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Christine Blasey Ford to Speak Before the Senate Judiciary Committee; Michael Bromwich Joins Legal Team Assisting Christine Blasey Ford; Rod Rosenstein Denies he Wanted to Secretly Tape President Trump or to Remove Him Through 25th Amendment; Six of Paul Gosar's Siblings Speak Out to Endorse Democrat David Brill; Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford and Republican and Democratic Staff of Senate Judiciary Committee Tentatively Agree to a Thursday Hearing; Duke Energy Officials Say They're Doing Everything They Can to Prevent Coal Ash Spill in Eastern North Carolina; Weam Al Dakheel Becomes First Female to Anchor Main Newscast on State-Owned Saudi TV. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired September 22, 2018 - 19:00   ET


ANA CABRERA, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: It is 7 o' clock here in New York, 4:00 PM in the afternoon Out West. I am Ana Cabrera and you're live in the "CNN Newsroom." Major developments today in the process to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.

The woman who accuses Kavanaugh of sexual assaulting her agreed today to speak before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Committee Chairman gave Christine Blasey Ford until this afternoon to decide if she would go under oath and describe what she calls a sexual attack by Kavanaugh when they were both teenagers.

Her agreement is just a start; a list of issues have to be resolved before she enters the committee chamber. Our Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue is with us now, and also with us, White House reporter Sarah Westwood, with reaction from the administration.

But first, Ariane, we haven't heard from Christine Blasey Ford directly, but these words from her lawyers today, we are disappointed with the leaks and bullying that have tainted the process. We are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details. So, Ariane, what are these variables that have to be addressed between now and any committee appearance by Professor Ford?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, Ana, you are absolutely right. She says that she will agree to testify but there are still conditions that she places on that. And sources close to Ford told me today that she still wants this hearing to be on Thursday.

Remember, Senator Grassley wants it on Wednesday and she still thinks that it is the Senators who should be able or who should ask the questions, not some outside counsel. Because remember, Ana, that this committee is made up on the Republican side of all men and they reserve the right to have a woman attorney may be come on in.

And she also said there should be more witnesses. So, those are still up in the air. She said she wanted a conference call later on this afternoon. And today the Democrats and her supporters came forward to say how brave it was for her to come forward with these allegations in a public way.

But the White House and sources working with Kavanaugh on this, supporters of Kavanaugh, they thought that this was a little troubling, that she again hasn't said that she will definitely come and testify on such and such a date.

One of them said it was outrageous conduct aimed at destroying a man's reputation by dragging out the process. So, now it is up to -- the ball's in the court of Senator Grassley. He is going to come back, he has those sticking points, he wants this hearing to go quickly, he says that they should be able to if they want to bring in an outside counsel, and he says he has no plans to subpoena more witnesses to come before during the hearing, Ana.

CABRERA: And at this point, no word yet from Chairman Grassley. Sarah, however, there are people close to the President responding to this latest development. What are you hearing?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the White House is not entirely satisfied with the way Christine Blasey Ford's legal team is responding to the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

A white house official says, "This is not a yes. It's another delay after Judge Kavanaugh has agreed to testify for a week now. President Trump's team arguing Ford's request for more time to negotiate is only serving to delay Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, and the sense inside the White House according to this official is that the Senate Judiciary Committee has already been accommodating to Ford, since her lawyers came forward nearly a week ago now and said she would be willing to testify.

That same official says, at a certain point, you have to ask the question when is this process going to be fair to Brett Kavanaugh. And this after Ford's team has argued that a series of seemingly arbitrary deadlines set by Senate Republicans has been unfair to Ford.

And of course, this development in the negotiations comes against the backdrop of President Trump's attacks on Ford. He slowly evolved this week from taking a more restrained approach to Kavanaugh's accuser, to questioning why she stayed quiet about this alleged sexual assault for 36 years. He's been slamming Senate Democrats for sitting on the allegation when they first received it in July.

So, while it is unclear what the timing and structure of this hearing will eventually be, Ana, it is clear that there's some unease inside the White House about how long this process is taking.

CABRERA: And Ariane, also today, there's someone new joining Ford's legal team?

DE VOGUE: Well, we see that they have added someone named Michael Bromwich. He's the former Inspector General of the Department of Justice. And that signifies that they're bringing in a powerhouse, somebody who understands how Washington works. He's actually a lawyer representing someone in the Russian matter. So, that's -- a sense of they're bringing in a team, a team that understands Washington and understands where these Senators in the hearing might come from.

CABRERA: All right. Ariane de Vogue, Sarah Westwood, thank you both.

Since Christine Blasey Ford made her accusation against Kavanaugh, his confirmation process has been compared to the controversy that gripped this country more than 25 years ago, when Anita Hill testified under oath she suffered sexual harassment at the hands of then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.


ANITA HILL, AMERICAN ATTORNEY: 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.

CLARENCE THOMAS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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, to do for themselves.


CABRERA: A short time ago, I spoke with Emma Jordan. She was on the legal team in 1991 that helped prepare Anita Hill for that historic appearance.


PROFESSOR EMMA COLEMAN JORDAN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER: I think it is a good development, it is important that the country hear what her experience was, and it's important that she has lawyers. Michael Bromwich has been added to the team as well, and 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've got Leahy.

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's mixed up. And for Anita Hill, he held up a copy of The Exorcist, saying that the stories she -- her account of what Clarence Thomas said was taken from 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: Again, that was Emma Jordan who advised Anita Hill during her testimony in the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas.

Joining us now, writer Kurt Bardella. He's the former spokesperson for House Oversight Committee and Senator Olympia Snowe. So, Kurt, let me talk to you about the situation as we look back at history sort of repeating itself, Anita Hill's hearing in 1991. I know you read the transcript from that hearing. Do you see parallels between then and now?

KURT BARDELLA, FORMER SPOKESPERSON FOR HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE AND SENATOR OLYMPIA SNOWE: Oh, absolutely. I think you're just seeing in the immediate aftermath of the accusations coming forward against Judge Kavanaugh, way the Republicans reacted.

Chuck Grassley saying maybe she got her - she didn't have story straight and she had mixed things up, this rush to find a way to politicize everything. Grassley put out a statement immediately saying that, well the timing of these accusations are suspicious.

Again, it is not about the content of the accusations, they're just trying to make it so that it's about the politics of it. And this is why they're so desperate to avoid being the people that have to question her, why they want an outside counsel, somebody who isn't a U.S. Senator sitting there on national television, having a repeat of 1991, because they know that the politics now concerned (ph) it would be disastrous for them.

CABRERA: You say, having read your op-ed this week, that even the structure of this type of Congressional hearing is effectively rigged against Ford. Explain your reasoning.

BARDELLA: So when I worked at the Oversight Committee, we choreographed hearings that were well publicized and well covered. And essentially, and members get to ask the witness question after question after question. The witness doesn't really get to respond to any of the contextual arguments that the members of Congress will make.

They'll introduce conspiracy theories or introduce questions. And when they don't like where the questioning is going, when the witness responds, all of a sudden you'll see, well please just answer yes or no, because I am running short on time.

The way that these hearings and rules are set up, it is not like a court of law where you get an actual cross examination, where there isn't a real back and forth and there isn't a clock running to limit how the witness can respond. Congressional hearings are very different than that and that's where they can be very disadvantageous for the witness sitting there. CABRERA: And compared to 1991, the times are different though. We are

now living in this Me Too era. Do you think Senators will be more sensitive, more aware in how they go about their questioning?

BARDELLA: Well, I think there's no question that they are frightfully aware of the public optics, which is why again part of their negotiating strategy as then they want to have somebody else ask the questions, not them.

That being said, we have seen members like Charles Grassley and Orrin Hatch say things that are still out of tune and out of touch with where we are at in contemporary society with Me Too and Times Up. And so, I think, it's very obvious that the optics of having an all-male Republican Senate Judiciary Committee ask question after question after question of a sexual assault victim are terrible optics. And if this happens that way, I think they know that that's a losing hand for them.

CABRERA: Now, if you believe Ford testifying would actually be against her best interest, then what do you think should happen?

BARDELLA: Well, I do think that she should tell her story visibly and vocally. She should be interesting enough to even do any type of TV interview that kind of put a visual optic with her accusations. I think that she does need to come forward and tell her story her way.

But I think she needs to do so in a way where she's protected, where she isn't just sitting there taking questions from either an unelected person who is being paid for to come in there at the last minute like a hired gun to grill her on national television, that's a terrible scenario for her, and no one should be subjected to that, especially someone who's been the victim of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault.

But she's going to have to tell her story, I think it's important. She came this far, she put herself, her family, her reputation in jeopardy, and it can't all be for nothing. And so, there has to be a mechanism for her to tell her story and I think that she will tell her story at the end of the day.

CABRERA: I want you to listen to what Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader said yesterday.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: You've watched the fight, you've 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.


CABRERA: Kurt, what would have to happen for Kavanaugh not to be confirmed at this point?

BARDELLA: Well, think again, if the hearing happens and she is presented as an articulate and a compelling witness, I think that does a lot of damage to Judge Kavanaugh, no matter what he says after that, no matter what Republicans do.

I think that the danger for Republicans too is overreaching and looking like they're bullying a victim of sexual assault. The hearing is a wildcard. At the end of the day, no one really knows how that's going to play out, how she will be able to perform under that kind of pressure and scrutiny.

Certainly a scenario and an environment that she is not accustomed to being in front of, and that's why it is at a high stakes, where there's so much back and forth over what this hearing is going to look like and how it will be choreographed, because it really comes down to how that will end up playing out if it happens.

CABRERA: Kurt Bardella, good to have your perspective. Thanks for being with us.

BARDELLA: Thanks for having me, Ana.

CABRERA: After The New York Times dropped news that Rod Rosenstein apparently discussed invoking the 25th Amendment, some people thought, is another Saturday night massacre on the way? Former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean gives us his take next.

And this programming note, tomorrow on Fareed Zakaria GPS, an CNN exclusive, an interview with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Will he run for the White House in 2020, tomorrow morning at 10:00 here on CNN?


CABRERA: How much heat is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein facing this weekend? I mean, consider the fact that he had to issue a second statement last night denying that he wanted to secretly tape President Trump or even try to remove him from office through the 25th Amendment.

That jaw dropping story broke in The New York Times and CNN sources are now confirming much of that reporting. The President may have been sending Rosenstein a not so secret message last night at his rally in Missouri.


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%. But you have 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. But there's a lingering stench and we're going to get rid of that too.


CABRERA: For his part, Rosenstein says, "I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for removal of the President is absolutely false." Earlier, I spoke with former Nixon White House Counsel and CNN contributor John Dean.

Could this report be the basis for Trump's own Saturday night massacre?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL AND CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, let's leap over the fact there is conflicting reporting on this. There is - 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're 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've 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 that makes it possible for Sessions to travel around the country and give speeches. So, Sessions would 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 Russian 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 has recused, it is the Deputy Attorney General.

If the Deputy Attorney General is not there, it is the next appointed and confirmed Associate Attorney General. That post is now filled by an acting. There's 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.

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 some mixed advice from his favorite network, Fox News. Let's listen.


LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, THE LAURA INGRAHAM SHOW: 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, HOST, THE SEAN HANNITY SHOW: 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're 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 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 of 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, 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 it was -- 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, the timing is interesting, because it is pre-election. We're just a matter of days literally from the midterms. It is no telling how people could read this, but I think that 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.

Think your Thanksgiving is going to be awkward? Wait until you hear about the Gosar family. Their brother is running for re-election in Congress, and they're endorsing his opponent. His sister joins us live next here in the CNN Newsroom.


CABRERA: If you think your holidays with family are going to be awkward, be happy you're not part of the Gosar family. Congressman Paul Gosar has served Arizona since 2011, and his siblings have a message for voters this November; don't cast a ballot for our brother. Watch this.


Congressman, isn't doing anything to help rural America.

DAVID GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-ARIZONA): Paul is absolutely not working for his district.

TIM GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-ARIZONA): And he is not listening to you and doesn't have your interests at heart. My name is Tim Gosar.










TIM GOSAR, BROTHER OF REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-ARIZONA): Wholeheartedly endorse Dr. David Brill for Congress.


CABRERA: Well, Paul Gosar's sister Jennifer is here with us now. Jennifer, how did this come about and why did you decide to participate?

JENNIFER GOSAR: Well, thanks for having me on your program, Ana. It is helpful to be able to speak to a wider audience and I appreciate the opportunity. To answer your question, how did it come about, Paul's political rhetoric in the last probably year and a half has gone from, to me, conservative into a place of hate and divisiveness.

So, my siblings and I, a number of us, wrote a letter in response to his comments on Vice News alleging that George Soros and the Charlottesville Nazi - or Neo-Nazi demonstrations were somehow connected to the Left and he accused Mr. Soros of collaborating with the Nazis, which is false.

That is cruel, and we didn't feel that that was at all in the realm of fair or appropriate. So we all, those of us that felt inclined, signed a letter. It was then published in some Arizona newspapers, it got a little bit of national attention. And since then, Paul's rhetoric has continued to be further divisive, to use false information and to be hateful.

CABRERA: Have you ever confronted him about it?

JENNIFER GOSAR: In different occasions, we've had conversations, I would admit heated. But they were years ago. And in more recent years, Paul has been for me very consumed by his political career and his work. I can imagine it is a very consuming job, there's a lot to consider, a lot to do, a lot of people and obligations that one would have.


JENNIFER GOSAR: So I haven't talked to him in the recent past about it.

CABRERA: I understand you haven't heard from your brother since this new ad aired. But CNN reached out and here is part of the statement he gave us. Let me read it to you.

Those of my siblings that chose to film ads against me are all liberal Democrats who hate President Trump. These disgruntled Hillary supporters are related by blood to me, but like Leftists everywhere, they put political ideology before family. Lenin, Mao, and Kim Jong-Un would be proud.

Not one of my siblings lives in Arizona and my opponent's policies are out of sync with what Arizona wants and the country needs. You can't pick your family, we all have crazy aunts and relatives, et cetera, and my family is no different. I hope they find peace in their hearts and let go all the hate. To the six angry Democrat Gosars, see you at Mom and Dad's house!

Jennifer, what's your response to that?

JENNIFER GOSAR: It's a small statement from -- I read it regrettably, voiced in public. I honestly, what we have talked about doesn't relate to party. There was no reference to Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal. What I think my siblings and I really want to speak to is a level of integrity and decency.

The dialog of screaming and yelling insults from across the air waves does not help the people that need help. And if I do anything with this appearance, if I do anything with these ads, I hope that we can focus our attention on people that need it.

Community members are struggling, people are hurting. There are people at the border that are refugees. The environment is in a really difficult place. I was reading about North Carolina this morning and how many marginalized people of color are living next to toxic waste sites, that's not something that occurs only in North Carolina.

CABRERA: So you feel very strongly obviously about some of the positions that your brother holds and believe in--

JENNIFER GOSAR: Sure. And I would have to--


CABRERA: But let me ask you this question, Jennifer, because your brother has claimed that white nationalists in that rally in Charlottesville was some kind of plot by Leftists. He called for dreamers to be addressed at the State of the Union Speech, he once referred to Native Americans as wards of the federal government. Where did these ideas come from?

JENNIFER GOSAR: I don't know. I don't know. I wish there was some way to reach Paul. This was the only way I could think of to do it. But the people that you just mentioned, there are many people in those groups that I know and have been very kind to me. They have supported me when I needed help, and I couldn't disagree more strongly with that kind of language. I find it to be uninformed and generalizing.

CABRERA: You have a big family. I understand you're one of ten children.


CABRERA: Six siblings are featured in that ad we showed at the beginning. Does that mean you have siblings who support your brother's campaign?

JENNIFER GOSAR: I wouldn't speak for my siblings that didn't choose to be a part of the ads. They have their reasons and I respect them. I don't want to put them in a place that they didn't ask to be. If they would want to speak out for themselves, I honor that, and if they support Paul, that is their right to do so. But I would rather not comment about them, because I want to respect their decisions.

CABRERA: What do your parents think?

JENNIFER GOSAR: I don't know. I have been honestly kind of -- this is quite surreal. I have been -- had a huge response on Twitter, mostly very supportive. I have been contacted by different newspapers and I'm trying very hard to think clearly, because what I want to present to you and to my community members in this American Republic and in Arizona is something that gives honor to the people that are struggling, to their stories, and to the best part of us that we can dialog with, because that's where I really hope we go with this.

CABRERA: And real fast, are you a Democrat yourself, and he also your brother points out that you don't live in Arizona?

JENNIFER GOSAR: Well, Paul doesn't really live in Prescott, so that's -- if we're going to talk details, he needs to be careful. His residence, the primary residence is in Flagstaff, and I would suggest to you that an apartment in Prescott does not mean residence.

So in that way, the very false things that people claim are the very things that they're guilty of, and that's why I think we need to dialog about what's real, what helps people, what makes our communities better, what takes care of our environment.

And if good ideas come from Democrats, if they come from Republicans, they come from liberals, progressives, conservatives, Green Party, I don't care. I'm interested in what moves us forward together.

CABRERA: Jennifer Gosar, thank you very much for joining us, we appreciate it.

JENNIFER GOSAR: Thank you, Ana. I really appreciate the chance to speak with you.

CABRERA: As we await details on Christine Blasey Ford's possible appearance in front of Congress, a topic that is likely to come up, how reliable is one's memory when alcohol is involved. Dr. Sanjay Gupta breaks it down next. You're live in CNN Newsroom.


CABRERA: Back to the new developments in the Supreme Court confirmation battle. Christine Blasey Ford says she's willing to speak with the Judiciary Committee about her accusations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. A topic likely to come up, how reliable is someone's memory when alcohol is involved? CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, breaks it down. Sanjay?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN'S CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, I think there are a lot of assumptions when it comes to memory and alcohol. And oftentimes those assumptions are wrong. Let me start off by telling you this, that a lot of the research comes from witnesses to crimes.

They took people who were intoxicated witnesses to crimes and sober witnesses to crimes, they and basically found that in the short term, if people were questioned right after a crime had occurred, there was not a lot of difference in terms of recalling details between someone who is mild to moderately intoxicated and someone who was sober. That was in the short term.

So, that surprised a lot of people. Now, there is something known as blackout drunk, which is not the same as passed out drunk. Blackout drunk is when you can be talking, you can be walking, you can be interacting with people, but essentially you're totally amnestic to it, meaning you'll have no memory of it. Results in something known as greyout, which is essentially islands of memory.

But basically you're still really not remembering things. There's also the component of time, how much time has passed since the event.

And this is really important here, because I think when you look at how memory is actually encoded, you realize that alcohol can have a real impact on a certain aspect of memory. So, when we remember things, we look, we see, we hear, we feel, and those sensory inputs are immediately transferred into short term memory that happens pretty quickly.

And that's why people again who are intoxicated can remember things pretty well. But it is that next phase, going from short term to long term, where alcohol sort of acts like a sledgehammer, and that's why people can remember things so vividly one day, and then a few days later really have no recollection of it at all, because the memories were never in those long term stores.

So, Ana, that's just a little bit of an idea how alcohol does impact memory, both in the short term and in the long term. Ana?

CABRERA: Interesting, thank you, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Natural disaster still effecting the Southeast, flood waters forcing people to evacuate their homes. We'll go live to The Carolinas in minutes.


CABRERA: Breaking news just into CNN, lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford and Republican and Democratic staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee have tentatively agreed to a Thursday hearing, featuring Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Professor Ford.

And this deal coming together during a call this evening, that's all according to a person briefed on the call and a source familiar with it. We are told the call was pretty short, but productive, lasting 15 to 20 minutes.

Both sources say the parties will talk more tomorrow about the hearing. So, it sounds like more details yet to be ironed out. But again, a Thursday hearing now tentatively set with Ford and Kavanaugh. CNN's W. Kamau Bell had the trip of a lifetime with Anthony Bourdain in Kenya, in the final episodes of Parts Unknown, starts tomorrow night at 9:00 PM.


W. KAMAU BELL, AMERICAN STAND-UP COMIC AND TELEVISION HOST: The other thing I am aware of too is that -- on this trip is that, still that thing about like not wanting to feel like I have come home, you know? And yet, there is a sense that there is this diasporic connection, even though we didn't - I did not come from Kenya.

It's nice to have that connection, even if the frame of that connection was built, it was colonialists.


Even though it's not, you know. But it's a good part of colonialism, it brings people together.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, AMERICAN CHEF: It should kind of be compulsive reviewing for this. Do you ever run for President, this should be compulsive viewing?

BELL: At the very least, I do think that a lot of perspectives will be opened up, a lot of minds will be changed, and this is on a very personal note. The idea that I'm sitting here with you doing this now, knowing where my life and career have come, it's pretty cool.



CABRERA: Duke Energy officials are saying they're doing everything they can to prevent a coal ash spill in eastern North Carolina. The rising floodwaters caused a dam to breach at a Duke Energy plant in Wilmington. That dam is meant to contain coal ash, which is toxic industrial waste, that includes arsenic and lead. Environmentalists now fear coal ash is seeping into the Cape Fear River. CNN's Kaylee Hartung is now joining us now from Wilmington. Kaylee, what is the latest on the situation there?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, REPORTER, CNN: Ana, Duke Energy tells me they've taken samples from the cooling lake where that dam was breached by the flood waters of the Cape Fear River and they've taken samples from the river.

They expect the results to come back late tonight or early tomorrow morning and to give them data to back up what now is confidence, that they do not believe that coal ash has made its way into this river.

They've been doing ground inspections and aerial inspections. In the meantime, they say there's no visible sign of coal ash in these waters. Earlier today, I spoke with a representative from Duke Energy who got a bird's eye view for herself.


ERIN CULBERT, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, DUKE ENERGY: So I had the opportunity today to go up in one of the aerial inspections by helicopter. And we can tell by that kind of bird's eye view that the ash basin dams here at the Sutton site remain well protected, they are stable, and they are containing the coal ash.


HARTUNG: While Duke Energy doesn't believe this industrial waste has gotten into the water, what has environmentalists particularly concerned is that Duke Energy does say another byproduct of coal combustion has.

That's what they call cenospheres, this is tiny bead-like metal particles whose consistency is not easy to distinguish from sand. And so, environmentalists say, if these cenospheres were able to get into the water, then they believe coal ash could too.

But, Ana, that power plant, upstream from where I am here on the banks of the Cape Fear River, is a place where raw water is taken in to then be turned into drinking water for this area. That plant is 20 miles upstream from the power plant.

So the Cape Fear River Utility Authority is saying that, no matter what happens at that power plant, the drinking water is safe and will be safe for the people in the Wilmington area.

CABRERA: OK, a bit of good news. Kaylee Hartung, thank you for that reporting.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani going on the attack against President Trump comparing him to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Iran's state TV quotes Rouhani and saying Trump will fail in the economic and psychological war against Iran, just as Hussein failed in his eight- year war against the Islamic Republic.

Rouhani also refuted the idea that Iran interferes in the affairs of other countries in the region. Now, Rouhani's message followed President Trump's own comments on Iran last night at his rally in Missouri.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I took over, and before I took over, everybody said Iran will take over the entire Middle East. Now Iran wants to survive, OK? But you know what, I hope we get along with them great. But it's not easy for them. And frankly, it's not easy for others, until we get treated with the respect that we deserve.



CABRERA: So this now sets the scene heading into next week's United Nations Security Council meeting on Iran, which President Trump will chair.

An historic moment in Saudi Arabia.




CABRERA: This woman is breaking through societal norms, becoming the first female to anchor the main newscast on state-owned Saudi TV. This is in a country known for its strict rules for women, so it is a truly groundbreaking moment. Just this summer, another sign of progress for women, finally able to legally drive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

CABRERA: You're live in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York, thank you for being with me. Our breaking news here on CNN, in just the past few minutes, we have confirmation now on a tentative date agreed upon for a woman to appear before a Senate committee and describe what she calls a sexual assault against her by President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Christine Blasey Ford accuses Brett Kavanaugh of attacking her when they were both teenagers. Today, on a deadline, she agreed to speak before the Senate Judiciary Committee. We just learned that her day will tentatively be Thursday. Our Supreme Court Reporter, Ariane de Vogue, is with us.

Also, with us, White House reporter Sarah Westwood.