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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Kavanaugh Says He Will Testify On Monday, His Accuser is Open To Testify But Says Monday Is "Not Possible"; Kavanaugh Accuser's Legal Team On Call With Senator. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 20, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:01] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "The Situation Room". "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Out front next, breaking news, Christine Blasey Ford's legal team speaking with Senators tonight. Ford says she's willing to testify but not on Monday. This as Kavanaugh says tonight he'll show up.
Plus, Ford scrutinized not for remembering certain details about the alleged incident. One top Republican even suggests she's, quote, mixed up. But one prominent psychiatrist says that's not the case. He's my guest.
And more breaking news, according to a new report former Trump Attorney, Michael Cohen, interviewed for hours by the Special Counsel. What does he have on the President? Let's go out front.
Good evening everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, we are following breaking news. High stakes negotiations tonight. Just moments ago, CNN learning that the attorney for Brett Kavanaugh's accuser was speaking with Republican and Democratic staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee, trying, it appears to hash out an agreement for Christine Blasey Ford to testify in public next week.
We're told it was the most substantive interaction those two sides have had in more than a week. This comes as the White House just released a letter from Brett Kavanaugh, stating that he will be there next Monday and he looks forward to the opportunity to testify before the committee. Ford's attorney, though, also saying that her client is prepared to testify but, "A hearing on Monday is not possible, and the committee's insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event."
So, the question now, will Republicans hold firm to their self-imposed deadline? Remember, this is a deadline they created.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: We want to give the accuser an opportunity to be heard and that opportunity will occur next Monday.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I want to have a hearing Monday. If she does not want to come Monday, publicly or privately, we're going move on and vote Wednesday.
BOLDUAN: But the hearing is set for Monday could be moved. Everything these days seems to be movable, especially given that Ford seems to be dropping one of her demands. No longer, it seems, insisting that a full investigation into the allegation that the President's Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her in the 1980s, no longer insisting that take place before she testifies.
An accusation Kavanaugh again tonight saying he, quote, categorically and unequivocally denies. Today, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ignoring questions about whether they or whether he would delay the hearing and at the White House, much the same. President Trump ignoring questions about his Supreme Court nominee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe Dr. Ford, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still stand by Judge Kavanaugh, sir?
BOLDUAN: Now, Sunlen Serfaty is out front for us tonight on Capitol Hill. So Sunlen, we know there was a call this evening between Ford's attorneys and the Judiciary Committee, but what are you learning right now?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kate. This is such an important and critical call that happened over the last two hours, and it's very clearly an important development over the course of this story, the fact that you have the three camps finally getting on one phone call together. We are told through sources that the staff of Chairman Grassley, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the staff of Dianne Feinstein, the Ranking Democrat on the Committee, and of course the legal teams for Dr. Ford, on the same phone call, at the same time, certainly significant after the fact that they have spent the last three days really since the beginning of this week trading phone calls and e-mails and writing formal letters to each other, sometimes talking past each other. Now they're all in one place.
So we'll certainly be paying close attention to what exactly comes after that and it definitely bears repeating that this call was the one that was requested specifically by the legal team of Dr. Ford today. She requested that an e-mail to both of those camps saying specifically to discuss the consideration for Dr. Ford's potential testimony. And certainly worth also highlighting that the conditions, that's what they're discussing on this phone call this evening, are what the sticking points has largely been over the last 48 hours. The who, what, when and where on the fact of what location would it be taking place, would it be public, would it be private, would there be other witnesses that come up here to testify or would it just be Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. Those are all of the sticking points, the details that they allegedly are going to be discussing on this call, potentially still going at this hour.
So we certainly will be waiting to hear what both sides say coming out of that conference call, of course. The devil here is of course in the details, the fact that these have been sticking points in the past and could remain so. So a lot could ride on how each side feels coming out this call. It could fall apart completely or it could gel completely, potentially leading towards the testimony for Dr. Ford next week.
BOLDUAN: All right. Let's get some clarity on this. I appreciate it, Sunlen.
Out front with me now, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. Senator, thank you for coming in.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Thank you.
[19:05:01] BOLDUAN: As Sunlen was saying, there is a call happening. Are you getting any -- do you have any insight into what is really being hashed out on this call? Have you gotten any insight from the Ranking Member?
BLUMENTHAL: I know that there is a foundational principle here that deserves respect, which is that the survivor, Dr. Blasey Ford, should have an opportunity to tell her story when and how she wants to do it. And she should be given the respect of certain terms that are set, for example, by the National Task Force to end sexual and domestic violence of coming forward with adequate opportunity to prepare.
This Monday deadline is completely arbitrary and unfair and my hope is that the ranking member will respect her need and her right to tell that story on terms that enable everyone to uncover the truth.
BOLDUAN: And the terms here is kind of where things are at this moment, right? That today -- that her attorney says that Monday is not possible in terms of them being prepared to testify. But they also want to agree on terms as her attorney puts it, Senator, its fair in which ensure her safety. What would that look like from your perspective?
BLUMENTHAL: They should, first of all, repudiate any smearing or personal attacks that inflame the kinds of passions that have resulted in death threats, forcing her to separate from her family, go somewhere other than her house. She's already enduring the nightmare and she foresaw it, which is why I believe her. She's done this act of coming forward with incredible courage and bravery despite the nightmare that she faced and the terms ought to respect her need for safety and for respect. BOLDUAN: I do want to get to actually the death threat in just one second. But in this latest communication, they still say -- her attorney still say that they are -- their strong preference is to have this fully investigated before she testifies. But they really do in this latest bid and who knows what's going to come out of this call right now, they leave open the possibility of testifying without that full investigation happening, and also in this letter, not requiring that other witnesses be present. If she is OK with that, are you?
BLUMENTHAL: I still strongly prefer, as she does, that there be a full fair respectful FBI investigation. That's the way that we uncover the truth. As a former prosecutor, I would never put a crime victim, especially a sexual assault victim, on the witness stand without a full investigation. In fairness to her and in fairness to Judge Kavanaugh, there should be interviews with the other witnesses who were there and other steps to uncover the truth.
BOLDUAN: If she clearly prefers that as well, but if she gets to a place where she feels comfortable without any more investigation coming forward and sitting before the committee in public or in private, without any other witnesses other than her and Brett Kavanaugh, are you OK1 with it?
BLUMENTHAL: I will be there. I will participate. I still hope there'll be other witnesses and there'll be a full fair investigation because the trained professionals at the FBI are the ones who can go to those other witnesses and either corroborate her story or suggest otherwise where we need further exploration of the facts. And let's be very clear. What we're talking about here is not a criminal conviction. We're talking about a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the United States that ought to be above this kind of suspicion.
BOLDUAN: And this is actually why I want to ask my next question, which is, Senator Whitehouse, your colleague. He was on CNN tonight and he says that if Democrats win back the majority and the way he puts it is that Democrats are going to investigate how this was all handled, is how he has said it, how the FBI handled it, how this all -- that they're going to investigate this claim and how it was handled. And that even if you're talking about an already at that point Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, are you ready to threaten that right now?
BLUMENTHAL: There will be a continuing investigation --
BOLDUAN: From who?
BLUMENTHAL: -- at some point. At some point, there will be documents that so far have been hidden and concealed, millions of pages of documents. There will be witnesses who will come forward.
BOLDUAN: Are you talking about the other of Brett Kavanaugh's record? Are you talking about millions of documents related to this?
BLUMENTHAL: The part of Judge Kavanaugh's record that has already been questioned where his testimony has already been seemingly evasive and misleading. But on this instance, more facts will come out inevitably and it would be a real disservice to Judge Kavanaugh as well as the Supreme Court for this stain and shadow to cloud his name (ph).
[19:10:03] BOLDUAN: But Republicans -- I've already heard Republicans tonight say this is the fact that Democrats are already promising they're going to be investigating. This is proof in their mind that that this is all political game. That --
BLUMENTHAL: We're not threatening or promising an investigation or at least I'm not. What I'm saying is that more facts will emerge that require investigation at some point. Maybe not this month, maybe not next month.
BOLDUAN: White House says he was confident this was going to happen. Did he get out in front of his skis?
BLUMENTHAL: You know, I think that he is talking about the inevitability of more fact finding --
BLUMENTHAL: -- of more investigative activity because of facts and documents and other allegations corroborated that will emerge.
BOLDUAN: Democrats, I also saw, I think, the way he put out a statement, I think on everyone's behalf on the committee, saying that the Democrats on the committee tonight are calling on the FBI to launch an investigation into the threats against Christine Blasey Ford. And this is not an investigation into what happened 30 years ago. This is an investigation into now. These death threats that her attorney says that she has received.
If that's the case, Brett Kavanaugh's wife has received violent threats as this has all played out. Should the FBI investigate that as well?
BLUMENTHAL: Absolutely. Anybody who makes threats against anyone this country, particularly anybody involved in public service, ought to be investigated, they ought to be prosecuted, they ought to be punished. But the FBI also has some questions to answer about why they failed to uncover these kinds of allegations during the background check. It's in their interest to reopen that investigation background check.
BOLDUAN: So you're questioning how the FBI handled it but you still want the FBI to handle it.
BLUMENTHAL: We do, because the FBI has a chance to, in effect, do the parts of the background check that it failed to do early. This is not unprecedented. When John Tower was nominated to be Secretary of Defense, there were allegations of drunkenness, and the FBI reopened the investigation. All the time, when there are these kinds of allegations that may involve deficiency --
BOLDUAN: Are you saying there is -- do you think the FBI is being pushed by the political wind on this?
BLUMENTHAL: Not yet. It has the chance to do the right thing, which is why we are asking the director of the FBI as well as the White House to do the right thing here, reopen the investigation, prove that now that it has found probative evidence suggesting a need for reopening the investigation, it will do so.
BOLDUAN: We will see. First of all, let's see what was discussed and maybe agreed to tonight on this call with Christine Blasey Ford's attorneys. Senator, thank you for coming in.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: This is far from over.
Out front next, White House aides said -- are said to be stunned right now by President Trump's response to the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Ahead, what he's been saying, though, behind closed doors.
And we are learning much more about Christine Blasey Ford. One long- time friend who's been communicating with her today is my guest.
And breaking news, reports that former Trump fixer Michael Cohen has had multiple interviews with Robert Mueller's team. We'll be back.
[19:16:52] BOLDUAN: We stand behind Judge Kavanaugh 100%, that's the message tonight from White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Bill Shine, and President Trump, though, refusing to say if he supports a delay for Monday's hearing. This after Christine Blasey Ford's attorney said that she is willing to testify they say about her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, but not on Monday.
Jeff Zeleny is out front live at the White House for us. So, Jeff, President Trump has said that Blasey Ford deserves to tell her story. Why not be open to something if it is a brief delay? What are you hearing?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, that's a good question and we tried to ask the President exactly that when he was leaving the White House just a couple hours ago flying to Las Vegas to a campaign rally this evening. He didn't answer the question. He has been open to a delay this week, you know, throughout day by day. He said he does want to hear her story and the next breath, he always says, you know, but he certainly believes Judge Kavanaugh and this whole system is treating him very unfairly.
So he's made no mistake what side he's on here but the question is, how long will Republicans and the White House and Senate Republicans be willing to put this on hold? Politics is at play here. They are trying to get this right for the midterm elections. They don't want to be accused of trying to push him through, but the reality here is time is of the essence. But one thing that's been very interesting as we've watched this day by day here, the President has been more disciplined and more measured than we have seen him and it is even coming to the surprise of some of his aides and advisers here. They're pleasantly surprised he's not gone after the accuser.
He's not sort of weighed in as we've seen him in so many other cases of sexual misconduct. We'll see if that changes tonight at that campaign rally in Las Vegas. Because all of this is, you know, coming to a boil here, but we do know that Judge Kavanaugh, again, at the White House for the fourth straight day, preparing for that hearing, and he sent the letter to the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, saying, I'll be there on Monday. The question is, if he'll be alone or if he'll have company as well. Kate.
BOLDUAN: That's a very big question. Maybe the only question at this point. Thanks, Jeff. Really appreciate it.
Out front with me now, former staff member of the George W. Bush White House, also the host of "Firing Line" Margaret Hoover and former DNC Communications Director, Maria Cardona. It's great to see you guys.
Maria, let me ask you this first. The White House, at least right now is how we see it. And again, and if I mean it, just change it. But right now, not budging on this position. Republicans on the committee, they don't seem to be budging either. Kavanaugh says he will be there on Monday to testify. Blasey Ford seems to be showing some openness to testifying if not on Monday, another day.
MARIA CARDONA, FMR. DNC COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: Right.
BOLDUAN: Is that where this is all headed? It's going to happen, it's just we're not there yet yet?
CARDONA: I don't know. Well, it seems that way, Kate. And I'm actually glad that Ms. Ford is open to testifying, even though it is disappointing that the White House and the Republican Senate have been completely closed off to an FBI investigation before she testifies, because really, at the end of the day, that is going to be the only way that a hearing would have been done with fairness, both for Ms. Ford as well as for Kavanaugh. You know, one thing that I think we have been so apt to leave out of here, Kate, because we're all political animals.
[19:20:03] And you know, Jeff is right this -- for the White House, this is all about the midterms. But let's focus on the humanity of this situation here. Not just for Christine Ford who believes that she went through a traumatic, horrible, tragic situation more than 30 years ago at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh, but also for Brett Kavanaugh. He believes that he is being unfairly accused.
If that is the case, you would think that both sides, including Kavanaugh, would want to get at the truth of this, would want facts, would want, you know, everything out in the open so that he can either clear his name or she can go on to prove her case. In either and in any event, Republicans would be in a much better place if they were a lot more credible in really wanting to get to the truth of it. Because so far, you can see that they're trying to push it as quickly as possible and perhaps under the rug.
BOLDUAN: Margaret, what about -- respond how you will, but what about the arbitrary deadline? The fact that the -- what the Republicans are saying, this is -- this happens Monday. No one's really answered, I would say with credibility like or else, you know, what happens after that. I mean, they say they're going to move forward but what -- why set an arbitrary deadline? If they just -- what if it's just a few more days that she needs? What do you think?
MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: That remains to be seen. Look, I shockingly, I agree with Maria then on this one piece but I don't want to overstate how much we agree.
HOOVER: But I do think this is one of the things we have learned, first of all, just separately, I think it's important to distinguish this from Me Too, OK, right? The Me Too movement as we all know has been a movement where men in powerful positions in employment and in the workforce have used their superior position to intimidate and harass and block the careers, stymie the careers of women through sexual assault and sexual bullying. OK, this is not that. OK, this is very different.
That said, truth needs to be discovered. And in all of these cases, an independent set of investigators have come in to evaluate the best and closest version of the truth that is discernible.
HOOVER: And that would be in everybody's best case here. It would be in the best case of Republicans to empower the FBI, to create or some other independent investigation --
HOOVER: -- and expedited -- you can -- because you can expedite this. There are FBI options all over the country. And -- but create some version of the truth that is not politicized because, Maria, you and I are both right, you know, every side has dogs in this fight right now.
HOOVER: And so an expedite, they're in the power -- position of power to create an expedite FBI investigation that would help facilitate navigating these waters. Frankly, to Republicans' benefit and Democrats' benefit.
HOOVER: For Brett Kavanaugh's credibility and for Christine Ford's credibility.
CARDONA: And frankly, I think going into the midterm elections, if they are so desperately worried about that, they should be worried about what it looks like if they do try to hurry rush this. You know, look at the accused or at the accuser in the face, saying, hurry up, hurry up.
BOLDUAN: Well interestingly, Maria.
CARDONA: That's not a good look for Republicans.
BOLDUAN: Well, and speaking of looks or how things look, it seems Republicans get that on some level because sources are telling CNN tonight that Republicans on the committee are looking to bring in female outside counsel to question Ford in this --
CARDONA: Because they understand the optics.
BOLDUAN: -- if this hearing happen. So, I mean, you know --
BOLDUAN: They get it but it doesn't look good to have an all-male panel questioning her. Does that make this better I guess?
CARDONA: I mean, it does, esoterically meaning on the surface. I mean, I'm sure that this woman will be very good. I'm sure she will be a bulldog. I'm sure she will be tough but she will be a woman. So, yes, the look won't be that of a slew of white male Republican senators questioning the accuser.
So, on the face of it, yes, but it doesn't get to why the hurry. You know, they waited almost a year to -- and frankly not even gave Merrick Garland a hearing, let alone a meeting, and now they're saying hurry up, hurry up we need to get this done before the midterms. That really lacks credibility and reeks of hypocrisy. And American women, not just Democrats and not just progressives, American women, anybody who has gone through sexual assault or any kind of sexual misconduct or anybody who knows anybody who has gone through this, they're going to be listening and they're going to be watching to how Republicans handle this.
BOLDUAN: Well, and how, maybe, folks are handling it now, may be a good question. Speaking of tone and optics, if you will, one of my -- for the record, least favorite words in all of T.V. and politics is optics. All of this is happening, Margaret, one Republican Congressman today tried to -- I mean it was very clear he was trying to make a joke about this whole thing. I mean, here's Ralph Norman of South Carolina today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RALPH NORMAN (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I thought I was going to be late. Did you all hear the latest late breaking news from the Kavanaugh hearings?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
NORMAN: Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out and she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:25:10] BOLDUAN: Yes, I mean, if any more proof is needed that we haven't made enough progress in the country, here it is. But does this get to exactly why Blasey Ford may be afraid to appear before this committee, Margaret, do you think?
HOOVER: I'm not going to make a joke about South Carolina because my in-laws live in South Carolina.
BOLDUAN: Don't make any joke.
HOOVER: And I went to college in the Carolinas, so I mean --
BOLDUAN: No joke.
HOOVER: I'm not going to take one joke.
HOOVER: I know you don't like optics but politics is perception, and the fact is, what we all know is Republicans have a credibility gap with women. And so that was abundantly illustrated there. Beyond that --
CARDONA: I'll go beyond that. This man is a troglodyte, Kate. And, yes, he does represent a lot of people that Americans believe are representative of the Republican Party. And that's why Republicans have such a credibility gap and a huge gender gap with women.
In fact, in the last poll, you saw that Trump himself and, you know, clearly Trump is not innocent in this. Trump himself has a 65 percent disapproval rating with women. Going into the midterm elections, when you have, you know, a slew of elections that are going to be a referendum on the President and he already has baggage, you're going into this issue next week with Republicans, they're going to have to be very careful and tread very lightly on what they do.
BOLDUAN: No, no the folks aren't careful. I mean this is just yet another example of just -- this isn't funny and this isn't Kate -- and Kate doesn't have a funny bone and Kate can't take a joke. This is craft. It's inappropriate.
CARDONA: It's disgusting.
BOLDUAN: And just that I'm constantly amazed when an elected official can stand up anywhere and think, you know what, this joke's going to kill it in this room.
BOLDUAN: This is going to be a good one.
CARDONA: Actually, there was laughter in that room.
CARDONA: Sure, I don't care.
HOOVER: So maybe it did kill in that room.
HOOVER: But it's either appreciate the time (INAUDIBLE). What I guess I would say is the country's still changing, right? We're not there. We're not there.
BOLDUAN: Right. We're not there.
HOOVER: As a country, as a society, we get better every day but we're not perfect yet.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys, it's great to see you.
CARDONA: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Out front next, a woman who's known Christine Blasey Ford for years says Ford doesn't like to fly because, quote, it's the ultimate closed space where you cannot get away. And Kavanaugh supporters questioning Ford's memory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, SEXUAL ASSAULT COMPLAINANT: I was 15 the same summer. I don't remember a lot about that summer either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: My guest, a Cornell University Psychiatrist who says the brain doesn't forget something as traumatic as sexual assault.
[19:30:42] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: New tonight, a long-time friend of Christine Blasey Ford speaking out, telling CNN Ford told her in August that she was sexually assaulted in high school weeks before she went public. She did not mention Brett Kavanaugh's name, though.
M.J. Lee is in Palo Alto, California, tonight where Ford lives.
M.J., what is this friend of Christine Blasey Ford's telling you?
M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Kate, over the last couple of days, we have been getting more insight into what Blasey Ford has told her friends not just about this alleged sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh but also how this has affected her sort of over the years and stayed with her.
Earlier today, I spoke with a friend, a long-time friend of Blasey Ford's, her name is Kate DeVarney (ph), and she says that it was in August that Blasey Ford first told her that she was assaulted in high school, though she didn't mention Kavanaugh's name. Now, just a disturbing and noteworthy detail from what she told me, she said that in the years of knowing Blasey Ford and being friends with her, she already knew that she had a hard time being in enclosed spaces and she also did not enjoy flying for this reason because, in her words, an airplane was the ultimate closed space where you cannot get away.
Now, DeVarney also said in her August conversation with Blasey Ford, Blasey Ford told her a story about how when she was remodeling her home with her husband, she sort of insisted to her husband that every bedroom had to have a door that led to the outside space because otherwise she would feel trapped.
Now, this is noteworthy to me because this is not the first time that I have heard this kind of detail from a friend of Blasey Ford's. Remember, earlier in the week, we spoke to another friend, Jim Gensheimer, who said that Blasey Ford has previously told him she prefers to have a second exit door in her bedroom, again, so that she does not feel trapped. These disturbing details are coming forward as we wait to find out whether she's going to really testify next week about how she says this alleged sexual assault for more than 30 years ago has affected her life -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: M.J., thanks so much.
Christine Blasey Ford has not spoken to many people about this. We have learned -- has come to learn. She has talked to her congresswoman, "The Washington Post," and she's also talked to my next guest.
OUTFRONT now is Samu Qureshi. He's known Christine Blasey Ford for decades.
Thank you so much for coming in.
SAMU QURESHI, FRIEND OF CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD: Thanks so much, Kate. Thanks for having me.
BOLDUAN: You are one of the few people that Christine is talking to. You've texted with her as recently as today. How does she seem?
QURESHI: She is an incredibly good natured and strong person and she is considering everything. I think she's holding up remarkably well, but obviously, she's going through a huge trauma again.
BOLDUAN: Samu, do you think she will ultimately testify?
QURESHI: You know, I can't really speak to that, and I certainly would not want to put any pressure on her already, because I can only imagine, really, what she's going through, and I haven't really been mostly sending her messages of support and just letting her know that her friends back home are 100 percent behind her and we 100 percent believe that this -- what she says occurred occurred.
BOLDUAN: You know, a lot has been made about how this happened so long ago, right? I want to play for you -- you probably heard it but here's one Republican senator kind of giving his take after he'd spoken with Brett Kavanaugh. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I talked to him on the phone today.
REPORTER: And what did he say to you?
HATCH: Well, he didn't do that. And he wasn't at the party. So, you know, there's clearly somebody's mixed up. I think she's mistaken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: You know Ford. Is she the type of person to get mixed up or mistaken?
QURESHI: She is so far from that person. She is, first of all, an incredibly intelligent person. I know she has a great memory. Actually, one of her recent things that she just texted me about was about a conversation that we had several years ago when we were attending a Redskins game and we were outside at a tailgate, and I had asked her for her Redskins ticket afterwards because I collect Redskins memorabilia, and she remembered, she said, hey, you know, I'm still going to find that Redskins ticket for you.
[19:35:01] She has, you know, she has a very clear mind, and she's the last person I could possibly imagine would ever make up such a story, because she's such a kindhearted, caring person, and she really cares deeply about people, and she would never, never do something to inflict pain and heartache and damage somebody's reputation, whatever the gain might be. Not if she was offered $10 million or, you know, not if she had some political agenda. She just wouldn't go there.
BOLDUAN: You just don't see there's any -- there's any way that she would do this for any other reason other than the truth is what you're trying to say.
QURESHI: Absolutely. I think she's just doing what she believes, and I believe too, is the right thing. You know, and I think a lot of people are questioning her memory, whether she would remember that.
QURESHI: I mean, first of all, let me say that being in high school at the same time, I went to parties pretty much every Friday and Saturday night, and I could not tell you the date of any of them, you know, unless it was a close friend's birthday party and I couldn't tell you where a lot of them were either unless they were at really close friend's houses. You know, we went to places where often the parents were away and I don't mean, we -- when I say we, I don't mean Chrissy and I. I mean my friends and in general, and -- but you know, everybody who was in high school in the area, that's just kind of the way it was.
BOLDUAN: She's been forced out of her house. She's receiving death threats. Her entire life is being scrutinized and turned upside down.
As a friend of hers, do you think in the end this is worth it for your friend?
QURESHI: Now, that's a really tough question, and you know, I know she knew what she was getting into. She's, like I said, she's a very intelligent woman and I think anybody could estimate that it was going to be an extremely difficult time. But I think it's beyond what she anticipated. I think, unfortunately, it's such a -- become such a polarizing partisan issue and people are just choosing sides on the basis of their political and social beliefs, and also, based on their gender, frankly.
I mean, when I've made some supportive comments about her, I feel like I get all this support from women, but I'm not getting the same support from guy friends and I think, honestly, a lot of guys just don't really understand how many women we know that have been sexually assaulted in different ways, back when they were young children, when they were teenagers, when they were in high school, when they were in college, and they don't understand, too, that people keep that in.
My wife was just telling me about her best friend. I mean, I knew about this before, but her best friend who was raped when she was 14, 15 years old, or one of her best friends growing up, I should say, and she didn't hear about it until she was -- until 20, 25 years later. And I just think these kinds of things happen a lot and a lot of them are lesser than this.
I think this was a violent sexual assault, and I think it's really kind of -- it's crazy that a woman can be -- who has been a victim of sexual assault could be prevented from being on a jury in a sexual assault or a rape case, but yet a guy who committed a violent sexual assault could possibly be determining laws as a Supreme Court justice. I say that as an attorney. But that's just my belief.
BOLDUAN: And she still, to this evening, is facing a very important question before her regardless of everything that you've already described just right now. Thank you so much for coming in. I appreciate your time.
QURESHI: My pleasure, Kate. Thanks a lot.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
QURESHI: Take care.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, Christine Blasey Ford has very specific memories of the alleged assault but does not remember things like the date that it allegedly happened, as I was just discussing. My next guest, a prominent psychiatrist, says that is completely normal.
And a new report that Michael Cohen has spent hours talking to the special counsel, joining a long list of former Trump allies who are now talking to Robert Mueller. How worried should the president be?
[19:43:22] BOLDUAN: Republicans making plans to question Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, according to a source, the Republicans all-male panel is looking now into bringing in a female attorney to question Ford. This comes, though, as some Republicans have already been casting doubt on Ford's accusations from the 1980s. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I'd hate to ask -- have somebody ask me what I did 35 years ago.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It's a 36-year-old allegation. Can't tell us when it happened and where it happened.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: She says she simply can't remember. I was 15 the same summer. I don't remember a lot about that summer either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT now, Dr. Richard Friedman, he's a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. He also wrote and opinion piece in "The New York Times" today about this very issue.
Doctor, thank you for coming in.
DR. RICHARD FRIEDMAN, WROTE OP-ED, "WHY SEXUAL ASSAULT MEMORIES STICK": Thank you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: You think people are wrong to question how reliable a memory can be from 36 years ago. Why are people wrong?
FRIEDMAN: Well, you just have to realize that all memories are not the same. So, memories that are traumatic memories are formed under really intense emotions and those are burned in and they're permanent. Unlike something where you put your keys or your wallet, which is very easily forgotten. If you're traumatized, that's a memory you're going to remember.
BOLDUAN: If a traumatic memory is so, as you write about it, is indelible, does it seem strange to you, then, if Ms. Ford or anyone would not remember exactly what year this trauma happened or what the date that this -- the day this trauma happened?
FRIEDMAN: Well, it wouldn't surprise me at all because what would probably be remembered in a traumatic event is the actual threat and the danger.
[19:45:01] So, if you're attacked by somebody or harmed by somebody, that's what's going to be recalled.
You're not going to remember what you ate that day. You may not remember the date. Or you may not remember the furniture in the room in which you were attacked but you're certainly going to remember your attacker.
BOLDUAN: Another thing we've heard a lot of -- not a lot but some folks talking about is saying, you know, drunk kids at a party, this is adolescent behavior. From what she describes, would you explain it that way?
FRIEDMAN: So, you know, teenagers are notoriously sensation-seeking and impulsive but what she's describing is an assault which is really violent and very disturbing. I mean, she's alleged that, you know, Judge Kavanaugh was on top of her, put his hand over her mouth to prevent her from speaking, which to me implies a level of violence and disregard for the rights of other people that goes way beyond the usual, you know, dumb pranks of teens.
BOLDUAN: So it goes beyond what even -- yes. Dumb pranks of teens or the misadventures of teenagers or the mistakes that we make, the stealing something, that impulsiveness, this goes beyond that.
FRIEDMAN: Yes, it's a really violent disregard for the rights of other people.
BOLDUAN: In Ford's -- in Christine Blasey Ford's account, she described Kavanaugh as being -- and I think the exact wording is stumbling drunk at the time of the alleged assault. Kavanaugh has, of course, we know, has defended himself and says it didn't happen, he's never done anything like what she described.
We have heard people question if she is, quote/unquote, mixed up or mistaken in her memory. What about him being the one mixed up or mistaken about with his memory?
FRIEDMAN: Well, I mean, it is conceivable that if he were heavily intoxicated at the time of the assault, he may not actually remember it. But I also think it's important for your viewers to understand that even if he's intoxicated, the alcohol by itself does not bring about violent, impulsive sexual behavior de novo. It simply reveals impulses that people actually have inside.
BOLDUAN: Doctor, fascinating. Thank you for coming in.
FRIEDMAN: A pleasure. Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Important perspective tonight. I really appreciate your time.
FRIEDMAN: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, OUTFRONT next, Michael Cohen is talking quite a lot to the special counsel, according to ABC News. What does he have now on Trump?
And we'll take a look at some of the final and not yet seen work of Anthony Bourdain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN: Whoa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a rhino. (END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:50:36] BOLDUAN: Breaking news coming in. President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen has spoken with special counsel Robert Mueller's team multiple times. That's according to ABC News. These interviews have lasted hours and have been focused on Trump's dealings with Russia, his financial dealings, business dealings, and the investigation into alleged collusion by the Trump campaign.
OUTFRONT now, Patrick Healy, politics editor at "The New York Times," and John Dean, former Nixon White House counsel during Watergate.
Gentlemen, it's great to see you.
John, first to you, the fact that Michael Cohen has talked to Mueller's team multiple times and it's last Ford hours, what does that tell you?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, Kate, what it tells me is this investigation is pretty far along. These are very sophisticated level of knowledge in the prosecutor's now, and they're not just idling chatting with him and they don't have a lot of time for idling chatter.
So, if this reporting is correct that he's spending a lot of time with them he must be providing them some new information that they were unaware of and possibly even giving them new leads.
BOLDUAN: Patrick, we know that Michael Cohen has very famously in the past said he would take a bullet for Donald Trump.
Let me play you the most -- I think it's one of the most recent things President Trump has said about their relationship, about Michael Cohen. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They make it sound like I didn't live without I am. I understood Michael Cohen very well. It turned out he wasn't a very good lawyer, frankly.
But he was somebody that was probably with me for about ten years. And I would see him sometimes. But when I had deals and big deals I had outside lawyers , and I have a lot of inside lawyers too in addition to Michael.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So Trump puts it that way now. But what is your sense? How much does Michael Cohen really know after the years he's been with Trump?
PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: He knows a great deal. He was an executive vice president and counsel at the Trump Organization. Times when I would be dealing with Donald Trump when he was on the company, other reporters, he would often send things to Cohen, especially things that were problems. And fixer is a good way to describe it.
HEALY: And what this suggests, it just reinforces the reporting that we have that it seems like Robert Mueller is really building a timeline around Russia and around President Trump's history, particularly on the business side with Russia, and Michael Cohen is someone who would be able probably in a firsthand way to fill in details, fill in blanks over a ten-year period. Cohen was with the Trump organization for ten years.
So, if Mueller is putting together pieces of information that he has collected, you know, Michael Cohen is a perfect person, in a perfect position to run things by. Yes.
BOLDUAN: John, according to ABC, Cohen was also asked by Mueller's team whether Trump or any of his associates talked about the possibility of a pardon with Cohen. What does that tell you?
DEAN: Well, that tells me he's still looking at obstruction. Not necessarily in the prosecutorial sense. But they're drawing a much broader report that they're going to give to the Justice Department that this would fit right in. Of course, Nixon was a part of the bill of impeachment against him dealt with his passing out pardons to the potential Watergate defendants. So this looks like a very in depth inquiry and they've got a very good source as Patrick said.
BOLDUAN: As we well know and we can list it out, Patrick, Cohen is now joining a growing and important listen of Trump folks speaking to Mueller. Last week, we learned it was former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. He's cooperating.
We now Trump campaign aide, long-time Manafort partner Rick Gates has been cooperating. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has been cooperating. Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos has been cooperating.
I mean, when the president looks at this list and I would argue in the titles of most of these people on this list, how could he not be concerned?
HEALY: No, of course. These are key figures that the president well knows can put together a narrative starting ten years ago certainly with Michael Cohen and business relationships President Trump was trying to build in Vladimir Putin's Russia, trying to understand Russia, trying to understand finances and construction and business development in Russia.
[19:55:04] Then, going forward to folks like Rick Gates and Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, who had firsthand experience in the politics of Russia in how Putin thinks, in what was going on between Russia and Ukraine. And again, it's sort of a collection of people that could build into a
narrative around Russia. Now, whether that gets to collusion, whether that gets to President Trump wanting to build a certain kind of relationship with Putin and having people like Cohen and Manafort, especially Michael Flynn, you know, we will see. But that's what it points to.
BOLDUAN: Also, at this level, with this level of this list not cooperating, if he doesn't find collusion there he's not going to find it is kind of an argument I would make. If he doesn't see proof over there with these folks, you know, where is it going to be?
Guys, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
OUTFRONT next, a look at one of Anthony Bourdain's last amazing rides to "PARTS UNKNOWN".
BOLDUAN: Tonight, a bittersweet first look at the final season of "ANTHONY BOURDAIN PARTS UNKNOWN" which premieres this Sunday. Filming for season 12 of CNN's award-winning series was in progress when Anthony passed away. But some incredible footage had already been captured of his travels around the globe including this journey to Kenya with CNN's Kamau Bell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMAU BELL: What I am aware of too on this trip is still that thing about like not wanting to feel like I have come home. You know?
BELL: And yet there is a sense that there is this diasporic connection even though I did not come from Kenya. You know? It's nice to have that connection. Even if the frame that that connection was built through was colonialism, you know, even though that's not -- you know. It's the good part of colonialism. It brings people together.
BOURDAIN: This has got to be compulsory viewing. If you ever run for president, this should be compulsory viewing.
BELL: I do think a lot of perspectives will be opened up. A lot of minds will be changed. This is on a very personal note. Like the idea that I'm sitting here with you doing this now, knowing where my life and career have come, it's pretty cool.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Yes. The final series of "PARTS UNKNOWN" starts Sunday night at 9:00.
Thanks so much for joining us. "AC360" starts right now.