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Key Senators Meet After Ford-Kavanaugh Hearing; Interview with Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii; Committee Vote on Kavanaugh Scheduled for Tomorrow, Floor Vote Saturday. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired September 27, 2018 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:15] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening from Washington, D.C.

It has been a day like few others here, and it's not over yet. News is being made as we speak in the halls of the Senate as lawmakers decide whether and how to move forward with the Supreme Court confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.

For hour after hour today, anywhere you could find a screen across this country, people were riveted to the drama unfolding before the Senate Judiciary Committee, what people saw, what they heard, were two deeply felt accounts of what two people say happened 36 years ago. Christine Blasey Ford telling committee members she was sexually assaulted at a party by Brett Kavanaugh in 1982. Judge Kavanaugh denying it all -- her allegation, and those of two other women -- calling the confirmation process, and I'm quoting here, a national disgrace.

He says his good name has been destroyed over these last few weeks. She says her life was forever altered decades ago by what she says he did to her. At stake in it all is a seat on the highest court in the land.

So, today was a moment for senators to decide what to do about this particular nominee. But it also may be a moment for voters to decide what today means to them.

We're going to talk with a senator who took part in the questioning today and we'll, of course, be bringing you extended moments from both witnesses throughout the hour, starting with this.


CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two, and they're having fun at my expense.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainly do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?

FORD: One hundred percent.

JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: You sowed the wind. For decades to come, I fear that the whole country will reap the whirlwind. The behavior of several of the Democratic members of this committee at my hearing a few weeks ago was an embarrassment, but at least it was just a good old fashioned attempt at borking.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (D-LA), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: None of these allegations are true?


KENNEDY: No doubt in your mind?

KAVANAUGH: Zero. I'm 100 percent certain.

KENNEDY: Not even a scintilla. A hundred percent certain, Senator.

KAVANAUGH: Do you swear to God?

KENNEDY: I swear to God.


COOPER: As I said, we're going to be showing you more of the key moments throughout the hour, there were many of them, but right now, the critical reaction from lawmakers, there's news unfolding in this right this minute.

CNN's Manu Raju is where it's happening.

So talk to me about the meeting between key senators tonight.


Four key senators huddling behind closed doors. Those senators will hold the key in determining whether or not Brett Kavanaugh gets this seat. There were the three Republican senators, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, along with one red state one Democratic senator, Joe Manchin from West Virginia, who faces a difficult reelection this year.

Immediately after the hearing, Flake raced out of the hearing room. He's the one senator who sits on the Judiciary Committee. He refused to answer my questions about his views, saying we're going to talk about it. Well, he went and talked about it with those three other key senators. They sat down. They talked for about 15, 20 minutes about their views on this.

Joe Manchin left that hearing room, emerged and answered reporter's questions, and he said, Anderson, very significantly, people are undecided in that room. They had more questions they want answered. He said there are still concerns in that room.

So at least at the moment, it appears some of those key senators are undecided and will determine whether or not Kavanaugh will get that seat, and those Republicans right now are meeting as a full Senate Republican conference behind closed doors as they mull their next step, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, let's talk about next steps, and when the committee vote might happen.

RAJU: Well, it could happen as soon as tomorrow. Chuck Grassley, the Senate chairman, had already scheduled a Friday hearing. However, you left open the possibility of delaying it, if a majority of the senators were not prepared to move forward.

So, that means that Jeff Flake is perhaps the one senator on the Republican side who may or may not be ready to move forward. The other 10 senators of that committee are pretty dead set about moving to a vote on Friday, beginning the process in the Senate this weekend, and for a confirmation vote on the full Senate floor early next week.

But if there is any resistance from any of those key senators, they could very well delay the process, which is why these private discussions are happening right now, so significant. We'll see what these senators have to say when they emerge. But so far, those key senators, holding their cards very closely to their vest as they assist this testimony today, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Manu Raju, thanks.

President Trump has a private fund-raiser tonight. He weighed in on the testimonies a short time ago.

CNN's Jim Acosta joins us now with that.

What did the president say, Jim?

[20:05:01] JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, not a whole lot of anger management on display up on Capitol Hill. The president showing restraint today was the president. He didn't really weigh in on all of this until late in the day when he issued this tweet. We can show it to you.

He essentially said that he found the testimony from Brett Kavanaugh to be compelling, honest, riveting and said it's time to vote. Vice President Mike Pence put out a similar tweet saying he stands with Brett Kavanaugh and it's now time to call for a vote.

But, Anderson, the tweets that everyone was paying attention to today were issued by Sarah Sanders and Kellyanne Conway at the White House when they were celebrating Lindsey Graham's performance, he sort of out-Kavanaugh Brett Kavanaugh in the anger department when he lashed out at Senate Democrats. That was a moment here -- over here at the White House when they really saw this thing turning.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

A lot to get to. The president was clearly pleased by what he saw from Judge Kavanaugh. Here's a short sample of some of that testimony.


FORD: Approached me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was very inebriated and because I was wearing a one- piece bathing suit underneath my clothing.

Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two, and they're having fun at my expense.

SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: You've never forgotten that laughter, you've never forgotten them laughing at you?

FORD: They were laughing with each other.

LEAHY: And you were the object of the laughter?

FORD: I was, you know, underneath one of them while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time with one another.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?

FORD: One hundred percent.


COOPER: That's obviously Professor Ford. We're going to be showing you the judge, Judge Kavanaugh in just a moment.

But joining us right now is a Democratic member of the committee, Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.

Thanks so much for being with us.

First of all, on Professor Ford, I'm wondering what you made of her testimony, because I know going into this, you had spoken that you believed her.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think there were all the indicators of the truthfulness of what she was telling us, and her testimony was very powerful in its truth. There's no reason for her to lie, and she, as well as the other two people who have made reports about judge Kavanaugh, have all said we want to talk to the FBI.

So I don't think that people who are lying would just go before the FBI and face perjury.

COOPER: Do you believe judge Kavanaugh is lying? Because somebody is not telling the truth here.

HIRONO: I prefer to say that I believe Dr. Ford.

Now, the thing with Judge Kavanaugh is that he really hinged his testimony on -- first of all, he accused the Democrats of some kind of a vast conspiracy to do him in.

COOPER: Including the Clintons.

HIRONO: Yes, why drag them -- why not drag them in it every chance? So -- but he did say that Dr. Ford was not part of that conspiracy,

and he said she very well probably had a special sexual experience, it just wasn't him. And to bolster that, the three people that she named, one of whom was in the room, who refuses to testify, he said the other two said nothing happened. No, that's not what they said. What they said was, we don't know.

COOPER: We're not aware.

HIRONO: We have no recollection.

So, that is -- you know, for a judge, one should know the difference between somebody exonerating him and somebody saying I don't know. And one of whom said that I believe Dr. Ford.

COOPER: His friend or former friend, Mark Judge, who obviously was not testifying today, he kept -- Judge Kavanaugh kept saying he has, under penalty of perjury, given a report, given a statement, but Senator Blumenthal I think was pointed out, it's actually not a statement from him, it's from his attorney.

HIRONO: His attorney. And whatever it is.

But you know, it's conclusive statements when you say -- nothing happened or I didn't do it, or I don't remember is what he said, then that's the kind of statement that should be subject to a lot more questioning. And the thing is, that the Republicans and the president do not want to reopen the FBI investigation. We're all calling for that. And that's not happening.

So, then, Judge Kavanaugh was asked time and again today, he could break this impasse. He kept saying, I'll do whatever the committee wants. He knows full well that the committee, led by the Republicans, has no intention of asking for an FBI report. He knows very well that the president is going to do that either. He can break that impasse. He refuses to do it.

COOPER: He was not -- he at no point would he go on the record saying, yes, I want an FBI investigation.

HIRONO: No. And, in fact, Kamala Harris tried to do that, too. And she concluded, well, the answer must be no.

COOPER: You raised in your questioning with Judge Ford the issue of temperament.

[20:10:01] HIRONO: Yes.

COOPER: Obviously, he came out when he made his opening statement which was quite a lengthy one, I think it was in excess of 40 minutes or so, some people would say it was angry, some people say it was indignant, whatever adjective you want to use. Was your questioning about temperament related to his opening statement?

HIRONO: That too, but also that there are all kinds of evidence as far as I'm concerned, statements from people who have known him over the years, who said he was really a bad drunk and he would get belligerent and very aggressive when drunk, and he denies everything. So, it's really credibility.

And when he says that the three people who are there, two of whom said exonerated him and one that doesn't remember, all of them don't remember, for him to say that he didn't do it, and all of these three people that Dr. Ford mentioned exonerated him, that is not true.

COOPER: I wonder what you make of when Professor Ford was testifying, she was being questioned by prosecutor that the Republicans had picked, when Judge Kavanaugh, he began -- he was questioned by the same prosecutor, but right after Dick Durbin kind of got him to -- was asking him about whether or not he would call for an FBI investigation, he didn't really seem to know how to answer it, Lindsey Graham stepped in, and after that the prosecutor basically disappeared.

HIRONO: The prosecutor was there to ask Dr. Ford the questions, and we know why, because the Republicans on the committee did not want to reveal themselves to the American public. And I don't think that the prosecutor did them any favors either, because she acted as though this is a criminal case, and she was cross examining Dr. Ford.

COOPER: Senator, if you could just hold one moment, I want to go to Manu Raju. I'm just understanding he's gotten some new information -- Manu.

RAJU: Yes, that's right. Two Republican senators just emerged, saying the Republicans are planning to move ahead with this vote as soon as tomorrow. Tomorrow, the plan is to have a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, assuming that they can move forward. They're going to have a first procedural vote on the Senate floor on Saturday. That would set up a final confirmation vote early next week.

Now, this is just discussed in a closed door meeting. Two senators emerge, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Roy Blount of Missouri, who's a member of the Republican leadership. They both just spoke to reporters and made that announcement that the parties prepare to move forward.

Now, the key thing here, Anderson, it's not clear yet whether they have the votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, because a handful of key senators, Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, the Republicans, and on the Democrat side, Joe Manchin, for instance, uncertain what they will do. So, a roll of the dice of sorts by deciding to move forward tomorrow in committee. We'll see if anything changes.

There have been a lot of changes in the last several days and weeks. But for the moment, right now, we expect them to try to move forward in the committee tomorrow and try to see if Kavanaugh can get that lifetime seat by early next week, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. All right. Manu, thanks for that.

Senator, I'm wondering your reaction to that? It seems like there's going to be a vote -- HIRONO: It just totally comports with the rush that the Republicans

have to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, in spite of two other allegations that come forward, credible reports. They have no interest in hearing from anybody else. They want to rush this. They've always been on that track.

And so, I think that this is very much a message to the American people. They should know that people are watching, particularly women, but certainly what I would call the enlightened men. And how we treat women who come forward, which takes great courage, by the way, because sexual assault is still one of the most underreported crimes in the entire country.

They do not come forward -- look at what happened to Dr. Ford. That's why they don't come forward. So, it's a message I would say, not a good one.

COOPER: Do you think if Professor Ford had given a statement with the same amount of anger or indignation, the same amount of, you know, tremor in her voice or tears, that it would be responded to in the same way that it was when Judge Kavanaugh did it?

HIRONO: I think a lot of people responded to her honesty, and she said she was really afraid when she came to testify. This is not what she does.

Meanwhile, you have a judge, that's got the entire array of the president and everyone else coaching him and everything else, speak.

So, she was very effective in her honesty. And as far as Judge Kavanaugh, I have major issues regarding his credibility on a lot of cases that I asked him about. And just as he misrepresented and misstated what the witnesses said, he's also misstated cases, holdings, the issues of the case.

That's why when I asked certain questions during the hearing, I said, how can we have you on the Supreme Court when you can't even cite cases that you misapplied the holdings to the point where his fellow judges call him out on his dissent?

COOPER: The American Bar Association, though, seems to be positive on him.

[20:15:01] HIRONO: That's just one factor. But you know what? Do they read the kind of cases the way we did? I doubt it.

COOPER: Senator, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much.

HIRONO: Thank you.

COOPER: We're going to get perspective now from Kirsten Powers, Jeffrey Toobin, Dana Bash, and Gloria Borger.

Kirsten, I'm wondering what you -- haven't heard really from you. What do you make of it? KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: Well, I think that was a lot. I

think that Professor Ford was very credible and obviously very anxious and frightened about coming forward, so it's clear why she I think took her time to do that.

And I thought that Judge Kavanaugh clearly was trying to appeal to the president in this very bombastic, kind of over the top, angry, raising his voice, interrupting people, really acting like Donald Trump, frankly.

COOPER: Which many Republicans saw as strength.

POWERS: Right. They see it as strength and see it as strength when Donald Trump does it.

I personally don't see it that way. I was sort of alarmed frankly when I look at somebody and think you're going to be on the Supreme Court and this is how you're behaving and it doesn't seem hike this is the temper temperament you want in a Supreme Court justice. And then you add in all the things that he was saying about liberals, and this sort of conspiracy against him, and, you know, what comes -- goes around comes around.

These just aren't the kind of things that you really want a justice to be saying, somebody that you want to think is, at least trying to be impartial. He seems like somebody who has such animus towards Democrats and the left. And, you know, I just don't think -- I don't think that reflects very well on him.

And I'm still having a very hard time following the conspiracy theory where Dr. Ford is telling the truth, and they all believe her, but then there's a conspiracy. Like the conspiracy has to involve her, right? You can't have a conspiracy if she's not involved in it. It doesn't really make any sense.


POWERS: Right.

BORGER: That's what he meant, right?


COOPER: He said she's as much a victim --

POWERS: It doesn't make any sense if you think about it logically, like what does that mean then? I don't understand. Like, the conspiracy is that she made this up and somehow connected with the Democrats. Or is it that she's been used and then she connected with the Democrats? Because she believes that it's him.

COOPER: Jeff, one of the things that was so fascinating today is you had Professor Ford testifying, and you know, people online, people responding were impressed with what they felt was her credibility. There were reports out of the White House and what they were thinking. And then it seemed people were talking about this nomination is in

real jeopardy, it's done. And then when Judge Kavanaugh gave his kind of full frontal opening statement, blistering, it really did change the momentum or certainly the impressions of a lot of people.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: He rallied the Trump troops. He made this into a referendum on politics, that his statement was really almost not about the actual allegation. It was about the conspiracy of the left wing, which --

COOPER: Which most of the Republicans' questions or statements were about that as well.

TOOBIN: I mean, that was one of the amazing things about the Republican questions to him. They were all about the process, and the new villain was Dianne Feinstein, who didn't handle her original allegations the way the Republicans thought she should.

The Republicans didn't even talk about the allegation. They simply took it as a given that he denied it. And the thing that I find just so amazing, you know, important to consider is that the Republicans are going to vote no have two choices. One is that they believe Professor Ford is lying or insane. That's one. Or she's telling the truth and it doesn't matter.

And that's a pretty remarkable thing to think about, when you listen to her testimony, as we all did, and no one really challenged it. I mean, no one really made a strong argument that she's lying. They just don't care and want Brett Kavanaugh confirmed.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a part of Kavanaugh's testimony that wasn't political, but that was more human, saying I did not do this. You have to believe that I didn't do this. And by the way, because I didn't do this, and what you have basically done is ruined, not just tarnish, ruin my reputation, my family. I can't coach my kid's teams anymore.

All of those things were playing to not the base, that was the political part, but those undecided senators. And they really are undecided. The fact that our team up there is reporting that they immediately huddled, we're talking about four senators, three Republicans, Murkowski, Collins, and Flake, and Joe Manchin the Democrat, trying to figure out how they're going to approach this.

[20:20:00] And they listened to both sides, and they're the ones who have to make a decision on exactly what you laid out.

TOOBIN: They had to do --

COOPER: I've got to go to a quick break. Gloria will be the first one when we come back. We'll listen to more testimony as well, including more -- show the judge's tone and talk about that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Our breaking news: the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote tomorrow on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh with a goal of the vote on the floor on Saturday.

Now, we talked quite a bit before the break about Judge Kavanaugh's testimony and how it rallied supporters. So, now, as we talk more about the politics of it, here's another example of some of the testimony.


KAVANAUGH: This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fuelled with a pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that's been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left wing opposition groups.

[20:25:09] This is a circus.

The other night, Ashley and my daughter, Liza, said their prayers. And little Liza, all 10 years old -- said to Ashley, we should pray for the woman. That's a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old.

I like beer. I don't know if you like beer, Senator, or not. What do you like to drink?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next one --

KAVANAUGH: Senator, what do you like to drink?


COOPER: We're extending the conversation. We know your eyes are not deceiving you, we have moved some folks around.

Gloria, I want to start with you. I'm wondering what stood out to you the most today?

BORGER: Well, it was a long day. I think at the end of the day, Anderson, I'm not sure that any minds were changed.

I think, you know, you had him saying 100 percent I swear to God this never happened. People who are inclined to believe him would believe him. I mean, his testimony was emotional, and I thought his opening statement was a lot better than the way he answered questions quite frankly, aside from the talking about this is the vast left wing conspiracy against him involving the Clintons, et cetera.

And I think -- and I think those who are inclined to vote against him are still inclined to vote against him. I think there was -- and then you have the four undecideds, saying they're still undecided, as Dana was saying.

So I think after all of this, because there was no new evidence presented, because we didn't get to hear from his friend, Mark Judge, because there has been no FBI investigation, at the end of it, it was all histrionics and it turned into a bit of circus --


TOOBIN: I don't agree with that. There was new evidence presented. We've never seen her before. No one had seen her before. She goes on --

BORGER: That's true.

TOOBIN: She testifies under oath. This woman --


COOPER: Let's get to Mike. We haven't heard from Mike.

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One did she say different today than what we knew was different?

TOOBIN: We've never seen her before.

SHIELDS: No, we've never -- exactly. So, the only thing that's new is we saw her with our eyes. That was it. She didn't corroborate any evidence.

We saw -- we got a gut check of somebody when we see them talk. That's what's new. There's nothing new in evidence.

BORGER: But well, when you read his statement -- let me --

SHIELDS: Tell me, what's new in evidence?

TOOBIN: A piece of paper is not evidence. Testimony is evidence.

SHIELDS: Watching someone and using your emotion and your gut is evidence?

TOOBIN: Yes, that's why we have trials in court.


TOOBIN: There are actually people giving evidence.

BORGER: So, let me just say, reading her testimony, which we did, it was very different. I will agree with you, than seeing her, OK?

TOOBIN: Of course.

BORGER: Seeing her deliver it, because it was so emotional, and she was so believable, and so credible. But what we did not -- we didn't have any corroboration from the people we need to hear from, which are the -- Mark Judge, who was there, for example.

COOPER: But, Mike, can you also make the flip argument, which is Judge Kavanaugh's emotion and --

SHIELDS: Absolutely. COOPER: That also had an impact?

SHIELDS: It absolutely did. And, look, here's the bigger picture, here's the -- I mean, we're in a poisoned atmosphere. And we talked a lot about base politics in the Republican Party and how they've sort of taken over the party.

We're watching base politics take over the Democratic Party. You cannot be a Democrat in the Senate and not go 100 percent after Judge Kavanaugh unless you want to get primaried. You certainly can't run for president without the pro-choice base of the party, which is now in control, chasing senators out of restaurants, protesting.

The first Kavanaugh hearing was a circus, where you had senators looking like protesters, interrupting over and over again, because they didn't have a woman that they knew would step forward, so, they didn't have anything other than I've got to walk out of this room and talk to my base, pro-choice activists and I've got to poison --


COOPER: I hear what you're saying, but isn't this happening on both sides? Judge Kavanaugh was interrupting some of the questioning, and Lindsey Graham's statement, which I want to play for people who didn't see it, and talk to you about it. Because you can look at that and say he's worried about getting primaried.

SHIELDS: No, I'm saying it's a poisoned atmosphere.

COOPER: Right.

SHIELDS: Both parties now. But up until now, the narrative has been, Republicans really play to their base. We're watching, as Democrats have lost primaries to socialists, as we are seeing the presidential candidates start to emerge, some of whom were in the room today. So, it's well worth talking about, yes, Lindsey Graham may have a primary. There were presidential candidates sitting in the room today, pontificating speaking to their base.

So, now, when a woman comes forward, who is credible, who was believable today, right? But she's now walking into an atmosphere the Democrats have already ruined by how partisan they were from the beginning and any means necessary is passed on him that they have to --


COOPER: Let's play Lindsey Graham, because it did change the tone of it. Let's listen.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy's life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020. You said that, not me! You've got nothing to apologize for. When you see Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello, because I voted for them. I would never do to them what you've done to this guy.

This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn't have done what you did to this guy.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Kirsten, you said (ph)?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I just want to say that if a woman had done that or done what we saw today with Kavanaugh, people would be saying that women are too emotional to be in leadership and I'm not joking.

COOPER: If judge Kavanaugh was as angry or -- and digging in her opening statement as Judge -- excuse me, if --


POWERS: No, no, I mean it really is kind of astonishing to watch these temper tantrums, you know, and then what we're supposed to take this seriously. But I want to get back to what --


POWERS: -- you were saying --


POWERS: -- what you were saying about, you know, what the Democrats are doing. The problem with the way you laid it out is, the Democrats, unless you can explain this conspiracy theory to me, because I'm having a hard time with it. The Democrats did not create Dr. Blasey Ford. They didn't create her accusation, they didn't create her meeting in 2012 with her therapist, they didn't create the conversations she had in 2013 telling a friend that this have happened to her or in 2016 or in 2017.

So I don't know how the Democrats created this. She came forward, made this accusation, and yes, I guess Democrats are inclined to believe her. But how is that making it a poisoned environment? I don't really understand.

SHIELDS: Two things. First of all, she should be heard. Any person who steps forward and says they were sexually assaulted should be heard, no question about it. And I thought she was credible. I actually believe that it's possible for her to have been attacked and for her to believe what she's saying and for him to not have been the person that did it, because was 30 something years ago and for him to be honest, as well. I actually believe that what we saw today, but that's not my point.

POWERS: So she's crazy?

SHIELDS: I'm not saying that.


POWERS: Which she's not, but other than that --

SHIELDS: Let me finish my point you asked me a question, I want to answer your question. My point is, when you poison the well and say by any means necessary do we have to stop this candidate because he's pro-life, we have to stop him by any means necessary, then when you actually bring someone who wants to give evidence, you've poisoned the well.


POWERS: Alito is pro life, Roberts is pro life.

COOPER: Let him finish.

POWERS: But that's not -- Jeffrey is talking about this all day and I agree with him. This is about abortion politics. That was the entire Democratic Party's message has been we have to stop this judge. And there are activists are looking them going, if you don't stop him, there's going to be hell to pay for you.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well feels like even evangelicals are saying to Republicans, if you don't get this through --


SHIELDS: Anderson and I talked about this before. People ask all the time how do evangelicals stand by President Trump considering some of his personal life issue?

BORGER: Right.

SHIELDS: The issue is because he will appoint Judge Kavanaugh.

POWERS: Exactly.

SHIELDS: The same reason why feminists stuck by Bill Clinton, even though he was credibly accused of sexual assault and harassment --

BORGER: They were wrong.

SHIELDS: -- they didn't care, because he was going to appoint Ruth Bader Ginsburg and pro-choice people of the court. That's what this is about. And we need to be intellectually honest and call that --


BORGER: And they were wrong. And they were wrong.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Completes falls equivalence that that -- does Joe Donelly have a primary? Does Heidi Heitkamp have a primary? Does Joe Manchin have a primary? I mean they don't have -- you don't have moderate Democrats being primaried. And, you know, except --


TOOBIN: In a handful of congressional district, but not on these statewide primaries. Not in the statewide races. I mean there is a diversity within the Democratic Party that does not exist within the Republican Party.

SHIELDS: But that is not in evidence in the Senate today, not at all.

POWERS: I want to get back to the question that never gets answered, is how is this the Democrat's fault that she came forward with this and actually was talking about it in 2012 and 2013 and 2016?

SHIELDS: I'll explain it. If because they created an atmosphere where you want her to be believed and she should be listened to, and they created such a partisan atmosphere that we're going to kill this judge no matter what, been people can just turn this off and go I don't believe her. Because it's a part -- they created a poison part as an atmosphere that you cannot have an honest conversation in it.

COOPER: Let's continue this conversation after a short break. We'll also going to hear from the attorney for Deborah Ramirez, the other woman who has come forward in the -- the woman who came forward in "New Yorker" magazine with allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. The attorney's reaction from today's hearing, ahead.


[20:38:01] COOPER: Judge Brett Kavanaugh denies sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford or anyone else. Deborah Ramirez was at Yale with Judge Kavanaugh, she told the "New Yorker" magazine that he expose himself to her at a party. In a moment I will speak with her attorney in a sworn statement, Julie Swetnick said she witness Judge Kavanaugh excessively and alleges he engage in abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward -- toward young woman or girls. Here's an exchange about the three accusers that happened today between Kavanaugh and Senator Dianne Feinstein.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA: And what you're saying if I understand it is that the allegations by Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez, and Ms. Swetnick are wrong?

BRETT KAVANAUGH, JUSTICE NOMINEE: That is -- that is emphatically what I'm saying. Emphatically! The Swetnick thing is a joke! That is a farce.

FEINSTEIN: Would you like to say more about it?


FEINSTEIN: OK. That's it. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


COOPER: Well joining me now is John Clune, attorney for Deborah Ramirez, who was a freshman at the same time that Brett Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University. First of all John, I just want to get your reaction to what you just heard the Judge said?

JOHN CLUNE, DEBORAH RAMIREZ'S ATTORNEY: About denying -- I mean it's not -- no surprise that he's going to deny what has been accused against him. But I don't think we were expecting anything else. Because I'm surprised he didn't want to give any more information about Ms. Swetnick, but --

COOPER: The Judge was repeatedly asked whether he would ask for an FBI investigation. He declined to do so. You obviously answered this question before, is Deborah Ramirez's position still that she wants an FBI investigation into her allegation?

CLUNE: Yes. That's absolutely her position, and it's only been strengthened by watching what happened today and some of the other dealings we've had with the Senate Judiciary Committee staffer. She's not going to do anything like this political theater that we saw going on all day without some sort of an FBI investigation.

COOPER: During his opening statement, the Judge called this process a circus, saying that allegations against him were a political hit. I mean, is there any truth to that? I mean are you -- what is your response to that?

[20:40:11] CLUNE: You know, I mean, I heard you talking about it earlier. I mean if this is some sort of, you know, Democratic conspiracy, it seems like somebody forgot to clue in Debbie Ramirez and probably Christine Ford, as well. I mean you got to remember that Debbie Ramirez was sitting at her office in the county of Boulder when she got a voice mail from a reporter last week for the first time, asking her about something that she hadn't even thought about or talked about in many, many years. So, you know, if this is some sort of, you know, campaign by the Democrats to, you know, railroad this nominee, nobody has told Ms. Ramirez.

COOPER: You know, Chairman Grassley today said that that his staff has tried to secure testimony from your client, from Debbie Ramirez on eight separate occasions and you've not made her available for an interview. We've actually been sent from the -- the Judiciary Committee from the GOP side, the e-mail exchanges and you and I talked about this I think it was last night or two nights ago.

Essentially, the Republicans on the committee were asking you specifics on exactly what your client is alleging, if there's anything else that wasn't in the :New Yorker" piece, and any other details before they would even agree to have a conference call with you. You were insisting on having a conference call before giving any more information. Is that about accurate?

CLUNE: Kind of. I mean -- and we just put that -- those documents out, as well. So if anybody wants to see them, they can read through the e-mails themselves. As you can see initially in the communications, we're looking to figure out how that our client can have, you know, meaningful participation in this process. Everybody wants to set up a phone call, but then suddenly before the phone call, we get an e-mail saying that they need to hear more information about what her evidence is, which not that she's even the investigator, but we said we want to talk about this, what is actually going to happen, what's the process going to be like, and it goes around and around in circles for seven or eight times.

COOPER: What would be the harm in just telling them what the evidence is?

CLUNE: Well, I wonder what they're going to do with the evidence. I wonder what the process is going to be. I mean are they going to take this evidence, you know, they going to tell Judge Kavanaugh what the evidence is? I mean we want an FBI investigation. So the last thing that we want to do is give up our evidence to judge Kavanaugh so he can prepare a defense before the FBI can even question him.

COOPER: And just finally, I mean after what happened today, does your client have any hope that she's going to get to testify anywhere, or that there would be an actually meaningful investigation?

CLUNE: Well, she's not been invited to testify anywhere. I don't know if they've moved the vote any further than where it's currently scheduled, so I don't think she has any hope that there's going to be an investigation, which is really a tragedy.

COOPER: John Clune, appreciate your time. Thank you.

I want to get more reaction now. Joining the conversation also is Symone Sanders. Symone, so committee vote tomorrow. What do you see happening? Is thing -- is this over?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, it's not over. And I think you have senators and folks on the Hill right now saying that, that they're trying to get to a yes, but they're pressing forward again and some sort of bulldoze this thing through. In watching Judge Kavanaugh testify today, one, one it felt as though that Dr. Ford never had her testimony this morning. And hearing how the Republican senators questioned him.

Two, how unhinged he was, how angry, how he was unrestrained. That's not someone that looks like a centrist jurist to me, which is what he had previously testified. And then through the lies -- just kind of lying about very small things that he didn't have to lie about. It was reported in the "Wall Street Journal" and other publications that he watched the testimony. He said during the testimony that he didn't watch Dr. Ford. He lied about what a devil's triangle is. I'm not going to say here on television, I'm saying it's not a pretty game you all. It's a sexual act.

So, he -- and the list goes on. I don't believe him when he says that he, you know, never was a blacked out drunk at someone who -- I mean look, it is just unbelievable. If someone that like to drink a lot as Judge Kavanaugh noted, that he never had a few foggy nights he doesn't remember. The unnecessary small lies is I think were real shocks to his credibility. But what I saw was a display of privilege, what I saw was a man who could not believe that the Senate Judiciary Committee had the audacity to ask him these questions. Have the audacity to hold up, the hearing and the confirmation of adopt to which he think is do.

And I appreciate senator -- Senator Mazie Hirono for reminding him that this is not a -- the Supreme Court justice seat is not a job that is due to him. He has fill on a job interview with is not has that.

COOPER: Mike, Symone says he seem unhinge to her, is that a word you would use and if Professor Ford had given the exact same sort of however you want to characterize it, do you think it would be described in the same way?

SHIELDS: But first of all, on the last thing, there's no question that in the workplace for instance, women and men are not treated the same when they have a temper. That have been there is sexism, that goes on, that is absolutely true.

[20:45:04] I don't believe he was unhinged. I believe that he was angry. I believe that when you're innocent and you're wrongly accused of something, and you believe that you're getting a raw deal, it is absolutely understandable to show some emotion, and to say, this is terrible. This is not true. I didn't do this. He did an interview on Fox News a couple nights ago where he looked like, I'm going to be a Supreme Court justice, I should act like a justice. And everyone panned it. There's no emotion, he was cold and distant. So he said OK, I'm going to do this myself. I'm going to come out and defend myself, I'm going -- and that's exactly -- if I was wrongly accused, you better believe that I would be just as angry.


BORGER: Who's the real Judge Kavanaugh? Is it the person we saw today who seemed to have a little bit of a temperament issue when he was dealing with the senators, I'm not talking about the statement but the dealing (INAUDIBLE). Or is it the person who testified for 17 hours, and was before the -- you know, in Fox News.

SHIELDS: You get put between a rock and a hard place. So you can either not really push back and look more like a justice, or you can actually get put in a place where you're wrongly accused of something and when you defended, people say well now you can't be a justice because you defended himself.


SHIELDS: So he's really get to put it -- look, can I make one other point really quick about this? The liberal tradition of defendant's rights, OK? We have many cases in this country where people are wrongly convicted because the accuser just looks credible, and the jury goes, you know what? This person who is the defendant fit the description of something that I think should be a defendant.


SANDERS: You are talking about black and brown people in this country.

SHIELDS: Yes, yes. That's right, I am.


SANDERS: What happens to black people in this country every damn day in the unjust criminal justice system --


SHIELDS: But I'm agreeing with you Symone. Hang on.

SANDERS: Judge Kavanaugh was the patriarch and white male privilege on display. So I'm just going to leave that --

SHIELS: OK, well then good. Let me say that I agree with you -- I agree with you that this happens. I agree with you that there is racism in our judicial system and that young people are put away just because maybe a white accuser is credible. And there's a tradition on the Democratic side to say we have defendants right, we have due process. Someone is innocent till proven guilty. And just because someone remembers something and is credible doesn't mean you convict them.

TOOBIN: You're making a fake argument. Because this was not a criminal trial. This was a job interview. This was -- this is not a proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard.

SHIELDS: But he was accused of a crime.

TOOBIN: Let me finish. Let me finish. This is a job interview where, for example, you might say, I'm considering hiring you as a baby sitter for my kids.


TOOBIN: There are three credible accusations that you're sexually -- that you engaged in sexual abuse. Are you going to hire that baby sitter?


SHIELDS: Can I argue with that analogy? I'm trying to hire a baby sitter. The baby sitter is accused of things, but then I find out a rival baby sitter that doesn't want me to hire them as the person who's accused them of it. That's the -- you can't compare this to a job interview --


POWERS: You're doing it again. The Democrats are not the ones who made the accusation. These women have made the accusation, and the Republicans keep saying this without any evidence whatsoever. COOPER: I going to break out. I want to quickly go to Chris to see what he's going to be working on for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". I have a feeling I know, but what are you going to be doing Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I'm doing what everybody should be doing right now, I'm listening to you. This is a really good panel discussion your having here, because have an articularly problem on both sides, and we saw it in realtime today my friend.

What Kirsten is talking about right now, look, Ford made herself vulnerable to criticism about being used as a pawn by the Democrats. Part of the questioning went to that, where she found her lawyer and what was paid for, and how. There's a reason that made you lay out those questions. But on the other side, I just got off the phone with somebody who went to college with Brett Kavanaugh. I said it many times this week, so have you? By painting a picture of himself as perfect, he painted himself into a corner. There are a lot of people who have said and now are going to want to say that Brett Kavanaugh is not the person he portrays himself as. Not that he's a rapist. Not that he did what Christine Ford says he did. But that he's not telling the truth about himself.

And remember, as Jeffrey Toobin just said, this isn't about putting him in jail, this is about guilt beyond the reasonable doubt, it's about his character, Anderson. And I think there are going to be a lot more wood to chop before this is over.

COOPER: All right, that's about 10 minutes from now. We'll see you then.

Just ahead, a lot of today's questions and answers centered around the drinking habits of Judge Kavanaugh, something that's likely never happened before during a confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court justice. More on that ahead.


[20:52:36] COOPER: We're talking about a vote now just hours away, on a Supreme Court nominee who spent the day denying a strings series of allegations against him. And underscoring and all something we touched on before the break two very different takeaways that senators may have got today about who Brett Kavanaugh is or he was. But there was his behavior towards woman or the extent of his drinking something he was asked about many times about this afternoon.


KAVANAUGH: I spent much of my time working, working out, lifting weights, playing basketball or hanging out and having some beers with friends. I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. I liked beer. I still like beer.


COOPER: And back with the panel. It was interesting, his focus on beer, I mean, there was no other mention of other kinds of alcohol, which if you're drinking a lot, and you're a kid in high school, I would think in '82 or '83, they would drink whatever they could get.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Look, there was -- there were a lot of questions on his alcohol consumption. But the whole question of whether it is possible that he had so much to drink that he doesn't remember was never really penetrated. We don't really know the answer to that.

TOOBIN: Well he just denied that.

BASH: Well, but --

TOOBIN: I don't think it was raised, he just said no, it didn't happen.

BASH: But how would he know. If he blacked out, how would he know?


BORGER: He said he may have fallen asleep. I think was way put up in his head

BASH: But after the morning hearing, I'm sure you all were hearing from Republicans, I was hearing from Republicans, even and especially those who are friendly with Kavanaugh who like Kavanaugh, who were very, very worried because they found her completely credible. And we're thinking that is probably possibly what happened, that they are both -- they both think that they're telling the truth and in Kavanaugh's case, perhaps it is that it happened and he just doesn't remember it.

And again these are the decisions that these senators are going to have to make based on I understand under oath testimony. So maybe one of them is lying. Either intentionally or unintentionally, but they're just isn't enough information beyond just your gut instinct of who's telling the truth.

BORGER: But something I think there is --

BASH: Which is such an unfortunate thing for this process. I mean I think we have to say that this is not normal. This is the new normal, but it isn't normal. And it's really a shame that nobody was behaving themselves.


[20:55:10] BASH: There were pockets of Democrats being adults by Chris --

COOPER: But at the end of day, I mean it just -- it's not good for the country.

BASH: It's terrible for the country.

BORGER: It was terrible for the country. And the reason there is no FBI investigation I am convinced is because they want this done quickly. And so Diane Feinstein became public enemy number one because she didn't tell them about allegations from this woman who wanted to keep private. But -- and so they started attacking her. The point is have an FBI investigation. Let them do their work. This is the Supreme Court. Postpone the vote by a week. What's the problem? I don't get it.

COOPER: Thank you everybody, appreciate it. The news continues in a moment. More coverage of the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing of course on "CUOMO PRIME TIME".


[21:00:07] CUOMO: Hello everyone, I'm Chris Cuomo.