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Gordon Makes Landfall; Kavanaugh Hearing Resumes; Trump Criticizes Nike; Nadal Wins Match. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 5, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very, very much.

Joe just brought up the Supreme Court nomination process. A contentious and chaotic start to Brett Kavanaugh's process through the Senate Judiciary Committee. What can we expect on day two? A live report ahead.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A child is the first known victim of Tropical Storm Gordon, which made landfall overnight west of the Alabama-Mississippi border. The child was killed and power has been knocked out to tens of thousands of people along the Gulf Coast.

So CNN's Jennifer Gray is live in Gulfport, Mississippi, with more.

What's the situation there, Jennifer?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Alisyn, that child died when a tree fell on the family mobile home in Escambia County, Florida. Thirty thousand people without power. Most of those within the Mobile area.

This storm is still tracking to the north, well north of Hattiesburg now, moving at about 14 miles per hour. Still hanging on as a tropical storm with 40 mile per hour winds. Still a flooding concern all along the Alabama Gulf Coast east of Mobile, as well as parts of the Florida panhandle, places like Gulf Shores, Pensacola still getting some very heavy rain. So there are some flood advisories out there.

[06:35:18] There's also a concern for possible brief tornadoes along the Gulf Coast as this continues to push to the north. There will be a flooding concern inland as well along the Mississippi River Valley and the Midwest as the storm continues to push to the north.


BERMAN: For us in Gulfport, Jennifer, thank you so much.

In just hours, Brett Kavanaugh will be back in the hot seat after a contentious start to the confirmation hearing with sparing lawmakers and jeering protesters.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty live in the hearing room with an update. Sunlen.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, today is likely when the real heat is expected. Brett Kavanaugh will be sitting right here in this seat for at least 12 hours, facing questions directly from the senators for the first time. And if day two is anything like day one, Brett Kavanaugh should be bracing for fireworks.


SERFATY (voice over): Day one of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings immediately turning into a partisan shouting match.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: You're out of order. I'll proceed.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: We cannot possibly move forward, Mr. Chairman, with this hearing.

GRASSLEY: I extend a very warm welcome to Judge Kavanaugh --

HARRIS: We have not been given an opportunity to have a meaningful hearing.

GRASSLEY: To his wife.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: We are rushing through this process in a way that is in unnecessary.

SERFATY: Democrats demanding that the hearing be delayed, insisting they weren't given enough time to review documents provided to them the night before.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: No one could prepare and review 42,000 documents in one evening. We know that, no matter how much coffee you drink.

SERFATY: And lamenting the White House's decision to withhold thousands of documents from Kavanaugh's time as a lawyer for President George W. Bush.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: We have been denied real access to the documents we need to advise and consent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, regular order is called for.

BLUMENTHAL: Which turns this hearing into a charade and a mockery of our norms.

SERFATY: Republicans firing back.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: This is the first confirmation hearing for a Supreme Court justice I've seen basically according to mob rule.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: What it is about is politics. It is about Democratic senators trying to re-litigate the 2016 election.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You had a chance, and you lost. You can't lose the election and pick judges.

SERFATY: Protesters adding to the chaos.

PROTESTERS: Hell, no, Kavanaugh. Hell, no, Kavanaugh.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: You're smart, and you're -- and you're a fundamentally decent, good person.

SERFATY: Objecting to Kavanaugh's policy positions, particularly on women's rights. Capitol Police arresting 70 protesters during the hearing.

HATCH: Mr. Chairman, I think we ought to have this -- this loud mouth removed. I mean we shouldn't have to put up with this kind of stuff.

SERFATY: After hours of opening statements, Kavanaugh finally getting an opportunity to address the committee.

BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: A good judge must be an umpire. A neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy. The Supreme Court must never, never be views as a partisan institution.

SERFATY: But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressing concern about President Trump's repeated attempts to influence the judicial branch.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: This is a president whose shown us consistently that he's contemptuous of the rule of law. And it's that president who's decided you are his man. You're the person he wants on the Supreme Court. You are his person of choice. So are people nervous about this? Are they concerned about it? Of course they are.


SERFATY: And President Trump weighed in on the hearings last night, accusing Democrats of trying to inflict pain, he says, and embarrassment on Kavanaugh.

And certainly despite all these objections from Democrats and what will likely continue to be a very heated week, the reality is, that Democrats know that they can very -- do very little to stand in the way of Kavanaugh's nomination form going forward, Alisyn, as long as Republicans hold the line.

CAMEROTA: And, Sunlen, it is so interesting to see that room there quite behind you and it will be tumultuous in a couple of hours.

Thank you very much for the report.

We're following some breaking news right now, this out of Britain. Authorities there have charged two Russian nationals identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. These are in connection with that nerve agent attack you'll remember on the former Russian spy and his daughter. Sergei Skripal and his daughter were both poisoned in Salisbury, England, in March. They were hospitalized but survived the attempt to kill them.

BERMAN: Football players versus the president. So how are NFL owners responding to this feud. We're going to speak to the author of a new book who spent the last four years inside the NFL, and talked extensively to Tom Brady.


[06:43:52] BERMAN: The NFL is kicks off its new season tomorrow and it's already looking a lot like 2017. President Trump continues targeting players who are protesting social inequality and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.

On Tuesday, the president attacked Nike for using Colin Kaepernick in their new "Just Do It" campaign.

Joining me now is Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for "The New York Times" magazine and author of the new book, "The Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times."

I'm holding a copy of it, which I've read over the last three days and loved every minute of it, not just because Tom Brady is on many of the pages.

Look, I want to talk about Colin Kaepernick and the NFL thing. The president, predictably, although a little bit late to the game, criticizing Nike for using Colin Kaepernick. But then, and what I think is one of more surprising comments I have heard the president make about this whole controversy, he told "The Daily Caller" overnight about Nike, in another way, it is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn't do, but I personally am on a different side of it. Wait a minute there?

MARK LEIBOVICH, AUTHOR, "THE GAME: THE NFL IN DANGEROUS TIMES": That was a bit of a twist in the -- in the plot, right? No, I was surprised to hear that too.

I mean I didn't know if he was talking about it from like a marketing standpoint, because that's obviously the world he knows, or if he was like genuinely sort of defending the rights of people to protest. I thought that was very curious.

[06:45:09] But I do think that, look, I mean this is all -- first of all, part of an elaborate marketing plan to tell the big game and so I was very, very, very excited about that. But -- but -- this is -- it does show that this issue is going to bleed into the season significantly. I mean the NFL doesn't have a real plan on how to deal with this. They don't have an anthem policy. The owners, and, you know, it's a group of people I got to know pretty well, they don't -- I mean they're all over the place. They just don't know how to act here. And Donald Trump is very much in their heads. BERMAN: And you chronicled -- you are there writing about this anthem controversy, as it's called, from this genesis and it's still going on right now. Does the league think it has control of this?

LEIBOVICH: No, because they don't. And I think, you know, they're not stupid. Well, yes, they're not savvy in all ways, but they certainly realize that this is a problem, it's going to keep going. And, look, this was not my plan. My plan was to escape politics, because my day job is politics. And then all of a sudden I go into football and there's politics everywhere. But that seems to be where we are as a country.

BERMAN: I mean politics were literally everywhere when you were writing this because the 2016 campaign ended up being one in the same as the football season, and not just because of the anthem controversy --


BERMAN: But because of the Patriots, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Bob Kraft were all linked to Donald Trump.

LEIBOVICH: Well, this started out as a Patriots book, and I sort of realized --

BERMAN: As all books should.

LEIBOVICH: As all books should, unless you want to alienate about 85 percent of the reading population, in which case you have to broaden it. So, did you hear that everything, it's not just Patriots.

But, no, it did -- I did realize pretty early on that this story was about, you know, the whole league. This is a league that is so prosperous, this moment, so prosperous at the same time. And it's like everything in America. I mean there's -- there incredible success everywhere, but also there's a sense that the chandelier is about to fall and when -- when is this thing just going to end because it's been -- like football has been the great spectacle of American life for many, many years.

BERMAN: And you don't necessarily reach a conclusion on that, because it's hard to tell.

LEIBOVICH: It is hard to tell.

Look, I'm not -- I don't want to be viewed as one of the -- the football doomsayer kind of guy. I mean I love the sport. I think it will survive. But I also think it will survive in spite of a lot of people who run and own the thing. And being inside sort of the owners club, like I was able to get, and I don't quite understand how I was able to do that, you realize, these are not the great titans of industry that you want running like the corporate board of like the second biggest -- third biggest entertainment company in the country.

BERMAN: So it turns out what you're saying is they're not all great guys? LEIBOVICH: They're not all great guys. They're not all very smart

guys. And these are -- like, these are not people you want running -- I mean if you were putting together an all-star corporate board for, let's say, Amazon or FedEx or Bank of America or something, you just wouldn't hand pick really pretty much any of these people except for maybe a tiny handful. And you probably wouldn't pick, you know, Roger Goodell to be your CEO.

So, look, it's a club. They have a way of doing things. And it's very status quo.

BERMAN: And the president wanted to be a member of this club and basically wasn't allowed in.

LEIBOVICH: Yes, for many years. I mean for four decades. And he wanted allowed in. So, as a consolation prize, he gets to sit in the White House and heckle. And they don't really know what to do with him. I mean I -- as part of our reporting, we had like a tape of an owners and players meeting and, you know, was grateful for the person who gave us the time because it was very illustrative. But you do hear owner after owner after owner saying, what do we do to avoid triggers Donald Trump next? And they all know him. A lot of them gave him money. So, it was interesting to hear.

BERMAN: I've got two very quick questions to wrap up here. I have a million for you, because I really did love the book.

Tom Brady, as a Patriots fan, you're sort of conflicted because you can't help but love him, and I think you admit to having a man crush on him, like I do. And one of the reasons you wrote the book is so that you could spend time with Tom Brady.


BERMAN: But when all is said and done, you know, are we the villains here or not?

LEIBOVICH: We being --

BERMAN: Patriots fans. The Patriots.

LEIBOVICH: New England people?

Yes, pretty much. No, I mean, we're not -- what we are is we're spoiled. We're probably a little entitled. I'm certainly guilty. But, look, we -- we -- there's not a team in the NFL that would trade place -- wouldn't trade places with us. So, yes, we're spoiled. And, look, if they want to hate us, that's fine.

BERMAN: The other thing is, you wrote a fascinating column or piece in "The New York Times Magazine" about Paul Ryan a few weeks ago and there was a quote from Paul Ryan that is particularly pertinent today as we're getting excerpts of the new book from Bob Woodward. You said of Paul Ryan, he joins a large group of Trump punitive allies, many of whom worked in the administration, who insist that they have shaped Trump's thinking and behavior in private. Trust me, I've stopped this from being much work. I can look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day and say I avoided that tragedy.

That's what we're hearing in the Woodward book where people are saving that they're the ones saving the country from the president.

LEIBOVICH: You have heard this for months. You've heard it like almost from day one. I thought, you know, that -- that certainly struck, you know, got my attention just by the use of the word tragedy, because that was a pretty key word.

Essentially this book is the same thing. It sounds like a lots of people are saying they're trying. And then, you know, they say it, it gets in the book, then they deny it. I mean we've seen this cycle before. But, look, you do get a sense that there's a lot going on behind the scenes and as we learn more it's -- you know, it can get a little scarier.

BERMAN: All right, Mark Leibovich, the book is "Big Game." It's a terrific read. It's insightful. Every football fans should read it. Everyone who's not even a football fans should read it because it talks and tells us about America as well. So I really appreciate it.

Thanks, Mark.

LEIBOVICH: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: You have made me want to read a sports book. Thank you.

[06:50:00] OK, an epic match at the U.S. Open. The "Bleacher Report," next.


CAMEROTA: All right, if you went to bed before 2:00 a.m. last night, you missed the conclusion of an epic match at the U.S. Open. And if you didn't go to bed, you should go to bed now.

Hines Ward has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Tell us everything, Hines.


This "Bleacher Report" is brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.

Now Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem gave the fans their money's worth last night. The match ended just after 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Just about the same time I got up this morning. But, man, I wish I could have seen the whole thing because this was pretty amazing, Alisyn. The top seeded Nadal dug deep to win the longest match of the tournament. A five setter lasting almost five hours. A heartbreaking loss, though, for Dominic Thiem. You can see afterwards the two hugging it out when it was all over. Nadal said that he kind of felt sorry for Thiem, although I don't think he was buying it too much with the celebration. [06:55:06] And Serena Williams is one step closer to winning her

record-tying 24th grand slam championship. She beat Karolina Pliskova in straight sets last night. And it was a sweet revenge for Serena because Pliskova, while she was the last player that she lost to at the U.S. Open to years ago. Now Serena is heading to the final four.

And Serena's chasing her first major since becoming a mom last year. So I'm cheering her on. I hope she gets it done.

BERMAN: Hines Ward, thanks very much.

You know, Alisyn, do you know what Serena wore during her U.S. Open victory yesterday?

CAMEROTA: Whatever the hell she wanted to.

BERMAN: Whatever the hell she wanted.

CAMEROTA: But, you know what, John, I actually think that it was so hot yesterday, that wasn't the most cooling outfit. One had like long sleeves.


CAMEROTA: But you don't care. Because she just wear --

BERMAN: Yes, she won. And that's what's important. Whatever the hell she wants.

All right, a damning and explosive assessment of the Trump presidency from inside the White House. More on this explosive, new book from Bob Woodward, "Fear." That's next.


[07:00:03] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ayanna Pressley is going to be a good congresswoman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An insurgent energy in the Democratic Party is alive and well here.