Return to Transcripts main page
Kavanaugh Accuser Will Testify on Thursday; "Parts Unknown" Final Episode; Tiger Woods Wins First PGA Tournament in Five Years; Flood Waters Continue to Rise in South Carolina; More Women Accuse Reality Show Doctor and Girlfriend of Rape; New Allegation of Sexual Misconduct Against Judge Kavanaugh; Aired 8-9p ET
Aired September 23, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: -- Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her will tell her story in person on Capitol Hill. Christine Blasey Ford will go first and Kavanaugh will be given a chance to respond.
It's scheduled to happen on Thursday starting at 10:00 in the morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As for who will be steering the conversation, who will ask the questions, that and a few other things are still up in the air.
CNN's Jessica Schneider is following developments in Washington, and Boris Sanchez is outside Trump Tower here in New York where the president is staying the night.
Jessica, tell us more about what is going to happen on Thursday. What still has to be worked out?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana. So the broad parameters of all this are set. Thursday at 10:00 a.m., but really there are still several sticking points for Blasey Ford's attorneys, and on those requests the committee really isn't budging here. So Blasey Ford's team, they want witnesses and right now the committee is only scheduled to hear from Blasey Ford herself and Judge Kavanaugh.
Now Blasey Ford's attorneys had wanted trauma experts to testify as well as perhaps other people who were supposedly at this party, but to that end the committee's chairman Chuck Grassley issued a lengthy update today. And he said that the committee has been investigating for the past week or so and that committee, the majority, has talked to all four people who were at the party, and all of them reiterate, including Judge Kavanaugh, that they have no recollection or knowledge of this alleged party where Blasey Ford says that this sexual assault took place.
In addition today, Chuck Grassley said that the committee has tried to interview Blasey Ford with no success. In fact, the committee issued this statement in part today saying, "The committee has asked Dr. Ford to participate in a confidential interview with Republican and Democratic committee staff the day after learning her identity." We know that was September 17th after "the Washington Post" article. Then continued to say, "The committee has reiterated that request over the last week." So no response yet on that front from Blasey Ford's attorneys, but
they have been in these ongoing negotiations for several days. And finally this morning, they agreed to the testimony on Thursday.
So here's what they said about their client coming to Capitol Hill on Thursday. They said, "Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her." So really the stage is set here for Thursday when Blasey Ford is scheduled to testify. She will go first after which Judge Kavanaugh will go before the committee. All of this commencing at 10:00 a.m.
This will be an open hearing, open to the public, and Christine Blasey Ford will also have dedicated security along with two of her attorneys who will sit at the counsel table while she's questioned.
So, Ana, a lot at stake here just a few days away. And in the meantime, Democrats have renewed their call for the FBI to do an investigation here. You know, they point to the Anita Hill allegations back in 1991. They say then an investigation happened, and they say, Ana, it only took three days so they say there's plenty of time and no response now from the White House about that call for the FBI to investigate -- Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Jessica, stand by.
And Boris, President Trump there in New York now ahead of the U.N. General Assembly. He hasn't mentioned the Kavanaugh situation since that tweet storm on Friday. Is he listening to senior Republicans who want him to keep quiet about it?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It appears that so far he is, Ana. President Trump not weighing in on the ongoing negotiations between Christine Blasey Ford, her attorneys and the Senate Judiciary Committee over her testimony on Thursday nor the announcement that she would be testifying.
A distinct change from Friday where as you mentioned the president accused angry leftist radicals of trying to destroy Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation and further questioned why it took so long for Ford to come forward with these accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, the president's pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, so the president so far has remained quiet.
We should point out that there's reporting in "The Washington Post" that Brett Kavanaugh has been going to the White House for the past several days, and for several hours he's been staging these sort of mock confirmation hearings where White House aides specifically ask him questions, play acting as senators related to Christine Blasey Ford's accusations, to his time at Georgetown Prep, et cetera.
According to that recording in "The Post" Kavanaugh had become uncomfortable at certain points and did not want to answer certain questions. Again, so far the president has remained quiet. The White House has responded to calls from, as Jessica mentioned, those Senate Democrats asking for the FBI to investigate these claims. We'll have to wait and see if the president relents and weighs in -- Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Jessica Schneider, Boris Sanchez, thank you both.
Let's dig in, with us, CNN political analyst Paul Callan and deputy managing editor of the "Weekly Standard" Kelly Jane Torrance.
[20:05:03] So, Paul, what questions, as a prosecutor, would you have if you were to have the opportunity to talk to both Ford and Kavanaugh?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, you know, the field has changed radically about how you question someone who claims sexual abuse or sexual assault. Back in the bad old days when Anita Hill was being questioned, lawyers were very aggressive in going after the witness, in trying to show the witness was a liar.
I anticipate a much gentler approach with Dr. Ford. I think you'll see questions about her recollection, suggesting possibly that her recollection is not particularly reliable, and I think the one thing I would see people emphasizing is that, you know, normally when a traumatic event occurs to somebody, you have a distinct recollection of where it happened. A lot of people know where they were when John F. Kennedy was shot or when 9/11 occurred.
People are going to think maybe there's something odd about the fact that here, this is her first really brutal sexual assault and she has no recollection as to where the assault took place or she's not firm on the time either. She says I think 1982, but it was in the 1980s. Those are two items that I think suggest that maybe her recollection is not so good, and I think you'll see questions about that.
CABRERA: And it's so interesting because her lawyers want to be able to call other witnesses, including trauma experts, and so far they are saying that Republicans have been pushing back on this.
You know, we're having some technical difficulties, guys. I think we need to take a quick break. We'll be right back. We'll continue this conversation.
[20:10:49] CABRERA: His unique voice and perspective changed the way millions of people around the globe view food, travel and each other. Tonight you can join Anthony Bourdain for one more ride around the world as CNN brings you the final season of "ANTHONY BOURDAIN, PARTS UNKNOWN." The journey begins in Africa where Bourdain introduces his special travel companion, CNN's W. Kamau Bell, to the tastes, sights, and sounds of Kenya. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, PARTS UNKNOWN: Nairobi means cool water. It's the capital of Kenya with 6.5 million people living in the metro area. It grew up around a British railroad depot during the colonial era. Halfway between other British interests and Uganda and the coastal port of Mombasa.
Amid the food here, frankly a lovely sense of been there, done that. It's not a good luck for me, I know, but there's a mischievous curiosity tucked away in some poisonous part of my brain that's dying to see how Kamau handles the heat, the spice, the crowds, the overwhelming rush of a whole new world because that's what it is the first time. This ain't Berkeley.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: And here with us now W. Kamau Bell, the host of CNN's "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA."
And so in this episode the two of you are together. I know you have said that Anthony Bourdain is somebody who is very special to you. You wore a shirt with his image on it to the Emmys, and you give him a lot of credit for your own success.
W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA": Yes. I mean, I was following his career far before I ever imagined I could have a show that followed his on CNN. So, you know, it was rarified air that I knew I was in there as we were there filming, yes.
CABRERA: How did this come to be?
BELL: The first time we met was at the Emmys. The first I was -- we were nominated for an Emmy for "UNITED SHADES" and he was there. It was at the Governor's Ball, the after party. I saw him from across the room, hadn't met him yet, and I just sort of like slowly walked up and had this weird sense of like I hope he knows who I am.
BELL: Following him on CNN like a --
CABRERA: I know. Fans of each other. Right?
BELL: Yes. Yes. And he was very quickly, like I like your show and he's like, we should do something together and then every time we saw each other at CNN events, he was like, we should do something together, and then finally we -- he was like, where haven't you been? And I was like, where would you have to go, I said Kenya, and he's like, haven't been to Kenya, and then it all came together.
CABRERA: And what was it like going through that experience with him in a country that has a personal connection to you as well?
BELL: I mean, I was sort of watching myself go through the experience. It's like I was having the whole like I'm here. I'm -- I'm already imagining myself on TV watching this. I'm also watching how they produce the show because I have a show that's similar to his, I want to learn stuff. I mean, it was really like -- you know, "PARTS UNKNOWN" fantasy camp, you know, like when rich guys go play with the Mets for a day but we actually didn't. I was sort of on the team for real, you know. So it was really -- it was quite special and quite eye-opening. CABRERA: Well, what was the big takeaways?
BELL: I mean, there were so many takeaways. There was like, the personal takeaway like I was worried about going to Africa that it wouldn't feel like I was a part that have in some way.
CABRERA: Why is that?
BELL: You know, African-Americans have a relationship with Africa that's sort of strained because we don't actually all know where we came from and we don't have people there in the same way that we like, don't have family there in the same way when you think of family. So when I went, I was like, I don't know, and I know I don't come from Kenya, so I don't know how it's all going to feel but they were all very like welcome home. You know, so --
CABRERA: But Kamau is Kenyan. Correct?
BELL: Kamau, yes, my middle name Kamau is Kenyan. It (INAUDIBLE). And Kenyans all of my lives have been like, why did you get that name because I'm obviously not Kenyan. I would tell them, my mom and dad gave it to me because they wanted me to be connected to Africa, and they were like, good. You should come. And so I've always known I needed to go to Kenya.
CABRERA: That's funny. I know you and Tony had a poignant conversation about life.
CABRERA: Let's watch a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: I mean, the other thing I'm aware of, too, is that, you know, on this trip is that still that thing about like not wanting to feel like I have come home, you know.
BELL: And yet there is a sense that there is this diasporic connection even though I didn't come from Kenya. You know.
[20:15:06] It's nice to have that connection. Even if the frame that that connection was built through was colonialist, you know, even though that's not, you know, it's the good part of colonialism. It brings people together.
BOURDAIN: Should kind of be compulsory viewing. If 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. You know, and this is on a very personal note like the idea that I'm sitting here with you doing this now, knowing where my life and career have come is pretty cool.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I love you both just watching that. It's such an impactful moment.
CABRERA: Tell us more about that conversation and its significance for you.
BELL: I mean, that was -- the thing about that conversation, especially that part at the end, that was after we've gotten to the meat of the conversation about Kenya and what I thought and his thoughts, and you know. And then they pulled the cameras back to do what they called wide shots, and so that -- what I said to him, I was like, they're not going to use this for the episode.
CABRERA: You serious?
BELL: Yes. Because this is a wide shot. So I know how it works. This is for edit points.
BELL: And so then -- so, and he knew that too, so then later I read after that, he talks to me, he goes, he talks about how lucky he feels in his life which I think when you watch it it's hard to get through.
CABRERA: A tearjerker.
BELL: You know, you sort of go, we were just two guys talking at that point. It wasn't about TV. It wasn't about Africa. It was just two people who had sort of like a life path that had brought them together.
CABRERA: And the thing about Anthony Bourdain is, and we've heard from so many people who know him is that he is just so personable and so engaged and so curious. Easy to talk to?
BELL: Yes. I mean, from the first moment I met him he was like -- I mean, I definitely can get the feeling from Anthony that he didn't suffer fools gladly and if he didn't want to talk to you he wasn't going to talk to you. And there were certainly times when people would approach him that felt like a little weird to him or that he would let people know I'm done for the day. My energy is zapped. I can't do anymore.
BELL: But for me, it was very much like being a member of the Justice League, and he's Superman and I'm Robin. We all worked in the same building. You know what I mean? So we talked, we had breakfast, we hung out after the show, we talked in the cars on the way to things. It was really great.
CABRERA: He introduced you to goat's head soup?
CABRERA: This show is about food as much as it is about culture.
CABRERA: What was that like?
BELL: I mean, I guess, I thought it was going to be a bowl of soup with some goat head pieces in it, but really it was like a bowl of -- like a cup of broth and they just had a whole goat head to the table that had been stewed and just butchered very quickly and it was just a pile of flesh and everybody just started like pulling into the pile of flesh and putting salt on it. And so I just -- I think he handed me -- somehow I got an eyeball. I don't know how I ended up with that.
CABRERA: Oh, my gosh.
BELL: And I just sort of chewed the eyeball.
CABRERA: You did?
BELL: I felt like it was time to swallow it, and I thought I acted pretty well, then I watched the show and it's like clearly I'm like --
BELL: A little "Fear Factor" in there, yes.
CABRERA: In retrospect, what was it like? Was it more of the fear of what you were eating or was it really you didn't real like the taste of it?
BELL: I mean, I'm a texture person. You know, so it was -- it was chewy in a way that like if it just ended up in my mouth and I didn't know it was, I'd be like, that's not -- but there, it's like I want to honor the experience, you know, so I will eat this eyeball and enjoy it.
CABRERA: Oh, my. I look forward to seeing more that have in the episode. Let's end on a serious note. What do you see as Anthony Bourdain's legacy?
BELL: Do you to the nth degree, whether you're in TV production, whether you're in journalism, whether you're a fine artist, whether you -- whatever your media is, whether -- you know, pursue your art and legacy. Turn what you're doing into art. So that felt like he wasn't -- when we talked about the show and how they made, it wasn't about TV production, it was about how he was turning it into art.
CABRERA: W. Kamau Bell, great to have you with us. Thank you.
BELL: Thank you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[20:23:24] CABRERA: Right now sports writers around the world are writing a three-word headline many thought that we'd never see again, Tiger Woods wins. The 42-year-old golf legend won his first PGA tournament in five years, taking the tour championship by two strokes.
CNN's sports correspondent Patrick Snell is joining us from the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
And Patrick, we've rarely seen Tiger get emotional after winning but this time was different, and I understand you just talked to him. Fill us in.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, he really was. As you say, public displays of emotion when your name is Tiger Woods, Ana, exceedingly rare. I just want to say this was truly historic day, at historic East Lake. It really was. Thousands out on the course witnessing a very special, very special moment indeed.
We had the surreal, surreal image of thousands out on the 18th green when they all just converged to get the best possible vantage point to see what Tiger Woods was doing and then Tiger himself emerging from that very, very throng. It was truly certainly one of the greatest sporting moments I have ever witnessed.
And then when you reflect on all he's been through, you know, he's had 14 major victories. He's won all over the world, but he's been through a whole litany of injuries, the back surgeries, the knee injuries. At one point he didn't even know if he was ever going to play the game again, let alone win. I put all that to him, and here's how he reflected upon it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIGER WOODS, WINS TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP, FIRST VICTORY IN FIVE YEARS: It's been unbelievable to get to this level again.
[20:25:02] I didn't know if that would ever happen again and lo and behold here we are. We're through the -- an unknown, and that was the hardest part. It wasn't unknown. I didn't know if -- if I would be able to do this again or at what level, to what degree, and here we are with 80 wins. It's a pretty cool number.
SNELL: There are many who will describe this as the greatest sporting comeback of all time. You yourself earlier this year at Augusta, you described yourself as a walking miracle. What do you call yourself now?
WOODS: I mean, I'm just blessed. I'm lucky. I am lucky, because it worked out for me. You know, my back was in a pretty bad spot there, and to go to have a back that is not like what it used to be but still be able to somehow have figured this out, to figure out a golf swing and a game built on, you know, a fix point in my back it's been pretty interesting. It hasn't been easy. But I've been very lucky to have had a great team around me, and they've worked so hard to give me a chance and also the support I've had from them means all the world to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNELL: It really is quite extraordinary, Ana. Bear in mind, he had spinal fusion surgery on that back last year. He's made a huge statement. He's won again and now he has the Ryder Cup to look forward to as he heads to the French capital Paris to take on team Europe.
CABRERA: Good for Tiger Woods.
Patrick Snell, thanks for that reporting. We're back in just a moment.
[20:30:58] CABRERA: Residents can do nothing but wait as the floodwaters continue to rise in South Carolina. Entire neighborhoods are still under water. After more than a week since Hurricane Florence made landfall, and the flooding is expected to move to different communities as the rivers crest early next week.
CNN's Nick Valencia got a bird's eye view of the still rising waters above Conway, North Carolina -- Nick.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: More than a week after Hurricane Florence made landfall, a small community here in South Carolina still dealing with major flooding.
We're high above the skies of Conway, South Carolina, and we wanted to give you a bird's eye perspective of what residents are still dealing with here and just take a look for yourself. This subdivision here is near the river, but now most of it is under water. Earlier we were in this community and saw residents as they were desperately trying to sandbag their homes, residents that didn't think that they were going to get any water, and now that water is starting to creep into their homes.
At its height, we're told by the local emergency management that the river -- the Waccamaw River, which is causing this overflow, which rising at about three inches per hour, by the end of the day it has gone up at least two feet. But here we are, we're told now that the river has stabilized sort of just a bit, and it's gone up just about a foot. They're still not expecting this river to crest until sometime early Tuesday.
The National Guard is on hand as well as local resources to try to assist the residents who are still desperately clinging to hope that they will not lose their homes. The good news in all of this, no injuries so far have been reported, but this has become a real very, very much so miserable situation for the residents that are still dealing with this nine days after Hurricane Florence made landfall. The next community expected to be Georgetown, which is about 40 miles away -- Ana.
CABRERA: Nick Valencia, reporting. Thank you. He is a surgeon, a reality star and now an accused rapist. The
stunning allegations against a TV doctor and his girlfriend as more women come forward with shocking stories.
[20:37:25] CABRERA: More than 12 new accusers now claim they were drugged and raped by a California surgeon and his girlfriend. Prosecutors fear the surgeon who gained notoriety on a reality dating show may have preyed on hundreds of women in several states for two decades.
CNN's Sara Sidner has more.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Surgeon Grant William Robicheaux seems like a catch when he went on reality TV on a dating show.
GRANT WILLIAM ROBICHEAUX, REALITY TV STAR: I don't want to be like the stereotype of, you know, married, divorced couple.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know what's wrong with you because you seem like too perfect.
SIDNER (voice-over): But in reality police say he's a rapist with potentially hundreds of victims. He and his girlfriend, Cerissa Riley, have been arrested.
TONY RACKAUCKAS, ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We believe the defendants used their good looks and charm to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey.
SIDNER: Riley and Robicheaux are accused of drugging other women with ruffies, a date rape drug, in bars and sometimes using anesthesia to render women unconscious and then bringing those women to their apartment and raping them.
Attorneys for Riley and Robicheaux say they did nothing criminal and the sexual activity was consensual.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the police and the district attorney's office was so concerned about these allegations, one would think that Grant and Cerissa would have been arrested long ago.
SIDNER: But police say video evidence shows otherwise.
RACKAUCKAS: A lot of the women on those videos look like they are not able to consent.
SIDNER (on camera): The couple is also charged with buying with the intent to sell cocaine, and with possession of LSD and ecstasy as well as GHB, the date rape drug they were apparently using.
(Voice-over): Lauren Hayden says she met the doctor on Tinder and he attacked her.
LAURA HAYDEN, ACCUSES DOCTOR OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: He took me to his Jacuzzi where he kept trying to rip off my top and I kept trying to just put it back on. Like he's a monster.
SIDNER: After news of his arrest, she contacted police.
(On camera): Investigators say in 2016 they found out about the couple's crimes when a woman regained consciousness and began screaming in the apartment, but it wasn't until 2018 that police arrested the couple, so why the delay? Police say they simply didn't have enough evidence but they do now. They obtained a search warrant, and they say that investigators found a thousand or so videos on Dr. Robicheaux's phone that show him having sex and sometimes him and his girlfriend having sex with women in various stages of consciousness.
Do you think you would have been attacked if police had have gone ahead and arrested him in 2016?
[20:40:05] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely not. One victim is one victim too many.
SIDNER (voice-over): One of Dr. Robicheaux's patients is absolutely shocked by his arrest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a great doctor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Orthopedic surgeon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He works on my shoulders. I'm like really cannot believe this is true.
SIDNER (on camera): But investigators expect there are many, many more victims out there in places that the couple frequented, from Black Rock Desert, Nevada, to Palm Springs, California. Police are asking anyone who believes they are a victim of Dr. Robicheaux or his girlfriend to call them.
Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.
CABRERA: Joining us now CNN law enforcement analyst, retired FBI special agent James Gagliano.
So, James, such a disturbing story. The state attorney estimates more than a thousand videos were on Robicheaux's phone, clips of women in various states of consciousness. He believes there may be many unidentified victims.
How would authorities go about identifying and contacting these women?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Ana, it's definitely a case of twisted depravity here and the doctor who apparently defied his Hippocratic Oath which is the ethical standards that all surgeons and doctors are supposed to adhere to by taking controlled substances, apparently drugging these women.
I'm telling you what authorities are going to be doing right now is they're going to be painstakingly going through the cell phones and apparently already I think they found hundreds if not close to a thousand videos and photos which support the charges that this doctor and his girlfriend were complicit. She wasn't an unwitting bystander. She was complicit in apparently drugging these women and then taking advantage of them for sexual purposes.
So chilling, chilling case, and prosecutors have a lot of work ahead of them to put this case together.
CABRERA: Authorities are saying there could be victims in several states. Is there a possibility of federal charges being filed here?
GAGLIANO: Absolutely, and here's one of the things. The link analysis that's going to go on right now is extremely important, and the way that they're doing this is the D.A.'s office is basically putting this out there, us covering it. These are all good things because people can watch this and say, wow, we went out with that person or we happened to be out one evening and we bumped into that person, and I felt sick the next morning or I woke up and I didn't recall where I was.
And that's essentially what these drugs do. They're deep sedation drugs, they're narcotics like ruffies or GHB. And what it does is it basically renders a person unconscious, and that's what apparently the case is predicated on. I think now as more people are coming forward, I think that there was some 50 to 100 calls into the D.A.'s office or into the police department, we're going to track down some more of these potential victim witnesses and hopefully get to the bottom of it.
CABRERA: I mean, you mentioned the drug, there is that medical aspect to this because Robicheaux is a surgeon. He had access this different controlled substances. And so that's another reason why prosecutors fear there may be scores of women who didn't even know they were assaulted.
GAGLIANO: Yes, and apparently I think the three charges that they've been hit with thus far are rape by use of drug, possession of controlled substances. Now this is a doctor, so he's -- you know, he's got access to pharmacology. He's able to get, you know, anesthetics and drugs for conducting surgery, for treating patients, but apparently inside the home, they also had recreational drugs like LSD and Ecstasy and drugs like that as well as an assault weapon, so it's going to be interesting to see how they get out of this, because, again, the cell phone data, this is the problem with criminals.
The criminal mind usually is so laden with hubris, Ana, that they just think they can get away with things, and then they want to record those crimes for posterity, and apparently investigators have found some pretty damning video of people, women specifically, who were not in a position to consent and who were taken advantage of.
CABRERA: James Gagliano, thank you. GAGLIANO: Thanks for having me, Ana.
CABRERA: The final episodes of "PARTS UNKNOWN" hosted by our late colleague Anthony Bourdain starts in about 15 minutes. Here's a peek.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOURDAIN: 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.
First time on this continent?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: It's unbelievable. 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?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, right.
BOURDAIN: And here we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
[20:49:39] CABRERA: Breaking news here on CNN. A brand new allegation of sexual misconduct has now surfaced against Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
These new accusations appear in the pages of the "New Yorker" magazine. The product of an investigation by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow.
Our CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter is here with alongside David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst.
[20:50:04] And gentlemen, we want to be very careful as to how we approach this because we at CNN have not been able to confirm any of the reporting here. But this is significant going into a week in which we are now expecting the testimony of Brett Kavanaugh and another woman, Christine Blasey Ford, to air other accusations.
Brian, what do we know? What is your assessment?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: The headline here is that there is a second woman who is speaking publicly with accusations against Kavanaugh. The sub headline very important here as it has not been corroborated to any great degree. In fact, there are people who've been named as eyewitnesses to this alleged incident who say they do not remember it.
This was an incident dating back to his -- the freshman year at Yale. This student says she was at a dorm room party and things got out of hand. The story is up on NewYorker.com and it is written by Ronan Farrow and Jane Meyer, two outstanding reporters who have been on this case for awhile.
I know Farrow has been out in California digging into this as have other reporters in recent days trying to encourage this woman to speak out. Apparently she was quite reluctant to do so, afraid to do so. But this story has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill both among Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans. So even though we're just hearing about this now for the first time in the last few minutes, this has been out there for awhile at least for several days on Capitol Hill.
And that headline of second woman is the key detail even though I do think we should enter this with a lot of skepticism given the lack of corroboration and given the fact that she did not share this with anyone apparently six years ago, for example, the way that Ford did. Remember we heard about how Ford talked in her therapy sessions and told her husband about this alleged encounter back in 2012. There's no similar corroboration in this news story.
CABRERA: Right. I mean, you bring up a really good point, though, because according to Ronan Farrow and his co-writer here, it's Jane Meyer, they say that they know of at least four Democratic senators who received information about this new allegation as well as a couple of Republican staffers, David Gergen.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. Because the story is so serious, and because it has such obvious implications, I think it's absolutely wise to be cautious and in fairness frankly to Judge Kavanaugh, and in fairness to the White House.
I do think it's fair to say that if Republican and Democratic senators had this information, it is strange, to put it mildly, that they would want to push on without a background investigation on Mrs. Ford as well as this second woman before they took a vote. It does seem to be when there are two women involved.
We've always said there's no pattern here. We have this singular incident of Mrs. Ford. There's been no allegation about anybody else. Now there's an allegation. We don't know whether this is true or not. We have to be skeptical until we find out. But in the meantime, it does seem to me what a normal group of people say hold on, guys, with this new development we need to step back here and be really careful ourselves before we're accused of rushing through with a candidate in fairness to the country. In fairness to the --
CABRERA: And of course nothing happens in a vacuum either. In fact, I mean, Ronan Farrow did the due diligence. He took these allegations in his reporting to the White House, to Kavanaugh, and they have statements denying effectively. STELTER: Yes. And Kavanaugh is saying this is a smear. We can put
on screen Kavanaugh's statement who says, "This alleged event from 35 years ago," again freshman year at Yale, "did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not. And I've said so. This is a smear, plain and simple."
Kavanaugh goes on to say, "I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth and defending my good name, and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building against these last-minute allegations."
And Ana, that's the message from the White House as well. The administration also came out with a statement making clear they are standing by Kavanaugh at this moment saying, "This 35-year-old uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man."
So they are saying this is political. The White House says, "This claim is denied by all who were said to be present and is wholly inconsistent with what many women and men who knew Judge Kavanaugh at the time in college say." The statement ends, "This White House stands firmly behind Judge Kavanaugh."
GERGEN: I think it's fair to point out that there are people with differing recollections about what happened. And that's why it's important to have an independent investigation to figure out the truth. Can you see them now going to Mrs. Ford and having a hearing and not knowing more about this before they got there? I mean, how can you have a conversation?
CABRERA: I mean, can you see any way that this happens now without an investigation? We know the Democrats have gone back to the White House, as already reported earlier, to say please, can you mandate an investigation? We know George Bush did that during the Anita Hill hearings in order to make sure that that happened prior to the hearings on Clarence Thomas accusations of sexual harassment.
[20:55:09] GERGEN: And as we've talked about earlier, it's only fair to Judge Kavanaugh have a way to clear his name.
GERGEN: And it's hard for him to do that is if he's got this hanging over him and testify about Ford.
STELTER: As he says, eager to testify.
STELTER: I also think some Republicans are going to respond to this by saying this is the "New Yorker." This is a liberal magazine with yes, two very accomplished reporters, reporters who may have an agenda. I think that will be a key talking point going forward on this.
GERGEN: That's a fair --
STELTER: Take out the "New Yorker." This woman is speaking on the record. She has stated an allegation, a serious allegation that involves a man exposing himself to her. And whatever else, what other political noise there is, that's on the record now from her.
CABRERA: Does this change the game, so to speak?
GERGEN: I think it has the possibility to definitely changing the game. And that's why we have to be so careful and not prejudge it. We need more facts and more effort for us to sit here and opine on something that's so sensitive and has so many implications. I think it's better for us to sort of, OK, we can tell you what's obviously the implication here.
GERGEN: But we can't say for sure what happened.
CABRERA: Are you surprised that the White House is standing so firmly behind Judge Kavanaugh without knowing the facts at this point?
GERGEN: I don't -- I -- unless you're privy to these conversations, I don't know how to answer that question.
STELTER: They did have several hours advance notice today which is notable. This -- we don't know exactly how long the White House has known about this woman and known about the allegation, but we do know there were rumors spreading all afternoon and evening in Washington and in New York about this. I think by the time President Trump landed here in New York at 6:00 p.m., he knew this story was coming. So they've had at least a little bit of time to prepare.
GERGEN: What about the story board group? Went in to seem, asking questions. Do you think they knew or didn't know?
STELTER: You mean prepping Kavanaugh for this in recent days?
GERGEN: Maybe prepping him for several days now. It's an interesting question. How much do they know since it was up on Capitol Hill?
CABRERA: Well --
GERGEN: Republican senators --
STELTER: Right. That's a -- CABRERA: That's a great question but we also know that when they were
in these prep sessions they started asking him about partying and, you know, his social life and our reporting is he didn't like that. He got a little prickly.
STELTER: As I think many people would, when questioned about their college days. But one of the significant factors of this news story when you lay it on top of the allegation from Ford, when you lay it on top of what's been publicly reported about Kavanaugh's days in college and high school, is it is going to provoke more questions about his college days. It is going to provoke more questions about drinking and about the culture in high school and college. Those questions may be fair or unfair, but I think another story that's going to cause more of those questions.
GERGEN: It's going to raise questions about his credibility as well today. I mean, what he said, and what the various under oath. He made various statements that are in variance from what the story says. But -- it's one of these things that the country deserved to go through this carefully and slowly even in order to get it right because it's not just two people involved and their reputations. It is -- this is a momentous decision for the Supreme Court. I mean, what happens if --
CABRERA: It's a lifetime appointment.
GERGEN: Yes. A lifetime appointment. The next 30 years. It's resting heavily.
STELTER: But of course he is allowed to have been a frat boy. I'm sure other judges have been frat boys. I'm sure other judges, you know, have had similar experiences at college. If you even believe this story. However, this woman says it was a disturbing experience. She says she would like the FBI to investigate. So that is significant that you now have a second woman saying that she wants to see an investigation.
And to your point about the rush, I was reading in stories about 1991 today, about Anita Hill, about the reaction on Capitol Hill 27 years ago.
STELTER: The exact same conversation was happening. Why the rush? We're right back where we were before.
CABRERA: I mean, is it fair to have any timeline at this point, David Gergen?
GERGEN: It really depends what kind of timeline.
CABRERA: A timeline for getting through the testimony, through a potential investigation, to eventually put Kavanaugh up for a vote. GERGEN: I -- it does seem to me that even as we prepare for Thursday
testimony, there has to be a couple of days where not only the senators and the White House, but the public can absorb this and begin to make judgments. I think -- you know, we need to be a little patient with this process playing out so that, again, I can't tell you how important I think it is for the future of the press in this country that if he's going to be brought down, we don't know that yet, but if he's to be brought down, that the press is not seen as a complicit in that effort.
CABRERA: Yes. All right. Thank you very much, Brian Stelter, David Gergen.
Again we'll continue to work on doing our own reporting on this story. Again the breaking news involving Judge Kavanaugh. We'll see what happens next.
I'm Ana Cabrera. Do not miss the final episodes of "PARTS UNKNOWN: THE SEASON PREMIER." It begins right now. Good night.