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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
How Deep Will The New FBI Investigation Go?; Former College Classmate: I've Seen Kavanaugh "Quite Drunk"; GOP Hired Lawyer Says No "Reasonable Prosecutor" Would Seek Charges Against Judge Kavanaugh; Why Alaska Matters In The Battle Over Kavanaugh. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired October 1, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:09] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
Another person has come forward and said that Judge Brett Kavanaugh wasn't telling the truth when he last week testified to the Senate Judiciary about his drinking habits. Now, the backdrop to this is the clock that's ticking down to a full Senate vote on whether Kavanaugh will be on the Supreme Court for life. There's been question about the scope and the extent of the FBI investigation that's going on.
And CNN has that learned that key Republican senators have called the White House over the past 24 hours to let it be known that they expect a real investigation. A White House official tells CNN that the FBI agents are not limited in their expanded background investigation. That contradicts what Senator Chris Coons told our Manu Raju.
Coons said he spoke with the White House counsel Don McGahn yesterday and came away with the impression that FBI agents would not interview additional people beyond the witnesses that were actually listed by the White House. He said he told McGahn that's not credible, that they can't interview new names that come up in the course of investigation.
Now, the reporting today, the White House isn't limiting the investigation. Presumably meaning that FBI agents can and will find out that multiple people who knew Brett Kavanaugh say he wasn't truthful in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. As I mentioned another one has come forward. Kavanaugh's former Yale classmate says Kavanaugh was often staggering, drunk and belligerent and aggressive.
He made a statement on camera a short time ago. Here is part of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAD LUDINGTON, YALE CLASSMATE OF BRETT KAVANAUGH: I do not believe in heavy drinking or even loutish behavior of an 18 or even 21-year- old should condemn a person for the rest of his life. I would be a hypocrite to think so. However, I have direct, repeated knowledge about Brett's drinking, his disposition while drunk. And I do believe that Brett's actions as a 53-year-old federal judge matter. If he lied about his past actions on national television and more
especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That former classmate says he thought it was his civic duty to come forward and he's been in contact with the FBI. It isn't just him. Another classmate, Liz Swisher, has said that Brett Kavanaugh was a sloppy drunk. His freshman year roommate, James Roche, says he was a notably heavy drinker even by the standards of the time. Roche made the statement last Monday even before the Kavanaugh hearing, but after the allegations from the second woman Deborah Ramirez.
The most serious testimony, of course, comes from Professor Christine Blasey Ford who says she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh and that he and Mark Judge were visibly drunk. As for the drinking itself, the question isn't so much did Brett Kavanaugh drink a lot in high school and college, but did he lie about it in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Today, CNN's Kaitlan Collins asked the president about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There are now concerns he may have lied or mischaracterized his drinking while testifying. If they find that he did, do you think that bars him from being your Supreme Court nominee?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I watched him. I was surprised at how vocal he was about the fact that he likes beer, and he's had a little bit of difficulty. I mean, he talked about things that happened when he drank.
I mean, this is not a man that said that alcohol was -- that he was perfect with respect to alcohol. No, I thought he was actually going back so many years -- I thought he was excellent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, keeping them honest, that's actually a mischaracterization of Brett Kavanaugh's testimony about drinking. He never said he had no difficulty with alcohol.
The president did get one thing right. Kavanaugh was indeed very vocal about how much he liked beer. But he tried over and over again to downplay it, to characterize it as just he normal drinking that teenagers do, not a problem, and certainly not black outs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers, I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out. We drank beer, my friends and I, boys and girls. Yes, we drank beer.
I liked beer. Still like beer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Headline, he likes beer.
No mention of having as the president said, quote, a little bit of difficulty with alcohol. Also we should point out, no mention of whether or not he drank any other kind of alcohol. After the president was asked about whether lying would disqualify a nominee, he went onto talk about Senator Blumenthal's mischaracterization of his service in Vietnam, accused Senator Cory Booker of being a horrible mayor, did a lengthy criticism of Senator Feinstein. What he didn't do was actually answer the question, so our Kaitlan Collins tried again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: You didn't answer my question, Mr. President. So if he did lie about his drinking, does that mean you'll pull his nomination --
TRUMP: I don't think he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Still didn't answer the question.
The president may not think he lied. Multiple people who knew Brett Kavanaugh are now publicly indicating he did just that.
[20:05:00] At his hearing, some senators tried to get at the issue of blackout drinking. It is after all a possibility that if you're blackout drunk, you can't remember all or part of what you did. Well, that's the significance of it.
Senator Amy Klobuchar tried to get at that at last week's hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: You're saying there's never been a case where you drank so much that you didn't remember what happened the night before or part of what happened?
KAVANAUGH: You're asking, yes, about blackout. I don't know. Have you?
KLOBUCHAR: Could you answer the question, Judge? So, you -- that's not happened, is that your answer?
KAVANAUGH: Yes, and I'm curious if you have.
KLOBUCHAR: I have no drinking problem, Judge.
KAVANAUGH: Nor do I.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The defensiveness and the disrespect, and not the issue, although Kavanaugh came back after a break and apologized for that, the issue of course is potential lying. If he lied under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee, should he be on the Supreme Court?
Now, the president doesn't seem to think he lied, period. But it won't be up to him to decide. It will be up to the senators. And when it comes right down to it, really, it's up to three undecided Republican senators, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Susan Collins, and Senator Jeff Flake, who's on "60 Minutes" last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: If Judge Kavanaugh is shown to have lied to the committee, nomination's over?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Oh, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me now, CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, you saw a moment ago.
So I understand two people have come forward now to counterclaim about Kavanaugh's alleged heavy drinking.
COLLINS: That's right, Anderson. Two people who were also classmates of Brett Kavanaugh's at Yale. That was that other man who said he did see Judge Kavanaugh drink so much that he believed he would have experienced memory loss, also a classmate of his at Yale.
One of these two who has come forward issued a statement that the White House is now disseminating to reporter that he lived with Brett Kavanaugh and he was his suite mate at Yale, and that he never saw Brett Kavanaugh, even though he was the one who came home with him at the end of the night, that he never saw him come home so drunk that he wouldn't be able to remember something.
So, they're essentially saying that these people who are saying that they do believe that he misled Congress when he testified under oath that he had never blacked out or never drink that much or never thrown up from drinking, they're saying we know him better and we actually know that this is not the way he drank. This isn't how we would characterize it, even though they do say that they did drink, they're openly admitting, they're saying they didn't drink as much as being characterized now.
But, of course you saw the president today saying Brett Kavanaugh described a drinking problem, having difficulty with it when he testified. That's likely not what Brett Kavanaugh take away from that testimony when he tried to downplay his drinking and normalize it, and say, essentially, Anderson, that he was doing what everyone else in college was doing as well.
COOPER: Do we know if the White House sees these increasing questions about Kavanaugh's drinking as an -- or the -- and he lies about it as a real potential problem with the nomination?
COLLINS: It does seem they're seeing it as a problem, and a lot of it starts with President Trump who made clear today he himself doesn't drink. He turned an answer or a question from me about whether or not he thinks it would be a problem if Brett Kavanaugh lied about drinking, he turned that into an answer about his own sobriety, saying he's never drank and could you imagine if he had drunk what it would be like?
But that wasn't a question or answer about what or whether or not they would pull Brett Kavanaugh's nomination if it is revealed that he did lie, because, of course, no one is saying that because he drank, that he committed this, that he did sexually assault Christine Blasey Ford, but they're saying maybe he had memory loss about it.
We know that's advised for the president. He is not a fan of people who drink. It's something he's expressed displeasure with before in the past, and you saw the president there today, Anderson, at first refusing to take questions on Brett Kavanaugh, making clear that he's starting to get frustrated with this entire process. Not just the Senate Democrats who are raising questions about Brett Kavanaugh's truthfulness, but also for the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans because this is being so drawn out.
So, Anderson, he did leave some room today to potentially withdraw this nomination if it came down to it or to distance himself from it if it does come to the point where people like Senator Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Jeff Flake show that they aren't going to vote for Brett Kavanaugh.
COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it. Thanks.
Tonight, there's yet another news story out there from Kavanaugh's Yale days about an altercation in a bar that was investigated by police. Now, this is being reported in "The New York Times".
Reporter Ben Protess joins me now on the phone.
Ben, can you walk us through your reporting, what you can tell us about this alleged bar fight back in 1985 involving Kavanaugh?
BEN PROTESS, NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER (voice-over): Sure. So, basically, Mr. Kavanaugh was hanging out with his friends at a bar and it appears that the police were called after a man they got into an argument with had to go to the hospital because he was bleeding from the right ear. It appears that Mr. Kavanaugh didn't cause that incident itself, but he apparently at one point did throw ice on that man and was part of the larger, kind of, you know, scrum that they were in.
And there was an eyewitness that identified the other people who were involved in the incident and they all simply parted, Mr. Kavanaugh's group of friends from Yale.
COOPER: So, my understanding is, is Kavanaugh and his friends were staring at this man at a bar thinking he might be one of the performers from UB40, a band at the time.
[20:10:12] And the person got annoyed that he was being stared at, and that's how this began?
PROTESS: That's what we know from what Chad Ludington has said. Now, Chad is another Yale student at the time. He was on the basketball team and was an eyewitness to this.
The police report doesn't make clear kind of the back story, the first in instigation we can tell from the police report was Mr. Kavanaugh throwing ice on this person and then that led to somebody else kind of hitting him with the glass, this person hitting with the glass. It's the back story Ludington tells us --
COOPER: Hitting the man at the bar, not Brett Kavanaugh or any of his friends.
PROTESS: Correct. Mr. Kavanaugh was not a victim in the fight, correct. There's --
COOPER: So someone in Kavanaugh's group allegedly hit this person with a glass?
PROTESS: That's correct. Threw a glass and the glass hit him in the right ear and the person started bleeding. The police were called and the man went -- the victim went to the hospital, correct.
COOPER: And is there any indication about alcohol being involved in this?
PROTESS: Well, it was a bar and it was the --
COOPER: This was at Demery's, right, in New Haven?
PROTESS: Correct. Demery's in New Haven.
And the report reflects the detective was called around 1:20 a.m., so it was after this concert. So, you know, it's unclear definitively how much drinking was involved. But it involved, you know, Mr. Ludington's telling of it there was alcohol involved and the police report at least kind of makes reference to Demery's and sorts of the night in the time of the drinking.
COOPER: I mean, having gone to school there, it's hard to imagine you're hanging out at Demery's past midnight and you're not drinking. But --
PROTESS: Right. And, you know, the glass that was thrown described in the police report was a tall Collins glass, and then Mr. Ludington described actually Mr. Kavanaugh throwing beer, not ice. There's a little bit of confusion there whether beer or ice was thrown. But definitely alcohol was involved in some way.
COOPER: Has Kavanaugh made any comment about this?
PROTESS: We contacted the White House a few hours ago and so far all we can get from them is that he was not arrested, and we're seeking additional comment. We're waiting to hear back from them. But so far, we don't have anything further.
COOPER: Ben, I appreciate your reporting. Thank you.
PROTESS: Thanks so much.
COOPER: Joining me now, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Also Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director at the Judicial Crisis Network, which is supporting Judge Kavanaugh.
Jeff, first of all, what do you make about this latest "The New York Times" reporting, about this, you know, bar altercation that he was questioned about at the time?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's certainly not proof either of itself that either Kavanaugh did anything wrong at the time or that he was drunk. But it certainly fits with the pattern of what several witnesses are saying is that he was someone who was around alcohol a lot when he was an undergraduate. That doesn't mean he lied about -- in his testimony before the Judiciary Committee.
But it also suggests that a thorough investigation of whether he lied would take some time. And there are going to be people you are going to want to identify and interview if you really care about whether he told the truth.
COOPER: Carrie, as a support of the judge, I'm wondering, A, does this bar incident worry you at all and other people who have now come forward, other former Yale classmates who said, you know, that he was a sloppy drunk and they seen him staggering and the like?
CARRIE SEVERINO, CHIEF COUNSEL AND POLICY DIRECTOR, JUDICIAL CRISIS NETWORK: Look, I think Leader McConnell put it really well today. He said, if you listen carefully, you can almost see the goalposts moving.
They -- first, they said we need to have a hearing. They got a hearing. And they said, no, no, no, we need the FBI to investigate. OK, the FBI is now investigating.
And now, they're trying to figure out can they do something else? It's getting really silly here. I mean, we're talking about a friend of his hit someone in a bar 30 years ago and questioning now whether we should launch a whole new investigation into his testimony?
I mean, his testimony was pretty clear. He says I drank beer. He says he drank too much beer sometimes. He just said I didn't blackout --
COOPER: Do you believe a college kid only drinks beer?
SEVERINO: I don't think he only said he only drank beer.
COOPER: If a college kid who gets drunk a lot and drinks beer, that that's the only think they drink? SEVERINO: You know, I have no idea. I didn't drink a lot in college.
But he never said he only drank beer either. I mean, we're -- it's getting a little ridiculous.
SEVERINO: Guys, how would this be really relevant? This is kind of a desperation attempt from my perspective. There are these allegations. They've looked into these allegations and they are not corroborated.
And so, people are trying to drum up all sorts of other angles they can go here. That is simply not relevant. It's not contradicting his testimony.
The only way it would be relevant if he had perjured himself, which he clearly did not do. So, this is just another desperation attempt. I think we need to stop the attempts at delays.
[20:15:02] Let's just move forward with his nomination. If you disagree with his judicial philosophy, by all means vote against him. But this is getting a little ridiculous.
COOPER: Jeff, is this --
TOOBIN: I don't think it's ridiculous at all. I mean, you have a witness -- the judge who says he did not commit sexual assault and he didn't drink all that much. Now, the question is, did he commit --
SEVERINO: He didn't say that. He said he drank too much at times.
TOOBIN: That's right. And I don't think what Mr. Ludington said today proves that -- that Judge Kavanaugh lied under oath. I really don't. I don't think they are entirely contradictory.
However, if you look at all the statements that are out there, it certainly suggests that more investigation is appropriate about whether sexual assaults took place and whether he lied about his drinking. None of which is proven. But this -- you know, the FBI investigation has now been going on for about 48 hours. He is going to serve perhaps for 48 years. Why is it necessary to shutdown the investigation right now?
This idea that this is some horrendous delay and the Supreme Court can't function, I mean, you of all people, Carrie, who was wildly supportive of keeping the Merrick Garland seat open for a year I think could understand maybe it's appropriate to spend somewhat more than a week on this investigation.
SEVERINO: Well, it was not my idea to spend a week. It was Senator Coons who said, can we just get a week delay? You had Democrats saying, why are you pretending this is going to take such a long time? It's really -- it only took three days to look into the Hill allegations. It's not going to take so long.
And now immediately after he says, OK, fine, you've got your week, Senator Coons, you want a week, you've got your week, oh, wait, no, a week is not nearly enough. Guys, you can't keep moving the goalposts like this.
It's -- let's look into the allegations that are out there. This is not supposed to be a government funded fishing expedition. This is supposed to be trying to analyze the actual allegations out there. You can't keep moving the target --
TOOBIN: That's right.
SEVERINO: -- and saying, let's come up with a new thing.
TOOBIN: That's right. He has three women who accuse him of sexual assault, a very serious crime. Perhaps it takes --
SEVERINO: And they're looking into those.
TOOBIN: Let me finish. Perhaps it takes more than a week to investigate whether that's true.
COOPER: Let me ask you, Carrie, obviously, in any kind of a background investigation by the FBI, you know, they interview the principal people who they set out to interview, and then they asked those people, is there anyone else we should talk to? In this case, Ms. Ramirez has apparently given them a list of people who she says were there, who heard about it, who she told about it.
Should the FBI as part of this investigation, background investigation only talk to Ms. Ramirez or should they only talk to the people who she has names she has given them?
SEVERINO: I'm sure they're talking to all of them. I mean, that would be the logical steps. I'm sure they're doing that.
But even pointing out what the FBI does, look, just remember, it's the guy who passed FBI background checks. One of the specific things they do look for is, they asked the people from every range in life, including college, including law school, the same periods we're talking about saying, did this -- is this someone who's had a substance abuse problems, have you seen them drink too heavily? I've answered these questions for people they've asked me about, you know, people I know doing background checks. This is what they asked.
So, six different times he passed, not just the regular background check level. Higher than top secret level. If he had some crazy history of alcoholism back there, my goodness sake, the FBI would have found out.
COOPER: But to our knowledge the FBI didn't find out that a police report with his name on it was at the New Haven police department.
SEVERINO: Well, now they do. And I think it didn't shed too much light on it. His friend hit his friend with a cup. That's doesn't --
COOPER: A glass.
SEVERINO: A glass, sorry. That doesn't actually shed a lot of -- I know, but that's not something Kavanaugh did. That's the whole point. So, they aren't doing FBI background investigations of all of his friends. It was of Brett Kavanaugh.
TOOBIN: And Professor Ford had not come forward at that point for her own reasons. So, that fact that that wasn't investigated is certainly understandable.
SEVERINO: I'm not talking about Ford. I'm talking about the allegations now that he is somehow a raging alcoholic. That is just -- again, I think this is silly season here.
COOPER: Carrie Severino, appreciate it. Jeff Toobin as well. Thanks. Good discussion.
Much more ahead tonight. We're going to get the latest on what we know about how the FBI investigation is actually being carried out because there have been conflicting reports about how many people they're actually talking to, a story that seems to be changing by the minute.
Also, the prosecutor hired to ask questions at the hearing who were then sidelined by the Republicans when she actually started to ask Judge Kavanaugh questions, she has given a memo to Republican senators saying a reasonable prosecutor would not bring a case based on Dr. Ford's allegation, given the evidence presented to the committee.
We'll talk about it with two very experienced sex crimes prosecutors coming up on the program.
[20:24:02] COOPER: As we've reported, the fate of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination very much depends on an FBI investigation ordered by the White House and what just three senators think of what that investigation finds and what has already been said by multiple women, including Christine Blasey Ford.
Now, CNN congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly joins me now from Capitol Hill.
So, what is the latest you're hearing from those key swing senators or about them?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it's let the FBI do its job. You've heard that from Senator Jeff Flake, from Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Susan Collins, all of whom were responsible for essentially launching the expanded FBI background investigation.
Now, as the story has been shifting in terms of what the limitations are and what the FBI can do. I've actually been told multiple senators have reached out to the White House, Susan Collins, in particular was in consultations with the White House about making sure that there weren't limits on what the FBI can do. Now, it's worth noting, when discussions were had on Friday about the scope of the investigation, the focus was really on the first two accusers, not the third accused, or the one represented by Michael Avenatti.
[20:25:01] And focus remains there today. But the point from these senators has been what the FBI finds and what leads the FBI gets, they should be allowed to pursue them.
And, Anderson, you hit on the key reason why this is so important. At this moment, even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today on the floor that he plans to vote on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, this week, Senate Republicans do not have the votes. The threshold from what those three senators deem an adequate investigation and what they take from that investigation, Anderson, that will determine whether or not Brett Kavanaugh is, in fact, confirm to the Supreme Court.
COOPER: Do we know who is going to find out exactly what the FBI learns? I mean, will the entire Senate be given the findings? Because obviously the nomination has already been voted out of conference, out of the Judiciary Committee?
MATTINGLY: Yes, this is a really important, if technical point. This is going to come to fore over the course of the next couple of days. And this is a background investigation. This isn't a criminal investigation. And there's a process here.
As you noted, the White House has to order it and then the FBI goes, does its interviews, does its review, and then sends that information back to the White House. The White House then sends that to the Senate. All 100 senators, because it's a Supreme Court nomination, will have access to that information. But they'll have to read it in a private room.
That information cannot be released publicly. Only a very limited of staffers will have access to that information, so that raises a key question. And I've been talking to a lot of senators and top aides about. How is the public or how are the senators going to be able to talk about what they find or what the FBI sends back?
There's currently no answer to that question. But Senator John Cornyn, the number two Republican, also on the Senate Judiciary Committee, made clear today, somehow, someway that information is going to be have be made public in some form, really the fate of Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, the credibility of the FBI's work kind of depends on it. But that would be out of the norm, and Anderson, that is still a question they don't have the answer to.
Somehow, some people are going to have to find out what the FBI has done. How that actually comes about. They still haven't answered that.
COOPER: All right. Phil Mattingly, thanks. Appreciate the update. Here to talk about that, as well as Kavanaugh's college friend saying he wasn't telling the truth about his drinking when he testified in "The New York Times" report about the incident in the bar, when Kavanaugh was a student, Asha Rangappa, Kirsten Powers and Michael Caputo.
Asha, first of all, as far as this "New York Times" report is concerned, is alleged ice-throwing is part of an altercation in a bar 30-some years ago, something the FBI would look into for a Supreme Court nominee?
ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, if it's relevant to his, you know, pattern of behavior, it could be. I think it really depends on what they see over the course of several interviews, whether there are some recurring themes, and then they might want to go back and look at particular incidents. If it's an isolated thing that isn't representative of the particular pattern of behavior, maybe not.
COOPER: Does -- Kirsten, I mean, does this "Times" report concern you at all or the other people who have come forward?
KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: Look, this is my view is what he did in college, if it was these kind of antics and, you know, even what would be considered very bad behavior, and if any teenagers are watching, don't do this, I don't think it would preclude him from being on the Supreme Court. I don't think it tells us anything about who he is today necessarily.
The only reason any of this information could be relevant is if you're looking at whether or not he perjured himself, whether or not he misrepresented who he was in terms of the drinking, which he walked kind of a fine line but he basically said, he liked beer and I occasionally had a few beers. You have a lot of people coming forward saying, it was a little more than that. It was a little more than just occasionally having a few beers. It actually was somebody who got out of control, you know?
And I want to say a lot of people are talking about I never saw him blackout. Black -- you don't see somebody blackout. You don't know whether somebody's blackout or not, they know if they're blacked out. The only way you would know is if they told you.
So they would be saying I guess they never told them he didn't remember something the night before. That's a pretty remarkable memory. I mean, I can't tell you that about my friends in college or high school definitively considering how much drinking was going on.
COOPER: Michael, I mean, you heard from Judge Kavanaugh's friend Chad Ludington say today, look, it's not that someone's life should be ruined for college drinking. I don't think anybody would want that, you know, to be kind of a blanket rule. But if you're up for a Supreme Court seat and not entirely forthcoming under oath, that's a problem.
Do you agree with that sentiment in general, and do you think Kavanaugh, there's a problem with his testimony based on what you heard so far from people coming forward?
MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: If I'm not wrong, I believe that Judge Kavanaugh in that former roommate didn't get along all that well. There may be a bit of a reason behind him stating this.
I'm also struck by how this is probably going to be a full employment program for Matt Damon, you know, because now we're talking about a bar fight. I can see him reprising Good Will Hunting but in New Haven, where he gets in a fight with a bunch of Yalies.
Listen, w really have reached the silly season here. We're talking about college bar fights and freshman drinking bouts with their former roommate that never really got along with them. I think we really should focus on his record, the 300 decisions he's issued.
I know we're not going to do that. But a week is enough. I think we should move on after that.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, I want to take a quick break. I want to continue this discussion.
More on the new FBI investigation. Also, where it might lead. And the Brett -- the look back into Brett Kavanaugh's history.
COOPER: As we heard the Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell is saying the upper down Senate vote on Brett Kavanaugh will come some time this week. The back drop to that is new information from Brett Kavanaugh's friends about his drinking, at least according to them. And a "New York Times" reports about an altercation he was involved in Yale.
Back now with Asha Ranggapa, Kirsten Powers, and Michael Caputo.
Asha, I mean when FBI agents hear Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell say we hear -- you know, we're voting on the nomination this week, do they have to adjust to meet that deadline or is FBI director Christopher Wray the one they look to for guidance? I mean who actually runs this?
ASHA RANGGAPA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes.
COOPER: I mean obviously it's technically run by the FBI. But who is running it?
RANGAPPA: Yes, I can assure you they're not paying attention to Mitch McConnell. They are going to take their direction from Christopher Wray likely in this case given the level of, you know, that this is happening on. And they've been give a deadline. They're going to do their best. Now, the question Anderson, is when they come back on Friday with number of interviews that they have done.
You know, if they cut them off at that point, those interviews are recorded on 302s. These are testimonial documents. They'll put out -- put down what this interview say. And if there are loose ends, that is going to be clear to anyone who reads them. There -- it's going to be clear that there are additional leads, additional witnesses that were not pursued.
[20:35:09] So I think then it just becomes a political question on, you know, how the Senate wants to move forward if it's very clear that the investigation is not complete.
COOPER: Kirsten, Michael made the point before the break about we're talking about look I mean or talking about throwing ice at somebody in the bar 30 plus years ago. They should be focused on his record, his history, you know, as a judge. There's other Republican who is say this is clearly now the people are trying to move the goal post. That what started out as one thing, they oppose the nomination then there were the sexual assault allegations.
Now the focus is on drinking and whether or not he mischaracterized his drinking 30 plus years ago.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well -- OK, so he has multiple sexual assault allegations against him. So that's the most important thing is to get to the bottom of that to find out whether or not that happened. And that's the most important thing I think for justice and also for Brett Kavanaugh is to have a real investigation to try to figure out what happened here as definitively as you can figure out what happened 35 years ago. So the drinking what I was saying before, the drinking comes into it for a couple of reasons. One is because the allegation in both, you know, at least in first two were that he, well I guess in all three was that he was drinking excessively.
And if he says, well I didn't drink excessively well that kind of means -- and if you have enough people saying I didn't drink excessively then you kind of maybe -- he wasn't the guy. So that's why -- why it's a factor and why anybody would be looking into these things. It's not that people think that you can't be on the Supreme Court because you throw ice at somebody or because you drank a lot in high school or college. I really don't know anybody who thinks that.
COOPER: Michael, I mean do you think that should be what it boils down to?
CAPUTO: Well, I'm not sure I agree that this is all so important. What is important is I think the interviews with Dr. Ford and the witnesses or -- the people that she said witnessed, I think Rachel Mitchell's report to the Republican senators and the judiciary committee might be helpful to the FBI as they, you know, do this investigation.
You know -- I mean it's interesting how we're talking about drinking and what it really -- the impact it has on, you know, justices and judges. You know, the drinking I saw in Washington when I worked there down at the Monaco and over the Tune Inn, going on between congressmen and senators and the bar fights I saw in Washington between staffers. If this was a disqualifier in Washington, the United States Capitol would be empty.
POWERS: I just got saying it wasn't a disqualifier though. I mean -- so I don't know what you're responding to.
POWERS: Nobody says it's a disqualifier. Nobody says drinking even now is a disqualifier. Nobody says the drinking in college or drinking excessively in college or high school is a disqualifier. That's just not an argument anybody is making.
COOPER: Let Michael finish.
CAPUTO: I think -- I think what I'm saying here is that focusing on this is kind of waste of time. When -- focusing on this would really put a lot of people in DOJ in Washington. We had to really look at what's -- what went on between Dr. Ford and her witnesses, what -- what Judge Kavanaugh is saying about that. What Deborah Ramirez allegations look like? Those are serious allegations that need to be dealt with by the FBI. Whether or not somebody threw ice at someone and what that means about their personality, decades later I'm not really concern about that.
COOPER: Michael Caputo, Kirsten Powers, Asha Ranggapa, appreciate it. Thank you.
Michael mentioned a report from Rachel Miller. She was the prosecutor hired by Senate Republicans to question Dr. Ford and frankly Judge Kavanaugh although they decided to not have her question Judge Kavanaugh when she began asking him questions. We'll have more on what her memo says and what two veteran sex crimes prosecutors think about it. Next.
[20:42:44] COOPER: The sex crimes prosecutor hired by Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans says no reasonable prosecutor in her words would seek to bring a case against Judge Brett Kavanaugh based on the evidence given to the committee last week. Now, as you recall Rachel Mitchell spend hours asking Christine Blasey Ford questions about the night in question where Dr. Ford says Kavanaugh assaulted her. She only asked a few questions of Judge Kavanaugh before Republican members of the committee took over. Mitchell wrote a five page memo to committee Republican cited what she believed were inconsistencies any account given by Ford in other concern.
Just before air I spoke with two former sex crimes prosecutors in New York and how great deal about victims and the process behind prosecutions. Former Manhattan sex crime prosecutor Linda Fairstein and Roger Canaff, who for years conducted prosecutor training with Rachel Mitchell.
COOPER: Linda, Mitchell says in her memo that he said, she said cases incredibly difficult to prove but this case is even weaker than that. Do you agree? LINDA FAIRSTEIN, FMR PROSECUTOR: First of all, I always trained this is in that there is no such thing as a he said, she said. It's your job as an investigator, as a prosecutor to find the information that supports one side or the other. There is so much more information that everybody has especially Dr. Ford then was listed at this very choppy five minute, five minute, five minute hearing. And I think you need to sit down with her. Maybe her lawyers have, certainly Ms. Mitchell was not a prosecutor in her role --
FAIRSTEIN: -- last week. But to find out how long she knew Brett Kavanaugh. So when she says I have 100% certainty about recognizing him it's because she was with him on one, two, three, four, five. Other times how about Mark Judge, how about the other guys in the room. So much more to dig for to take this out of -- a little dips we saw the other day.
COOPER: And Roger, I mean you say that Mitchell's conclusion in her memo are not the views of a reasonable prosecutor, that's your word. Can you explain why you have that opinion?
ROGER CANAFF, FMR PROSECUTOR: Well let me be clear. I think when she says that a reasonable prosecutor wouldn't bring the case as a criminal matter, I think she's right. I don't think the case can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. And I don't think the interest of the justice would demand bringing it forward in that form. But I do not believe -- I agree very much with Linda, I don't believe it's a he said, she said case. I don't believe that term like Linda, I don't believe that term belongs anywhere in prosecution.
[20:45:06] And let me say first I know Rachel Miller. I trained with her on the investigation prosecution of child abuse for years. She's a decent and honorable public servant. But I'm distressed by this report. And -- first of all it seemed gratuitous to me. Rachel states that there is no clear standard as to what the Senate Committee would need to use in terms of evaluating this allegations.
If that's the case then why comment on it further. And -- but then when she goes onto say well here's why I don't think these allegations are strong, frankly, the report ends up reading like a conclusion in search of a list of evidence of points to support it rather than a bunch of evidence -- to her points leading up to a rational conclusion. That's all I do.
COOPER: Well, you know, Linda, I mean to the point what Roger made, what's interesting also is she was disappeared from the testimony very quickly once Kavanaugh was actually testifying. So, that she's reached a conclusion without the opportunity to actually even question Brett Kavanaugh which she was supposed to be able to do, but then the male senators decided they would take over for, because they weren't happy with the way she -- or is doing -- or the way the judge was coming out of it. Does it surprise you that she would write this memo?
FAIRSTEIN: It's very surprising. But in the first four lines Ms. Mitchell says three times this is my independent report. The word independent is just ludicrous in light of the role she was brought in to play. She was a hired gun. She was not there as a prosecutor. She was certainly not independent. You look to her questions. I mean one of the things that I thought was fascinating and I also agree with everything Roger said about the need to be creative in these investigations and dig deeper and talk to every one she put in that room about things outside of the night of that party.
But Rachel got as far as asking him something about how much he drank. How much beer he drank. And he said look at the blood alcohol chart. And he kind of half laughed. And nobody went back to that. And as Roger knows, as you may know from DWI cases, you can look at blood alcohol concentration charts and they will tell you how with each bit of beer or alcohol as you get more intoxicated different things happen including getting more aggressive and alcoholic blackouts which I think are a big part of this
COOPER: Do you also think maybe I missed it. But I don't think anybody asked him is, he said it was beer. I find it hard to believe there wasn't actually other forms of alcohol involved. I mean if your, you know --
CANAFF: I thought the same thing.
COOPER: Yes. I mean and --
FAIRSTEIN: Nobody asked that.
COOPER: Yes. Nobody asked that at all. People just went with oh, he really likes beer and did he drink too much beer and did beer make you pass out. I mean there's a lot more options out there especially at that time for those students.
FAIRSTEIN: Yes. And one thing I always like to stress, the difference between passing out. He says I sometimes fell asleep. That goes to passing out. But its untrue Roger knows there's a medical term and American Medical Association description of an alcoholic blackout. And that means you keep walking, talking, drinking. You can have sex, you can drive a car. You just don't remember. The brain -- the camera function in the brain stops recording.
COOPER: And Roger, I mean in her memo, Mitchell partially focuses on Ford saying that she had a fear of flying and yet was able to fly to Washington. As well the fact that Ford testified that she told her husband she had been the victim of a sexual assault where she told the Washington post she was the victim of physical abuse. Mitchell also pointed to Ford's testimony about the polygraph test and her not being able to remember if she took it on the day of her grandmother's funeral or not. Are those inconsistencies red flags to you?
CANAFF: No. There are instances -- excuse me, there are inconsistencies that are distinctions without a difference and they are completely explainable. Any competent prosecutor, I know Rachel can do this too. I know she has. The fact is it is completely natural for human beings to express a description of events slightly differently from one time to the next. And even significantly differently. The fact is the attack that Ford describes involved both physical abuse and a sexual component. So, I'm not sure why Mitchell made so much of that. It doesn't make any sense to me. In 20 years they're doing this Anderson, prosecuting cases are consulting on them, I have never witnessed a victim who sounded more compelling than she did.
COOPER: Linda, thank you so much for being, Roger as well. Thank you for your expertise, appreciate both of you.
CANAFF: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, this evening, Democrats on the judiciary committee responded to the Mitchell report. In a statement Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, said Mitchell's claim that Dr. Ford has not offered a consistent account of when the alleged assault happened and was, quote, "not rooted in fact". Senator Feinstein also refuted Mitchell's claim that Dr. Ford quote, "struggle to identify him as false".
I want to check in with Chris, see what he's working on for "CUOMO PRIME TIME" at the top of the hour. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Mitchell isn't the only prosecutor or former prosecutor to say that Professor Ford's case would be tough to bring. And not just because of the time as we know there's no statute in Maryland for that type of crime. But -- so he's not unique in that respect.
[20:50:03] But tonight we're going to take a look at this question that's now vexing the nation. When does credibility count? As you remember Anderson, I've been hot on this since the beginning of this. Because I've felt that the allegations would always be unsatisfying in that setting. That's why the process was something that deserves scrutiny. And not what was said about Kavanaugh, but what he said about himself was always going to be the biggest test, and now he's been tripped up by that, it would seem. We have players. Chad Ludington, the latest friend. He gave a press conference today. He has his first TV interview here tonight.
CUOMO: We had two other women on last week who knew Kavanaugh. They didn't hate Kavanaugh. They knew Kavanaugh in college. But they had a very different reckoning of his habits that he offered up to all of us in the Senate. When does it matter, when does it not? And how come, quickly, sorry, we haven't heard whether or not the third allegation from Ms. Swetnick is being reviewed by the FBI? Is she hurt from a credibility standpoint? Is she unbelievable? Her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, is here to be tested.
COOPER: All right, look forward to that in about nine minutes from now. Chris, thanks very much. Up next on "360," why a group of people living nearly 4,000 miles from Washington in a remote village in Alaska could be a key role in whether Brett Kavanaugh is actually confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court? We'll explain ahead.
[20:55:32] COOPER: Well, the fate of Brett Kavanaugh's nominations to the Supreme Court could come down to just a handful of senators, obviously, who are currently undecided. Now among them, as we've pointed out, is Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. She shown her independent spirit before, voting against the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare last year. The GOP not only wants her support this time, they certainly need it, but Murkowski is facing pressure back home.
The details now from our Gary Tuchman who traveled to a remote area in Alaska to hear some people's concerns.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Katherine Martin is an indigenous Alaska, a member of the Mentasta Traditional Council. And while she and about 100 other natives in this village may be far out in the Alaskan wilderness, they are all in on the debate happening in Washington.
(on-camera): How many of you want to see Judge Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed and end up on the Supreme Court? Who doesn't? All of you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): There are tens of thousands of indigenous people who live in Alaska and past Senate elections they have voted overwhelmingly for Lisa Murkowski, whose vote is key in determining if Brett Kavanaugh ammunition it to the Supreme Court. Everyone we talked to in this village strongly supports Murkowski, because, they say, she understands their way of life and challenges.
LIZ MEDICINE CROW, FIRST ALASKANS INSTITUTE: We're experiencing rates of sexual abuse and domestic violence at higher rates than anywhere else in the country. And our senator, Lisa Murkowski, she knows that.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): So there is great sympathy for Christine Blasey Ford among many in the native community and among everyone we talked to in this remote village.
ANITA ANDREWS, ALASKAN NATIVE: As a survivor of sexual abuse, I think it takes years for people to come out with this. You know, some victims, as some victims come out with it immediately, but I think that some victims, it takes them a while before they're able to talk about it. And I think this is what happened with this lady.
HARRY JOHN, ALASKAN NATIVE: I think he is against women's rights and including native rights.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And that's the other huge issue working against Kavanaugh, and likely weighing on Senator Murkowski's mind, native rights. In a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, Kavanaugh questioned whether the constitutional protections given to Native American tribes should also be given to native Hawaiians. People here think that bodes poorly for them.
(on-camera): How concerned are you that native Alaskans' rights could be taken away if Brett Kavanaugh ends up on the Supreme Court?
KATHRYN MARTIN, ALASKAN NATIVE: Very concerned. I mean it's our way of life.
TUCHMAN (on-camera)\: Alaskan natives considering themselves a modest people. But many of them are not particularly modest about the political influence they believe they hold, which they think Senator Lisa Murkowski needs to keep in mind.
(voice-over): Just last week, indigenous Alaskans were arrested, while protesting outside the Washington, D.C. office of Alaska's other U.S. senator, Dan Sullivan. Nobody expects Sullivan to vote against Kavanaugh, but the message for Alaska's other senator is loud and clear.
(on-camera): So if Lisa Murkowski votes ultimately to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, what will your thoughts be about Lisa Murkowski?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She won't have my support in the future.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): How do you feel about that?
ANDREWS: She won't have my full support, either.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): What about you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wouldn't -- I would not write her name or put a check mark by her name.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Would any of you still vote for Lisa Murkowski?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): No. So you're counting on her to vote "no."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): On Kavanaugh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): And would you be surprised if she did vote "yes"? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very.
COOPER: And Gary joins me now. Is there a sense if Murkowski has given her constituents any indication as to how she might vote?
TUCHMAN: Well the people we talked to that village Anderson, they have faith that she will vote their way, but they certainly don't know for sure. Today on Capitol Hill, the senator talked to some reporters and she said, quote, "The FBI needs to be free to do its job as the investigating body." But that also doesn't tell us very much. Now, nearly as much as something she said last week and this could be very notable and important.
Doesn't get much from blue city (ph), but there was a local reporter with Alaska public media who was talking to the senator in Washington about the #metoo movement and she asked the senator, have you ever had a me too moment? And the senator said "yes," but did not elaborate. And that could prove to be significant.
COOPER: All right. Gary, thanks very much.
A reminder, don't miss "Full Circle," our daily interactive newscast on Facebook. You get to pick some of the stories we cover. You can see it weeknights 6:25 p.m. eastern on facebook/andersoncooperfullcircle.
The news continues, I want to hand it over to Chris. "CUOMO PRIME TIME" starts now. He's got a lot ahead. Chris?
[21:00:03] CUOMO: Thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to "Prime-Time".
Tonight, we have the players for you. The Yale classmate who came forward just today. He's here for his first TV interview.