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The Woman Accusing Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Of Sexually Assaulting Her Has Just Agreed To Speak Before The Senate Judiciary Committee Next Week; Carolinas Are Still Reeling From Hurricane Florence; Rosenstein Vehemently Denies Allegations Against Him. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired September 22, 2018 - 16:00   ET



[16:00:57] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with us.

Our breaking news, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her has just agree to testify before the senate judiciary committee next week. But several particulars like the exact date and the terms of the hearing are still up in the air.

Christine Blasey Ford's legal team released a statement when that deadline and this is it.

Dr. Ford accepts the committee's request to provide her firsthand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh's sexual misconduct next week. Although many aspects of the proposal you provided via email on September 21st, 2018 at 2:33 p.m. are fundamentally inconsistent with the committee's promise of a fair, impartial investigation into her allegations. And we are disappointed with the leaks and bullying that have tainted the process. We are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details. Can we set up a time for later this afternoon to continue our negotiations?

Now Republicans are expressing their frustration at that request including Senator Orrin Hatch, a member of the senate judiciary committee, tweeted this.

Worth noting this is exactly where we were Monday morning. Without agreeing to a date, time, and terms, we are no closer to hearing from Dr. Ford than we were when her lawyers said Dr. Ford was willing to testify during their media tour six days ago.

Our Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue is in Washington for us.

Ariane, there are still major sticking points to work through, what are they?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, you are absolutely right, because what is this testimony? Sources close to Ford say to me that they want, they believe that the hearing that they occur should definitely happen on Thursday. And they are still bothered by the fact that the committee wants to bring in an outside counsel here. Remember, this committee on the Republican side has no females. And so they are talking about bringing in a woman, perhaps, or an outside counsel to ask some of the questions.

And another thing is that Ford has always wanted the committee to subpoena other people, for instance Mark Judge. He was allegedly another man in the room. So what she said here is, I'm willing to come in but I would like to have this conference call later on this afternoon to talk about some of this. And that's bothered people, the White House for one, and as you said, Hatch, and also, sources who are familiar with the process and support Kavanaugh, they say, look, what is this, has she accepted or not, and why do we keep going back and forth?

But Ana, there is one other thing that we should mention. And that is the fact we learned from Debra Katz that they have brought in a new attorney here and brought in a man named Michael Bromwich. He is a former inspector general of the department of justice. He is actually also handling another matter having to do with the Russia investigation. But he is a Washington player who knows a lot about investigations and has been here for a long time, and it's a very interesting add to their legal team.

CABRERA: What does his ad tell you?

DE VOGUE: Well, don't forget that the Democrats and Ford, first they wanted an independent, what they called an independent investigation. They wanted the FBI to look at this first and maybe then have a hearing. And the Republicans, senator Grassley, said no, that's not how this works. He brought up a separation of powers argument. He said it's up to the senators to do this, or the committee to do the investigation. And he even has started the investigation. Keep in mind, Kavanaugh has spoken to committee lawyers under oath. But the Democrats, they haven't taken part in that. So it's just another odd twist in this saga. And I guess now we have to wait until this conference call later on this afternoon to see where things are. And that's going to really frustrate senator Grassley who said he believes he's already been very accommodating.

[16:05:15] CABRERA: We will be here through it all to help guide our viewers with what we know.

Thank you, Ariane de Vogue.

Now, all week long, the drama surrounding Kavanaugh's nomination has drawn comparisons to the controversy that gripped this country more than 25 years ago, when Anita Hill testified under oath that she suffered sexual harassment at the hands of then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.


ANITA HILL, ACCUSED JUDGE CLARENCE THOMAS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: He talked about pornographic materials, depicting individuals with large penises or large breasts involved in various sex acts. On several occasions, Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And from my standpoint, as a black American, as

far as I'm concerned, it is a high tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves or do for themselves.


CABRERA: Joining us now, Emma Jordan. She was one of Anita Hill's attorneys in 1991. She helped prepare her for that hearing. And she is also a Georgetown law professor.

Emma, it is so great to have you with us. First, just your reaction to this breaking news that Ford has accepted the request to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

EMMA JORDAN, MEMBER OF THE LEGAL TEAM WHO HELPED ANITA HILL FOR 1991 HEARING: I think it's a good development. It's important that the country here what her experience was. And it's important that she has lawyers. Michael Bromwich has been added to the team as well, that's a good development. Her current lawyer, Debra Katz, all of them are terrific supporters and helping to navigate this terrain, because we are working in a situation that's the same in some ways to the way it was in 1991 and different. Some of the similarities are that some of the same senators are on this committee. Hatch is on the committee. And, we have got --.

CABRERA: Grassley and Leahy are the other ones.

JORDAN: Grassley and Leahy are on the committee. So there are similarities. Some of the techniques that are being used to characterize her are similar. Senator Hatch has said she is mixed up. And for Anita Hill, he held up a copy of "the exorcist," saying that the story she -- her account of what Clarence Thomas said was taken from a fiction.

So this idea of trying to diminish the importance of a woman's experience, unfortunately for some on the committee, there's no progress. I think it is crucial that the country see our elected representatives interact with this witness. The idea of hiring outside counsel, a woman, to question her, this is not the kind of leadership we expect.

CABRERA: Now, just a second, though, because they are saying that that is in part to be sensitive to her, knowing that the Republicans on the panel are all male.

JORDAN: Well, I'm not an (INAUDIBLE). I know a lot of very sensitive men and there may even be some of those sensitivities represented on the committee. But what I'm concerned about is that this is an effort to cover over deficits that they may perceive. There are sensitive men. And I think the country should see what our elected representatives do in this situation. And outsourcing that very sensitive responsibility, it's not the kind of leadership we deserve.

CABRERA: Let's listen to what some of this nation's leaders have said this week, Republicans who are preparing for this upcoming hearing.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Brett Kavanaugh, fantastic man. He was born for the U.S. Supreme Court. He was born for it.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: You have watched the fight. You have watched the tactics. But here's what I want to tell you. In the very near future, judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a very strong, decent man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you believe him?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe the accuser at all or no?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think she's mistaken.


[16:10:01] CABRERA: Sounds to me, Emma, it could be a long shot that Ford's testimony would change minds some of these men we just heard from. But is there another goal? Is there more value to still hearing from her?

JORDAN: Yes, there is more value. The country has changed. We have many women who are now coming forward to tell their stories. And the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, sexual assault, is widely known. Now, whether or not our elected representatives on that committee have caught up with the rest of the country, we don't know. And we won't know if they hire a woman to ask questions. We want to hear from our leaders.

I thought that the comment made by senator McConnell was regrettable, when he said we are just going to plow through. Plow through what? A woman's experience with sexual violence as she can recall something that happened 36 years ago?

I think this idea that brute political power is what the country deserves is mistaken. We are at a time where leadership, intelligence, sensitivity, and growth in understanding what women experience in this nation is in order. And so plowing through is not what we expect. We expect some sort of interaction and accommodation.

I will say also that senator McConnell has the same approach when we had Merrick Garland. He said, we are not going to even talk to him. So that idea of asserting raw political power to achieve goals is something that the country will see. And I think we are not going to be mistaken about what we see. And more importantly, we are not going to be duped by bringing in an outsourced woman to ask questions.

CABRERA: We will see where this all ends up.

Emma Jordan, thank you for offering us your perspective, we really appreciate it.

JORDAN: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: It is an extraordinary headline even for this White House. Sources say deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein discussed wearing a wire to record conversations with President Trump. And even recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment. So now, will Trump fire Rosenstein? We have new details on the President's thinking, coming up.


[16:17:13] CABRERA: Is this the report that could give President Trump an excuse to fire the man in charge of the Russia probe?

CNN sources now confirm a story first reported by "the New York Times" that in the days after James Comey was fired as FBI director, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office, and wearing a wire to secretly record the President. Rosenstein vehemently denies both claims, calling them absolutely false.

But the question now becomes how will the President react? Will he try to push or even fire Rosenstein? And if he does, what else could come unglued? The President clearly has the justice department on his mind during a rally in Missouri last night. Listen.


TRUMP: We have great people in the department justice. We have great people. These are people, I really believe you take a poll, I have got to be at 95 percent. But you have some real bad ones. You have seen what's happened at the FBI, they are all gone. They are all gone. They are all gone. But there's a lingering stench and we are going to get rid of that too.


CABRERA: Joining us now, former Nixon White House counsel and CNN contributor John Dean.

John, always good to have your expertise with us. Could this report be the basis for Trump's own Saturday night massacre?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, let's leap over the fact that there is conflicting reporting on this. It's not been clear, "the Washington Post" is different from "the New York Times" and that in turn is different from NBC reporting. So we are not exactly sure what happened. There were two meetings involved, being reported on. We don't know what happened in two meetings, one meeting, so on.

But let's just take the worst case and say that he did recommend wearing a wire and raised the 25th amendment. It is a clear pretext for Trump to act on. Whether he acts appropriately or not, I don't know. You have got to remember, the deputy attorney general does a lot more

than merely oversee the Russia investigation. This is the guy who really runs the department of justice. He is the one who makes it possible for Sessions to travel around the country giving speeches. So Sessions will be having in essence both his hands cut off and a couple of feet cut off if this happens.

CABRERA: Rosenstein is in charge, though, of overseeing the Russia investigation because sessions has recused himself. So let's just focus on that specifically. What would happen if he were gone? What would that mean for the Mueller investigation?

DEAN: There is some confusion as to the succession in the department of justice. Trump has issued two different executive orders on succession. The normal statutory provision is the attorney general, when the attorney general can't take it and is recused, it's the deputy attorney general. If the deputy attorney general isn't there, it's the next appointed and confirmed associate attorney general. That post is now filled by an acting. There is nobody really that holds that post with confirmation. The next confirmed person in the hierarchy is the solicitor general who was selected by Trump. So that's where it could go. And he is a pretty straight shooter.

[16:20:45] CABRERA: Now, according to "the Washington Post," President Trump asked advisers yesterday whether he should fire Rosenstein. They talked him out of it. In the meantime he is getting mixed advice from his favorite network FOX News. Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The President tonight should seriously consider whether Rod Rosenstein should remain on the job. We just cannot have this plotting at the highest levels of the justice department against the chief executive of this executive branch.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I have a message for the President tonight. Under zero circumstances should the President fire anybody. They are hoping and praying that the President does just that. They are hoping he gets mad, that he gets sick and tired of it, and that they can turn this politically into their equivalent of a Friday night massacre. The President needs to know it is all a setup.


CABRERA: John, if you were advising the President, what would you tell him?

DEAN: I would tell him first of all Sean got it wrong, it was the Saturday night massacre, not Friday night, so wait for a weekend. This is interesting, that FOX is on two sides of this. I think that Sean thinks it is a setup, and he might know about who leaked it, and that making it more of a setup. They might have peddled this story to other places.

What I would tell the President to do is try to get all the facts. I assume, when the story first broke, Ana, what I did is tweeted that I assumed that the deputy attorney general had called McGahn at the White House to tell him exactly what had happened. I suspect from later activities they had talked, because they came back and asked for a stronger statement from the justice department, which was issued.

CABRERA: John Dean, I have one last question for you, and that is, you know, if all of this is true, and CNN has also corroborated and confirmed much of the reporting from "the New York Times" including the fact that there was this conversation about wearing a wire, the fact that this is all getting out there now, what do you make of it?

DEAN: Well, you know, the timing is interesting, because it's pre- election. We are just a matter of days, literally, from the midterms. It is no telling how people could read this. But I think it would be read as an effort to shut down the investigation, because that's the kind of noise he's made. For that reason, I think Trump is probably smart enough to not do anything until after the election.

CABRERA: John Dean, always good to see you. Thank you very much for taking the time.

Coming up, I'll talk to a former colleague of Rod Rosenstein. What does he think about these reports that his friend suggested wearing a wire to secretly record the President, as well as witnesses who can't agree on whether he was being sarcastic or serious? Our discussion, next.


[16:28:09] CABRERA: Was it a plan to remove the President from office or a sarcastic comment taken the wrong way? As Rod Rosenstein pushes back on reports that he discussed wearing a wire to secretly record President Trump, witnesses are offering differing descriptions of his comment.

One source who was in the room for the discussion tells CNN Rosenstein was being sarcastic when he discussed the wire comment. But others told "the New York Times" which first broke this bombshell story that Rosenstein was serious and even raised the idea of others wearing a wire.

Joining me now, former U.S. attorney and a friend and former colleague of Rod Rosenstein, Jan Paul Miller.

Jan, great to have you with us. What do you make of these reports? Does it sound like the person you know?

JAN PAUL MILLER, FORMER COLLEAGUE OF ROD ROSENSTEIN: Well, I know a couple of things. First of all, Rod, as I understand it, has said that the reporting is factually inaccurate, and I obviously did not go through the details of which parts were - were not correct. But if Rod says there is information in there that is factually inaccurate, that there is information that is factually inaccurate. He does have a very dry sense of humor. So could something have been said as a joke as sarcastic comment that other people took a different way, sure, that's possible.

CABRERA: When is the last time you spoke with Rosenstein?

MILLER: Talk with Rod, probably about two or three months ago.

CABRERA: OK, so just a couple of months ago since he has been part of this administration. What was his mindset then?

MILLER: Well, you know, when I'm talking with Rod these days I try to stay away from business. We don't really talk about details. He was -- as far as his mindset, he was calm. He was his usual self. I mean, we talked about catching up on each other's lives and that sort of thing.

[16:30:00] CABRERA: Now, if this reporting is true that Rosenstein was genuinely worried about Trump's fitness for office at that time, more than a year ago after the firing of James Comey, and he even discussed invoking the 25th Amendment, again, according to the reporting, what does that tell you?

MILLER: Again, I'm not going to speculate as to exactly what was said or what wasn't said. But, I think -- you know, I was in the Department of Justice for 17 years. And I think anybody who has worked with the department, with the FBI, knows that the individuals in the department and the FBI are some of the most dedicated, professional people that we have within the government. And that the department itself is one of the pillars, frankly, of our country. And so it would, frankly, be surprising to me, given the ongoing attacks that we've been seeing on DOJ and on the FBI over the last 18 months --


MILLER: -- if there weren't talks within the government regarding these types of things.

CABRERA: Forgive me, I didn't mean to interrupt. But I was thinking about what you told me about your conversations with Rod Rosenstein, your friend. When I think just, in general, it's hard to avoid talking politics, period, especially with people who are close to you, because of how prominently they are, constantly in our face. I'm wondering, have you ever heard him say that he thinks President Trump is unfit for office?

MILLER: No, no, nothing of the sort.

CABRERA: You say he is a man of integrity, a man who prioritizes service to his country. What if he thought the president was incompetent, what would he do?

MILLER: Well, I think anybody of Rod's position, if they feel that there's a problem with the executive, then he's going to talk with a variety of people. He's going to talk with his senior advisers. He's going to talk with other people at his level in the government to determine what, if anything, should be done. You know, it's not something that anybody would take on lightly. The protections that need to be put up for the department are very important for government itself. So anybody who has been in the government as long as Rod has and takes his job as seriously as Rod does, if those concerns creep into their thinking, it would be incumbent upon them to talk with others at their level and determine what course of action to take.

CABRERA: Earlier this month, a senior administration official penned an anonymous op-ed in the "New York Times" claiming there was a resistance in the Trump administration, including discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment. After the Rosenstein reporting, Donald Trump Jr tweeted this, "We likely have a winner in the search for anonymous, anything to subvert a president who is actually getting things done for America for a change."

Jan, any chance Rosenstein wrote that op-ed?

MILLER: In my opinion, no chance whatsoever. Rod is not going to -- that would not be the way he would operate. He wouldn't be putting out something like that in public. He would be working within the system. He would be working with the other professionals in the government to do what he thinks is necessary. I don't think there's any chance he wrote that.

CABRERA: Jan Paul Miller, good to have your perspective. Thank you very much for taking the time.

MILLER: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: It could be the start of a major environmental crisis. Look at these images. Rising floodwaters now threatening coal ash spills in the Carolinas. A live report, next.


[16:37:07] CABRERA: The Carolinas are still reeling from Hurricane Florence, more than a week after the deadly storm made landfall. As the floodwaters continue to rise, the threat of a coal ash spill looms large. In Conway, South Carolina, officials have now put up inflatable dams around an ash pond that contains industrial waste, including arsenic and mercury. In Wilmington, North Carolina, environmentalists fear coal ash could be seeping into the Cape Fear River after a dam breach at a Duke Energy plant.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung is joining us now from outside that coal plant in Wilmington.

Kaylee, what is the situation there right now?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, Duke Energy says there are no signs of coal ash releasing in to the cooling lake, known as Sutton Lake, where the dam was breached by the floodwaters of the Cape Fear River. They maintain the coal ash basins are in good condition. They've taken water samples. They did do after that dam was breached yesterday. Those results will not be returned until late tonight or first thing tomorrow morning. That will give them not just confidence, but data to really better understand the situation that we're dealing with here.

In the meantime, they are performing ground inspections, aerial inspections.

Just a few moments ago, I spoke with Erin Colbert, a spokeswoman for Duke Energy, who had just gotten a firsthand look.


ERIN COLBERT, SPOKESWOMAN, DUKE ENERGY: So I had an opportunity to go up in one of the aerial inspections by helicopter. We can tell by that kinds of bird's-eye view that the coal ash dams at the Sutton site remain well protected, they are stable and they are containing the coal ash.


HARTUNG: While there's the belief by Duke Energy that the coal ash is not released into the water in this area, they do say another byproduct of coal combustion has. They call them senospheres (ph). It's not a word in our everyday language, but these are tiny byproducts of the coal combustion process that have a similar consistency to sand. I touched the product myself and was assured that it could do no harm to me, and that in their experience this is not in any sort of way a danger to the environment in this area -- Ana?

CABRERA: All right, Kaylee Hartung, we know you will keep us updated. Thank you.

Thirteen years after first reporting on the world's most dangerous gang, Lisa Ling returns to the ultra-violent world of M.S.-13. America's most feared and violent street gang is making headlines again with a series of killings on the east coast. On tomorrow's season premiere of "THIS IS LIFE," Lisa Ling embeds with groups on the front line trying to combat this deadly gang's resurgence.


LISA LING, CNN HOST, "THIS IS LIFE": So when DeMaris was brought here, there were people waiting for her?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, when she arrived there was 10 members of a local M.S.-13 clique waiting for her.

LING: Do you think all 10 of those people knew that she was going to be killed that day?

[16:40:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think some of the other people were less involved. They thought they were coming here to rough her up. But I don't think they actually knew she was going to be killed.

LING (voice-over): In broad daylight, DeMaris was taken off the trail and led deep into the woods. What unfolded there was recorded on a cellphone by her assailants, and still images from the video were later released to the public.

(on camera): So they're initially interrogating her? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They want to know what her role was in the

killing of this other M.S.-13 gang member. They're asking her what she knows, who was involved. She looks like a girl you would see at the mall. Instead, she's being questioned by a very violent gang.

LING: What of her demeanor while all this is happening?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's yelling back at them. They're hitting her. It's a terrible thing to watch.


CABRERA: "THIS IS LIFE," with Lisa Ling, premieres tomorrow night at 10:15 right after "Anthony Bourdain, "PARTS UNKNOWN."

We'll be right back.


[16:45:53] CABRERA: Welcome back. As we wait to hear the terms and the timing of Christine Blasey Ford's testimony against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has already made attempts to discredit her, tweeting: "If Dr. Ford was sexually assaulted and the attack was as bad as she claims, why was there no police report? Why didn't her," quote, "loving parents report the crime to police?"

At the very least this is an ill-informed question being raised by the most powerful man in the world, a man who, himself, has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women.

Here are the facts. One in five women will be raped at some point in their lives. When it comes to the broader context of sexual assault, the number is even greater. One in three women will experience that. In most rape cases, eight out of 10 to be exact, the victim knows his or her attacker.

When it comes to actually reporting the crime, the numbers are not good. And 63 percent of sexual assaults, more than half, are not reported to police. On the chance they are reported, 99 percent of perpetrators go completely unpunished. They walk free. Again, 99 percent.

False reporting, on the other hand, is incredibly low. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, just 2 to 10 percent of women aren't telling the truth when they come forward with claims of sexual assault.

So why are there so many women, and men, too, who don't report it when they are victims of sex crimes? The president doesn't seem to understand why Kavanaugh's accuser waited so long. Some female Republican voters don't either. Based on my own reporting, though, I can tell you this, after interviewing law enforcement, victim advocates, researchers, and survivors themselves, often times, they're afraid. Afraid of being blamed. Afraid of not being believed. Like you just saw there. Afraid of retaliation. Afraid of having to relive the assault. Sometimes it's because they're ashamed, they feel guilty. Maybe if they hadn't gotten into that car. Maybe if they hadn't gone in a room alone with a man. Sometimes they're struggling to accept what happened. They think if they don't talk about it, if they don't admit it, then maybe they'll forget about it.

Sometimes it's simply a question of whether it's worth it. Is it worth having your integrity and your character called into question when 99 percent of perpetrators go free?

One last note. In the time it has taken me to read this, another American has been sexually assaulted. It happens every 98 seconds, according to the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

That hotline number, for those who need help, is there right now on your screen.

Let me bring in Wendy Murphy, a former sex crimes prosecutor. Also Dr. Richard Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Friedman, I want to start with you.

What do you make of the way Professor Ford has handled this situation? Without making any specific judgments about Ford, is it consistent with someone who is the victim of sexual assault?

DR. RICHARD FRIEDMAN, PROFESSOR OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY, WEILL CORNELL MEDICAL COLLEGE: Yes, entirely. One would expect if that someone were sexually assaulted or traumatized in any comparable way, that even if it happened decades ago, they would still be able to remember it. In fact, Dr. Ford never forgot it. This is not a recovered memory. This was a trauma she was unable to forget. She even talked about it with her therapist in 2012. So, no, I don't think it's surprising at all.

CABRERA: Wendy, I know you've worked with a lot of sexual assault victims. There's a reason that sexual assault is a very underreported crime.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Yes. And your introduction was so spot on. I've never heard it so perfectly described in my career, covering all the bases in terms of why victims don't come forward.

But I just want to take it to another level and explain -- and people don't remember this -- but one of the reasons women are disrespected under the law and in society is because we are not yet equal under the Constitution. And make no mistake about it, if you are a second-class citizen, you are going to be subjected to second-class justice. And you are not going to be believed when your attacker denies what happened. That person, because he's a man, has superior status under the Constitution, therefore, he will be given superior credibility in terms of the presumption we afford human beings in this country. It is ghastly to me that the Equal Rights Amendment has not yet been ratified. We're close, we're only one state away.

[16:50:33] But to me, closing that gap on not only how we treat women with regard to believing them or not, but also incidence rates. Incidence rates are so high, but that's because the space between equality and inequality is where violence against women happens with impunity under the law. So we need equality first and lots of these problems will disappear. We also need a cultural reform movement that makes it very clear there's absolutely no reason for victims not to come forward. We have to stop talking about why they don't come forward and start turning them into heroes. Win or lose. It isn't about winning. It's about being counted, being heard, being visible, being respected. That's what we're not getting right in this country.

CABRERA: Dr. Friedman, you know a lot about how the mind works. Judge Kavanaugh says he unequivocally denies this assault happened. Is it possible he truly doesn't remember this happening, even if it did happen?

FRIEDMAN: Well, you know, if the -- what Dr. Ford has said, and what many have said, is that this is 36 or so years ago, and these were teenagers, and it's entirely possible that Judge Kavanaugh, at the time of the alleged sexual assault, was heavily intoxicated. And if that were the case, you would expect that someone who is intoxicated would not encode memory and would not remember. That doesn't mean, of course, that it didn't happen. But they may be telling the truth that they literally can't recall it.

But I also think it's important for your viewers to realize that even if it's true that somebody is intoxicated, if they perpetrate the kind of sexual assault that Judge Kavanaugh is alleged to have done, that's not indicative of the typical teenage prank. That's a very, very serious assault.


CABRERA: Wendy -- oh, sorry, please go ahead. Please continue, Doctor.

FRIEDMAN: Sorry. And one that cannot be explained by the presence of alcohol. Alcohol does not make people de novo violent sexual predators. Alcohol basically disinhibits people and reveals impulses they have that are already there.

CABRERA: Wendy, as we look at how the Judiciary Committee has handled this, Chairman Chuck Grassley tweeted this last night, "Five times now we have granted an extension for Dr. Ford to decide if she wants to proceed with her desire stated one week ago, if she wants to tell the Senate her story. Dr. Ford, if you've changed your mind, say so, so we can move on. I want to hear your testimony. Come to us, or we to you."

Meantime, Senator Orrin Hatch said this.


SEN. ORRIN HATCH, (R), UTAH: He's a very strong, decent man.


RAJU: Do you believe the accuser at all? Or no?

HATCH: I think she's mistaken. I think she's mistaken something. But I don't know. I mean, I don't -- I don't know her.


CABRERA: Wendy, is that going to encourage her to share her story?

MURPHY: Look, you know, Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley could not be worse for women in this country. They are just the worst. And I just hope the victim understands how they're treating her and this level of disrespect is not what's going to happen to her. She will be supported. Yes, there will be people against her. Sadly, it's a partisan divide, which makes no sense at all, but it is a political matter.

I hope she understands that not everyone is going to say, oh, do we believe her or him, because they're both highly credentialed people. They have lots of people on their sides, good character witnesses. Sometimes the best question is, does it appear to be a lie, does it appear to be a mistake.

And here is the problem for the Republicans. Dr. Ford said not only that she was attacked by Judge Kavanaugh but that a key eyewitness to the attack was Judge Kavanaugh's friend, Mark Judge, a man who, no doubt about it, was going to predictably come forward and support his buddy, which he did. Mind you, he won't submit himself to cross- examine, which makes me think he's not all that confident in his statement. But of course, she's not lying. That's what we have to focus on. No matter what you know about whether you believe one or the other, how about just focusing on whether she's lying or whether she's mistaken. You don't name the judge's friend as a key eyewitness unless you're telling the truth because he's not going to help you.

[16:55:16] CABRERA: Wendy Murphy and Dr. Richard Friedman, thank you both. Great to have you both with us.

FRIEDMAN: Thank you.

CABRERA: We'll be right back.


[17:00:01] CABRERA: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.

Breaking news, the woman accusing Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her as just agreed to speak before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. Christine Blasey Ford --