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Will Trump Fire Rosenstein Over 25th Amendment & Wearing a Wire Allegations; GOP Rep. Paul Gosar's Family Attacks Him in Campaign Ad for Opponent; The Worst is Yet to Come with Rising Waters in the Carolinas. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 22, 2018 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: 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 has just agreed to speak before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. Christine Blasey Ford was given a deadline of this afternoon to say, once and for all, whether she would go under oath before the committee and describe what she calls an attack by Kavanaugh when they were both teenagers.

Still, several particulars, like the exact date and the terms of this hearing, are up in the air. Christine Blasey Ford's legal team released a statement, when that deadline arrived at 2:30 Eastern this afternoon.

This is their statement. 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 e- mail on September 21, 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 the 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?

Republicans expressing frustration at that request. Senator Orrin Hatch, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeting this. Worth noting that this is exactly where we were on Monday morning. Without agreeing to a date, time and terms, we are no closer to hearing from Dr. Ford than we were when her lawyer said Dr. Ford was willing to testify during their media tour six days ago.

Our Supreme Court Reporter Ariane De Vogue joins us in Washington. So, Ariane, clearly, there are still more sticking points to work out here. Walk us through those sticking points.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, Ana, you're absolutely right. Because if you carefully read this statement, she said, as you said, that Ford accepts the committee's request to provide her firsthand knowledge. We assume that means that she will testify. But there are still conditions, right?

Sources close to her have told me that she still believes that this hearing should be on Thursday. She still believes that the senators should ask the questions themselves.

Remember, this committee, on the Republican side, is made up of men and they have reserved the right to bring in a female lawyer to answer -- or to ask some of the questions. And she also says that she thinks that other people should be called to testify. For instance, Mark Judge, the man who was allegedly in the room.

So, the statement has come out. And what's interesting is the White House and sources close to the process who really are in support of Kavanaugh, they're very frustrated now. And one of them told me, this is outrageous conduct aimed at destroying a man's reputation by dragging out the process. They're really furious. She was given a deadline, and they don't -- they feel like she didn't meet it.

But now, Ana, the ball is in Grassley's court. And he has said he has these sticking points. He cares very much about the timing of the hearings. He wants that to occur quickly. He says that there should be no other witnesses. There should just be Kavanaugh and Ford. And he's also said they reserve the right to have an outside counsel. This is their investigation, and they should be able to do it.

One more interesting thing, Ana, that we've learned is that Ford's team has added a big player here. They've added another lawyer, Michael Bromwich. He's the former inspector general of the Department of Justice. And that's interesting. That shows that they wanted somebody in here who understands Washington investigations and Congressional investigations and has a lot of experience -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Ariane De Vogue, thank you.

The White House is now responding to Christine Ford's request for further negotiations on the time and terms of this hearing. Our White House Reporter Sarah Westwood is not far from where the president is spending the weekend in New Jersey. Sarah, fill us in.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Ana, it's clear that the White House is not entirely satisfied with this response from Christine Blasey Ford's legal team. They're making the argument that because her legal team asked for more time to negotiate the details of a hearing, that this is just another speed bump for Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process.

A senior White House official had this to say about Ford's statement. "This is not a yes. It's another delay after Judge Kavanaugh has agreed to testify for a week now."

And the sense inside the White House, according to this official, is that the Senate Judiciary Committee has already been accommodating to Ford's conditions about her testimony. That same White House official tells me, at a certain point, you have to ask the question, when is this process going to be fair to Brett Kavanaugh? There have been complaints from Ford's side that the professor hasn't been treated fairly as the committee has pushed to accelerate this process.

Now, the official told said the White House would support holding that vote on Monday. That's a confirmation vote for Brett Kavanaugh that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley had scheduled for Monday, in the event that Ford didn't respond by the 2:30 p.m. deadline today. However, she did.

[17:05:12]

Because the details of the hearing are still up in the air, it's unclear when this will be resolved for the Trump administration. But it's clear that inside the White House, there's a lot of unease about how long this process is taking -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Sarah Westwood reporting. Thank you.

Let's talk about what happens next. Joining us now, CNN Legal Analyst, and defense attorney, Page Pate; Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun-Times," Lynn Sweet; and host of "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED," here on CNN tonight at 6:00, S.E. Cupp.

S.E. first. Your reaction to where we have landed almost a week after Ford came forward and publicly accusation Kavanaugh.

S.E. CUPP, HOST, "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED": Yes. Sort of where we started. This was -- for sure, this latest statement by Professor Ford's lawyers, was an attempt of buying some more time. As you mentioned, there's a lot of vagaries in that letter. Yes, we want to testify. We want to tell our story. But we still want to keep negotiating, essentially. So, nothing is firm.

And I think Republicans, on the Senate side, are rightly getting a little frustrated that this keeps seeming to go on with no finality in sight. Remember, this only came out a week after Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing had ended, because Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein had held on to this.

And so, there's a lot of frustration, not that professor Ford is politicizing this, but that Democrats are politicizing this. And the timing of this and using her lawyers to stall this so that it gets nowhere, or it gets to a place of impossibility and pressure for Republicans to either push the button, confirm him, and pay the price politically, or Democrats succeed in getting him delayed or unconfirmed.

CABRERA: And let me ask you, Lynn. Senator Orrin Hatch echoing some of what we just heard from S.E., talking about, here we are, exactly where we were on Monday, no time, no date, no terms. Do you think this is a stall tactic?

SWEET: Absolutely not. Number one, when you -- this is not a matter of fair or unfair to the nominee. Every nominee knows if they choose voluntarily to go for a lifetime appointment, that everything in their life is subject to being scrubbed. There is no statute of limitations. Things come up and you might not get everything on the first pass, number one.

Number two, when it comes to the issue of stalling and the Republicans, I only have two words to tell everybody on this. Those two words are Merrick Garland. So, spare us the woes of Republicans who are twisting their hands and dabbing their eyes with their handkerchiefs over delay. They wouldn't even give a hearing to a Judicial nominee of President Barack Obama for partisan reasons.

And then, the other thing to consider. You didn't start out as an anchor. You had some experience. You're talking about the public how to do things. This is a woman who may never have even spoken to a large audience. This will be a national audience. Don't you think it takes time to prepare, to know how to get your thoughts together, how to communicate, just to learn she -- I don't know if she has spent her life watching Senate hearings, just to even know and learn the procedures or how things go on.

You have people who prepare executives and government relations people for tons of coaching time before they go testify. This is not an extraordinary amount of time. And then you add on this, this is not testifying about your views on some regulation impacting your industry. It's about your life. And one of the most sensitive things to her life. So, spare me this artificial timeline. These things will get sorted out.

CABRERA: I wonder, S.E., if it's even possible, too, that having talked to a lot of women who are victims of sexual assault, women in college, women in nursing homes, I mean the gamut.

CUPP: Yes.

CABRERA: There has been a lot of trauma that they've experienced. And is it possible that her lawyers aren't trying to be strategic in kicking the can down the road, so to speak? But that she, herself, Professor Ford, is grappling with whether she can do this? That -- I mean, she could be working through emotions and they can't pressure her into making a decision any faster.

CUPP: Absolutely, of course all of that's possible. It's also inarguable that Republicans are guilty of stalling with Merrick Garland. That doesn't prove that this isn't also a stall tactic.

But, yes, I mean, my point is not that Professor Ford should reach a quicker conclusion. My point is there is a process here. And whether we want -- whether we like it or not, there is a timeline because Republicans want to do this before midterm elections and Democrats don't. I mean, that's not saying anything controversial or partisan. That is a fact.

[17:10:17] And so, to pretend that Republicans are crazy for wanting to move this forward and that Republican -- and that Democrats are completely pure in their intentions to delay this is a fantasy. That's the case. Whether professor Ford would like more time, that is completely understandable.

Unfortunately, the reality is this confirmation hangs in the balance. This letter that she sent to her lawmaker was, I presume, sent for a reason, to have an impact on this confirmation. And so, it is. It is having an impact.

CABRERA: And so, here we are, Page, to talk about the terms, potentially, of this upcoming hearing. The latest proposal from Republicans is that we'll only hear from Ford and Kavanaugh. There will be no other witnesses. There will be no other investigation. No one can be subpoenaed. If this is the case, are we actually going to get to the truth or are we going to end up with a he said-she said?

PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Ana, I don't think we'll get to the truth here, and I don't think that's really what the senators at least on the GOP side want to do. I think we've heard at least one of them say they simply want to plow through this; they want to get through these allegations.

And the details here are critical. If they bring Dr. Ford in to try to cross-examine her and make this about her instead of the nominee, I think that is a huge mistake, politically. And it's not fair, legally. If this were all about Dr. Ford, she could have done something different. She could have pursued a civil lawsuit against judge Kavanaugh. She could have tried to bring a criminal case against him.

And my understanding, in many states, I think Maryland is one of them, there is no statute of limitations on a sexual assault. So, if she wanted to make this about her, then she could certainly pursue a different angle. But whatever the testimony ends up being, it should be fair. And the senators should do the questioning, not bring in somebody who is going to cross-examine Dr. Ford.

CABRERA: Page, how many cases would be made if the jury was only ever allowed to hear just from the accuser and the defendant?

PATE: Well, very few, Ana, obviously. It is enough, though, under criminal law in most states, for the accuser to make a statement and that is sufficient evidence to bring formal charges. And that's why I said, if she wanted to pursue this aggressively, she could try to bring a criminal case.

But if you're going to really try to find out what happened and get to the truth, you need all of the witnesses who may have been present. You need a full investigation; what she has been asking for since all of this came out. So, if you put aside their time constraints, and I do believe and agree that they're artificial, give this investigation what it's due.

This is an important issue to the American people. Are we about to confirm someone to the nation's highest court who may have committed a sex crime as a teenager? I think it's important enough.

CABRERA: Well, Lynn, a lot of Republicans sound like they've already made up their minds. Here's Vice President Mike Pence earlier today and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that judge Brett Kavanaugh will soon be Justice Brett Kavanaugh and take his seat on the Supreme Court of the United States of America. SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: You've

watched the fight. You've watched the tactics. But here is what I want to tell you. In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Lynn, is this hearing all for show?

SWEET: Well, I think vice president Pence and Senate Leader McConnell show that they know how to count and that they have at least 50 votes. Pence could be the tie-breaker. And, right now, there are no Republican defections. So, they're just getting to bottom-line political analysis which is a question that we're also talking about here.

You know, this matter that we're talking about exists in several lanes or buckets; that is trying to find out what happened. And then, the political reality that if the Republicans stick together, it -- yes, it won't matter, he will be confirmed.

CABRERA: S.E., Republicans already have a problem with female voters. Are they missing an opportunity here?

CUPP: Look, I think both sides -- neither side can win in this. I wrote this earlier in "The New York Daily News." I'm going to talk about it on the show in less than an hour. Neither side can win this. Putting whether there can ever be justice for Christine Ford or Brett Kavanaugh in this -- in this argument, put that aside. Democrats I think have shown, even to some Democrats, that this looks pretty craven, pretty opportunistic. In holding onto the letter. In releasing it when they did.

[17:15:09] This doesn't look, really, to be about me too, per se. Especially when you compare it to two allegations against another Democratic Congressman, Keith Ellison, that are getting absolutely no outrage from Democrats.

And on the Republican side, as you point out, Republicans have a problem with women voters. Republicans have sheltered their own from Roy Moore to the president. And appearing to be, as Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell are, really unsympathetic to this. And having already made up their minds because he's going to win, because, as Lynn says, the math is in their favor, I think does them no favors either.

I think whether he gets confirmed or withheld, neither side got through this cleanly. And I think both sides are going to look as if they mishandled this.

CABRERA: Page --

SWEET: Well, a quick point here.

CABRERA: Quickly because I want to ask one more quick question to Page. SWEET: Two words, Al Franken. The Democrats jumped on him, jumped on their own, very controversial. But they took some swift action, controversial as it was at the time. So, I don't know -- you can't really say that they're not very aware in this era of me too of taking action.

CUPP: They're not aware of Keith Ellison. The DNC --

SWEET: Well, they're, actually,

CUPP: -- is not independently investigating. They are investigating them himself -- him themselves.

CABRERA: OK, let's talk more about Brett Kavanaugh, the situation at hand here, Page. The president has defended Kavanaugh. Has insinuated Ford was lying about the attack because she and her parents didn't file a police report 36 years ago. As an attorney, what do you make of that argument?

PATE: Well, Ana, it's very familiar, right? I mean, defense lawyers who are representing someone charged with a crime like this will often make that argument. They'll make it in front of a jury. They'll cross examine someone who's an accuser and suggest, hey, if this is really happened, you would have come forward much earlier, wouldn't you? And so, it's a common attack. I'm sure he may have used it in the past, in connection with some of his civil complaints or other allegations that have been made against him.

But it's certainly a legal tactic that I am not at all unfamiliar with, because we see it in criminal court in sex assault cases like this all the time. But rarely does it work. And I certainly don't think in a situation like this where the focus really should be on Judge Kavanaugh, and whether he is fit to serve on the highest court. It's not about whether these allegations should have been brought out 30 years ago or yesterday. That's not the focus. The focus is what happened and how does that play into his nomination.

CABRERA: Page Pate, Lynn Sweet, S.E. Cupp, great conversation. Thank you all. Be sure to tune in to S.E.'s show, "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED," tonight at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

And as we follow the back and forth negotiations over Christine Blasey Ford allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and the upcoming hearing where we'll all hear from both of them, we'll get reaction to the story from a group of Republican women in Florida. You might be surprised by what they have to say, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IRINA VILLARINO: Why didn't she come out sooner if she's telling the truth?

GINA SOSA: Tell me what boy hasn't done this in high school. Please, I would like to know.

LOURDES CASTILLO DE LA PENA: You can't judge the character of a man based on what he did at 17.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[17:18:17]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: It is our breaking news, Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, says she will talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. It's unclear, however, whether this will be in a public setting and, if so, what exactly the parameters will be.

Now, when it comes to the president, it appears he's already made up his mind. He questions why, if the assault was as bad as Ford claims, there's no police report from all of those years ago. Republican women seem to agree, at least the ones CNN's Randi Kaye sat down with. A group of women were talking about these allegations and accusations. Take a look at their conversation in Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A show of hands, how many of you believe Judge Kavanaugh when he says this didn't happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do believe him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe him.

LOURDES CASTILLO DE LA PENA: How can we believe the word of a woman on something that happened 36 years ago, when this guy has an impeccable reputation? There is nobody that has spoken ill about him. Everyone that speaks about him, this guy is an altar boy, you know, a scout. Because one woman made an allegation, sorry, I don't buy it.

IRINA VILLARINO: But in the grand scheme of things, my goodness, you -- there was no intercourse. There was maybe a touch. Can we -- really, 36 years later, she's still stuck on that, had that happened?

GINA SOSA: We're talking about a 15-year-old girl which I respect. You know, I'm a woman, I respect. But we're talking about a 17-year- old boy in high school with testosterone running high. Tell me what boy hasn't done this in high school? Please, I would like to know.

KAYE: Why would she come forward, if this wasn't true? Because it has basically destroyed her family. She's had to move. She's gone under cover. She gotten death threats. So, if she's lying, why come forward?

IRINA VILLARINO: She's also destroying his life, his wife's life, his children's lives. (INAUDIBLE.) I mean, why didn't she come out sooner, if she's telling the truth?

ANGIE VAZQUEZ: Why didn't she come out when he was going into the Bush White House? Why didn't she come out -- he's been a federal judge for over a decade.

KAYE: Why not have a thorough investigation, instead of just the two of them, he said-she said?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it doesn't matter. It does not matter what everyone else has to say.

KAYE: This is what happened with Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill. The FBI investigated it. It took three days, done. Why not now?

LOURDES CASTILLO DE LA PENA: Well, this is not the same. This is a high school kid. It is not an Anita Hill story.

KAYE: Does something that allegedly happened 36 plus years ago matter today?

LOURDES CASTILLO DE LA PENA: You can't judge the character of a man based on what he did at 17.

ANGIE VAZQUEZ: And I would hate to think 30, 40 years later, somebody is going to destroy your life because somewhere at some party you -- it's not right, but maybe you touched somebody the way you're not supposed to.

[17:25:00] GINA SOSA: And who bought the alcohol for these kids?

KAYE: As women, though, do you have some sympathy for her for what she's going through?

LOURDES CASTILLO DE LA PENA: No, I have no sympathy. And, perhaps maybe at that moment, she liked him and maybe he didn't pay attention to her afterwards. And he went out with other girls and she got bitter or whatever the situation is. They're kids.

KAYE: If it is true, would it be OK with you if he became a justice on the Supreme Court?

LOURDES CASTILLO DE LA PENA: As long as that's an isolated incident, yes.

GINA SOSA: He was 17. He was not even an adult. And we all make mistakes at 17. I believe in a second chance.

IRINA VILLARINO: I would be more than OK with him being Supreme Court judge.

LOURDES CASTILLO DE LA PENA: If the person made a mistake and they move on and they have been a good human being, you know, who are we to judge?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Coming up, Rod Rosenstein forcefully denying reports he discussed wearing a wire to record conversations with President Trump and urged cabinet members to consider invoking the 25th Amendment. So, now, what's Trump's next move? Will Rosenstein be fired? Just a quick programming note. Be sure to tune in to "STATE OF THE

UNION" tomorrow morning at 9:00. Senator Mazie Hirono and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, will join Jake Tapper.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:21:42]

[17:30:41] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: After the bombshell news about Rod Rosenstein, it reportedly didn't take long for President Trump to at least consider firing him. The "Washington Post" reports the president raised that idea with his advisers last night. And then, in Missouri, at his rally last night, he made this cryptic vow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have great people in the Department of Justice. We have great people. These are people -- I really believe you take a poll, I got to be at 95 percent. But you got some real bad ones. You've seen what's happened at the FBI. They're all gone. They're all gone. They're all gone.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: But there's a lingering stench. And we're going to get rid of that, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Rosenstein is under intense scrutiny after the "New York Times" first reported that the deputy attorney general talked about secretly recording conversations with the president. And Rosenstein allegedly considered trying to invoke the 25th Amendment in the days after James Comey was fired from the FBI.

Now, "The Times" says then-acting FBI director, Andrew McCabe, took notes of Rosenstein's comments. CNN has not reviewed those notes, those memos. But sources tell us the memos were given to Robert Mueller's team. Rosenstein emphatically denies ever talking about taping the president or trying to get him removed from office.

With us now, former FBI special agent, Asha Rangappa, also CNN political analyst, Julian Zelizer.

Julian, you're with me so I'll start with you.

Are you surprised that Rod Rosenstein is still on the job?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I am. If you believe in the deep state, this would be the story you hook your firing onto. That said, I think the president -- and I always think this -- likes having a foil. I think he doesn't mind at some level having this story out there and being able to go to his supporters and say, I told you so, look what I have investigating me.

CABRERA: So, Asha, should Rosenstein keep his job? ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think he should. So,

you know, this was a year ago, and it's still not clear exactly what was transpiring. If you remember the time immediately after James Comey was fired, that was -- I mean, it's been normalized now, but that took everyone by surprise. My phone blew up from everyone in the FBI. And then he had the meeting with Russians in the Oval Office, he went on Lester Holt and bragged that he was -- you know, wanted this Russia investigation to go away. I can imagine that for career Department of Justice officials, that would have been concerning. I don't think this concerned any kind of criminal investigation, there wasn't one open on the president at the time. That's why the special counsel was appointed. And, you know, I think at this point it could actually be politically and even legally problematic for the president to fire him right at this moment.

CABRERA: If he stays, though, does he become the president's insurance policy, when Mueller issues his report?

RANGAPPA: If he does fire him, is that --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: I mean, if he stays, doesn't the president have now an opening to say, but remember, Rod Rosenstein is the one who is overseeing this, he's been out to get me from the beginning?

RANGAPPA: He can do that. I mean, you know, under the special counsel regulations, Mueller is the prosecutor deciding which steps to take. What Rosenstein does is, he'll approve any big steps that are taken. But the strategic -- you know, the decisions are being made by Mueller. I think you're right that he can spin it that way. But, Ana, actually getting rid of Rosenstein is in the long term a better option for the president in many ways, precisely because of Rosenstein's supervisory role. If he had someone in that position more sympathetic, that person could really stymie the investigation without the public really knowing it.

CABRERA: Julian, you touched on this. I wanted to dig a little deeper. In some ways, this report is good for the president. Doesn't it just reinforce his deep state conspiracy theories and what he knows his base maybe believes already as well or wants to believe?

[17:35:14] ZELIZER: It's one of those stories that everyone can read into it something that bothers them about the current situation. So I do think for Trump supporters, that is the narrative they will tell. This is a story that confirms what he's been saying at his rallies, that there are people out to get him in the Justice Department. But for others, they'll look at it, and if this is true, the fact that he's talking about the 25th Amendment, the fact that he's so concerned that he might even joke or seriously say, maybe people should be wearing a wire, that fits with the Woodward book, that fits with the op-ed in the "New York Times," that things are seriously out of control in this Oval Office. Both sides will read into this something very different and take away, politically, a different lesson from the story. CABRERA: Asha, it's being reported that Andrew McCabe and Rod

Rosenstein were already butting heads at this point. If these memos say Rosenstein talked about, you know, wearing a wire to record the president and there's this great debate over whether he was being sarcastic or serious, how much credence do you give McCabe's memos?

RANGAPPA: I actually think you do give them credence. My understanding is that Lisa Page, who was an attorney also in the room, had some similar notes. You know, contemporaneous notes that are taken, you know, at the time do have probative value in terms of giving some accuracy to what actually took place. I think that it strikes me that that would have been just written down -- I don't think it could have been that serious because that's something that a roomful of attorneys would have discussed it even more. Clearly, it came up if it ended up on a memo. I don't think that Andrew McCabe would fabricate that to put down on a paper.

CABRERA: And CNN, the "Washington Post," and the "New York Times" did confirm that Rosenstein did make a comment about wearing a wire to record a conversation with the president, but the question, was he being serious or sarcastic.

Given that there was no follow-up, Julian, what does that tell you?

ZELIZER: Look, it's consistent with a lot of what we're hearing. People are thinking these things, wondering if it should be done. What it tells me is many of these officials, if these concerns are real, they're still settling into the Oval Office, they're going to live within this system and they're not moving to those kinds of drastic actions. We've now heard lots of people, allegedly in the Oval Office, have discussed these kinds of questions, is he fit to be president, do we need the 25th Amendment. But if this is true, Rosenstein, like Kelly, like so many people we've read about, has decided we will work within the system, we will try to contain this president, we'll work from the inside to try to keep the nation on a steady course. And I think that's going to be a source of controversy when we look back to this on the history books and try to figure out what could have been done if these problems are real.

CABRERA: Quickly, if you will, Asha, does this impact the Mueller investigation at this point?

RANGAPPA: Not at this point. Mueller has his head down. He continues apace. I don't think this will affect the way that Rosenstein approaches the investigation. I mean, so many of the balls are already rolling at this point. You know, they've already decided on a particular way, direction that they're taking this case. But as I mentioned before, if Rosenstein is fired and someone else moves into his place, that could have an impact on the Mueller investigation in terms of being able to pursue certain lines of inquire.

CABRERA: Asha Rangappa and Julian Zelizer, good to have you with us. Thank you.

Coming up, family feud. The siblings of Republican Congressman Paul Gosar deliver a stark message: Don't vote for our brother. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: He's not listening to you and he doesn't have your interests at heart.

My name is Tim Gosar.

DAVID GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: David Gosar.

GRACE GOSAR, SISTER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Grace Gosar.

JOAN COSAR, SISTER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Joan Gosar.

GASTON GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Gaston Gosar.

JENNIFER GOSAR, SISTER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Jennifer Gosar.

JOAN GOSAR: Paul Gosar is my brother.

JENNIFER GOSAR: My brother.

And I endorse Dr. Brill.

GASTON GOSAR: Dr. Brill, wholeheartedly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Plus, join Anthony Bourdain for one last trip around the world. The final season of "PARTS UNKNOWN" airs tomorrow at 9:00 eastern. Here is a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, "PARTS UNKNOWN" (voice-over): Who gets to tell the stories? This is a question asked often. The answer in this case, for better or for worse, is I do. At least this time out.

(SINGING)

BOURDAIN (on camera): First time on this continent?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

(SINGING)

[17:40:02] BOURDAIN: It's unbelievable.

(SINGING)

(SHOUTING)

BOURDAIN: Astonishing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I always wanted to do it.

BOURDAIN: Try that in New York. New York in your mind is where the writer's life was?

(CROSSTALK)

BOURDAIN: Here we go.

(SINGING)

(SHOUTING)

(SINGING)

ANNOUNCER: Anthony Bourdain, "PARTS UNKNOWN": THE FINAL EPISODES," starts tomorrow at 9:00 on CNN.

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[17:45:13] CABRERA: The saying, "You can't pick your family," has a special meaning to Arizona Republican Paul Gosar and his bid to win reelection to Congress. Six of Gosar's siblings are denouncing him and they are doing it in this new attack ad supporting his Democratic rival.

Here is part of the pitch they're making to Arizona voters.

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JOAN GOSAR, SISTER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Paul Gosar, the congressman, isn't doing anything to help rural America.

DAVID GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Paul is absolutely not working for his district.

TIM GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: And he's not listening to you and he doesn't have your interests at heart.

My name is Tim Gosar.

DAVID GOSAR: David Gosar.

GRACE GOSAR, SISTER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Grace Gosar.

JOAN COSAR: Joan Gosar.

GASTON GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Gaston Gosar.

JENNIFER GOSAR, SISTER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR: Jennifer Gosar.

JOAN GOSAR: Paul Gosar is my brother.

JENNIFER GOSAR: My brother.

And I endorse Dr. Brill.

GASTON GOSAR: Dr. Brill, wholeheartedly.

Endorse Dr. David Brill for Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us now.

Polo, that ad started as any old ad, and then the twist.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I've never understood sibling spats, Ana, because I'm an only child. But this will certainly take it to a different level.

You're looking at six of the siblings of Congressman Paul Gosar, who have essentially endorsed his opponent with a message basically to their brother's constituents, which is, he's not working for you. The six siblings appearing on that 60-second political spot that you just played a small portion of here. And it basically features these siblings lambasting their brother, taking jabs at him for his positions on health care, Social Security. You have to remember, Gosar has a long history of controversial remarks on the far-right. He promoted a baseless conspiracy theory that last year's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville was a plot by the left. Also, this summer, he spoke in London at a rally for anti-Muslim activists.

What we're seeing here are these six siblings who say they're standing up to defend their name and urging voters to vote for their brother's opponent.

What is Representative Gosar saying about all of this? He responded to CNN earlier today about this statement. I'll read you a small portion of it. The Congressman writing, "It's unfortunate that my opponent chose to use family political differences to launch attacks on me rather than focusing on the issues. There's a reason he engaged in this shameful attack. It's that he is wrong on the issues and doesn't want anyone to focus on his leftist positions."

The representative here referring to David Brill, his opponent.

He goes on to write, "You can't pick your family. We all have crazy aunts and relatives, et cetera. My family is no different. I hope they find peace in their hearts and let go all of the hate."

Then he calls these six siblings, "six angry Democrat Gosars."

Will this work? That's an interesting question. I will tell you this district that is being fought over here, it is red, deep red, and one that Representative Gosar won by about 40 percent of the vote in 2016.

CABRERA: And I looked at the whole statement. At the very end, he says, "See you at mom and dad's."

SANDOVAL: Going to be an awkward Thanksgiving.

CABRERA: No doubt about it.

Polo Sandoval, thank you very much.

Coming up at 7:00 hour, one sister of that congressman who appeared in that ad will join us live and I'll ask her how it came to this.

South Carolina still feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence, a whole week after the storm hit. Coming up, the record-breaking floodwaters hitting these communities and what's ahead in the days to come.

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[17:53:17] CABRERA: The worst is yet to come. That is the dire warning from officials in the Carolinas as flood waters continue to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. A number of rivers in South Carolina are still rising, forcing more mandatory evacuations. Officials expect the Waccamaw River to rise to an all-time record of 22 feet, more than four feet higher than the previous record set in 2016 during Hurricane Matthew.

CNN's Nick Valencia has the latest now from Conway, South Carolina -- Nick?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, I think the best way to describe it is a slow-motion disaster. That's what residents here in Conway have told us that they feel like they're dealing with. That this water, just hour by hour, creeps into their homes. It's going up at a rate of about three inches per hour. Already two feet higher than it was just the day before. All of this overflow is coming from the Waccamaw River which, at this point, is just bursting at the seams. It has already hit record levels. This river is not expected to crest until Monday afternoon. Residents here, though, most of them anyway, have evacuated.

You might remember this community because it's the same community that President Trump visited earlier this week after it was hit by flash- flooding from Hurricane Florence. Those flash-flood waters receded but now they're back. And, as I mentioned, that crest is not happening until Monday afternoon. Still a few days for residents to be dealing with what they're dealing with right now -- Ana?

CABRERA: What a tough situation.

Nick Valencia, thank you.

The city of Lagos is known as Nigeria's Silicon Valley. Both Facebook and Google opening offices there just within the last year. But with the technology sector still dominated by men, this week's "CNN Hero" created a free program to help disadvantaged girls fill that gender gap.

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[17:55:03] UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: When I came to Lagos, Nigeria, I was surprised to see the conditions. Most girls are trapped in a cycle of poverty. Many of them are not thinking education, a plan for the future. I believe girls should be given an opportunity. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What can we teach --

UNIDENTIFID CNN HERO: What you can see, you can't aspire to. They need to be shown another life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: To learn more about the program and the inspiration behind it, go to CNNheroes.com.

I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. I'll see you one hour from now live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

"S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED" is next.

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