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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Interview with Michael Moore; Discussion of Kavanaugh Controversy; Rod Rosenstein Denies Reports of Intention to Reomove Trump. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 21, 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: All right. Thank you, Anderson.

A busy night. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

It's not just a busy night, it's a whacky night.

Less than an hour from now, Christine Ford has to decide whether to take the Republican's terms to testify. She'll get a chance to tell her story, only if she agrees that there will be no other investigation and no other witnesses allowed. In other words, she is to go it alone. And, obviously, if she says no, they are more than fine with that.

The proof? If Ford doesn't respond by 10:00 p.m., the Senate GOP says Monday is the vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

So, stick here -- the outcome is supposed to happen on our watch.

Meanwhile, another political earthquake is striking at the same time. And this one could have huge implications for the Russia probe. Why? Because the fate of the man in charge of it is in question tonight. That's Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, right?

Now, sources say Rosenstein plotted to oust the president from office last year, suggesting secret taping and trying to trigger the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein denies the story.

But Trump folk are saying this is proof of the deep state and teaming up, that the president has political cover to remove Rosenstein. What would that do? Well, it would imperil the probe into Russian interference because it is run by Rosenstein.

So, there is a lot to digest, and we're chewing on all of it for you. So what do you say? Let's get after it.

(MUSIC)

CUOMO: Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein accused Republicans of bullying a survivor of attempted rape in order to confirm a nominee to the Supreme Court. That's how she refers to the 10:00 p.m. deadline determines it. We will let you know as soon as word comes in as to what Ford decides. And this is happening as questions about Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein potentially being fired continue to grow after this report from the "New York Times". Now, sources tell CNN the deputy A.G. openly speculated about wearing

a wire to record President Trump and floated the idea of building support within the administration to invoke the 25th Amendment, which is obviously about removing a president of presidential succession.

Rosenstein's response: not true. Here's the quote: I never pursued or authorize recording the president. And any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the president is absolutely false.

Now in terms of the reporting, we have multiple sources on this, OK? Anonymous, yes, I got news for you. Most of the valuable reporting that we get is anonymous. Why? The people in power, people who are afraid of being exposed and having their access withdrawn or being punished for what they say.

So this illusion that the president propagates when have you an anonymous source, you can't believe it, that if someone won't give their name, they're not for real, it's not only untrue, but oh, how ironic that the president often relies on anonymous sources, himself, and tonight, he and those closest to him are relying on a "New York Times" report, the failing "New York Times," subscriptions are up more than they have been in a long time since Trump has been in office, but they're relying on a report that's based on anonymous sources to justify going after Rod Rosenstein.

Now, does the president need justification to fire Rod Rosenstein? I would argue that a cursory review of Article 2 would suggest no. Rosenstein is an inferior officer, that's not a pejorative, that's a term within the Constitution, and the president can hire or fire at his discretion.

But this is about politics. Does the president have political cover to do it? So, that's the significance of that story. It's happening on real time as we're waiting on Christine Ford to make her decision about whether or not to testify. There is a lot going on.

So let's talk about it with documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who today coincidentally has a new film coming out called "Fahrenheit 11/9". Yes, he had "Fahrenheit 9/11". This is "11/9", and it's all about how we got into this situation with Trump and how Moore thinks we can get out.

Michael, thank you for getting us again and so quickly.

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: Thank you for having me back.

CUOMO: All right. Your movie comes out today, "Fahrenheit 11/9". And it really is touching on a part of the turmoil that is in our midst right now. We have two big news stories that deal with the level of chaos. Christine Ford has until 10:00 Eastern Time, we believe she's in California. So 7:00 where you are in California, to decide whether or not to accept the terms that Chuck Grassley and the Senate Republicans have laid out for her testifying next week.

What do you make of that?

MOORE: Well, let's just repeat what you just said. The men are laying out the terms. But she has to accept.

You know, this woman is saying that she survived a near rape attempt, that she somehow got out of a situation where she thought that she was going to possibly die. This is not how we talk to people who are find themselves as victims of violence. And it's so disgusting.

I know we have been through a year-and-a-half, two years of some pretty disgusting talk about women and toward women. But this really, this has to be the line in the sand and, and forcing her into this situation -- she's indicated already that she wants to talk. She would like somebody in law enforcement to investigate what she has told them has happened.

CUOMO: Right.

They say, no additional witnesses. There will be somebody independent who is doing the questioning. And you will do it now and we are giving you a chance to speak and we're not going to do anything more because they obviously believe that this is a delay tactic at the urging of the Democrats.

MOORE: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Right. You know, this is what always happens, right? These women come forward and claim something happened to them and we all know that they're all lying when they say this.

I mean, look, this is a serious incident that happened and you know what? It doesn't matter when you decide to finally talk about it. If it happened to you, it happened to you. And she's decided to talk about it. And she's taken courageous action here.

I just -- I feel for her greatly. I just think that these Republican men should take a really close look at what they're doing here, because they are guaranteeing, guaranteeing losing in November. Women are going to come out to the polls and men who support women are going to come out to the polls in record numbers for a midterm election. That's what's going to happen here.

And pushing her like this, pushing somebody who went through an act of violence to where she thought she was going to die is -- I mean, Chris, how -- I don't know how you were raised. I know I was raised. That's like, that's not -- it's just wrong. It's just wrong.

Everybody knows it's wrong. If are watching this now in your Senate offices or wherever you went for the weekend, you know it's wrong. You know we're not going to tolerate it.

The women of America aren't going to tolerate it and President Trump, what does he say today something about women support him on this?

CUOMO: We have to fight for Kavanaugh. I don't care about the other side and more women support that than anyone would know.

MOORE: More women? Wow, yes, he would know.

This man who may we just remind everyone is an admitted, admitted. Not accused. Not alleged, admitted sexual predator.

He told Billy Bush exactly how he likes to do it, when he likes to do it and how much of it he hopes to get of it, and against the will of those who are there with him, adult women or younger. We don't really know because of the jokes he made on the Howard Stern show about wanting to open up the doors of Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, all that to see them naked.

CUOMO: So --

MOORE: This is, I mean, seriously, we have a sexual predator president who is now telling a woman who is telling him that she was a victim of a sexual predator and abuser and she has told them who the witness was in the room.

The witness, by the way, Mark Judge, as we described the other night, also went to Georgetown Prep. A few months after this incident of violence occurred, he writes on his yearbook page at Georgetown Prep, he puts a quote there that says, certain women deserve to be struck like a gong. That's his -- that's his line on his yearbook page.

These are seniors in high school. They're adults or near adults. We've got 16 and 17-year-olds locked up in jails in prison across America for crimes that they allege to have committed and they are there.

And if we allow this, if we put somebody on the Supreme Court, who has committed a crime like this and nothing ever happened to him, what's the message, really to everybody else across the country?

CUOMO: Look --

MOORE: You can do whatever the hell you want, and some day, you could even end up on the Supreme Court.

CUOMO: Look. there is no question and this is happening at the same time today that this big "New York Times" story breaks, the same day your movie comes out that's talking about the chaos that Trump has brought and what to do about it, and the story is that Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, had spoken about the potential need for the 25th Amendment, which is about presidential incapacity and succession, and getting cabinet members behind him, maybe secretly recording the president to show the distress.

Now, I'm shocked by that, you probably aren't, because it's what you are assuming may happen in your movie.

So good timing aside, this is a pretty scary prospect for the democracy. Rosenstein says it didn't happen. He didn't say it. But what's the impact to you?

MOORE: Well, I guess we'll find out he did or didn't. If he did, he's a patriot, no doubt about it. He as many others who have written books, who have talked to Bob Woodward, have come on your show, have told you similar stories about their concern, about Trump and that we are in danger as a country with a malignant narcissist and sexual predator who is running this country.

I -- we've never been in a spot before. And I want to add something to Rosenstein's -- his -- I don't think that if this happened, I don't think he was saying from what I read that the president is like mentally incapacitated where he can't do the job. I don't believe that about Trump.

I've told you on your show, that actually I think he's a bit of a genius, an evil genius, but he's not stupid. And I think one of the things, one of the problems that Mueller has probably had in his Russia investigation, my guess now, is that Trump was probably never and made sure he was never in the room when any of these crimes were being committed. He was probably smart enough to do that.

CUOMO: Let's end on this, when people watch the movie, it is not simply a dirge, what do you want people to take away from that it that will give them hope for change that you believe in?

MOORE: I want people to come to the theater this weekend and realize that there are literally millions of like-minded people, just like them, who feel the same despair about what's going on but who believe that we are the majority. We got 3 million more votes than he did. The American people want us running the country and now, we have to find a way.

In the movie, I proposed certain ways out of the madness. But, yes, now, it's not a dirge. You are not going to leave the theater going ugh.

I am -- you come to this movie, we are going to tell you a story that you haven't heard. You haven't heard it on the nightly news. You haven't heard it on the show. I'm going to show you some things and then I'm going to propose a way out.

And I think so far already today, we're hearing from theaters. The theater man can't get them to leave after the credit because they're all in there talking about what we're going to do.

So if are you in need to be around a couple hundred people in a theater who are -- who are where you are at, you should come see this movie this weekend. I think you are going to be very pleasantly surprised and enlightened to the point where you'll see that we don't have to put up with this for the next two-plus years.

CUOMO: All right. Fahrenheit --

MOORE: Or 1,600 days, however you want to count it.

CUOMO: That's right. "Fahrenheit 11/9", Michael Moore's new movie. Thank you for being back. Good luck with the movie.

MOORE: Thank you. Thank you, Chris.

And everybody out there, don't give up.

CUOMO: All right. The 25th Amendment, what is it about? Have we heard this before? Yes, Omarosa mentioned it, for what it's worth. But so did that anonymous op-ed writer this month. Is there a connection to the reporting from the "Times" about Rosenstein and that op-ed?

So, what we're going to do is let's look at what this is all about, the 25th Amendment, how it works, what it means. Is it likely or not?

And remember, on our watch right now, there are about 45 minutes left, as silly as that seems, that it's like some kind of a countdown for rocket. But that is the deadline that has been given to Professor Christine Ford to tell her story about an attempted sexual assault she says involves Judge Kavanaugh. We're keeping an eye on that.

We'll be right back with a magic wall for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. So, let's talk about what this "New York Times" story means. This report placing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at the center of an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment is provocative, whether it's true or not. Rosenstein denies it.

But it's also a pipe dream. Now, I know, don't hate. I know people are selling possibilities all the time for how Trump is now done because -- that's not us. All right? We only know what we can show and here are the facts.

The amendment, the 25th Amendment, triggers a process of presidential succession in the event that the commander-in-chief is unable to perform his or her duties.

Now, it's pretty simple, if the president comes forward and says I have to step away. But what if it's not the president, what if it's done to the president? That's an onerous standard for application, all right? You would need Mike Pence, the vice president, and at least eight members of the cabinet to get on board.

That would have to happen without the president finding out. If he did, he can fire the whole cabinet before they made their move. Trump can also shut down the whole thing by just saying he is capable of being president.

But even if somehow they got past that part, the clock starts ticking. Then there are 21 days. Two-thirds of both houses of Congress during that time need to respond. Can you imagine two out of every three members of Congress agreeing on anything?

Basically the 25th Amendment is only around for something like the president, God forbid, being in a freak accident or going missing or a mental incapacitation of a severe variety.

Now, there is a scenario where somebody might be replaced and relatively easily as a result of this story. But it's not the president. It's Rod Rosenstein.

The president as you know has complete authority to fire or hire people underneath him in the Department of Justice. That includes the Department of Justice and its deputy attorney general. The complication has been political fallout.

So, has what was revealed in "The Times" and reportedly supported by what was written by former FBI boss Andrew McCabe in memos, have all that given Trump political cover that he needs?

So why does it matter to get rid of Rosenstein? Well, he is in charge of Bob Mueller's investigation. He's Mueller's boss. He's actually the one who decided on a special counsel and chose Bob Mueller. Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, of course, recuse himself, is therefore outside the loop.

So if Trump replaces Rosenstein, he would then get a fresh opportunity to end the Russia probe, because whoever comes in to replace Rosenstein would now be in charge of the Mueller investigation and could do whatever they please.

So, the bottom line is the chance that Rosenstein or anyone else could successfully use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, basically statistically the inside of a donut, known as a zero. However, the chance that Trump feels emboldened to move on Rosenstein, well, that chance is certainly better than it was before this report came out.

Now, there are theories floating around that this story was actually leaked to prompt the president to fire Rosenstein. Do those have any merit?

And will there be a decision from Kavanaugh's accuser before the clock strikes 10. We're 38 plus minutes away. Time is running out. But it's time for our great debate, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: We are standing by because there is a 10:00 p.m. Eastern Deadline for Dr. Ford to agree to the terms of the Republican lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee, otherwise, they will vote on Monday to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

What will Ford's lawyers say? What do they want?

They're hoping to testify on Thursday, but they wanted certain conditions. They have been haggling. The Republicans want no additional investigation, no additional investigation, they're setting up a he said/she said, which I don't know how that will real advance the interest of fairness here, but that's politics.

The ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein says tonight: It's clear Republicans are doing all they can to cement another conservative seat on the Supreme Court at any cost, even pushing through a nominee with a cloud of controversy hanging over his head. Brett Kavanaugh can serve in the court for 40 years, what's another 24 hours to make sure we get this right?

Is the committee rushing Ford or are they saying enough is enough?

That, my friend, is the makings of a great debate.

We have Jennifer Granholm and Niger Innis to do just that.

Thank you for joining me on a Friday night, but this is no ordinary Friday. This is the place to be, because we're on the clock.

So, Gov, what do you think about this?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

CUOMO: Is the fair or unfair?

GRANHOLM: Oh, c'mon, this is ridiculous. When you think about what she's up against -- first of all, these ultimatums sound like this bullying. I think if they go through with this, if we get to 10:00, they vote on Monday without her. There are 46 days left until the election. What the hell is the rush?

They've got plenty of time. They've got plenty of time to do an investigation. This is ridiculous.

And when you compare what's happening here with what the Republican establishment in Washington, D.C. is doing to smear her, including the president, his tweet this morning, calling her credibility into question before she's even had a chance to speak publicly. It is outrageous. And I think it's going to cost them the election in November.

CUOMO: Hold on a second. We just got the response. It was e-mailed to me and I am going to read it to you right now. Here is the response, everybody.

Dear Ms. Wiley (ph) and Ms. Davis. I'm writing to respond to your e- mails from earlier today. I was stunned to see that the Judiciary Committee noticed Judge Kavanaugh's vote for Monday morning, in the midst of our ongoing discussion regarding the terms and conditions under which Dr. Christine Blasey Ford could testify before the committee. Incredibly, you did so well before the 10:00 p.m. deadline, you had arbitrarily imposed just hours before.

The imposition of aggressive and artificial deadlines regarding the date and conditions of any hearing has created tremendous and unwarranted anxiety and stress on Dr. Ford. Your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with a committee is completely inappropriate. Yesterday, we had what I thought was a productive dialogue about the conditions Dr. Ford would find acceptable to be able to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegations of sexual assault involving Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Rather than continuing that dialogue, Senator Grassley today conveyed a counterproposal through the media insisting she appear for a hearing on a date I had expressly told you was not feasible for her.

Hours after those media accounts first appeared, you sent me a response to the proposals that we had conveyed in good faith yesterday. You rejected a number of the proposals that are important to Dr. Ford to ensure that the process would be a fair one, including subpoenaing Mark Judge to testify. Instead, you spent much of your e- mail making points that distorted the requests we had made and the sequence of events.

It would be fruitless to review each of those misstatements as it is now abundantly clear that regardless of the assurances Senator Grassley has made, you have been tasked with pressuring Dr. Ford to agree to conditions you find advantageous to the nominee and also with denying Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee any input about how this hearing would proceed.

When I urged you to include them in our discussion, you rejected my request outright, accusing them of being source of leaks. What's even more disturbing, while you took most of a day to consider our proposal, you demanded a 5:00 p.m. response to your proposal this evening.

My email sent today at 4:01 p.m., I advised you that Dr. Ford had traveled to meet with the FBI for several hours about the death threats she had been receiving and we would need until tomorrow to confer with her and to be able to provide you with well-considered response. Rather than allowing her the time she needs to respond to the take-it-or-leave-it demand you conveyed, you sent us an e-mail at 5:47, which you again gave to the media first, insisting that we accept your invitation for a Wednesday hearing by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

I have now learned that Senator Grassley has scheduled the committee's vote for this Monday. The 10:00 p.m. deadline is arbitrary. It's sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering decisions for her and her family.

She's already been forced out of her home and continues to be subjected to harassment, hate mail and death threats. Our modest request is that she'd be given an additional day to make her decision.

Sincerely, Debra S. Katz.

Let's bring back the panel.

So, that response is non-responsive. They are saying they want more time.

Niger Innis, do you give them that time?

NIGER INNIS, LEADER, CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY: No, you don't. The fact is the lawyer for Dr. Ford has been playing a tune and Senator Grassley and the Senate Judiciary Committee have been dancing to that tune.

They have been very accommodating. They've basically stalled the potential elevation -- vote for elevation for a Supreme Court justice for several days and at some point, you just have to say, it's time for the Congress and particularly the Senate to do its constitutional duty and provide advice and consent to the president of the United States and vote. CUOMO: Are you 100 percent sure, Niger, that Christine Ford is a

political plant?

INNIS: No, I am not 100 percent of that at all. I actually believe that --

CUOMO: Are you 80 percent?

INNIS: As her friend -- no, no, as her friend said, I think that Dr. Ford is a little bit of a victim in this process as well. I think she is being used as a political football.

CUOMO: Here's why I ask.

INNIS: I think it's interesting Jennifer talked about 46 days before the election. She revealed what this is really all about. This is a political chess match.

GRANHOLM: No, it's you guys have been rushing it. Do not say that about me. I'm saying that take the time.

INNIS: You did say 46 days, Jennifer.

(CROSSTALK)

GRANHOLM: Because that's what the Republicans have been rushing to do. They want to get this done before the election, they're afraid of a Democratic takeover in the House and Senate. That's ridiculous.

CUOMO: Here's why --

GRANHOLM: I'm saying it's what the Republicans are concerned about.

INNIS: And it's six weeks that Dianne Feinstein sat on this letter and drop it right before a vote was about to take place.

GRANHOLM: Because the victim asked for her confidentiality. This is exactly why -- this is exactly why women do not come forward. Seven out of 10 who have been victims of assault do not come forward because of this bullying --

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: Jennifer, you presume that he is guilty without her actually even testify? You presume that he is guilty? That's absurd, Jennifer.

CUOMO: Hold on. Niger, be slow, because let's be honest, OK? Mitch McConnell said today, 100 percent, we're getting it done. The White House, 100 percent, we're behind him. Republicans, 100 percent, he's going to get confirmed.

How the heck did they know when they haven't heard a word? So, let's be slow to say who's presupposing what's true and what isn't true.

The reason I asked you a question about how sure you are, you are a political plant because that letter I just read, unless the Republicans believe that they have good reason to believe she's a plant, what a lousy way to treat someone who could be a victim of a sexual assault? They are treating her like she's a lobbyist in this letter.

This is how much time you get. We've been good enough. You're not getting an investigation. You are not getting any other witnesses.

Think about when that would be OK to do to someone who is a potential victim of a sex crime?

INNIS: I think what they have do, I think it's quite different than that, Chris. I think they have been extremely accommodating regardless.

CUOMO: No witnesses, no investigation.

GRANHOLM: No, they have not, nothing.

INNIS: Again, there has to be a presumption of innocence on the part of, you know -- of course, we know that's a foundation of our judicial system.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Right, but we're not a trial, but even if it were, Niger, then how do you test the presumption of innocence, if you can't have any witnesses and any investigation, all you get is a he said-she said. One of them has to fold, basically to know anything, right?

INNIS: What you do is you do what the Senate committee is doing, which is providing her the -- stopping the process, stopping a constitutional process for one of our branches of government and giving the alleged victim, the potential victim, an opportunity to be heard.

I think it's interesting that she wants -- you know, that her lawyer or her team want the potential Supreme Court justice to speak before she does. And that's bizarre to me. She's the one making the accusation. He -- there was going to be a scheduled, go ahead.

CUOMO: Go ahead, Jennifer.

GRANHOLM: This is so outrageous to me. If you want to really get to the truth, then have you an investigation. Let him take a polygraph to prove that he's innocent. Let him invite some witnesses forward. Let the FBI --

INNIS: Jennifer, you know a polygraph is not admissible in court.

CUOMO: We're not in court.

GRANHOLM: This isn't a court proceeding. I'm saying she has done everything she can to demonstrate her story is true within the power that she has. He has done nothing other than deny.

So the Senate sets up this he said-she said.

INNIS: She should show up and testify.

GRANHOLM: And now we learn tonight, listen, now we learn tonight there has been the whole side effort to smear her character by this guy Ed Whelan who has been apparently affiliated with Judge Kavanaugh and says he's not coordinating, but what he's done is create this false story that she's mixed up, and that she's obviously means some other person that he was tweeting about today.

And we learned that he found out about her identification and her name before even "The Washington Post" story was out. So there is a whole lot of coordination going on to smear her name before she even gets to Washington, D.C. It's a smear campaign against her.

CUOMO: The politics are embarrassing. The timing -- the timing on the Democratic side smells bad. I get the request for anonymity.

INNIS: It's just awful.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: It doesn't smell good.

But what's going on here on the other side smells badly also. And here's the reason I care, ordinarily, I'd say, what else is new? This is how it is down there. We need some kind of change to the dynamic.

However, this ain't normal politics, because these types of situation have to be handled with care. Can the allegation be false? Yes. Can it be faked? Can it be made up? Yes.

How do you know if you only hear from the he said and the she said in this situation? That's what I don't get, Niger. That's what I've never gotten from Judge Kavanaugh's perspective.

God forbid, I ever found myself in his position, I'd be saying, whoa, whoa, whoa, I want an FBI investigation.

GRANHOLM: Hello?

CUOMO: I want everything dug up. Investigate everybody, talk to everyone she says is relevant because I had nothing to do with this. I wasn't there. I've never done anything like this in my life.

Let it get all out there. I want no doubt.

And your side is starving him of that.

INNIS: I will say that God forbid that we create a new standard that an allegation that is nearly four decades old can stop a constitutional --

CUOMO: What do we do with church scandal cases then? So, those kids shouldn't come forward when they're abused?

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: No, you are absolutely free to come forward and you are free -- and obviously, Senator Grassley has bent over backwards, the Senate Judiciary Committee has bent over backward to accommodate that.

CUOMO: How have they bent over backwards?

GRANHOLM: They don't have an investigation.

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: They've delayed -- they've delayed a constitutional process and they have even considered --

GRANHOLM: They've given a bum rush --

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: Dr. Ford's requests were I think is a little strange and unusual, that even though there is nothing on the record in terms of an accusation, there is no date, no time, no place.

CUOMO: Not unusual, by the way, Niger.

INNIS: Whether this assault took place and --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: -- investigated over the years that start off this way, Niger.

Go ahead, last word to you, Gov.

GRANHOLM: Niger, just quick question to you, Niger. I mean, Susan Collins has said that if the -- if Kavanaugh is lying, that that is a disqualifier. If you set up a he said-she said, and you got no ability to verify one way or the other whether someone is lying, do you not think that the public is disadvantaged? That you're going to put somebody on the court who potentially is lying to the Senate but without any investigation?

Forget even the past. How do you know whether he's lying or not unless you have an investigation? How do you know whether he's telling the truth unless have you an investigation?

If this man is as disqualifying to lie and there is no means to test it, then I think the U.S., the judiciary is -- I can't even find the words.

CUOMO: Well, answer the question.

INNIS: Well, I believe that this process, which has gotten a tremendous hearing in the media, and is based on a letter that was passed from Dr. Ford who I believe collaborated with a Stanford university professor or professors, and it was given to a congresswoman, that was then given to Dianne Feinstein and then leaked by a staffer on the Democrats' side. GRANHOLM: You don't know who --

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: No, that's what it's alleged that it was a Democratic staffer that leaked this.

And here is the question. At one point, I mean, let's say that they give her until Friday that she says, no, I don't want to testify on Friday and then Monday and then Wednesday. At one point?

CUOMO: She's asking for one more day.

GRANHOLM: She's asking for one day.

CUOMO: She's asking for one day.

(CROSSTALK)

INNIS: But then her lawyer will ask for more.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Then she doesn't get it. You ask for one day and then that's it.

INNIS: I actually believe that this belief trauma that took place, by the way, I think, Jennifer, you and I might agree that Dr. Ford actually believes that something occurred, some 35 years ago. Was it Kavanaugh? I absolutely don't believe that it was.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You're not going to know that --

GRANHOLM: Here we go, here we go.

CUOMO: That's the problem, but let's -- we've got to leave it there for a time.

INNIS: Let's get to the truth and testify.

CUOMO: But you can't get to the truth if all you have a he said/she said. You know how many cases would never get made that way? You know, if you were at trial, with all the benefits of that system.

But we have to leave it there. But just remember this, everybody was watching at home -- this isn't unfair for those that believe about Ford. It's unfair for Kavanaugh, too. If only the two of them get to testify, there will be so many open questions for people. And I don't know how that's fair for anyone.

Niger, thank you. Gov, appreciate it.

All right. So, Rod Rosenstein is the other big news today. He reportedly discussed trying to remove President Trump using the 25th Amendment.

Michael Caputo has a lot to say about that. He says it may be treason. Former Trump aide is here next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Just minutes ago, Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, released his second statement saying, quote: I never pursue or authorize recording the president and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the president is absolutely false.

According to "The Washington Post", that statement came after White House officials pressured the Justice Department to issue a more forceful denial.

Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo is here correcting the record.

I had it wrong. You did not say you believe that if this was all true, it was treasonous by Rosenstein, I apologize.

What's your take?

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I think it's a personal matter, myself, you know?

CUOMO: Meaning?

CAPUTO: Well, I think that, I wouldn't even be out there talking about -- calling for special counsel. This is something that the White House, itself, can examine.

This is a personnel matter. He's an appointee of the president. Don McGahn is White House counsel. One of the last great things he can do before he goes off and makes millions of dollars in the private sector, is examine this situation, sit down and interview Rod Rosenstein, and find out if this is true.

I got to believe the reporting out of the "New York Times", this gentleman, Mike Schmidt, I've never seen anything wrong.

CUOMO: What did you just say? Did you just say, I've got to believe the reporting out of the "New York Times"?

CAPUTO: I definitely -- I think a lot of the reporting out of the "New York Times" is stellar. I mean --

CUOMO: So you are saying you do believe this or you don't?

CAPUTO: Absolutely, I do. Michael Schmidt, I don't think he's ever been wrong. I call out bad reporting all the time.

I don't call out Mike Schmidt. I don't call people like Maggie Haberman at "The New York Times". I think they're diligent reporters.

And I think Mike Schmidt is on top of this thing. He just tweeted within the hour that he's got more sources on this.

CUOMO: So, why is Rosenstein denying it? Think about the psychology, if he feels so determined --

CAPUTO: I think I'd deny it if I was him, too.

CUOMO: Why? If he felt so strongly about it, you do have the question why didn't he actually do it? But then have you, whether or not it's really in the McCabe memos. Part of the reporting is that part of sourcing of the story is what was seen in the McCabe memos.

And then you have this rabbit hole of how did the McCabe memos get out. I don't care about that for the purposes of this discussion.

But why would he deny it if it was such a bold thought in his head?

CAPUTO: Well, I'll tell you, first of all, we know the Department of Justice declined a demand for the McCabe memos in late July from Congress, and now we know why, if it's, in fact, within those memos. As we also know, it really appears that Rosenstein was really upset with the president for revealing to the public his memo as a predicate for firing James Comey.

What we do know now, if, in fact this took place, is he is either going to be fired or he's going to have to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation, because according to Department of Justice regulations, if he's got an axe to grind with the president, he can't be overseeing this thing.

CUOMO: So, now, we're going to have to figure out whether his denial is a real denial or not, and then we'll see where that goes, or the president could just move on him? Do you the president -- any chance he moves on him? He said tonight there is some stink at the DOJ, we're going to get rid of that.

CAPUTO: Well, I think -- I think he should assign it to Don McGahn. Don McGahn is perfectly capable of looking at this, talk to all the people involved, all the people who were -- could be the source of this thing. I think it can be done in a week.

But one thing that's very clear, if he's out there suggesting to people that they might want to record the president, the only difference between him and Omarosa is a pink slip, Chris. That's it.

CUOMO: All right. Next story, do you give Christine Ford one more day like she's asked for in the letter that we just read on board? You say no?

CAPUTO: No, I don't. I mean, I got to tell you. I have been asked to appear before the Senate myself. They weren't giving me a wiggle room. They have a 72-hour rule for all attendees, all testimony.

CUOMO: Pretty different context, though, Michael. Pretty different context.

CAPUTO: I understand the context. This is a 36-year-old charge that they've had for six weeks, Chris.

CUOMO: No no, I'm talking about the woman that we're talking about here, this is something that reportedly has been scarring to her that she never wanted to come out about. That she spent a lifetime trying to forget. She's going to deal with on a world stage with a clearly hostile panel in front of her.

And, clearly, they are not excited by her existence. They're making this at best a he said/she said for her. You know, it's not exactly you getting called to go talk to Congress.

CAPUTO: But it is a constitutional process, and it is a United States Senate committee. And her attorney doesn't get to set the agenda and design limitations that no one else would get, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. So then they don't get all the limitations. But you could give her a day more to decide.

(CROSSTALK)

CAPUTO: They've had this for six weeks, Chris. They've had it for six weeks, Chris.

CUOMO: But that six weeks is not relevant in terms of an examination of how much time you give Ford.

CAPUTO: No, it's totally relevant.

CUOMO: No, that's on the Democrats. How long the Democrats had it, what they did with it, that's fine. That's not about Christine Ford. She wasn't asking to come forward six weeks ago. She just gave them the letter.

So, this is about, do you give her one more day, not for Christine Ford -- this is the part that I don't know that you guys see clearly. You do it for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, so that there is no suggestion that there was something left over his head, that everything was done, every opportunity was given, and there was nothing there, and his denial is consistent with the findings of what happens with any investigation and witnesses that come forward.

Then if he goes on that court, best efforts were made. If you do it this way, how can you say that?

CAPUTO: I think it's dubious to think -- for you to say that Judge Kavanaugh would want this to happen.

I mean this is on the Democrats, Chris. It's not on the Republicans. They've had this for six weeks.

I think Christine Ford was abused by Democrats. Her name was released by a Democrat staffer. That comes from Senator Coons himself.

CUOMO: Maybe, we don't know that. But maybe, I don't know how Republicans would leak it.

CAPUTO: They're the only ones who knew about it, Chris. They're the only ones.

CUOMO: Well, then what about this Ed Whelan who supposedly was on her LinkedIn page, according to "The Washington Post" or whoever wrote that? You know, things leak lots of different ways.

CAPUTO: I think Ed Whelan made a mistake. I don't know the guy. I think inserting yourself in this process with some kind of dubious claim is a bad move. He's apologized. I wish him well. I don't know anything about him.

I'm quite certain that Judge Kavanaugh has nothing to -- I don't know Judge Kavanaugh personally. I've met him a few times. I got to tell you, this has got to end. This whole charade being conducted by the Democrats has got to end.

And Dr. Ford has one group of people to blame, and that's the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.

CUOMO: They're not in control. They're making the call.

But, Michael Caputo, on a Friday night, of great import --

CAPUTO: They sure are trying to control it, aren't they?

CUOMO: It's not working. They don't have the numbers. They're not in charge.

Thank you very much for making the case.

CAPUTO: No, it's not going to work. It's time to confirm Kavanaugh.

CUOMO: We'll see what happens. Thank you.

All right. So, this Supreme Court clash. The president has gone from "she should be heard, there should be a process" to "she should have said something 36 years ago. Why didn't they call the FBI then?" Which has an arrogance and an ignorance to it that speaks to a much bigger problem than ugly politics.

A closing for those of you who are hurt by what you heard, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. Tonight, we should all be channeling Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine who said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I was appalled by the president's tweet. First of all, we know that allegations of sexual assault -- I'm not saying that's what happened in this case -- but we know that allegations of sexual assault are one of the most unreported crimes that exist. So I thought that the president's tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Appalled, horrified, and with good reason. Collins is right, every word.

No matter your tribe in these silly silo days, you cannot cotton to this crap from the president of the United States when he tweets: I have no doubt that if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local law enforcement authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so we can learn date, time, and place.

This is a man who cherishes women?

Our president is either woefully ignorant, or he has personal views that are truly appalling. As Collins said, we don't know what happened with Ford and Kavanaugh if anything. All allegations are not equal. They can be untrue and even fake.

But the real problem is real claims being silenced. Upwards of 70 percent of victims of attempted or completed assault don't come forward. And one of the major reasons is they fear being disbelieved. Many are young, scared, and/or ashamed, dealing with guilt. This was not an aberration from Trump. This was a double-down on dumb.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to fight for him, not worry about the other side. And by the way, women are for that more than anybody would understand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: What did he just say? Women want to see Ford disadvantaged and treated like an unbelievable political plant. Really?

Tell that to the one in six women in this country who are raped or suffer attempted rape. The one in 33 men by the way. And those numbers may be conservative. Why? Because people don't come forward.

This is a plague. The attackers have every advantage. Ninety-eight percent don't get punished. Victims find that out, and it makes it even less likely to come forward.

I just did a documentary on it. You can find it on HLN on demand. Imagine if you're a victim and you read this Trump tripe.

You watch this toxic confirmation process. And be honest. We just heard the news. The senators are not focused on finding the truth of the Ford allegation.

This is about getting Trump a win, making GOP part of history by capturing control of a generation of jurisprudence. That's what they want. Nothing more, nothing less.

The White House, McConnell, the president all saying 100 percent he's getting through. Not a one of them have heard a word from her directly. Chuck Grassley says, he doesn't even have the full letter, and they're already guaranteeing confirmation.

Now, they may be right. The judge may not have a stitch of blame in this situation. But they don't know that. And it's clear they're not desperate to find out. The urgency rather is in getting him through and calling the Democrats out.

Senator Feinstein and the Democrats held the letter for months, only to release it with a bang after the hearings were over, done, very purposefully to obstruct and resist and delay. Let her testify or not and take the vote.

Now, maybe he's right. Maybe the Democrats did do it. They deny it, but maybe they made a play. I can't prove they did.

But I would argue it doesn't look great for them. I asked Feinstein to come on and talk about why she held on to the anonymity promise and didn't deal with the rest of the promise and the duty to disclose. She declined.

But is that our priority right now? I would argue no. Punishing bad politics at the cost of what? Denying an alleged victim of an attempted assault? The respect that would show we do care about women like this?

A woman who reportedly spoke to friends years ago, to a therapist, to her husband, yet no investigation. No extra witnesses. No delay. Do it now. Deal with our skepticism and obvious frustration with your existence, and you will at best get a shot at a he said/she said.

And then we wonder about that 70 percent stat of people who stay quiet. It starts to make sense, doesn't it?

This is not an argument, by the way. This is a plea. The senators are going to do what works for them and their aims. That much is clear. I'm not worried about them.

There are people who matter a lot more. There are boys, girls, men, and women. Many may be watching. And when it comes to these types of experiences, you are still in the shadows. You are afraid of what people will say, what they'll believe and not believe, and that talking will only make it worse.

Please know this. The president does not echo the soul of this country in this regard. The truth is there are many more who will help you than try to hurt you.

We're going to put a hotline number on the screen. If you need help, make a call. Coming forward is not easy, but it is better than the alternative.