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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court Confirmation Suddenly Not a Lock; Judge Kavanaugh's Sexual Assault Allegations; Senate Judiciary Committee to Weigh Dueling Testimonies from Dr. Christine Ford and Judge Kavanaugh; President Trump Has Ordered Declassification of Several Documents Related to the Russia Investigation. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired September 17, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: My brother, first, something that doesn't need to be said. Nobody questions you and your reporting. You are the best that we have and you've earned the distinction.
Now, something that does need to be said. The truth. You did the right thing, laying out what it is, because the people who make these allegations against you will never have something that you have, as much as anyone I've ever met -- integrity. They don't have any integrity. That's how they make the allegation.
They know it's not true. They're just hoping some people who don't have the curiosity or who are so desperate to believe something bad, that they'll swallow what they know sounds like B.S.
You did the right thing exposing it. You're our best. There's only one problem, better. That shirt was too big.
CUOMO: That shirt violates --
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC360": I've got to take a cue from you, you know. You've got the gun show going on. So --
CUOMO: If it doesn't cut off circulation, it's too big.
COOPER: Do you have a permit, by the way, for that gun?
CUOMO: Ha! Don't make me laugh. I'm on too many drugs.
Anderson, you're the man. Be well.
I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
You've heard the headlines. We're going to go much deeper tonight and dig into what happens next for Judge Kavanaugh. She will testify to prove her claims. She is Dr. Ford. He, Judge Kavanaugh, will testify to clear his name. And it will all unfold before America next Monday in a setting and before senators that may inspire more doubt than the confidence in the process requires.
The court of public opinion will hear the Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations and you will decide whether they are true. The stakes, a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, influence on key questions that will define our society, questions that won't just be answered on the Supreme Court.
Lots of legal minds here tonight to argue this case, including Stormy Daniels' attorney and possible presidential candidate, Michael Avenatti.
A hidden headline in all the Kavanaugh chaos, we're not going to let it go here. The president has ordered the declassification and public release of a trove of documents and text related to the Russia probe. Did he cross a red line? That's what a top Democrat says.
Tonight, we have two hours of PRIME TIME. What do you say? Let's get after it!
CUOMO: Tonight, Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation is suddenly not a lock. The Senate Judiciary Committee is about to weigh dueling testimonies. It's the judge's word against a California professor named Christine Ford. They are set to clash at a public hearing next Monday, which, by the way, almost didn't happen.
Michael Avenatti joins me now. He's Stormy Daniels' attorney, you know that. No stranger to filing cases that harken back more than a decade.
So let's start, first of all, thanking you for being here. Appreciate it, counselor.
It's an important point to make. The idea of, well, this was so long ago, we'll never know. Cases all the time are about things that happened long ago.
It's not just about time. It's about corroboration and what you can find to help tell the story that indicates the truth. Fair point?
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: I think that is fair, Chris. But, I mean, this is a very serious matter. We're talking about a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. And you're talking about basically instilling Judge Kavanaugh as, you know, I use the term, a king, because these individuals that are put on the court basically are kings. I don't think a lot of people have an appreciation for how much power that they have and possess for decades after having been on the court.
And in my view, Chris, if the president was smart, if he wasn't so arrogant, he would see the writing on the wall and he would pull this nomination immediately and not --
CUOMO: Pull the nomination?
AVENATTI: Pull the nomination, absolutely.
Look, there's a lot of qualified judges and attorneys in the United States that can fill this role, my understanding is that Dr. Ford has already passed a lie detector test. If Donald Trump was smart and he's not, he would pull the nomination, and he would move to the next nominee on the list and start over.
CUOMO: You know, it's an interesting point. Because he's actually, the president, been getting some credit headed in the opposite direction. That given so much politicization of this already by the senators involved, he actually sounded somewhat reasonable today when he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You would have thought, certainly, that she would have brought it up at the meeting, not wait until everything's finished and then have to start a process all over again. But with all of it being said, we want to go through a full process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: At least he was saying what a lot of Republicans weren't saying that. That yes, you've got to vet this, you've got to go through it. They have to be heard. At least he was offering that, because this testimony we're going to see on Monday, Michael, was not a given. You know, as you know, Cornyn and others were saying, he didn't want to reward the Democrats for what they are calling like a Hail Mary pass.
What do you make of that suggestion, that the Democrats held this until the last moment?
AVENATTI: Well, I don't know all the circumstances surrounding how long they held it. It seems to be that they held it for a couple of months, which raises in my mind questions as to why it was held for so long. I think it should have been aired a lot earlier, frankly. I think it's a heck of a risk to hold on to something this explosive until the 11th hour.
But again, Chris, I'm going to go back to what I said. There's no need to go forward this nomination at this stage in light of this accusation, in light of the passage of the lie detector test. Why go through this hearing on Monday?
It's going to be an absolute circus show. It's going to harken us back to 27 years ago. Judge Clarence Thomas' hearing, I'm sure you remember it, I remember it. I know there's certain senators on that panel that would like to forget what happened and how much disrespect was shown to Anita Hill at the time.
I just think if the president was smart, with everything else going on right now, he ought to pull the nomination and nominate someone anew.
CUOMO: What does that set, though, as a precedent, that an accusation is enough? When you haven't even really proven -- I mean, look, we're on the same page here, I hope, culturally, me too, that you have to give everybody a chance to be heard. You cannot sweep allegations aside because they're uncomfortable or they play the dynamics that we want to protect in the moment.
But that said, if you make accusation or allegation the bar of whether or not you stay or go, Michael, what does that set up for the future?
AVENATTI: I mean, that's a very good point, Chris. But I think we're beyond that, from what I understand, relating to the lie detector test being passed, which, of course, is not admissible in a court of law, but lie detector tests are used routinely for law enforcement and security clearances at the highest levels of the federal government. And I think it was just last week, in fact, that Vice President Pence was suggesting that lie detector tests be used in connection with ferreting out who wrote the anonymous memo. It's going to be curious as to whether all of a sudden the administration believes that the lie detector test that Dr. Ford passed is unreliable.
We're not talking about a mere accusation or an allegation. And here's another important point. This isn't going to be adjudicated in one day or even two days. An accusation of this nature could not be fully adjudicated in that short a period of time before the Senate Judiciary Committee. You would need a couple of weeks, at a minimum, for the presentation of evidence.
AVENATTI: You'd need more witnesses -- you'd need more witnesses called other than Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh.
AVENATTI: This would have -- this would have to go through an extensive process. And to what end? There's other individuals that are more qualified than this judge to sit on the Supreme Court and his nomination should be pulled.
CUOMO: Well, look, I take your point on that. I do think as a middle ground, they could have given it to the FBI and taken it away from the senators. At least give the senators a basis of information for what their questions will be coming from. Otherwise, they're just really going to be shooting in the dark here.
And the FBI could have done that. It doesn't seem that they'll be allowed to. The White House could ask them to do it. There hasn't been any move there. We'll see.
While I have you, a lot of this is about the politics of perception and what people want to be true. You were a combatant of that recently, not only with the president of the United States, but on Fox News. I want to play a clip of this for people, if they didn't see it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Why dodge the question? Look, you traveled here policy advisers who have worked on other campaign to the show tonight, you could be ready for a simple question.
AVENATTI: I didn't travel here policy advisers. Can I ask you -- let me ask you a question --
CARLSON: No, no, why don't you get a TV show and then you can ask me a question. I asked you a simple question that you're not answering the question.
AVENATTI: Why is it you don't call Donald Trump the creepy porn president? He's the one who had sex a 4-month-old son at home my client without a condom.
AVENATTI: But you don't want to acknowledge that. You don't want to acknowledge that.
TUCKER: We acknowledge that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: So, Tucker Carlson there, obviously attack dog for the president. He called you the creepy porn lawyer. He was trying to get you to talk the president, but really, it was about the politics of perception. He needs you to be a bad guy, because you represent a movement to expose this president as something other than the golden calf that he sees him as.
So why'd you go?
AVENATTI: Well, I went, Chris, because, you know, I consider myself a fighter. I consider myself a fighter for the Democratic Party and a fighter for this nation and the ideals and the rights that are at risk, at severe risk right now in our history.
And you can't call yourself a fighter and then duck fights and not go on a show like Tucker Carlson and go toe to toe somebody like that. Look, I was completely disrespected on the show.
You've gone toe to toe a number of guests, Kellyanne and others. You've never shown them anything close to that amount of disrespect. And I think Tucker Carlson was shown to be the clown that he was.
CUOMO: You're not going to get an argument from me on that. But there's a difference. And I think it does wind up reflecting back on to what we're going to see on Monday.
People aren't open. They're not decent. It's about integrity. And we have to hope that the people who are elected -- look, Tucker Carlson gets paid to be exactly what he was in that interview.
But the men and women who are going to be sitting on that panel and listening to the testimony on Monday, we put them there, for a very different reason. They're not supposed to stoke what is worst about us. They're supposed to bring out what is best. And we'll see if it happens. Michael Avenatti, you get points -- you certainly get points for
putting your dukes up. That's for sure. And thank you for being on PRIME TIME, as always.
AVENATTI: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. We're going to take a much deeper dive into these Kavanaugh allegations. What do we know? What we don't know. And what we may never know.
And then you do have this question of timing. Why is it coming out now and what does it mean?
We're going to lay it out all next for you, facts first.
CUOMO: All right. Look, we don't know what happened, if anything, between Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Ford at a party in their high school years. The truth is, we may never know the truth. But I do know the truth of what's happening now. And it's going to turn ugly quickly, I fear.
Facts first. And this is going to be a quick list, because so much is in dispute. We have the allegation from Dr. Ford.
She says that she and Kavanaugh were at a party in Maryland in the early '80s. She claims she was pushed into a bedroom, where she says Kavanaugh groped her, tried to take her clothes off, and placed his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream.
Now, Judge Kavanaugh says none of that ever happened, period. Proof? Corroboration, which is key. Don't get up caught up in when something happens, get caught up in whether or not it can be shown be truth through corroboration and other testimony.
So here, there is someone who's identified by the doctor as having been there, a friend of Kavanaugh's, his name is Mark Judge, he was allegedly in the room, as I said. He calls the story absolutely nuts saying, adding he never saw Brett act that way, that's his quote.
Now, first, while it is true that there was no report at the time by Ford, as far as we know, Dr. Ford did not just say it right now for the first time, do you understand the point there? Dr. Ford first told her story in 2012. Not in the '80s. Nobody's saying she did, as far as we know at this point. But it wasn't just brought up now by her.
2012, while in therapy with her husband. The husband backs it up. "The Washington Post" says, so do the therapist's notes.
Now, we have to be sensitive here to when women come forward. Forget about politics, just for a second. Disclosures like this are difficult. And it is wrong to see the delay as a sign of dishonesty. Any expert who knows the field will tell you that. Timing, however, is a legitimate question in looking at how this came
to light on the political side. So in July, as Kavanaugh's name starts being reported on the short list for the Supreme Court, Dr. Ford reaches out to "The Washington Post" and to her congresswoman, Dr. Anna Eshoo, but she didn't want her name in the press, that's a key fact.
Later that month, after President Trump nominated Kavanaugh, Ford contacted the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein, but still insisted she wanted to remain anonymous. That created a twist here, a tension. Early August, she took a lie detector test at the suggestion of her lawyer, not the lawmakers, and "The Washington Post" says she passed. Not admissible in court, but it is some reliability to her testimony for the court of public opinion, also known as you.
So why didn't we hear about it then? She didn't want to go public. She didn't want to go through the ordeal. Now, Senator Feinstein had the information, but never mentioned it during Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings or in the Senate's private confirmation conversations with him.
It was not until last week that the story broke. Why then? It leaked because Dr. Ford came forward. The media was figuring out the details, she thought she was going to be exposed anyway. That's her call.
Feinstein is being criticized for her call. Did she have a duty to the process to inform the FBI or the committee sooner? It's a legitimate question.
So now what? The first thing that happens now, I worry about is ugly politics, left and right. It really isn't even Democrat and Republican anymore, if you think about it. You think about how rarely we use those terms. Because, why? It's so instinctual now rather than ideological that is really just left and right.
It's not about policy and parties anymore. It's like this feeling. It's like almost animalistic now. They went right into the blame game with each other.
The Democrats sprung this at the last minute, that's what the GOP says. That they -- and what do the Democrats say? Well, the GOP wasn't respecting the allegation by slowing the vote. So where is the truth to be found in all of this?
The blame game is so obnoxious that President Trump seemed to be a reasonable voice on this today. And we know his track record on these type of issues in terms of what he says. Even he acknowledged you'd have to go through the process of figuring out the situation. You have to give people a chance to be heard.
And luckily, that notion prevailed. And both Ford and Kavanaugh will testify on Monday. At least they'll have that chance.
Now, here's the critical part. What's going to happen now? I just have this one point for you, because that's really where it begins and ends. They're going to testify under oath, OK? But they will do so in a committee and a confirmation process that's been rightly attacked as a farce.
Candor is in the closet. The game is to say as little as possible. It's about the politics of perception. It is the wrong place to figure out something as complex as this.
Now, what could have happened? This is going to be one step away from us, but listen to this. They could have added a step here.
The White House should go to the FBI and say, open up the background again. Take this information. Take a look. Do some the digging. What can you corroborate? What can you find? What should we know?
At least at that point, the senators could ask educated questions about this, know what they're talking about, other than just spewing questions that reflect self-interest, as opposed to the interest in the truth.
Now, why do I have this up there? Because although I don't love it as an analogy, this is the closest thing we have in current history as to what happens in a situation like this with the Supreme Court. Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill.
Again, it's not a direct analogy. Why? Lots of reasons. It was back in 1991, Anita Hill had come forward already at the time about recent events. They were both adults. There was testimony.
But, still, there is an analogy, because there was no dispositive truth developed. It wound up being about the court of public opinion. And what did we learn? The polls showed that people were actually more for Clarence Thomas after what they heard from Anita Hill.
So, is this the best look? No. And here's why I don't think it is. I think times have changed. I think allegations by women thanks to the #MeToo movement and slowly like tectonic plate cultural change, we now know, everybody has a right to be heard.
You cannot brush aside allegations as a delay tactic or to protect something that you value in the moment. However, this will be a test of the #MeToo era. Giving the truth the best chance to come out has to be the priority before any other political goal. Let's see if it will be on Monday.
Now, if this were a trial in a court of law, how would this court -- or how would this case size up? We have a great set of lawyers to put exactly that question to their minds and you judge, next.
CUOMO: When it comes to the Kavanaugh controversy, there is one thing that is true. And the GOP senator, Susan Collins, said it today. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Obviously, if Judge Kavanaugh has lied about what happened, that would be disqualifying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMOI: And the reason the senator said "obviously" is because it is obvious. The problem is, it's equally obvious that it's so unlikely to be proven. So, how do we judge this allegation from Dr. Ford?
Let's bring in Asha Rangappa and Ken Cuccinelli.
Good to have you both.
Let's deal to that issue and then I want to get to how the politicians are dealing with this.
Asha, she says it happened, he says it didn't. He said/she said is nothing unusual in the law. How do we assess in a court of public opinion, being that it doesn't seem that the White House will give it back to the White House to investigate.
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, I agree with you, Chris, that that's a mistake and we can talk about that. In a he said/she said situation, you are assessing the credibility of the people who are speaking. You know that from people who go on the witness stand. That is just a judgment call.
Unless you have corroborating evidence, you know, this is going to be Clarence Thomas 2.0. But at least I do think, I agree with you that the president was reasonable today in allowing the process to be robust and at least have both accounts be heard out in the open.
CUOMO: It was a little surprising. I mean, Ken, let's deal with that in terms of the politics of perception. The president said, you've got to hear both sides. Frankly, I was surprised to hear him say that. It was good to hear him say that. Kellyanne Conway, his senior adviser, said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: She should not be insulted. She should not be ignored. She should testify under oath. And she should do it on Capitol Hill.
But that's up to the Senate Judiciary Committee. They need to decide the forum. And Judge Kavanaugh should also testify as to these 36- year-old allegations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: A hundred percent. Good to hear her say that. You know, not shame the woman making the allegation in this situation. He should testify. So should Mark Judge, by the way. If they can subpoena him and bring him in, he's the only other person who we know was there in contemporaneous fashion at the same time. However, then Donald Trump Jr. put this out on Twitter. And I'm sorry
he's relevant, the president has made him relevant. This note is this ugly sign of disrespect. He wants to go after Anderson Cooper, that's one thing. Anderson can easily show him to be a fool and a fraud.
But what do you think, Ken, of this type of tactic by someone close to the president?
KEN CUCCINELLI, PRESIDENT, SENATE CONSERVATIVES FUND: Well, first of all, let's start with the president. I think the president said the right thing --
CUOMO: He did.
CUCCINELLI: And Kellyanne, no surprise, I've known Kellyanne for a long time.
CUCCINELLI: Those are the people who are actually at the levers of power, starting with the president. I don't appreciate the item from his son, but it really doesn't have the relevance here that the president's statement does.
CUCCINELLI: And even Kellyanne, to a far much lesser extent.
CUOMO: True. All fair points. The reason I bring him up --
CUCCINELLI: And let me follow up on that. The president's comment made it easier for the Senate --
CUCCINELLI: -- to actually introduce, to change the schedule --
CUCCINELLI: -- which can be viewed as a tactic here. I mean, the Democrats want to push this back and this is consistent with that.
So it does have that look about it.
CUOMO: Right, but here's the thing.
CUCCINELLI: But this is a serious allegation. I would not -- I would not say it's Clarence Thomas 2.0, because though were adults. We're not even that close in time to this. That was, you know, months and years before the allegation was aired. This is 35-plus years back to high school.
CUOMO: Two things. One, the way this is being dealt with is not ant basis of facts, not on the basis of right and wrong, not on the basis of what culturally, we should be requiring of our ourselves. That's why I bring up Trump -- CUCCINELLI: But we need to try to keep it there --
CUOMO: I know, that's why I bring up Trump Jr. because he is the reflection of an ugliness that's going to be tried to be made manifest here. And on the other side, Asha, they'll say, well, you know, that's what the Democrats did, too. Is that fair criticism?
I get why Feinstein is being asked about here timing. Did she have a duty to give this suggestion of an allegation to the committee or to the FBI, even if it was done under the cloak of anonymity?
RANGAPPA: I think she did. Her role as a senator is to provide advice and consent to the nominees. These nominees go through a background check. The background check is there, not to only check for, you know, a criminal record, but about character and fitness. You're a lawyer. Ken is a lawyer. We know that this is a part of being a member of the bar and definitely on the bench.
So, I think that this definitely should not have come up at the 11th hour. But having -- now that it is, I have to say that as an investigator, had it come up in the course of the background check, this is a prima facie credible allegation. It doesn't mean it's absolutely true, but it means that there are edentia (ph) that, you know, as you mentioned earlier, Chris --
RANGAPPA: -- the fact that it was mentioned -- that she told other people earlier, there are notes from her therapist. The story hasn't changed. The lie detector test, that would warrant further investigation.
CUOMO: Right. Look, that becomes our quandary here, Ken. And we're going to spend two blocks on this tonight, because there are so many issues to look into. What's the standard for us?
CUOMO: You said with Anita Hill, they were adults. OK. So if you do it as a kid, is it different? I would submit yes.
Can people change as they get older? We would all submit yes.
CUOMO: But if the measure is, who gets on the Supreme Court, what do you make the standard?
CUCCINELLI: And every senator is going to decide that. And part of the problem here, especially as lawyers talk about it, is this doesn't get due process, as we think of due process. This is going to be done under the klieg lights, and I don't envy either of these two, in particular.
But you do look for those corroborating elements. And as somebody who worked on sexual assault prevention for several years, especially with young people, what I would tell you -- and I ran into this as an attorney general, as well -- is predators, people who are sexually predacious repeat. It isn't a one-off occurrence.
And there's no other evidence of that with Judge Kavanaugh. Maybe something else will come up, but there's been an awful lot of attempts to smoke that kind of thing out, and it hasn't shown up. That's item one.
It two is the only other person supposedly in the room flatly denies that it happened. So, so far, the only person with corroboration that is specific to the incident in question is Judge Kavanaugh. Even the therapist notes don't identify Kavanaugh. It appears that the woman in question --
CUOMO: Right, but do you have that before right now --
CUCCINELLI: -- was speaking about more than -- more than one assault.
CUOMO: But you do have the husband, you do have the therapist, and as much as this was said, it wasn't said just out of convenience in the moment for now. So, let's leave the analysis there right more and now let's take it from that point right after the break.
Asha, Ken, thank you very much.
It is big and it is breaking. As we speak, the Justice Department and the FBI are working with the U.S. intelligence community to declassify information related the to the Russia probe. That's done on the president's orders. That's why I'm keeping "Cuomo's Court" in session.
We have two great minds here. This story is not getting a lot of attention today because of Kavanaugh, but it matters. Is this why a president should declassify information out of his own personal convenience? Next.
CUOMO: All right. So, Kavanaugh's a big story, but so is this. And it's not getting attention, because, look, let's be honest. Sometimes the media all runs in one direction, but we've got to catch things when they matter and we have one tonight.
President Trump has ordered the declassification of several documents related to the Russia investigation. It includes parts of the FISA applications on Carter Page and reports connected there, too.
"Cuomo's Court" back in section, Asha Rangappa and Ken Cuccinelli.
Full disclosure, I am in favor of all disclosure of classified information. If it's not about national security or us getting troops killed overseas or something like that, I want to know, because I don't trust anybody to tell me the truth, other than what I can discern with my own eyes and give it to the audience.
CUCCINELLI: Amen. CUOMO: So given that I like disclosure, why you disclose as a leader
is different than why a journalist wants it disclosed as a member of the media.
Asha, do you like this move? Why or why not?
RANGAPPA: I don't like this move.
And first to your first point, Chris, about disclosure and transparency. I think that's absolutely essential in a democracy. That's how we keep our government accountable.
However, this is an ongoing investigation. It is important to understand that. Even though this particular FISA surveillance may be over, the sources and methods that were used to either obtain the FISA or what was uncovered during the FISA may be relevant to an ongoing investigation and there may be people who are legitimately at risk of life or death.
So I think that's important to understand. It's one thing to do it 25 years later. It's another thing to do it right in the middle.
RANGAPPA: As far as the motivations, you know, I think that if this is being done for self-preservation and not in the interest -- not truly in the public interest. And again, for national security reasons I just mentioned, I don't think it is, not only do I think it's not a good idea, I think that it can also add to this pattern of potential obstruction by the president.
CUOMO: Well, look, you've got to believe that the president hasn't taken the time to do what he could, right, which is get the actual details of what's in the FISA application. I never cease to be amazed, Ken, that he would rather listen to Fox that be pick up the phone and talk to people who have the actual answers within his intelligence community.
But if that's why he's doing this, because he heard somewhere that there's stuff in there that will be good for his cause, is that the right reason to declassify information?
CUCCINELLI: Look, this is not -- I've litigated in the FISA court. This is not a normal FISA warrant. This was an attempt to use counterintelligence authority to do something, frankly, in the political arena.
This was very abusive. And is it appropriate to have transparency here more than elsewhere. If you go all the way back to the '90s, there was this raging debate for that full decade in the law enforcement community about the wall between counterintelligence and criminal investigation, and how high it should be and whether it should come down and so forth. And then 9/11 happened.
CUOMO: Right. CUCCINELLI: And we were supposed to trust that the elements put in place and the review by the higher ups and the FBI and DOJ would filter out --
CUCCINELLI: -- these political potential uses of counterintelligence authority, which is very easy to get these warrants. Very easy.
And that didn't happen here. And if this is a habit of the DOJ and FBI, on any sort of basis, bipartisan or otherwise --
CUCCINELLI: -- then it needs to be ended. And that isn't going to happen until you reveal these sorts of facts and the information and the American people, including Congress, can pass judgment on them.
CUOMO: Rangappa doesn't like --
CUCCINELLI: I think this is a good move. It's --
RANGAPPA: I don't like any of this.
CUCCINELLI: I'm sorry she doesn't like it. But she doesn't like because it's Donald Trump.
CUOMO: Well, hold on, let's hear why she doesn't like it --
RANGAPPA: I don't like it, Ken --
CUOMO: Ken, I heard your case --
RANGAPPA: I don't like it because what you're saying is wrong.
CUOMO: Ken, I heard your case.
What's your case?
RANGAPPA: I don't like it because what you're saying is wrong. If you litigated in a FISA court, you would know these are not easy to get. They go through several layers soft approvals. It's like playing chutes and ladders with the FISA going up and down to make sure that it's vetted before it even gets into court.
Second, you're mischaracterizing the wall. The wall is about not using a FISA to uncover criminal evidence to then open up a criminal investigation. There has been no criminal investigation opened on Carter Page. In fact, that seems to be one of the allegations made that this was a bad FISA. That means that it's actually working.
So I'm not sure you understand what the wall is. The wall --
CUCCINELLI: No, you're wrong. You're wrong. RANGAPPA: -- what that was intended to prevent has actually happened.
No, I actually teach this, thank you. That is what the wall was intended to prevent.
CUCCINELLI: Those who can't teach.
RANGAPPA: And lastly, there is a mechanism to review accusations of misconduct. That is the Office of the Inspector General. That could be one avenue. The other is that Congress could review these documents in camera, which they've already done.
I mean, there are ways you don't need to spill it out to the public, who doesn't really -- they don't really understand how to evaluate these things. And you know, this kind of misinformation from Ken doesn't help either.
CUOMO: Asha, you're a former FBI special agent, yes? Yes?
CUCCINELLI: Whoa, whoa, whoa misinformation from Ken.
CUOMO: I'm just saying, you just said, those who could not teach. That was beneath you, Cuccinelli. I would sanction you in the "Cuomo's Court". Continue. I spoke over you as a penalty. Now you may continue.
CUCCINELLI: So, look, you don't think the American people can figure this out? I think they can. It doesn't help to have the mislabeled rhetoric firing around that happens, to use the last segment, Chris' example, I think, was quite correct, about the political problems of reviewing Kavanaugh information.
We have similar problems in this arena, but the reason we have those problems is because it's done around an example related to Trump. This FISA warrant, you focused on Page, was it used for criminal purposes? Yes, indeed, it was.
Page was an avenue into the Trump campaign. And we still have a special counsel who was appointed with no criminal predicate.
CUOMO: Didn't have to have one.
CUCCINELLI: Still, no named criminal predicate. That is contrary to DOJ authority, their regulations and --
RANGAPPA: No, it's not!
CUCCINELLI: -- this was a regulatory appointment and --
RANGAPPA: You are totally making this up, Ken.
CUCCINELLI: Yes, it is. Yes, it is. You need to read the regulation.
CUOMO: Send me the regulation and I will do a segment on it. Ken Cuccinelli and Asha Rangappa, thank you very much. You are both
Back to the senate's hearing next Monday for Kavanaugh and his accuser. This was not going to happen. I have to tell you, you have to call it straight when you see it.
President Trump cleared the way for the GOP to release their hold on having another phase of this. I don't think it was going to happen until he said, you know, you've got to hear both sides, which is right. But is this the right place to do it?
My next guest says, no dog and pony show is needed. This is just a spectacle for the left to get the so-called hysteria machine revved up. She will make the case and be tested, next.
CUOMO: President Trump is handling this Kavanaugh allegation differently than previous claims against himself, or the people around him, and that is a good thing. He's calling for process. He's calling to let the sides, at least, be heard.
Now, he's not calling for the FBI to look at them again. That would be the most helpful thing. But even what he's asking for right now, it's not sitting well with his supporters.
Case in point, Amy Kremer, co-founder of the group, Women for Trump.
Welcome back to PRIME TIME.
AMY KREMER, WOMEN FOR TRUMP: Thanks for having me, Chris.
CUOMO: Amy, I see inconsistency in your position. You say sexual assault is a serious allegation and shouldn't be used like this, by Democrats as a political weapon. If it's a serious allegation, you should take it seriously and let Dr. Ford be heard. Fair point?
CUOMO: Then, what's wrong with them doing this on Monday?
KREMER: I don't think it needs to be done in public. I think it needs to be done behind closed doors.
And we don't need a big spectacle. And that's exactly what it's going to turn into. And you and I both know it.
Look, I don't -- I feel about --
CUOMO: I don't know that, but continue.
KREMER: Well, I mean, you said earlier that you thought it was probably going to get ugly, it is. There's no -- we're never going to prove --
CUOMO: I need to see it, because it will get ugly. That's my point. Continue.
KREMER: We're never going to prove it or disprove it. It was 35 years ago, and probably more than anything, they'll walk out of there and nothing will have been proven or disproven.
CUOMO: But that's not the bar. And I'll tell you why.
KREMER: The thing is --
CUOMO: This isn't the court of law.
KREMER: You're right.
CUOMO: Even there, you only know what you show, but there's a burden, we're not going to have that burden here. There's a different one.
Advise and consent, transparency, those are the exigencies and the expectations of public office in this confirmation process. Now, we could have a whole discussion a different day about whether or not the confirmation process lives up to that. I would argue it does not.
But you can't have this in closed door, because I won't know what happened. And it will be engineered for political advantage, this time, for your side. Next time, maybe for the other side.
KREMER: Chris --
CUOMO: It must be transparent and open. We must see it and judge for ourselves. And judge those who would advise and consent thereafter. Fair point?
KREMER: No. I disagree with you. I think this should have been handled weeks ago.
Dianne Feinstein sat on this for weeks. She could have taken this to Judge Kavanaugh, she could have taken it -- and I think she had a duty to take it to the other committee members. And she did not. Instead --
CUOMO: The woman asked for anonymity, Dr. Ford. What do you do with that?
KREMER: You know what? She could have been granted it and it could have been divulged to the committee members. I didn't say it had to be made public.
CUOMO: But what you say to the committee if they don't know who it is.
KREMER: They should have decided how to deal with it as a committee. When the Democrats are accusing Republicans of withholding all these documents, oh, they're holding back all these documents from the Bush years and so on. CUOMO: And they are.
KREMER: But they're holding back one of the most important documents concerning this confirmation, and they sit on it for six or eight weeks? That's unacceptable.
And Dianne Feinstein is responsible for that. There's absolutely no excuse. It is one thing to keep --
KREMER: -- to keep our identity private and not go public with it. But there's no reason it should not have been divulged to that committee. No reason.
CUOMO: All right. So, a couple follow-ups. One, why doesn't the president open it up to the FBI? You'll get your wish if it's behind closed doors, and you get somebody to vet the information.
KREMER: Well, I don't think -- I don't think that you can say that he hasn't asked the FBI. We don't know that. He hasn't mentioned the FBI.
And why can't the committee ask for the FBI? I mean --
CUOMO: Well, why haven't they?
KREMER: I don't know.
CUOMO: Somebody should ask for the FBI to do it. Do you agree?
KREMER: Yes, I do think they should.
CUOMO: So you're OK with the FBI vetting the information?
KREMER: Absolutely I am. I have no problem with that.
KREMER: And I believe there's not going to come up with anything.
CUOMO: How do you know?
KREMER: He's been through six FBI investigations.
CUOMO: Well, they went through six things. They never found her.
KREMER: Well, they've been through six. Chris, at the end of the day, nothing is going to come of it. We're never going to prove it or disprove it.
I get tired of Congress -- it's not just about this. It's -- Congress has these committee hearings all the time, and I mean, it's all for show. It's a dog and pony show so they can get their sound bites, and then nothing ever comes of it. And I think it's a waste of people's taxpayer money, and it's a waste of our time. CUOMO: Well, look, you got to go case by case. Some of the hearings
are helpful. Some aren't. I am a big critic of the confirmation process. I started up by saying that's -- I give you that point.
However, this is not just another item of grandstanding. You have a woman who came forward with a serious allegation. You say, we'll never know one way or the other. Well, that is not the standard of whether or not we try to review situations, is it, Amy? If we didn't have complete confidence as to whether or not we'd get an outcome, so we just didn't look, that would be a pretty lousy standard for the administration of justice, would it not?
KREMER: I think the committee needs to handle it inside the committee and then decide what to do with it. Otherwise, you're setting a very dangerous precedent here.
CUOMO: What's dangerous about let's hear all the sides and the witnesses and then decide?
KREMER: Let the committee hear it, and if it's a credible, you know, accusation and they think there's something there, then bring it out to the public. Otherwise, why bring it forward?
CUOMO: So the standard that you want for this woman's allegation of sexual assault is a --
KREMER: No, no, no.
CUOMO: -- different one than you want for the disclosure of the documents if they don't like Kavanaugh.
KREMER: No, you're not going to put those words into my mouth. The thing about it is, is that you -- somebody is bringing forth an allegation 35 years ago with no corroborating evidence.
CUOMO: There is corroborating evidence.
KREMER: Her therapist knows? I mean how --
CUOMO: And her husband.
KREMER: How do you know she didn't write them? How do you know she didn't write them? We don't know that. We haven't heard from the therapist.
Look, I'm not questioning her credibility. She has a right to be heard.
CUOMO: You just did.
KREMER: Kavanaugh has a right to be heard. Yes, and the witnesses that were there, the one witness that she says was there totally denies it.
I mean, her story isn't adding up. But the bottom line is, let it be dealt within the committee before you bring all this public. I mean, I feel bad for her whether it is true or not true because she's in a situation if it's true, it's horrible what happened to her. If it's not true, it's horrible she's being used this way by the Democrats, bottom line.
I have a problem. We are coming to a place in our society where all of a sudden you can claim sexual harassment against somebody, and it ruins their life, and there's no due process. And that is a very dangerous precedent for us to set.
It's a slippery slope, Chris. You would want due process if it was --
CUOMO: There's no question what you're outlining a concern, we want due process. Your problem is you are fighting due process in this situation. This is the best we can do.
It's not going to make it in a criminal context. So, the best we can do is for the rest of us to hear it and make our own judgment. If you care about due process so that somebody is not unfairly accused or victimized, then you want transparency and this is our best way to get it.
KREMER: Listen, the committee -- the committee has decided to have a public hearing.
KREMER: And I'm glad. You know, I think it's interesting that they have because the Democrats refuse to meet with him. How many of them refuse to meet with him. They refused to get on a call with him today.
Now, they're refusing to be part of the hearing. I mean, all they want is a spectacle because they want to gin up the hysteria machine, because they want to make this a political issue for midterms and because they want to derail this confirmation process.
CUOMO: Well, it is -- it is a political issue inherently, not what happened to Dr. Ford or did not happen, but the selection of a judge. It's all about politics. It's all about power, and not enough about policy and candor.
But, again, that is a conversation for another day. Amy Kremer, thank you for making your case on PRIME TIME.
KREMER: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. Now, we're about to witness history again. Twenty-seven years later, Anita hill, you remember that? Clarence Thomas. It's going to be uncomfortable.
But Americans, I disagree with what Amy just said. You deserve to know. The closing argument of how we have to think about this because we're not thinking about it this way, next.
CUOMO: It is easy to say if Judge Kavanaugh attacked Dr. Ford and is now lying about it, then he cannot be on the Supreme Court. The problem is, it will be very difficult to establish those pre- conditions to know that he did it and that he's therefore lying under oath right now.