the fbi is now opening the appearer tour, they can talk to more people and she is part of that at the end of the day, we'll be able to determine whether she is credible, based on the reporting provided. >> thank you so much. appreciate your expertise and your time. senate majority leader, mitch
mcconnell, says democrats are moving the goalposts on kavanaugh. is that fair? we'll talk to a member of the senate judiciary committee, next. stay with us. ♪ there goes our first big order. ♪ 44, 45, 46... how many of these did they order? ooh, that's hot. ♪ you know, we could sell these. nah. ♪ we don't bake. ♪ opportunity. what we deliver by delivering. ♪ (electronic dance music)♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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key republican senators are oh vowing that the fbi investigation into brett kavanaugh will not be a sham. now they are pushing the white house to tell the fbi to interview whomever they need to get it right. joining me now is democratic senator from vermont, senator patrick leahy, senior member, who has voted on the confirmation of every sitting supreme court justice. senator leahy, good to see you, as always. how far do you think the fbi investigation is able to go? do you have concern still that they are being hamstrung by what the white house is telling them to do? >> well, you hear two different things from the white house, and so a number of us sent a letter down there saying don't hamstring them at all. you know, you have four issues
here. four significant ones whose credibility is at stake. obviously, judge kavanaugh's credibility is at stake. the credibility of the united states supreme court is at stake. that of the fbi. and that of the u.s. senate. so frankly, as a member of one of those four, i'd like to see it done right. done thoroughly. i was a prosecutor. i want to see it all done. you know, i was in vermont this weekend. when i heard on the street from everybody, republicans and democrats, if they have got nothing to hide, why are they in such a rush? >> so right now i hear a lot of democrats talking about how much kavanaugh drank and whether he was misleading in front of the senate judiciary committee about that. did democrats have anything other than their suspicions that he blacked out or ever had any memory loss? is there any evidence to that?
or is it just suspicion? >> well, i thought that dr. ford was very credible. and, of course, they're diametrically opposite in their positions. i believe her. i would believe her had she been a witness at a trial that i was having. but judge kavanaugh has not been forthcoming and many other times when he's testified. certainly, he was not forthcoming in talking about the stolen e-mails, stolen by miranda from the democratic senate members. and he wasn't credible in answers to both republicans and democrats on that. so i must admit, i come in there worried about the man's credibility to begin with. and while he put on an act, which "saturday night live" enjoyed satirizing, there were a
lot of people who thought that his testimony last week was just that, an act. he never answered the direct questions about what happened. >> so leader mcconnell just warned that democrats are moving the goal posts on the probe. that first it's did he ever commit any sexual assault. then it's, did he ever mislead how much he drank. that there is going to be another goalpost shift at some point. and there's never going to be enough time for this fbi investigation, because all you -- you democrats are trying to do is delay until the midterms are over, in which case you hope that you have a democratic senate. what's your response to senator mcconnell? >> my response is we want to get the truth. that's what i hear in vermont. that's what i hear from both republicans and democrats. get the truth. let the fbi take the time, take the time they need to do so. and remember, senator mcconnell
said, oh, we have to rush. this is the man that held up merrick garland for over a year, left the supreme court absent one person for over a year. it's hard for them to say with a straight face. we've got to rush this. but the bottom line is, the fbi is not going to play politics. they're going to tell it like it is. let them give the facts. and then every single republican, every single democrat, will have the facts and he or she will have to explain to their constituents, this is how and why i'm going to vote. >> so senator, you said before, and you're a former prosecutor. that you believed christine blasey ford. you believed professor ford. the outside counsel, and the kavanaugh hearings from thursday, who was hired by the republicans, wrote to the republican senators that a reasonable prosecutor would not bring a case based on professor ford's allegations. she pointed to multiple issues.
she said ford had inconsistencies in her statements to the committee, the "washington post" and her therapist. she said ford has not been consistent with her age at the time of the alleged assault. ford can't remember key details, such as how she got home from the party. you're a former prosecutor. do you have any concerns about the testimony she gave in terms of whether or not you as a prosecutor, and i realize this isn't a court of law and you would rather have an fbi investigation. but you say you believe her. do you not have any moment of pause, based on her testimony? >> of course. of course, there are going to be some inconsistencies from that long ago. she said that herself. but what she did remember -- i said, what do you remember the most about it? she said, i remember his laughter. his laughter and his hand over my face. you might forget exactly what time of the evening it was or anything else. something like that you never forget. and that's consistent with a lot of cases i had of people who
have been involved in sexual assault. they remember those things the most. but even stepping back from that, let the fbi go forward. let them talk to the people who are supposed to have been there. let them talk with mr. judge. and see what they say. right now -- right now, the senate does not have enough facts to make up their mind. especially from a judicial nominee who has misled us in the past. >> all right. senator patrick leahy, democrat from vermont, thank you so much. it was supposed to be a victory lap on trade for president trump. but did he fumble before spiking the ball? stay with us. so-so pizza? not in this house. 'cause that's no so-so family. that's your family. which is why you didn't grab just any cheese.
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just in to "the lead," you know that the white house sees the big debate is about whether brett kavanaugh blacked out, because now the white house is putting out statements, trying to disprove the idea he blacked out from alcohol during his college years. let me read you a couple of these statements. one of them is from dan murphy. he was a suite mate of his for several years at yale. it says in part, i never saw brett black out or not be able
to remember the prior evening's events or ask aggressive, hostile or act in an aggressive manner to a woman. and chris dudley, those of us might remember him, he played basketball at yale -- a yeoman player traveling around the country, different teams every year. chris dudley had ran for governor, also for oregon, said this. i will say this. i was with brett frequently in college, in gym, class, socializing. i never, ever saw brett black out. not one time in all the years i've another him. i've never seen him be disrespectful or inappropriate with women. your response. >> again, i do think we're missing the point a bit here. the allegation is he sexually assaulted someone. you can drink a lot and also not sexually assault somebody. so, again, i think we are going around in circles, because we're waiting for an fbi report and not getting any new information until we get an fbi report. and, you know, i continue to believe that we cannot have a system that is governed by the rule of law based on what people believe or what suppositions
people about whether they blacked out or didn't black out. >> do you think he was fully honest before the senate judiciary committee about his drinking? >> i think he had moments where he could have been more precise, more -- had a clearer, better, maybe more buttoned up answer. but that doesn't mean he explicitly lied. and by the way, everybody says -- >> is that a standard for a supreme court justice? >> the standard for the supreme court justice now -- >> the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. >> consider the circumstances he was under, right? this is a man who was literally fighting for his life, having to defend his political character, his -- no, i'm sorry, rather his personal integrity and a political strategy from a white house that absolutely boxed him in and made it incredibly difficult for him to both defend himself and defend the strategy that made no sense. he wanted an fbi investigation from the beginning. but he couldn't say it, because the president didn't want it, the white house didn't want it. because this strategy did not favor -- they put him in an untenable position, and i think
he was doing everything he could, and frankly, i would have been just as angry as he was, defending my integrity. >> yeah, look. remember when democrats in the 1990s were saying that people lie about sex? you know, so don't -- you know, shouldn't surprise us that the president lied under oath about sex. >> bill clinton at the time. >> yeah. >> bill clinton lied and when clinton lied, nobody died and on and on and on. this is the slippery slope of the standard being put in place and we need to dlin ate clearly between accusations about his drinking in high school or college, and the alleged sexual assault. character witnesses are going to pile up and we're going to get this report. and then we're going to have to find a way to find common ground around it. to me, the more shocking thing that happened late last week is the outburst of not only emotion, which you can, you know, chalk up to righteous indignation. but the abandonment of not only judicial temperament but independence. he came out so hot and partisan, that to me raises a bigger question the senate needs to digest. allegations of drinking of in high school and college. >> overall, ultimately, we have to raids a question of is this
person capable of being a jurist. is this person capable of being on the highest court in the land. and for me, things that should weigh in are temperament, character, disposition, and his background. so, yeah, we will never be able to conclusively determine beyond a reasonable doubt many of these things. >> also, his jooris prudence of his professional career. >> that's not what we're debating right now. >> you're saying there's really a question whether it can be a jurist? he's been a jurist on the d.c. circuit, one of the most respected courts in the land. and you can go through his opinions, 200, 300 opinions, and they're serious. they're credible. they display a judicial temperament and manner. he got angry, not because this was a judicial case where he had to adjudicate between two sides. because he was being personally accused of some of the worst possible things you can say about a person, including he was part of a gang rape ring in a suburban maryland county. if you're not angry when someone says that about you, there is
something wrong with you. >> well, a couple quick things. this isn't the first time his temperament has been raised. this isn't just because he's under his accusation. a few years as, the american bar association lowered his rating because of his temperament. >> they gave him the highest rating and vouched for his character. >> the first time around. >> my point is, this isn't the first time it's been raised. and this isn't about his opinions. it's been raised in the senate proceedings and should be. but we have to ask a question, if this person is saying little lies about whether what a yearbook caption means, it could signal bigger lies and that's a question we can point to and look at. >> you believe her. >> absolutely. >> you believe her 100%. >> 100%. >> you think he's lying or doesn't remember? >> i think rape culture is so pervasive it's possible he's not lying and still did it. >> you believe him. >> i believe that both of them were telling their best version of the truth. and beyond that, i'm not an inquisitor, i'm not an fbi
agent, i'm not an investigator, i don't have facts or access to the testimony. and none of us do. that's what we should be advocating for. >> follow me on facebook and twitter at jake tapper. our coverage on cnn continues right now. thanks for watching. . happening now, breaking news. comprehensive probe. president trump calls for a thorough but swift investigation into sexual assault allegations against the supreme court nominee, brett kavanaugh. and now we're learning new details on what the white house is telling the fbi about how the probe should be conducted. to tell the truth. the president says he was surprised by kavanaugh's comments about his drinking, and statements from some of the judge's former classmates are boosting democratic charges that kavanaugh lied. could it his own testimony wind up derailing his nomination? new deal. president trump announces a new