tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN October 5, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT
i mean, perhaps they can get him on board and get susan collins there as well. now, i suspect susan collins already knows how she's going to vote. she probably already has her plane ticket booked on saturday out of washington, d.c. she certainly is playing with a lot of drama here right now, but there is time, i think, for democrats to try to persuade no votes. >> i want to unpack and underscore something dana said earlier. we went in today with these four key votes, and now we're really just talking about flake and collins to see if they change. here's why. as dennis said, it's impossible to imagine lisa murkowski at this point having voted no on procedure to vote yes. that would be a very difficult thing to explain, and it would sort of defy logic. joe manchin, i think, is in a very similar situation on the democratic side, and phil brettson, who is the democratic nominee in tennessee, to understand the critical cross currents of democrats in the deep red states. he's not a sflor but he put out
a statement after not announcing his intentions. chuck schumer asked these folks, please, do not say how you're going to vote. wait until the very end until it's clear. he came out with a statement saying he was a yes for kavanaugh. the ford delegations and testimony gave him pause, but i'm not a sitting senator and i don't have access to the fbi investigation they have, so i'm still a yes. so if joe manchin's yes vote was an indication, this is how a red state democrat who wants to get through in a deep red state goes, you have to be for kavanaugh, brett ason sort of followed that lead. it leads me to believe manchin is totally unlikely to reverse his vote now. that would be a very difficult position for him back home. that leaves us with collins and flake. i will just say, 24 hours ago, we all sat here and we saw -- we started reading tea leaves. they both came out and said this was a full and thorough fbi investigation. flake also came out and said there was no corroborating information.
so he didn't have anything new to go on. which led us all to believe they were going to be yes votes. i will just say, their procedural vote confirms that fact. so i think we will be in such a dramatic surprise moment if either one of them at this point, and again, anything could happen, would reverse their vote. what we see now is sort of fitting the pattern that the tea leaf reading beginning yesterday allowed us to head up. >> what we don't know is, a, if they finally made up their mind, and what are their sort of outstanding questions they have. who are they talking to? obviously, we saw brett kavanaugh come out with this op-ed and basically say he could be an independent, nonpartisan justice on the supreme court. clearly some sort of lingering questions about that in the wake of his testimony on thursday. but i do agree with david. this idea, manchin is basically already broken with his party. hard to see him now going back and siding with his party on this in west virginia, a state
he's figured out. it's a red state. he's somebody who has often been independent from the democratic party. he didn't back obama in 2012. he's come out against big democratic initiatives and democratic votes, so hard to see him flipping on that. but my goodness. collins will be the woman of the hour at 3:00. talk about someone who can make for a dramatic moment, right? here she is on the one hand voting to proceed, and saying wait to see what i have to say at 3:00 p.m., and my goodness, all of us will be waiting to see what she's going to say. >> dana, in order for the final vote tomorrow to be defeated and kavanaugh not become a united states supreme court justice, it's not enough that just susan collins flips and changes her vote tomorrow. jeff flake has to do the same thing. if it's just susan collins. it's a 50/50 tie and the vice president, mike pence, he breaks the tie in favor of confirmation. so in order for the defeat of kavanaugh as a united states
supreme court justice, both flake and collins have to flip. because it's unlikely joe manchin or certainly lisa murkowski are going to flip. >> manchin can't be the deciding vote. >> he doesn't want to be the deciding vote. >> he wasn't the 50th vote today. he was the 51st. >> yeah. that's right. he was the 51st. the only thing i will say about the sort of idea of manchin voting yes now, hard to see him switching, that's my instinct, i'm waiting to hear back to see if that's the actual case. but he could make the argument, just saying, manchin could make the argument, what this is, this is -- be careful to use the technical terms but it's a procedural vote in order to allow the process to go forward. that's the sort of simplest way to say it. he could make the argument, i didn't want to block him from getting a final vote. but i wasn't going to vote for him. he could make that argument. i think at this point it's doubtful, given how much of a political hit he could take for
doing that, and how difficult it is to explain. remember, we were talking about this earlier. this kind of stopped happening in the big way when john kerry back in 2004 was for it before he was against it, which was actually an okay thing to do because he was voted on different votes, but it was impossible for him to explain. we'll see what happens. but to your point, wolf, you're right. at this point, it is hard to see with the math, kavanaugh not getting approved if you include the vice presidential tiebreaker. so the question now is the politics. and frankly, the agonizing decision that each of these enormously important players are grappling with. >> what do they think of their political futures? jeff flake obviously not running again in arizona because he would likely lose, because he's been so critical of a president trump. what does he imagine his future to be in the republican party? if he bucks them on this, what
does that mean for where he goes? he's been talked about as somebody who might run for president. can you run for president as a republican if you say no to what has been a republican dream for decades, to control the supreme court? >> let me point out, the president just issued a statement on twitter. very proud of the u.s. senate for voting yes to advance the nomination of judge brett kavanaugh. >> don't forget, though, that flake voted yes in committee. flake is a conservative. flake wants to get to yes here. i would assume. even if he does decide to run for president, that makes it more likely he would want to get to yes, but he is hamlet like, and he has been, and he's struggled publicly with this. and so he's hard to predict. but if you were to look at all the data points on that, you know, you would have to come out somewhere like he's a likely yes here. particularly given what david said before, which is that he
came out of that room, that secure room, and said he was comfortable that they had done a thorough investigation, whereas other people came out and they, particularly democrats, said they weren't so thrilled about it. >> this moment in time, this micromoment in time that we're analyzing and discussing and really going over and picking apart is so historic in many ways because what we're talking about right now is going to have a lasting impact for generations and generations. even in the near term, the midterm elections, however this vote turns out is going to energize one of the political parties that will have an impact in november, which will have an impact on the control of congress, which will have an impact on which legislation moves forward. what we have seen is a total deterioration of comate comity with a t. >> you second argue there's been comedy in there as well.
>> this is point that john dean made, and i thought to myself, wow, it was really smart, and of course, really smart, but john dean said never have we seen a supreme court justice write an op-ed and do a television interview basically campaigning for the job. we know the judiciary in many ways is political. we have done our best to try to keep it depoliticized. we have now seen the judiciary go full blown politicized now. we're as a nation and as a government, we're in a lot worse shape right now than we talk about every day. >> well, and the op-ed was, you read it carefully, the op-ed was the justice, the judge one more time saying, you know, i didn't mean how i sounded. and he knows that that was the big issue coming out of that was judicial temperament and he had to, he felt, and our white house reporters are saying that was his call, that he felt he had to come out there and explain again
why he was so aggressive and why he was so rude, particularly to people like senator klobuchar, when she asked him about whether he had ever blacked out from drinking. so he needed to -- he knew that a lot of people were wondering about his temperament, including a former supreme court justice yesterday who came out, justice stevens. >> he's most concerned about the senators, i think. so the white house was fully onboard, our white house team reports, with that op-ed, because i think the vote, the final vote tally was and quite frankly still at the moment remains somewhat uncertain, but going -- when they published that op-ed last night, that's because he wasn't done persuading the senators he needed. >> right. of his bad -- why he gave that performance. >> assuming the votes will be there, whether 50/50, 51/49 tomorrow, a big win for the president of the united states and for the republicans, just a few weeks before the midterm
elections. and when you add the very, very positive economic news today, 3.7% unemployment in the month of spteptember, a 49-year low, that's pretty dramatic stuff, if you think it's the economy stupid, that voters vote on as well. >> if you were to design in a laboratory what could i do as a republican who is sitting in power four weeks out from the midterm election that could really make my case for me to the american people and get my base really jazzed, you would put a conservative justice on the united states supreme court to permanently move the ideology of the supreme court for a generation or more, and you would have the lowest unemployment in generations. those are two pretty good things to do four weeks out from election. there is no doubt. if indeed kavanaugh gets on the court, this is going to be, i would be hard pressed to find a different point in the trump
administration that would be as politically successful and potent a moment as this one would be for the president. >> let's go to jeff zeleny, our white house correspondent. jeff, there are a lot of smiles over there at the white house right now. >> wolf, there's no question, and the president, i'm told, was watching the vote right there on the senate floor just a few moments ago like everyone else. most cloture votes are not as dramatic, but the president is in the residence of the white house this hour watching all this unfold. the white house is still confident of the confirmation of brett kavanaugh, but not certain, of course, just like everyone else, they do not know how senator susan collins is going to vote this afternoon. the president at this point is largely a bystander in one of the very central processes here. but speaking with aides and advisers to this president and watching him as he's been out at campaign rallies throughout the week, he intends to make this an issue either way. and there is a school of thought that if judge kavanaugh would happen to fail, that is an even
bigger midterm election issue, a rallying point for conservatives. but make no mistake, this president, this white house, certainly leader mcconnell, want to get this confirmation through. so at this point, they are feeling confident. the vice president was here as well watching all this unfold, ready to head up to the senate at a moment's notice if he was needed. he's going to continue on with his schedule, which includes flying to new york city but he will be back this evening, i'm told, if he is needed for a weekend vote to break a tie there. so we're not expected to hear from the president. he does not have any public events on his schedule, but of course, he will weigh in as he sees things unfolding there. but there's a sense of relief here in some respects that they're moving forward on this, wolf, but it's an uncertain outcome, and again, the president largely a bystander at this point, of something that is one of the most pivotal points of his administration so far. >> one of the most important
decisions any u.s. president could make. nominating someone to sit on the united states supreme court. it's a lifetime, a lifetime appointment. stand by. we're going to get back to you. ariane de vogue is our supreme court reporter. you're getting new information about family, supporters of judge kavanaugh. they're pretty excited as well. >> right, there were supporters in the room, guests of mcconnell, and after this, they were hugging and happy, streaming out. they feel like they got over their first hurdle. keep in mind, we think that one of the reasons that "wall street journal" op-ed was penned last night by kavanaugh is he knew some, maybe collins, maybe flake, had questions about his judicial temperament, because we have seeb two sides of him. the first time we saw him, he was talking about his opinions, he didn't touch politics. the second time, after the allegations, he came out blazing, evoking the clintons and glaring at the democratic
senators. he knew some of his people knew that in order to thread the needle here and maybe win back some people who were concerned with his judicial temperament, that he had to put his voice out there in a way of saying don't worry. it's going to be all right, and one last thing, keep in mind, this is a titanic shift we're looking at in the supreme court if kavanaugh is confirmed. he's taking the seat, if it works, to justice anthony kennedy. kennedy was so key on the hot button issues. really a big, big moment here. >> on several of those hot button issues during the confirmation hearings, and you covered them very thoroughly for all of us, he really wouldn't spell out where he stands, saying i don't want to announce my positions in advance since these are the issues that will come before me if i'm a supreme court associate justice. >> absolutely. remember, during those 31 hours before these allegations came out, we saw judge kavanaugh, the judge, being so careful. saying i'm not going to tell you
how i might vote on these particular issues. and back then, that was the focus because everybody was his vote, everyone thought, was going to be very close. but it was all based on what he and his jurisprudence would do to shift the court for donald trump. so that's why mcgahn, who is up there somewhere on the hill watching this carefully, that's been their goal all along. >> very significant moment. thank you very much. once again, just to recap, 51-49, that was the vote in favor of advancing the confirmation process for judge kavanaugh. there will be a final vote at some point tomorrow. there will be extensive debate leading up to the final vote, but 51-49, that obviously is very, very close. the president, as jeff zeleny was pointing out, he was watching it closely, gloria. i'm sure he's very, very thrilled, and he's going to use this to try to help republican candidates who are up for election.
>> right, and our white house reporters are reporting that the president actually was watching this. as one might expect, but we should also make the case that this plays both ways politically. which is that if the democrats lose this, this could energize their base, just as much as -- >> their base is already so energized, they are so on fire, ready to vote against trump in the midterms, i don't know how much more energized they could get. >> this solidifies this. >> this could affect turnout on the democratic side. more on the republican side, obviously, because there were more republicans who were likely to sit on their hands, yes, more republicans likely to sit on their hands. and they obviously support kavanaugh. so you could find that both sides can use this to their advantage. >> and can we point out, too, perhaps could we perhaps see republicans say, look, the economy is doing really well, we appear to have the supreme court
right now. maybe i don't need to come out and vote? maybe i'm not a true trump supporter. >> i also think it's interesting just focusing on the midterms for a second that there are several red state democrats up for re-election fighting for their political lives. and we don't know what manchin is going to do at the end, but everybody else voted no. you know, okay. you can take the -- take it the way it should be, which is that they don't think he's qualified or there are other reasons, but on the raw politics of it, i think it's noteworthy that they thought it was okay to defy what the president wants in a state where they want to get re-elected, and the president won by double digits. it's very interesting. i think, i mean, just on the politics of it, there has been real concern about depressing that enthusiasm among democrats. and that is the only negative, probably for these democrats,
the only way to tip the balance is to hurt themselves with democrats, not help. >> and they obviously felt differently. heitkamp voted no. she's down 12 points. she's probably sort of making a different calculus than mccaskill is, who is in a very competitive race. donnelly in indiana, in a competitive race as well. i think the senate is one thing, the house is a completely different thing because you have these districts that hillary clinton did really well in, you have suburban white women who are going to be decisive, but we don't know necessarily how suburban white women are going to be energized by this, perhaps, maybe they'll be turned off by it. it's unclear. we have seen, and obviously some of the polling, that they're moving away from republicans. but you also see in some of the rhetoric from judge kavanaugh, from donald trump, saying listen, think about if this was your husband, think about if this was your son. you wonder how in the end they'll come down on this. >> wolf, i just want to add to the point you're making on the
raw politics of this, the difference between a state like missouri or indiana, where mccaskill and donnelly are, and west virginia, where joe manchin is, there is a natural democratic base in those states of missouri and indiana. that doesn't exist in west virginia. so it's a totally different calculus in that way. i think you're precisely right, dana. had donnelly or mccaskill, and we'll see, those are razor thin races so i don't know this is going to be the determinative thing of that, but if they had voted no, there was a real risk at depressing the democratic base or they voted yes, the real risk of depressing the democratic base they desperately need in order to win in those states. west virginia politically is so different than the other red states. >> can i say something about heidi heitkamp. we mentioned her. we all saw the interview she did yesterday. and what struck me about heitkamp, i mean, she's, what, a dozen points behind. trump won her state by double digits. she's in real trouble. the easy vote for her
politically would of course have been to support kavanaugh. and when she spoke, she said, i didn't see how i could do this, and something to the effect of, and forgive me, i don't have the exact quote, but i couldn't do that given my life experience. and it was sort of one of the most honest moments i have seen in politics in a long time. she seemed a little teary. she seemed to know that this was going to hurt her tremendously and she's behind, and yet, she kind of teared up, and there's more to her story, i think, maybe we'll learn it, but it was something you don't often see in politics. >> she voted no on the vote to advance this nomination. we're going to continue our special coverage, much more right after this. ♪
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i'm kate bolduan. the fate of brett kavanaugh still too close to call. just minutes ago, senate republicans managed to end debate by a tight margin and send the supreme court nomination to a final vote probably tomorrow. one republican defected, alaska's lisa murkowski. she was offset, if you will, by red-state democrat who crossed party lines, west virginia's joe manchin. up until this morning, that 51-49 majority would be viewed as an assurance that kavanaugh could get confirmed, but after a week and more of unbelievable twists and turns, don't count the votes until they're cast. republican susan collins voted in favor of moving forward toward the final vote, but underscoring the threat that she could still vote against kavanaugh possibly. she says she will announce her
final decision this afternoon. cnn's manu raju is on capitol hill, watching it all, breaking it down. watching the senate floor just now, you could sense that the senators knew this was a huge moment. but what does this now mean for the final vote? >> this is a remarkable amount of uncertainty here on the hill. leaders in both parties flatly do not know what is going to happen to brett kavanaugh's nomination. all eyes are going to be focused on two senators in particular. joe manchin of west virginia, susan collins of maine. because of collins' decision to make an announcement later today about how she will ultimately vote, a sign that perhaps her vote may not be the same as her vote to advance the nomination to a final vote. now, on joe manchin's side, the west virginia democrat, he's expected to release a statement soon, expressing his position and an aide to manchin tells me he often philosophically likes to vote yes on the procedural
votes on nominees to move to a final vote, so perhaps the final vote may not be the same. we expect lisa murkowski, she's not made a comment yet. she's been on the floor for the last 20 minutes or so talking to leaders in both parties, but is hard to see her changing her vote after voting no to block this from proceeding. and jeff flake had announced last week that he was already a yes on confirmation, so it's expected he'll probably still be a yes after he voted to advance the nomination to a final vote. so that is why the focus intensely on collins and manchin and whatever they say ultimately will decide kavanaugh's fate, kate. >> absolutely, manu. the math is uncertain. the theater even more unbelievable, and the way you put it all together is pretty remarkable. thank you. i appreciate it. let me get over to cnn's sunlen serfaty in the halls of the capitol where there have been protests throughout the morning. what are you seeing right now? >> yeah, kate. this is the remnants of what was
a few moments ago a very tense situation outside the office of senator susan collins. of course, the maine republican, such a key voice here. we did just see her vote yes to advance brett kavanaugh's nomination, but still a big unknown how she will vote on the final confirmation. we know she's going to announce that at 3:p.m. today, and that certain elevated the tensions between protesters outside her office, a small group of anti-kavanaugh protesters got in something of a clash with pro-kavanaugh protesters, a group of women, and they were yelling at each other back and forth, shame, shame, shame, underscoring how both sides of the aisle and both sides of the issue, there are certainly impassioned emotions. at one point, i saw a woman come over here and put her hand on susan collins' plate here on her office and said a prayer. susan collins' office, for the last week, really has been besieged by protesters, and it's been interesting to note that they have been very calm, and
protesters have been able to come in, members of susan collins' staff have taken notes and listened to them, and it's been more or less a somewhat calm situation, but certainly, the dynamic here elevating the tension at this very important moment for senator susan collins. i did speak with some protesters earlier today. they said they spent about an hour sitting down with senator collins' staff yesterday, telling personal stories of their own sexual abuse. they are encouraging her to vote against brett kavanaugh. they expected a sitdown with the senator today. they said that's what they were promised. they came into the office earlier this morning. they said the senator was not going to be taking any more meetings with constituents, and those protesters were from her home state of maine. so again, kate, tense moments, high anxiety here on capitol hill, especially outside of these offices of these key senators. >> yeah, and also showing the key role of the staff here and how they handle, how they handle, and how this plays out and underscoring the intense pressure on collins right now.
sunlen, thanks so much. let us know how it's going there. i want to get over to the white house now, where jeff zeleny has been. the white house clearly is watching this moment to moment very closely. are they feeling confident right now? >> no question, the president was watching that vote in the senate. he's not, you know, necessarily a lover of the senate or of procedural votes, but that was a dramatic moment. he was watching it, i'm told, from the residence of the white house. the vice president was in his own office watching as well. he could have gone up to capitol hill at any moment to be a deciding vote, but that was not needed thils timand. so after this time, the people i'm talking to here who are speaking to the president, they believe he is confident that the confirmation will happen eventually. they're not certain of that because they do not know how susan collins, senator collins, is going to vote, and how she's going to explain her decision this afternoon. so there is as much uncertainty here as there has been
throughout. the president largely is a bystander at this point in the process. he's not saying much. of course, he had a lot to say earlier in the week at the mississippi campaign rally when he was mocking christine blasey ford. he's not repeated that since then. that, of course, was not helpful at all to some senators and how they voted. if senator murkowski ends up staying the same and voting against this, it will be interesting to note if the president influenced that or not. we don't know the answer to that. we do know, kate, the president intends to use the outcome of this either way in the midterm election fight. just a few moments ago, the trump re-election campaign sent out an e-mail urging their supporters to call the senate, to use this in their midterm election fight. so we'll see how this plays out here, but it's clear the vice president is not going to be far away this weekend. he will be in washington, we're told, if he's needed to break that tie on the confirmation hearing. but uncertainty here, but optimism as well mixed in with
that. >> the president is a bystander, not a role i'm sure he enjoys, as we have all well learned. thank you very much. >> so the country now watches and waits for the big announcement from senator susan collins and also from senator joe manchin later today. no matter how and what their decision is on how they will vote, the kavanaugh confirmation already having an impact on the midterm elections. you heard what jeff just said. let's discuss more. cnn political commentator, former communications director for the republican committee doug hi is here, and former white house press secretary for president clinton joe lockhart is here as well. very important day, and i appreciate you be here with me on this. when it comes to susan collins, doug, what are the pressures on her right now? i wonder what is going to change between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. when she makes her announcement. why the wait? >> i we saw some of the pressures with sunlen in front of her office. there's intense pressure, phone
calls from her state, from the white house, from senate leadership. and so often in politics we talk about this being a game of chess or even three dimensional chess. this is good old fashioned checkers now. republicans trying to make sure she's a yes. democrats trying to make sure they don't lose joe manchin. >> do you -- that's so true. do you assume it can change between her voting yes on the procedural vote and in 3:00 p.m. when she announces? or do you think it's decided she just hasn't announced? >> we don't know. if you look at what john mccain did with the health care vote, he voted yes on the procedural, and very dramatically gave the thumbs down. this whole process has been an ugly one and also about moments. we know at 3:00 p.m., we'll have another moment that we're all going to be watching. >> for manchin or democrats right now, what can democrats do at this point, joe? >> they can't do very much. i mean, they're on the sidelines just like president trump is on the sidelines, because unless they can influence manchin.
you know, everyone has their own political dynamic. take susan collins, knows for a fact that if she votes against kavanaugh, she's going to have a very, very tough race. maine has become a state that's become more purple, more progressive over the years. but if she votes against him, she's going to have a primary. there's just no doubt, because the republicans in maine, the remaining republicans, are very, very conservative. lisa murkowski, the same issue. she would have a lot of trouble given indigenous alaskans, the voting bloc that is important to her. manchin, the same problem. they all have their own individual problems. so i think what you have seen, and we're going to find out exactly once it's all done, is there's been some choreography between them. if you do this -- between the four undecided. they have been talking and if you do this, i will do that. we're going to unravel this at 3:00 this afternoon. when susan collins, susan collins may have decided she's
going all in on kavanaugh and wanted to deit in a dramatic so she could go back home and say i was the vote. or she may, knowing where manchin is and knowing that the vice president will break a tie, come out and say to her progressives and the moderates in her state, i voted against him, knowing that her party already had it in the bag. you know, we don't know for sure, but every indication -- >> you codo the math a bunch of different ways. if manchin is a yes, then collins can be a no. >> exactly. >> pence could break a tie. >> i think the indication that republicans were confident on this and that mcconnell is confident is murkowski's no. the fact that, again, i don't know this for sure, but i imagine at some point -- >> you wouldn't be surprised if he was not surprised. >> at some point in the last 12 hours she was told, you're released. vote your conscience. or vote your political -- >> it makes it a lot less
dramatic when you lay it out that way. speaking of the impact on the midterm election. you have on a very real level, tennessee democratic senate candidate phil brettison is running against marsha blackburn. he comes out with a statement just this morning and says i'm a yes. i would be a yes on brett kavanaugh. trump won tennessee by 26 points. trump won west virginia, manchin's state, by 42 points. this is a real impact already. what does this tell you? >> i was in nashville a few weeks ago, and what i heard so often from republicans was that like brettison, they liked him as a governor, thought he was a good conservative governor, but they were voting for marsha blackburn, these were their words, he was wishy-washy on whether he could say yes or no on something you do as a senator, judge is the number one thing you do. this has held him back. he's put out a long statement
with all kinds of qualphics. every one comes down to you're either yes or no. there's no gray here. >> if you assume kavanaugh gets confirmed, and then you take in addition to jobs report today, 3.7% unemployment, lowest in 49 years, i venture to guess that is not the recipe for success that democrats would have cooked up if they could. 30-plus days out from the midterms. >> i'm not sure i agree, particularly with the first point. >> tell me. >> because democrats, this is going to energize -- it already has energized the democratic base. even if the republican base is nrltogized, there's way more anti-trump sentiment in the country than pro-trump. can you imagine a president with 3.7% unemployment who can barely get above 40% job approval. that means you're either a spectacularly bad politician or you have some character issues. i'll go with number two here on the president. so i think this does not -- is
not a setback for the midterms for democrats. i think kavanaugh getting through probably is a plus. you know, just politically. >> politics is counter, right? you vote when you're angry. you turn out when you're mad. >> i think particularly women, and if you want to look at the house, the races that matter are suburban and urban, where women turning out will make the difference. it's hard to see today and tomorrow as a negative for democrats. it is a negative for the country for a long time, given what's going to happen in the supreme court and the plitatization of it, but in the short term, i don't think it's a negative. >> do you think the impact, the midterm impact can carry on? i mean, the attention span is so short these days of what the driving issue is. it keeps coming back to when you look at polls, health care, and that's not necessarily the headline all the time. do you think though this breaks through and this becomes a driving issue in the midterms for republicans?
>> it can, for the first time republicans are able to be on the offense on something. they have something they use the word anger, republican voters are angry. they're angry at what they see has been an unfair process for judge kavanaugh. so they're reacting to that. that's the first time in two years where you had republicans politically have something they can try to advons on the elections. they have been on the receiving end for a year and a half now. they finally have something. what we don't know, is this a cotton candy sugar high or is this sustainable. that's what we'll find out in the coming weeks. >> all you have to do is go back to the last election. three weeks before the election or so when the "access hollywood" tape came out, and everybody said it's over. and we had two more twists before it was over. >> we had about 17 twists in the last week, in this confirmation. >> we had wikileaks and then the comey letter. so there's a lifetime for voters who are just tuning in now. and you know, it's like you know, i hate to use a football metaphor, but whoever has the football last wins.
>> football metaphors work for you, joe. and if anyone has been paying attention at all this week, it feels like it's been a lifetime just this week. so let us see. thanks so much. we're going to keep our eye there on the senate floor. senator john cornyn there. if brett kavanaugh is confirmed, what kind of justice will he be and how will this contentious, bitter confirmation process, how will it change the supreme court, and does it already change him and how he approaches the cases? we'll be right back.
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it was clear, however, that despite this testimony, even despite this hearing, many republicans had made up their mind as the majority leader characterized it, to plow right through regardless of dr. ford's testimony. we hear so many tributes to dr. ford now from the republican side out of one side of their mouth and then they turn around and say it's a smear. a smear is a lie. i don't believe she was lying. they can't praise her on one hand and call her -- >> democratic senator dick durbin on the senate floor where that very big moment played out a little while ago, as they moved forward to a final vote on the confirmation of supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. and wow, the final vote is very much still indoubt, today's
procedural vote puts brett kavanaugh one step closer to the high court, but if kavanaugh is confirmed, what kind of justice will he be and how will the knockdown, drag-out fight of this process impact him and impact the court? joining me right now to discuss, cnn legal analyst jennifer rogers and cnn supreme court analyst joan viscupik. we move forward if he is confirmed, assuming he is confirmed, do you think he enters the court with an asterisk, with a cloud over his head, or do you think once confirmed it moves forward. >> i think he largely moves forward. i think the public, though, will think less highly of the court. the court as an institution has been damaged. usually their approval ratings are much higher than the congress, but he was so, so partisan last week in the testimony, it shows people that it's not just all about the facts in front of you and the
law. there are partisan bases to some of these decisions and it's been thrust out in the open. >> joan, how do you think chief justice roberts views this and is watching this? he's the chief justice. he remains very quiet, but he's also human and he's been seeing how this plays out. if brett kavanaugh enters the court with an asterisk with the way the public feels, is that a big concern of his? >> two things, kate. two things, and they work in two different directions. the first, as you mentioned, kate, the integrity of the court is very important to the chief justice roberts. even before this confirmation hearing, he had said things about how a very divisive political confirmation process can lead the public to believe that the justice who emerges from that is very political himself or herself. so he has been talking about these concerns for a while. and i am sure this whole ordeal
has really troubled him. but then from a personal point of view, kate, he has known brett kavanaugh since the early 1990s. he has worked with him. i'm sure he has had respect for him, and you know, when brett kavanaugh wrote that "wall street journal" op-ed that said think of me, my whole career. he was speaking to fellow justices, too. and i don't think chief justice john roberts will admonish him in any way on this. i don't think he will speak of it. i think they all will try to close ranks if he's confirmed tomorrow, close ranks and go on with business as usual. >> jennifer, in that "wall street journal" opinion piece that he penned yesterday, brett kavanaugh made the case that he will be an independent justice. take a look, look at my career, and he made some statements about he had gone -- said some
things he probably shouldn't have is what he said. but you don't see a mea culpa or an apology. what do you think it was? >> i don't know exactly what it was. it certainly was not an apology. it was last-ditch effort to say listen, i can be fair. the problem is you have to put that up against this behavior last week in the hearings. anyone who says the democrats are trying to smear me, it's all about the clintons, and by the way, what comes around goes around, says to me that he's going to hold that against democrats when he's on the court. that's essentially what he's saying. that's a real problem, not just for the issues that are partisan to begin with like abortion and the like, but for things like gerrymandering, political drawing of districts, which are actually partisan, the parties in those cases are actually the political parties. >> take a look at any map. you'll see how partisan it is. >> for him to say the democrats did this to me, and by the way, it's coming back at you when he's doing to be hearing those sorts of cases is really troubling. >> and speaking of, as jennifer put it, his behavior in the hearing last week, someone else who took quite -- paid a lot of
attention to it is former justice john paul stevens. joan, i want to play, he was speaking to the palm beach post reporter. and i actually interviewed the reporter last night. i want to play for our viewers what justice stevens had said about brett kavanaugh. listen to this. >> i have changed my views for reasons that have really no relationship to his intellectual ability or his record as a federal judge. he's a fine federal judge. and he should have been confirmed when he was a nominee, but i think his performance during the hearings caused me to change my mind. >> justice stevens thought that the hearings were really the whole ball game. what did you think when you saw justice stevens speaking out, joan?
that immediately last thursday night was at the forefront. people wondering how can someone who appeared like such a partisan warrior set that aside when the time comes. that was a very serious observation by retired justice john paul stevens. i thought he was being very honest and i think the op-ed that brett kavanaugh had written was not just to the crucial senators at the center of this whole dispute, but also to judicial colleagues like retired justice stevens. yes. >> that's a fascinating perspective i have not actually heard in terms of the op-ed. with all that was in mind, i wonder what that means in terms of what a justice kavanaugh will be like on the bench. do you think this experience -- especially how he reacted, it would hard to think this
experience has not impacted him. all be it, he said differentlily. does he dig in on the far right so offended by how he said he believes he was treated by democrats or does he try to prove critics wrong and position himself somehow as a moderate swing vote on the bench? >> i think first of all, kate, he will still be a reliable conservative for the right wing of the court and for president trump. i don't think he is going to change his ideology at all through this ordeal. i bet we see him writing language into his opinions, perhaps giving speeches that sound a little bit more conciliatory and a little bit more of an effort to heal the divisions. everything i know about his background and how he worked with colleagues before is he does not want to be seen exactly as he was seen last thursday.
as a fire brand and a warrior. he wants to be seen as a careful, neutral justice. i don't think you will see him move to the left wing in any way. you will not see him vote the way anthony kennedy voted. he is going to try to write language and give speeches that temper the impression so much of america has of him now. >> we will definitely be reading those opinions when they come down, very closely. we are keeping our eye on the senate floor as they will be moving forward towards a final vote on brett kavanaugh that will be coming up tomorrow. but still, as all of washington waits for what susan collins does next, protesters are gathering in her home state. what is their message to the senator who has so much pressure on her shoulders right now? we will take you there live. your company is constantly evolving.
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all eyes are on the senate as brett kavanaugh's nomination hangs in the balance and it may come down to a single vote. susan collins. she said she will be announcing how she will vote in the final confirmation later this afternoon. the vote expected tomorrow. intense pressure has been mounting outside her office and
back in her home state. what are you hearing from voters? >> as you said here, kate, all eyes are on the senate. as for people here, their eyes are on senator collins. people are watching and waiting for her official announcement expected to come in about three hours or so where she will confirm what she will vote regarding judge kavanaugh. i have seen reaction from this morning's procedural vote. many people have expressed disappointment and they are not surprised by her yes vote, but at the same time they are hopeful she will vote differently for the vote that counts here. it is obviously a high stakes game here regardless of which way she votes. a heavy political price. the question is will she vote yes, pleasing her colleagues in washington or perhaps vote no, pleasing bipartisan support here. in this part of maine, she counts on heavy support from
democrats because of her position on several issues with women's rights and health care as well. kate? >> the pressure is intense and mounting. thank you so much. appreciate it. thank you all so much for jo joining us on this day. dana bash and inside politics starts now. >> thank you so much for joining inside politics. john king is off today. the drama could not be any higher on capitol hill. senators voted to 49 to advance the nomination of brett kavanaugh. that is as slim of a majority and a margin as you can get in the united states senate. the final vote is expected to be held at some point tomorrow. it is not over yet. all eyes are on three senators who