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Senate Confirmation Vote Delayed As President Trump Orders New FBI Background Check on Kavanaugh; Interview with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Source: Senate Vote On Kavanaugh No Later Than A Week From Today; Independent Women Voters Speak Out. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired September 28, 2018 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:17] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

What seemed this morning to be a foregone conclusion is now anyone's guess. That's how drastically the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation story has changed from sun up to sunset and the news is still breaking at this hours.

This morning, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee looked ready to move quickly on the nomination. No delay, they said. No FBI investigation. Yesterday's hearings were enough, they said.

They'd given Christine Blasey Ford a chance to be heard, they said. Time now to vote.

And the one Republican on the committee who was thought to be undecided, Jeff Flake, said he would vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. That news hit at about 9:25 or 9:26 a.m. Then at 9:31, leaving his office on his way to the committee vote, this happened.

Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have two children. I cannot imagine that for the next 50 years, they will have to have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl. What are you doing, sir?


COOPER: Well, she was one of two women who confronted Senator Flake on live television in a capitol elevator about their experiences as survivors of sexual assault. She joins us momentarily, and we're going to show you more of that confrontation.

Not long after that occurred by the elevator, things began to shift. Senator Flake was seen huddling with Democratic committee member Chris Coons of Delaware. Then the committee vote was delayed. Senator flake and other lawmakers were then seen walking in and out of the hearing room talking, negotiating, and then everything changed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I can only say that I would be only comfortable moving forward on the floor -- I'll move it out of committee, but I will only be comfortable moving on the floor until the FBI has done more investigation than they have already. It may not take them a week. I understand that some of these witnesses may not want to discuss anything further. But I think we owe them due diligence.


COOPER: And so, there it was. Republican Senator Jeff Flake suddenly calling for the FBI to investigate more. His call followed then by Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski and red-state Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, then Republican Susan Collins of Maine, all suddenly calling for an FBI probe.

By day's end, it was a done deal. A week-long background check on Judge Kavanaugh, limited in scope, and starting today. And our breaking news, a source telling us that the president is blaming Senator Flake and Democrats for the delay.

So was that elevator confrontation instrumental in senator flake's surprising decision? He was asked about it. Here's what he said.


REPORTER: Did the protesters that you encountered play a role at all?

FLAKE: I think everything that I've seen and viewed and experienced in the last couple of weeks has had an impact. But -- so it's been everything.


COOPER: Everything, he says, which today included pressure from constituents, some of whom crowded offices and jammed phone lines. There were also obviously political considerations as well as practical, moral ones. Whatever the case, what is clear tonight is how drastically things appear to have changed in the space of a day or, in President Trump's case, since he said this on Wednesday about Democrats in the process.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're actually con artists because they now how quality this man is, and they've destroyed a man's reputation. And they want to destroy it even more. And I think people are going to see that in the midterms.

What they've done to this family, what they've done to these children, these beautiful children of his and what they've done to his wife. And they know it's a big, fat con job.


COOPER: So that was Wednesday. Now, last week the president rejected any idea that he would request

the FBI reopen their background investigation of judge Kavanaugh.

And even as recently as last evening, as the testimony ended, the president was still rhetorically all in on Kavanaugh, tweeting, Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats' search and destroy strategy is disgraceful, and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote.

Now, listen, to the president's tone this afternoon with the president of Chile talking about the very same hearing. He called Professor Ford a very fine woman, and went on to say this of Judge Kavanaugh's testimony and Professor Ford.


TRUMP: It was incredible. It was an incredible moment, I think, in the history of our country. But certainly she was a very credible witness. She was very good in many respects, and I think that -- I don't know if this is going to continue onward or are we going to get a vote. But, again, I'm here, so I'm not out there watching because I can't be.

I have great respect, although maybe we'll go watch together, OK? We'll watch together. But I think it will work out very well for the country.

[20:05:00] I just want it to work out well for the country. If that happens, I'm happy.


COOPER: So the president went from con job to credible witness, and I just want it to work out well for the country.

Now, the president wasn't the only one with a seemingly new approach. Here's Lindsey Graham yesterday attacking committee Democrats over the notion of an FBI probe.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), 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've said that, not me.

You've got nothing to apologize for. When you see Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them 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've done to this guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, this morning before Senator Flake's flip, Senator Graham said this.


GRAHAM: Since the allegation came forward, it's been a complete twilight zone moment. At the end of the day, she couldn't tell us how she got there or got home.

Women need to be heard. There needs to be a process to protect anybody accused of a crime. And this madness needs to stop.


COOPER: Then soon after that, right after Senator Flake's announcement, the madness as Senator Graham called it turned to some mutual understanding.


GRAHAM: Last time I looked, you need 50 votes.

REPORTER: But right now we don't know if anybody else will join up.

GRAHAM: All I can say is right now. What Jeff is saying makes sense to me.

REPORTER: Do you think that Murkowski --

GRAHAM: I don't know. I'm not speaking for Mitch. I'm going to talk with Jeff. Somebody's got to explain this to Trump, so I guess that will be my job.




REPORTER: If it's going to take --

GRAHAM: If I'm nothing, I'm practical.


COOPER: So whether it was Jeff Flake's change or pressure or change of heart or the simple arithmetic of vote counting or something as yet unexplained, one by one GOP lawmakers began embracing the prospect of what the White House is now calling a supplemental investigation of Judge Kavanaugh.

Committee member Orrin Hatch said he had no problem with it. Ted Cruz got onboard. Whatever was in the air today in Washington, the atmosphere changed, and so has the story.

Because of what happened between Senator Flake on that elevator is one of those rare instances when a story's emotional center of gravity seemed to shift right before our eyes, I want to show you more of the moment. The first bottom you'll here is Ana Maria Archilla. I'm going to speak with her in just a moment.

You'll also here from Rhea Gallagher. Ms. Archilla is the co-director of a left leaning advocacy group called the Center for Popular Democracy. Ms. Gallagher is a recent college graduate. They were among a larger group of protesters who had been outside Senator Flake's office.


ANA MARIA ARCHILA, CONFRONTED SEN. FLAKE: What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit on the Supreme Court. This is not tolerable. You have children in your family. Think about them.

I have two children. I cannot imagine that for the next 50 years, they will have to have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl. What are you doing, sir?

RHEA GALLAGHER: I was sexually assaulted, and nobody believed me! I didn't tell anyone, and you're telling all women that they don't matter. Look at me when I'm talking to you. You're telling me that my assault doesn't matter, that what happened to me doesn't matter and that you're going to let people who do these things into power.

That's what you're telling me when you vote for him. Don't look away from me. Look at me and tell me that it doesn't matter what happened to me.


COOPER: Ana Maria Archila joins us now.

Thanks so much for being with us.

I'm wondering when you made the decision to confront Senator Flake. At that point, were you aware of his intention to confirm Judge Kavanaugh?

ARCHILA: I've been coming to the capitol for the last seven weeks to protest the nomination of judge Kavanaugh because I believe he's dangerous for our country. He's dangerous for the rights of women to choose what we do with our bodies, dangerous to our health care. And a few days ago, I stood in front of his office and told for the first time my own story of sexual violence when I was a child, as a 5-year- old. And it was an incredibly painful moment.

I did it because I felt like the country needs to hear these stories. I did it in solidarity with Dr. Ford, and I did it to protect my children. And today, I went back to his office, you know, around 8:30 in the morning with Maria, who I had just met, in the hopes that maybe we could talk to him.

Right before we saw him, we saw the announcement from his office that he was getting ready to vote for Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

[20:10:04] So both of us were just enraged, and all the emotions that we have been holding for the last several weeks came out pouring. My demand of him to think of his children and think of my children, her demand of him to listen to her story and tell her whether her story matters and whether he's okay putting someone that has violated women in the Supreme Court.

COOPER: When you were in that moment, I mean did you know what you wanted to say? Had you thought about it beforehand? I'm wondering what you saw of the reaction from Senator Flake. It's one thing for us to see it on television. You're looking at him, trying to look at him in the eye.

ARCHILA: I mean honestly, I had literally just read the headlines of his statement, and I -- we saw him running to the elevator, and we ran behind him. It was a very kind of intense moment of really wanting to talk to him. I was not really prepared even for my own emotions, but I felt like he really needed to hear.

Like he needed to understand that women feel incredibly enraged about the thought of our stories, of our experiences of surviving sexual violence being dismissed, laughed at, disbelieved. And I think we -- I just felt a great sense of urgency. I think I saw in his face that he could not escape the emotion.

COOPER: You felt like he was listening to you. Did you feel like he wanted to kind of hope the elevator doors closed? Did you think he wanted to stay longer? What was your impression?

ARCHILA: No, no, no. He wanted those elevator doors to close and that conversation to end. And I wanted of him to really stay there and be present and think of the people he loves, think of his children, and I wanted him to be a hero, to show up for his children, for my children, for myself, for Maria, for the women that have been telling our stories, and to vote with his conscience. And I wanted him to -- I had gone to his office because I thought he might -- he might be willing to take a step that was beyond, you know, kind of the desire of his party.

And I think he was moved but not just by our story. He actually was moved by the stories and the actions of women and people that have been coming to D.C. for weeks. People from the women's march, people from organizations like Ultraviolet, and other -- and people who have just shown up. I think that he has an opportunity to show the kind of leadership that we all deserve, to really think of what justice is.

Justice -- the way that justice works is that we recognize harm. We take responsibility for that harm. And only then we begin to repair it.


ARCHILA: And I don't think Brett Kavanaugh is able to take responsibility for his actions. Therefore, he should not have the power to take responsibility for the actions of the country. COOPER: When you learned that he was calling for an FBI investigation

as a condition for his vote, what went through your mind? I mean did you feel a sense of victory? Did you feel like what you said -- I know he said it was a lot of things, and you probably said it was as well. Do you feel like what you did make a difference?

ARCHILA: I think if it had been just one story, my story and Maria's story, it would not have made a difference. I think it was thousands of people, thousands of story, and Dr. Ford herself. And I felt a sense of relief and a sense of possibility. I was reminded that it is through kind of us standing for ourselves, for our lives, for the lives of others that we make change in this country.

And I think that he has an opportunity to show that he appreciates the efforts and the courage of people who are stepping up and to stand up and be a hero. I think Susan Collins from Maine has the same opportunity. Senator Murkowski from Alaska has the same opportunity. And I hope they take these moments seriously and think about the next 50 years.

COOPER: Ana, thank you very much for talking with us. Ana Maria Archila, appreciate it.

ARCHILA: Thank you.

COOPER: More now on all of this, how it might work, including some still outstanding questions that could be very important. Our chief political correspondent Dana Bash, so does CNN senior political analyst David Gergen and CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Dana, what do we know about the scope of the investigation? Will the other allegations onto Professor Ford's be investigated, and who decides? Is it the FBI, the White House?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I've been doing some reporting on that this evening along with Ariane de Vogue.

And here's what I can tell you. First, in the Senate Judiciary statement released earlier today, it says that the FBI should investigate current credible allegations and that that was a term that was specifically asked for and negotiated by the three Republican senators that you have been talking about, the key votes -- Senator Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Murkowski.

[20:15:11] That as part of this limited scope in time, they also wanted to limit the scope of the allegations. So it certainly is focused on Professor Ford and the allegations there, but not limited to that. And I think some of that is going to be at the discretion of the FBI. But the point is, at least according to the private discussions, if somebody comes out tomorrow or the next day, it will be not within the scope of the FBI's current mandate.

COOPER: You know, it's interesting, Dana, I was thinking about this earlier. I was actually in the freshman class at Yale with Christopher Wray, who is now the FBI director. He and I were friends. We were on the same team. And so, we were just, I think, two or three years behind Brett

Kavanaugh. I certainly didn't know Brett Kavanaugh then. I don't know if Christopher Wray did.

But it's interesting that you now have an FBI director who was at the same university around, you know, the same time. Again, I have no idea if they ever actually met.

BASH: And just to sort of add to that, Senator Chris Coons, who today had that private conversation, the pivotal conversation with Jeff Flake behind the dais in the Judiciary Committee was also at Yale around the same time.

COOPER: I did not know that. I'm wondering what you're hearing, Dana, from Republican sources tonight. How are they feeling about this FBI investigation? Did they have a choice?



BASH: No choice. Anxious, frustrated, exasperated. I think those are probably just the beginning of the adjectives to use to describe the Republican leadership and, of course, the White House has well.

Mitch McConnell did not want to do this. He had absolutely no choice because he didn't have the votes, plain and simple. He made clear behind closed doors in this meeting this afternoon when this deal was struck to these Republican senators that what you are going to do here, what you are demanding here will not, in his view, be satisfying to you because he said, you're not going to get the answers that you're looking for.

But from the perspective of these Republican senators, they did not feel good enough to get to yes without having this investigation, and it's as simple as that.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Can I ask Dana a question? Dana, one thing I don't understand about this, and I've seen conflicting stories. Does this mean that the FBI investigation ends a week from today, or there is a vote on Kavanaugh a week from today?

BASH: I asked that very question just before coming on. What I was told by a senior leadership source is that the agreement was -- it's a gentleman's agreement. There are no votes or anything is -- and a woman agreement -- is that they agree that the vote will happen no later than a week from today.


BASH: So if the FBI investigation is done earlier, then there could be a vote earlier, but no later than a week from today. That's what they agreed to.

COOPER: Jeff, you had some tough words for Senator Flake this morning before the deal. I'm wondering what you make -- TOOBIN: All week I had tough words for Jeff Flake.

COOPER: Not a profile in courage I believe was --

TOOBIN: And time for me to eat crow. I was wrong. Jeff Flake changed history.

I mean -- and it was him. It was him alone who did this. It wasn't Murkowski. It wasn't Collins.

And, you know, I was critical of him for big talk, little action. Brett Kavanaugh may yet well -- may be confirmed.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: But if it wasn't for what Flake did today, he would be confirmed tomorrow. And as Dana was just saying, it will be Friday if it's at all.

And I just think, you know, it is rare when individual senators step up like this and individually change history, and that's what he did. You know, hats off to him.

COOPER: David, if the week-long clock runs out and the FBI isn't done investigating, Dana says, you know, the agreement is there will be a vote. Do you think that would happen, or do you think they would try to continue the FBI investigation longer?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No. I think they'll shut it down after a week. They're pretty rigid about that, I'm sure.

But I want to say Republican leaders who are unhappy tonight one day will thank Jeff Flake. He pulled them, along with Chris Coons, pulled them back from the brink of what would be -- what would have become the most divisive vote in contemporary history. Taking an extra week to look at this, satisfying the Democratic demands to get closer to the bottom of this really changes the dynamics and makes it easier.

If there's nothing there, it also makes it easier on Judge Kavanaugh -- to vote on Judge Kavanaugh and send him to the court for those who are disposed to do that. But the real credit here belongs to Dr. Ford and to all the American women who are speaking up. The coming week is going to be featuring not just this investigation but hearing from the voice of the people. And that voice changed Jeff Flake's mind.

[20:20:01] It's going to have an enormous impact in the days ahead.

TOOBIN: But what if they vote to confirm him, and all these women said, oh, the hell with you.

GERGEN: It may well happen that way. But, listen, it was incredibly important not to totally ram this thing through. The Republicans were about to do one of the worst things you can do in American politics, and that is be completely dismissive of millions and millions of voters and have -- and at least opening the door. And I think Flake deserves a lot of credit for that. But had it not been for those women in that elevator today, would we be here tonight? I don't think so.

COOPER: And as you said, Professor Ford certainly. David Gergen, Dana Bash, Jeff Toobin, thank you.

Coming up next, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's take on the hearings and today's stunning developments.


[20:25:00] COOPER: Well, the breaking news tonight, President Trump may be going along with it, but a source tells us he is blaming Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake and Democrats for delaying the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.

Earlier tonight, I spoke about this day with New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.


COOPER: Senator, from the way the day started, would you have ever expected it would end with an FBI investigation into these allegations?

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: Well, you know, interestingly I'm not surprised because I think what Dr. Blasey Ford accomplished yesterday was really important. She told her truth, and she had so much courage and so much determination and was so honest. I mean you could just see it coming out of her, the honesty and integrity of her testimony. And I think it inspired a lot of people.

And for a lot of women, it was the moment when they were being represented too. She stood for all of us. She stood for millions of women all across this country who have suffered through trauma and then perhaps not listened to and not believed. And she spoke for all of us.

So, I'm not surprised at the power of the #MeToo moment is that affecting, the fact that senators listened, and some of them listened to them to the degree that they actually now want an FBI investigation.

COOPER: What -- I mean, the change in tone, though, from, you know, the end of yesterday to today, not only from the president of the United States but also Republicans on the committee, Senator Lindsey Graham -- I mean, you talked about Professor Ford's testimony. Do you think it was just that? Because certainly after Judge Kavanaugh testified, Republicans were very much behind what he had to say.

How much of it was Dr. Ford's actual testimony? How much was perhaps response from women and others today that people calling in to Senate offices, e-mailing, and the like?

GILLIBRAND: I think it's both actually. I think Dr. Ford's testimony was so profound and so inspiring. I think that she showed such courage that people really see her as a hero.

Even this morning, you know, when I was bringing my son to school, a teacher came up to me in tears, tears because she was so worried, like where is our country going? And what's interesting about this #MeToo moment is that women are taking that fear, taking that anger, and they are speaking out. They are speaking their own truths and fighting back.

And I think it did result, as you said, in millions of women speaking out, calling their members of Congress, calling their senators to be heard.

COOPER: It is -- I mean, Kirsten Powers and others on our air last night were saying, you know, if Professor Ford had come out and, you know, cried in the way that judge Kavanaugh did and yelled and raised her voice in the way that he did and not answered questions, that the Republicans on the committee at the very least and many people maybe watching at home would have viewed her very differently. It's a double standard essentially.

Do you believe that?

GILLIBRAND: Yes, I do. I think what you saw in Dr. Ford was an inspiring testimony from the heart. I cried during her testimony. It emotionally moved me. I couldn't even see her face.

But every word out of her mouth was -- you could see it was painful. It was obvious that she was speaking the truth, that it was coming from her heart, that it was painful, and that she suffered because of how Judge Kavanaugh treated her in high school.

And so, there was a huge difference between the way she came to the committee hearing as wanting to be helpful, wanting to be forthright. There was a righteousness behind her words. I did not see any of that out of Judge Kavanaugh. There was a huge difference.

And it's one of the things that this moment is about. This is a larger moment about this -- the fact that there's so much institutional power that these very powerful men have, and then they do not want to let that go.

And I think that's why women are not taking this laying down. They are standing up. They are speaking out. They are speaking their own truths. They are wanting to be heard, and they're not going to let this moment pass without being heard.

COOPER: Just finally, I mean, you talked about the teacher at your child's school wondering about where the country is going. A lot of people were asking what message yesterday's event sent to survivors of sexual assault. I'm wondering what message you think today's events sends to them.

GILLIBRAND: So, last night, I was depleted. I was gutted. There was a fear that the country hadn't gotten better and that nothing has changed, that those in power are refusing to meet this moment with integrity and honesty. And I felt that way. I felt like I can't believe we are where we were in 1991, and that's

what the tears of the teacher were about, that is anyone going to stop this train wreck from happening? And I just looked at her, and I said, we are not going to give up. We are going to keep fighting.

And a think a lot of women woke up this morning and said, this is not over. Our voices do matter. Our stories do matter, and we are going to take the courage of Dr. Blasey ford and project it because she spoke for all of us. And I think that is the larger moment.

So today is the day of hope that it is not over and that we are going to keep speaking out and demand for from these male powerful elected leaders, particularly of the Republican Party, who are unwilling to realize that women's voices do matter.

COOPER: Senator Gillibrand, I appreciate your time. Thank you.


We're going to dig deeper on the political fallout from all of this. Van Jones, Rick Santorum, and Kirsten Powers join us ahead.


COOPER: So the vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now set for no later than a week from today. That's what our Dana Bash just reported. The FBI has that long to investigate. We're told it's limited in scope as well as time. And as that's going on, the impact of this story is registering on voters.

Joining us now is Van Jones, host of the (INAUDIBLE) "VAN JONES SHOW: here on CNN. Also CNN senior political commentator and former Republican presidential candidate and senator, Rick Santorum and CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers.

Kirsten, does this FBI investigation alleviate some of the concerns that you had last night about this process?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Yes, but. So I think that I'm very happy to hear that they're going to be doing an FBI investigation. I would like it a lot better if they had asked the FBI or would ask the FBI how much time they need to do this investigation. Just saying we're going to do this and put an arbitrary time limit on it, I don't think makes me feel like this is a completely serious investigation. It could be a shorter investigation than this. I don't really know. But I'd like to hear from the FBI how much time they need, and then they should be given the time that they need to do a thorough investigation.

COOPER: Van, I mean we also don't really know how many FBI agents would be tasked with this, how big a scope they have, who they plan on talking to.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, this all sounds really good, you know. Oh, well, we'll just give them a week and then we're going to go vote. We don't know what's going to happen. And if you think that you saw a big change based on powerful testimony on one day, wait until these FBI agents come back with whatever they find.

[20:35:10] That there could be a vote on Tuesday, or there could never be a vote at all. So everybody can go to bed tonight and feel like this thing is all wrapped up and tidy. This thing just got blown completely wide open. We have no idea what's going to happen. And that's appropriate when you have these kinds of charges. The FBI is going to start doing its job. And those senators are going to look down the same barrel again, and somebody's going to blink again if, in fact, there's a need for an extension of this investigation.

COOPER: Senator Santorum, yesterday Judge Kavanaugh, you know, in his testimony were saying, look, the FBI is not going to come to any conclusions. They're going to submit 302s. They're going to do interviews and just submit them. How do you see this -- what has changed? How do you see this FBI investigation?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I disagree with some of what's been said. I mean I think this investigation will be thorough. What I've been told, it's beginning already. It's going to be very, very aggressive. I think there's going to be a lot of people who are going to be contacted. When they say it's limited, I really don't see how it could be limited to be honest with you. I mean they're going to go out and talk to people that were his classmates at Yale and classmates and other folks that he knew at Georgetown Prep and in the Washington, D.C. area, and they're going to ask him about the things that actually pertain to all three allegations that are out there.

They're going to ask him about his drinking. They're going to ask him about his -- you know, his overall demeanor and things that -- you know, his sexual, you know, relationships with others. I mean they're going to dig in. Even if it's just, quote, limited to the one charge, it's not limited because that, you know, the same types of things that are being discussed elsewhere. So, no, I really don't see this as a limited -- limited to, yes -- I mean they're not going to go out there and pursue whether he committed academic fraud or something like that. They're going to look at the charges that are before them, and it's going to be, I think, rather exhaustive.

And I don't think it -- frankly I don't think it will take seven days. I mean it's a fairly limited universe of people here. Everybody is sort of on alert. I mean nobody -- anybody watching the news knows you're going to be in contact with the FBI, be available to them. So I actually think this will go relatively quickly.

COOPER: Kirsten, do you think when you saw Senator Flake making this announcement, I mean obviously it seems like everyone was pretty much surprised. Certainly people who weren't in that room. Do you think the Republicans had any other choice but to go along with him?

POWERS: No. I think -- well, because he's not just speaking for himself. He's speaking for other senators who have questions about this and who aren't going to vote without this FBI investigation. So the Republicans had to go along with it. And, you know, Rick may be right. This may take less time. It may only take seven days. My point is merely you just need to ask the FBI what they need. Coming up with this arbitrary seven-day, you know, thing is a political move. It's not something -- it's not a let's just give the FBI the time that they need.

And so I'd rather hear from the FBI about what they need and give them what they need. That's just the way I think this should be conducted.

COOPER: Van, we don't know also who -- whatever they submit, if the public will ever see what they submit.

JONES: There's a lot of questions, but I think one thing got answered this week. There are two superpowers in American politics. One is Donald Trump, and the other, the voice of women. And they have been in this back and forth from the time he came down the escalator and said, you know, I'd grab them by the whatever, and that whole year of him being more and more insulting toward women, women have been trying to fight back.

And today was the first time you saw a break in the power of Donald Trump, in the face of women's voices. One woman testified, and other women were -- I mean that capitol was full of people, full of people. It wasn't just that elevator. And the power of women's voices broke the power of Donald Trump to control this process, and I think that power is only going to grow.

COOPER: Senator, do you agree with Van's kind of assessment that it's the power of women on this?

SANTORUM: I don't think any question that Dr. Ford gave very compelling testimony, that, you know, raised a lot of concerns in people. Obviously Senator Collins, Senator Murkowski, but I think others. Look, I actually think this has actually worked out very well for Republicans. I know that people say, oh, you know, McConnell is upset and -- I can tell you, as someone who sat in that caucus and was a solid -- would have been a solid vote for Judge Kavanaugh, I actually feel pretty good that we're doing this investigation because I think it just serves Judge Kavanaugh better.

I mean to have this cloud of looking like his nomination got pushed through by a bunch of folks who at least it's been alleged don't want to hear the truth, I don't think that's true. I think the committee did actually have very good investigation here. But, again, the idea that it's been put up and I think accepted by a broad number of people that we need an FBI investigation in spite of what Joe Biden said years ago and what other people have said and what Judge Kavanaugh and others have said about these are not dispositive investigations as to looking for, you know, any kind of criminality or any kind of conclusions. The reality is the perception is out there, and it's not good for Judge Kavanaugh.

COOPER: But --

[20:40:13] SANTORUM: And so I'm -- I'm actually hopeful that this is done, it's done well, that it is made available to people to show that it was done well. And then we can move on.

COOPER: Senator though, if it's good for Judge Kavanaugh, how come Judge Kavanaugh refused to actually say he would like an FBI investigation?

POWERS: Exactly.

COOPER: And it was Professor Ford saying she would like an FBI?

SANTORUM: Again, as someone who was in the Republican leadership and actually has dealt with these types of things, when Democrats are demanding -- in fact, Democrats who are never going to vote for anything you want are demanding something, you don't say yes. Why? Because your job is to move this process through and get the votes you need to be able to win. And it's only when people who are important for your vote who want something, you have to have -- if you gave this to the Democrats, then there would be the next thing you'd have to give, which may or may not be a good idea.

So this is all part of the process, and it's ugly, and its sausage, and I know people don't like it.

POWERS: What about finding the truth?

SANTORUM: That's part of that process.

COOPER: Right. I mean -- Kirsten waiting for a Judge --

SANTORUM: Getting to the truth is important, but getting this process done is also important.

COOPER: Right, but the Judge, shouldn't it be about the truth as opposed to making sure he gets --

SANTORUM: He's not in control of the process. That's not his job.

POWERS: But the point is I mean now you're saying this is so great, FBI investigation, blah blah blah. OK. Let's go back.

SANTORUM: I'm saying it's a good thing for the Judge.

POWERS: Let's go back to what actually everyone has been saying up until this minute on the Republican side, which is the FBI doesn't even do these kind of investigations. You know, this is what we've been hearing. This is what we heard from the President. And of course now they are doing this investigation, which just shows that what was being said wasn't true. Wait, let me finish. Let me finish.

SANTORUM: You didn't hear my point.

POWERS: Let me finish.


POWERS: And that we knew they did it because they did it with Clarence Thomas. And so -- and everyone was saying, we don't need the FBI investigation, and now it's like, oh, the FBI investigation is going to be great. I think that the truth is the most important thing. It's not just getting somebody on the court. And I have said all along that I think it's better for Brett Kavanaugh that when you have this hanging over you, you should want the other person who is allegedly in the room and other people who could exonerate you to be questioned by the FBI.

COOPER: I got to get a break in. Kirsten Powers, Senator Santorum, Van Jones, thank you very much.

It was incredibly dramatic to watch what was going on in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, but what it like to be in the room when it happened. Judiciary Committee member Senator Richard Blumenthal joins me next.


[20:46:26] COOPER: A day full of drama on Capitol Hill. The fate of Brett Kavanaugh still very much up in the air after today's sudden about face by Senator Jeff Flake. And the President who has now ordered the FBI to conduct an investigation into allegations against Kavanaugh something he had previously refuse to do and said the FBI wasn't interested in, didn't want to do.

Joining me now is Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Senator Blumenthal, just -- I mean watching everything play out during the hearing today, can you just describe what it was like in the room at the time? I mean were you aware of exactly what was going on?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, there were a swirl of conversations, some involving five or eight members of the committee, bipartisan, with Senator Flake, and between others of us. And at some point we went back into the hearing room. And Senator Flake made a statement indicating that he would request a delay in the vote by one week.

COOPER: Right.

BLUMENTHAL: Implying he would vote against the nomination if that request were not granted. And of course he had the backing of other key votes, which we knew. And so the chairman acceded to his authority, and there was almost a sigh of relief because we were heading for a confrontation that really could have enhanced and entrenched the kind of partisan divide that was so bitter and deep in the 24 hours before then.

COOPER: This FBI investigation, it's going to be limited in scope to, quote, current credible allegations, and we just got some reporting that said it will focus on the allegations brought by Christine Blasey Ford but will also focus on Mark Judge as a possible witness. Is that your understanding as well? I mean there are two other women who have come forward. Are they going to be interviewed, Deborah Ramirez? Do you know how many agents are going to be involved in this?

BLUMENTHAL: The reference is to current credible allegations. In my view, the allegations made by Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick are very credible. They certainly are current, and they have to be investigated as well because they're part of a pattern, an M.O., and the Mark Judge subpoena, which I moved, my motion to subpoena him as a witness to our committee was rejected by a party line vote unfortunately at the very outset of our judiciary committee. He is certainly a key witness, and he must be interviewed at length. He said he would cooperate but only in a confidential interview. It has to be public and sworn.

COOPER: So -- but is -- so is the scope of the investigation -- I mean is it not settled? Is it entirely up to the FBI? Will you be informed in the coming days what the scope is, or is that just something you'll learn at the end of this week?

BLUMENTHAL: My view is that the FBI is an organization, investigative agency of consummate skill and integrity. It will follow the facts and the law and the evidence where it leads them. And I think it has to lead them toward those additional allegations because they are part of that pattern. And I think, also, we all have to consider the demeanor that Judge Kavanaugh demonstrated at that hearing yesterday filled with rancor and rage, animus and arrogance. And I think that the kind of temperament is reflective of those allegations as well.

[20:50:04] COOPER: It's interesting that Mark Judge obviously is, I assume, going to be interviewed, that the reporting was obviously just that. You were questioning Judge Kavanaugh about that yesterday and basically indicating what Kavanaugh was saying under oath about what Mark Judge had submitted, Judge Kavanaugh kept saying that he under penalty of perjury sent an affidavit essentially. You pointed out it was actually something just written by his attorney.

BLUMENTHAL: Exactly right, Anderson. It's not an affidavit. It's not a sworn statement. It's a statement that his attorney has submitted. Signed by the attorney, not by Mark Judge. He may say it's submitted under penalty of a felony, but it would be very difficult to prosecute perjury for that statement by his attorney. And so the fact that he says he can't recall may change when he actually is under that penalty of perjury.

COOPER: Senator Blumenthal, I appreciate your time, thank you.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

COOPER: Let's check in with Chris, see what he is working on for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What a day, huh?

COOPER: Tell me about it. What a week.

CUOMO: Come on. Like just a moment ago we were sitting on a plane about how, you know, we had this all just about figured out now and look at what happened and unfolded today and the way that it did. So you have two people who really know how this went down, right, Flake and Coons. So we have Coons coming on the show tonight to talk about this. Just last night he was on the show, Anderson, and was in such a bad place.

You know, he was so resigned to, this can't get any better. And let's be honest, you know, it's not like there were rainbows and sunshine today but the idea of this two sides coming together on anything seemed completely impossible when the hearing started this morning. So at least there is something. What does it mean? What does it not? What's likely? What's unlikely? We'll take you through all of it. And I believe that the FBI is going to wind up taking a deeper look than people think right now into whether or not the Judge was telling the truth about himself and his past.

And we have a witness on tonight who may be called by the FBI. She's willing to talk. She knew Kavanaugh in college and she knew one of his accusers. And we have her on as well.

COOPER: Yes. I look forward to that Chris, thanks. Coming up next on "360", a look on what some voters thought about the hearings. A group of women in Florida who identify as independents share their thoughts.


[20:55:51] COOPER: The end of an emotional week for many people in the country and now that there will be an FBI investigation emotions are sure to run high for the next week as well. Randi Kaye spoke with a group of Republican women about the Kavanaugh nomination. So, we wanted to continue that conservation with a different group, this time six independents in Florida to vote in the primaries in Florida, you have to register with a party and so they could vote, two in this group register as Republicans, two as Democrats and two did not vote in the primaries. But, again, they call themselves independents. Here is what they told Randi Kaye after watching the hearing yesterday.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): How many of you thought that Christine Ford sounded credible?

JESSICA CIALLELLA, INDEPENDENT VOTER: I mean, you could hear the emotion coming forth. She was really reliving the trauma in everything that occurred that night.

KAYE (on-camera): As an independent who leans Republican right now, what did you think of Christine Ford's opening statement?

ERICA DIANGELO, INDEPENDENT VOTER: I thought the whole situation was a little theatrical. I would think that a person of her caliber would be able to keep it together if it was natural (ph) to keep it together a little bit better.

KAYE (voice-over): And Judge Brett Kavanaugh's opening statement?

DIANGELO: He broke down a little bit, he showed emotion, but he's worked his entire life to get where he has -- where he is today.

KAYE (on-camera): What did you think of his tone and energy and the passion?


SALLY CLARKE FOX, INDEPENDENT VOTER: He seemed angry and defensive. And I kept thinking to myself, why is he yelling?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wouldn't you be angry if you were him?

FOX: If you were innocent and you got put through that, and if you in your heart believed you were innocent and you put through that.

KAYE (voice-over): Christine Ford's testimony about allegedly hearing Kavanaugh and his friend laugh at her in the bedroom resonated.

FOX: That was the moment that made me angry.


FOX: Yes. That made me --


FOX: To have more compassion for her. And she described being on the bed, she described where the bed was in the room, she talked about where the bathroom was in the room, there were two beds in the room. I think that speaks to her that those memories are coming back and she was able to be in touch with those.

KAYE (on-camera): So the fact she knew that information that aadds to her credibility?

FOX: I thought so.

DIANGELO: There's not a lot of corroboration so that's why I'm left wondering who's telling the truth or maybe they're both partial truth.

KAYE (on-camera): How many of you think that Mark Judge should come and testify before this committee now?

(voice-over): But when someone in the group suggested delaying the vote to confirm Kavanaugh, as is now the case --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who cares about a delay?

NICOLE PADRO, INDEPENDENT VOTER: Waited their whole entire life to maybe lose their opportunity due to the delay. He could loose opportunity to get to Supreme Court completely due to the delay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't have --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That doesn't matter.


DIANGELO: What about her? What about her? What if it turns out there's nothing that happened to her and he was delayed and missed this opportunity --

JAMIE KATTREIN, INDEPENDENT VOTER: We as American people deserve the process to know.



DIANGELO: Especially when it comes to the Supreme Court.

KAYE (on-camera): Judge Kavanaugh had a lot of opportunities to call for an FBI investigation.

CIAELLELLA: If he is innocent, and it just seems like the unwillingness is very questionable.

SHANTEL NORMAN, INDEPENDENT VOTER: All I kept hearing him say is I am here talking now. Like I'm telling my story now. And to me that's not good enough especially when you have Ford continually saying let's do this FBI investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An FBI investigation in my mind would have given me more reason to believe him.

KAYE (voice-over): And what about all the drinking some friends say he did?


DIANGELO: That he's never had a blurry night and that he's never blacked out. I find that very hard to believe especially for how many times he said I like beer.

KAYE (on-camera): How many of you think that you're ready to say Judge Brett Kavanaugh should go on and be a Supreme Court justice? Raise your hand. None of you. What do you still want to know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know why a potential Supreme Court Judge wouldn't use every single tool he has to get to the truth no matter what it is.

KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Sarasota.


COOPER: Great to hear their perspective. It's going to be a busy week, next week.

A reminder, don't miss "Full Circle", our daily interactive newscast on Facebook. You pick some of the stories that we cover. You can see at weeknights at 6:25 eastern at

The news continues right now, I want to hand it over to Chris. "CUOMO PRIME TIME" starts now. Chris?

[21:00:04] CUOMO: Thank you Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to "Prime Time."

Another wild day in Washington, and its only Friday. It could really go all weekend long. So what happens today?