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Kavanaugh Accuser Agrees To Testify; GOP Communications Adviser Quits Because Of Sexual Harassment Allegation; Gov. Cooper: "Treacherous Floodwaters" Still A Threat; Torrential Rain Floods Streets, Shut Down Highways In Texas; South Carolina Residents Brace For Dangerous Flooding; Rod Rosenstein's Uncertain Future At The DOJ Aired 6-7a ET

Aired September 23, 2018 - 06:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Thursday, 10:00 a.m., we now know the time and date that when Brett Kavanaugh's accuser will speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We still don't know whether the hearing will be public or private. We don't know who's going to speak first. But those details are going to be discussed in a conference call set for later today.

Here is CNN Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Its looks like Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford will be facing senators at a historic hearing on Thursday that could very well determine the fate of Kavanaugh's nomination.

While Ford alleges that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party some 30 years ago he categorically denies the allegations but there are still more details to be worked out between lawyers for Ford and the Judiciary Committee before the hearing is final. They plan to talk later on Sunday to hammer out remaining issues.

Lawyers for Ford for instance believe that Republicans senators should question Ford, some in the GOP want to hire an outside counsel, maybe a woman to do the questioning. Also Ford thinks other witnesses should be called. For instance they want to call Mark Judge who Ford has said was in the room where the alleged assault happened. Judge has said he has no memory of the party.

But Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley says there will be only two witnesses, Ford and Kavanaugh.

Ariane de Vogue, CNN Washington.

BLACKWELL: As the negotiations continue, Republican staffers are working to interview those who may have some information about the alleged incident.

PAUL: Yes. Democrats such as Senator Dianne Feinstein praising Ford tweeting this. "She has shown tremendous courage in the face of death threats and harassment."

From the White House response, Sarah Westwood, CNN White House reporter live in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, for us near the president's golf club. What are we hearing from the White House this morning, Sarah?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christi, the White House is seizing on a statement from now a fourth attendee at the party that Christine Blasey Ford describes where the alleged assault took place. That fourth witness is now saying she has no memory of ever attending a party like the one Blasey Ford described. And the White House touting that response in a statement saying, "One week ago, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford claimed she was assaulted at a house party attended by four others. Since then, all four of these individuals have provided statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee denying any knowledge of the incident or even having attended such a party."

Now lawyers for Blasey Ford came back with a response of their own arguing that it's no surprise that this fourth witness has no memory of the party because, for her nothing remarkable happened at the party. The lawyer said in a statement, "It's not surprising that she has no recollection of the evening as they did not discuss it. It's also unremarkable she does not remember attending a specific gathering 30 years ago which nothing of consequence happened to her. Dr. Ford of course will never forget this gathering because of what happened to her there."

Now other White House aides are sticking to the line that Blasey Ford should be given the chance to testify and that there should be a process to hear up these allegations even as other senior aided have privately expressed frustration yesterday that the progress of getting a hearing on the book took so long.

Kellyanne Conway, a top aide to President Trump had this to say last night.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: The White House respects the process. This is still part of the Senate confirmation hearing of Judge Kavanaugh as a nominee to the Supreme Court.

This is not a criminal proceeding. This is not a civil proceeding. This is another part -- of course, it was all done until they came up with this in the 11th and a half hour. This is part of the Senate confirmation hearing.

And what I think is important to note is Judge Kavanaugh, this man of integrity, intellect and character he has said he has never done this to anyone, including her so that is really definitive and unequivocal. And he also said he wasn't at the party. So she will have -- these allegations are serious. We take them seriously. We want to hear her.


WESTWOOD: And of course, this all comes against the backdrop of President Trump's mounting attacks on Blasey Ford. He started late this week questioning why she didn't go to authorities 36 years ago so all a very complicated process, Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: So, Sarah, for most of the last week, the president was actually bragging about the reception of his understated comments and lack of criticism of Ford on Twitter but then came the tweets on Friday. And I understand that GOP leadership had something to say about those tweets.

WESTWOOD: That's right. And, you know, Victor, White House aides have privately marveled at the restraint Trump had shown in the immediate aftermath of Ford coming forward now a week ago today.


But as the week wore on, he began to question openly why Ford didn't report this incident earlier and why Senate Democrats had sat on the allegation since July. Our colleague Phil Mattingly is reporting that Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell called President Trump on Friday to tell him that his tweets questioning Ford's motivations were not helpful to the process.

The Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Republicans already trying to thread a needle without President Trump throwing bombs into the process. That was first reported by "The Washington Post" and since that reported phone conversation between McConnell and Trump, we haven't seen any more tweets from Trump about Christine Blasey Ford -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll try to talk about those tweets in a moment. Joining us now is Julian Zelizer, CNN political analyst, historian and professor at Princeton University, and Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. Gentlemen, welcome back to NEW DAY SUNDAY.

Julian, I'm going to start with you. Yes, there is the now acceptance of a date and time potentially. Are we really any closer to seeing or understanding the specifics of what we will see or maybe will not see if it's private, on Thursday?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think we are going to see testimony from two people it sounds like --

BLACKWELL: So you think they both will be public?

ZELIZER: I think it will be. I think if there is no FBI investigation, if there is no other people testifying, and this is all we have, there is going to be a lot of pressure to have this in public. Kavanaugh has been very clear on what he is going to say. And so this will be about hearing Dr. Ford and if this is not in public, I think it's going to be very hard to build support for what happens.

I think there is going to be a lot of pressure to see what she has to say and to hear her account.

BLACKWELL: Joey, listen to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday and then we'll play -- we'll show you what a Democratic senator tweeted out just yesterday. Watch.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: You 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.


BLACKWELL: So this is from Alabama Senator Doug Jones. He tweeted, "I'm a former U.S. attorney. If a judge/juror made a public statement that their mind was made up before all testimony is in the trial would be prejudiced and I'd move for mistrial and have the judge removed."

Now this is not a criminal proceeding but what do you make of the comparison here?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Victor, it's not a criminal proceeding but it's a process wherein you would think the truth would matter. You would think that there would be a consequence and a result, as a result of the testimony.

And when you have people who are in positions of power and authority, particularly the majority leader, who are indicating to the public that, in short order, the judge will be confirmed, it give the impression that no matter what you say, Dr. Ford, we are moving forward. And that is problematic.

And so to the senators, a very good point. I think you need to let the process play out before you have such irresponsible, irresponsible statements and we, of course, heard previously from Senator Hatch, obviously, taking side saying she, obviously, doesn't remember and he spoke to Judge Kavanaugh and Judge Kavanaugh wasn't at the party.

I think those prejudgments need to be left aside and to your point, Victor, whether it's criminal or whether it's civil, the bottom line is it is a hearing and it should she not be heard before conclusions are drawn as to whether the judge should be confirmed.

BLACKWELL: So, Julian, we have talked for days now about the Republicans questioning of Professor Ford, but "The Washington Post" is reporting that Judge Kavanaugh is incredibly frustrated by the prep for his questioning by Democrats. The reporters write of the session that Kavanaugh grew frustrated when it came to questions that dug into his private life, particularly his drinking habits, his sexual proclivity. And there were some questions that he would not answer.

What is the risk here -- the risk for Judge Kavanaugh and for the Democrats?

ZELIZER: Well, look, the risk for Judge Kavanaugh and for his supporters is this is ultimately a political situation. This will be about public opinion and whether public opinion after hearing what both sides have to say, if that is what we hear, how it puts pressure on senators like Susan Collins.

So if he become frustrated, if he become angry at the questions and won't answer some basic facts that emerge, it could backfire and Collins is the person who everyone has an eye on right now to see if she is swayed.


And obviously the risk for Democrats is there is a lot at stake right now. The Republicans are arguing their obstructing and stonewalling so they, too, want to show that they are running the process with a good degree of credibility.

So both sides have a lot at stake in this moment. Obviously the future of the court hangs in the balance.

BLACKWELL: Joey, to you. The attorney. Can the Democrats get too private, too personal with their questioning and this could backfire for them politically?

JACKSON: You know, Victor, it's a great point. I think all as lawyers in a proceeding have to be mindful and respectful of the process itself and you don't want to go overboard as it relates to your question. At the same time, you want to ask probative, you want to ask relevant questions, you want to ask questions that get to the heart of the matter.

And so I think as long as the Democrat ask those questions, the questions are relevant to the issue, the questions center on what happened or what did not happen, I think they are on solid ground. But we always worry in this proceeding or any criminal or on civil, whether or not our questions really do backfire.

And so I think if they ask their questions in a way that are compelling, in a way that helps everyone understand what happened or what did not happen, they will be fine. But if they cross that line there is always a consequence to that and let's see what question they ask to get to the truth.

BLACKWELL: Joey, let me stay you for this last one. I mean, there's the new reporting overnight of this fourth person who says that they don't have any recollection of this party or any of the specifics that Professor Ford has talked about over the last several days. For much of last week, Senate Republicans have said that Professor Ford will have to come and testify if she wants to make these accusations, that she will have to go under oath and share her story with the committee.

However, with these four that they are talking about now they are accepting press releases, emails, phone calls not requiring them to go under oath on their denials. Is there a different protocol for a witness instead of the primary accuser? What do you make of the acceptance of just these emails and phone call and press releases and statements from attorneys and requiring Professor Ford to come and share her store under oath?

JACKSON: I make of it that it's problematic. I make of it that it's a sham. I make of it that it's really troubling to the American people.

If you want to get to the truth then everyone needs to come forward and they want to testify or should be compelled to testify under oath. You know, we talked about how the president can say anything in public and lie to the press is not a crime. But when you lie before Congress, that's something different.

In the event the FBI investigated if you lied before them that is something different . And so a press release is a press release. A statement is a statement.

But when you put that hand up and you swear to tell the truth and you don't it becomes something different. And so it shows me that they are not looking to get to what occurred. They are looking to get Judge Kavanaugh confirmed and that really is a problem when it comes to telling the truth.

BLACKWELL: All right, 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, tentatively. Still have to work out some of the specifics and we will see if that actually happens. Joey Jackson, Julian Zelizer, thank you both.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you.

PAUL: We want to tell you about a shake-up on the Senate judiciary staff. Garrett Ventry, a communications adviser who had been working on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court has resigned after reports that he was fired from a previous job, in part, because of a sexual harassment allegation against him, against Ventry.

Now Ventry denies the allegation. He told CNN that -- quote -- he "doesn't want to be a distraction and that's why he stepped down."

BLACKWELL: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Senator Mazie Hirono join Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION" later this morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. And then CNN exclusive, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joins Fareed Zakaria at "GPS" -- "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" that's after Jake, that's 10:00 Eastern.

PAUL: Well coming up Secretary of State Mike Pompeo implies that Rod Rosenstein's future at the Department of Justice is uncertain amid revelations that he allegedly discussed secretly taping the president in removing him from office.

BLACKWELL: Plus, don't let your guard down. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warns residents to stay vigilant and to be ready to evacuate while the treacherous flooding continues.

PAUL: A political cartoonist Mike Luckovich is in the studio. Why he say it's harder to come up with cartoons in the Trump era.



BLACKWELL: A fast moving storm system is causing a big mess for people in north Texas. In Dallas/Fort Worth up to five feet of water filled the streets there. The heavy rain and the flash floods, shut down highways and lots of roads.

PAUL: Emergency rescue workers, in fact, had to get people from rooftops and cars because of the rising waters. Official say they don't know the extent of the damage and won't know until early next week.

And let's talk about the floodwaters that are receding in North Carolina. South Carolina, however, floodwaters are still breaks record. The city of Conway literally under water as the rivers start to swell there.

BLACKWELL: The people who live there and the officials have been filling up sandbags and finalizing evacuation plans, organizing rescue teams for days now. Emergency officials say they knew this was coming and just hope it's not as bad as models protect.

CNN correspondent Nick Valencia is in Conway, South Carolina, this morning as he has been for days now. Nick, what are you seeing there? Is the water starting to rise more? How close are we to low tide?


Here we are nine days after Hurricane Florence and we are still dealing with flooding here in Conway, South Carolina. It goes without saying North Carolina took the brunt of that damage from Hurricane Florence but here we are as that water drains from North Carolina into South Carolina. We are dealing with situations like this.


Remember here yesterday morning we were showing you parts of Conway that were just absolutely flooded? Well, here is a different subdivision that's dealing with more of the same.

You asked me about if it's still increasing at that pace that we are seeing about two feet per day? It's actually slowed down. Yesterday was the first day that we saw just a foot of increase in that water level on the Waccamaw River. It is still on record to crest on Monday night into Tuesday morning at about 22 feet. But the good news in all of this it seems to be stabilizing a little bit. The bad news, of course, is if you're in Georgetown, if you're watching this in South Carolina, it seems that these scenes are on their way to you. You know, the unique thing about this, we have covered a lot of storms, a lot of floods over the years, Victor and Christi.

The unique thing about this is just how slow moving this was and just how inch -- how this water is just sort of inching into the neighborhoods. The good news in all of that though is that authorities have had the chance to prepare. They have been telling residents all week long that they need to evacuate.

This is not a mandatory evacuation zone but we have seen a lot of people just gather their belongings. Here's the crazy part here. I talked to you about how slow moving this.

So at 6:00 p.m. last night if you can see that little tree there that's where the -- the local police put a marking here and here we are 12 hours later and, you know, this water continues to creep towards this neighborhood and this subdivision. Conway is still dealing with the effects of Hurricane Florence. Just absolutely remarkable, guys.

PAUL: No doubt about it. Nick Valencia, thank you so much. Great work out there helping us understand what these folks are dealing with.

VALENCIA: You got it.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Nick.

So amid the speculation about if President Trump will fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that crisis could be averted.



BLACKWELL: This morning, one of President Trump's most prominent cabinet members is hinting that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may need to resign.

PAUL: Yes. "The New York Times" Friday reported that Rosenstein discussed wearing a wire to record conversations with the president and possibly invoking the 25th amendment to remove him. Now Rosenstein denied those allegations. There is speculation however that the president could use the report as an excuse to fire Rosenstein.

Speaking to FOX News, in fact, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo didn't address the accusations against Rosenstein but said, anyone who doesn't support the president's agenda should find something else to do.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We need everyone who is engaged in helping achieve President Trump's mission -- I hope that everyone in every agency -- DOJ, FBI, State Department is on that mission. And if you're not, if you're not, you should take this time to go do something more productive.


BLACKWELL: Joining us now CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Bryant Stelter. Brian, good morning to you. Two things --


BLACKWELL: -- about this. This doesn't seem like the type of message one would freelance. And certainly if you put out the secretary of state to make the message, you want to make -- you're making sure that it comes with an exclamation point.

STELTER: Yes, that's a very good point. I think Pompeo is expressing what others in Trump's orbit are also saying in various ways, to various degrees. Urging the president to take action against Rosenstein.

And yet we also see is a divide among Trump allies and among the pro Trump media. Some of the president's biggest friend and fans on FOX News have been telling him, hey, hit the brakes here, don't go firing Rod right now just because "The New York Times" published this story about him thinking about taping you.

There has been a lot of 3D and 4D chess going on with people trying to figure out what were the motives of these leakers, why is the story coming out now? And was it essentially designed to tick off President Trump and get him to take action against Rosenstein?

So there is this kind of debate playing out within Trump world about what to do and when to do it. It's pretty clear the president has been unsatisfied with Rosenstein for quite a while but when he takes action and whether he does it and how he does it, those are all factors and maybe someone like Pompeo is, to some degree, laying the groundwork for a later decision but it doesn't seem like anything is eminent right now.

PAUL: I was listening to somebody yesterday saying, you know, Rosenstein was joking. Maybe he said it he was joking and Andrew McCabe, they didn't know each other well. He didn't know how to take it, that this is being blown out of proportion.

Have you heard anything of that nature?

STELTER: Right. It's interesting how "The New York Times" is pushing back against those claims over the weekend now saying, hey, we were working on this story for several months. This was not something that just landed on our desk on a Thursday that was out of nowhere. The reporters and editors there they say they were working on this for month and they have lots of evidence that this was not just a joke by the deputy attorney general. This was a serious comment that he made more than once about offering to wear a wire and about whether the 25th Amendment needed to be on the table.

If you look at Rosenstein's denials they're very carefully worded in order to give him lots of wiggle room. It is clear that what happened in May of 2017 was deeply disturbing inside the FBI and the DOJ. And so "The New York Times" say they have lots of evidence, this was a real thing. But I do think, Victor and Christi, a lot more is going on here than meets the eye.



STELTER: There is something about this that seems strange. Whether this is a story that is really about Rosenstein versus others in the government, whether there are people with motives here trying to -- trying to win fights that we don't even know about, frankly, I think we are looking at this story through a -- through a paper or plastic straw and we are only seeing part of it so far.

But, you know, I would point out CNN, ABC and others have affirmed "The New York Times" reporting that this was apparently a serious conversation back in May of 2017. So now we are more than a year later with Rosenstein still in his job and we will see how long that lasts.

PAUL: All right. Brian Stelter, always good to see you, sir. Thank you.

STELTER: Thanks.

PAUL: And, hey, he is going to be on again of course later this morning on his show "RELIABLE SOURCES." That's only on CNN here at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

Well, the Arizona congressman whose siblings attacked him and now viral campaign ad striking back.

BLACKWELL: So six of Congressman Paul Gosar's nine siblings endorsed his opponent in the November midterm election in Arizona's Fourth Congressional District. Saying their brother had broken with the family's values. Now this is one of the three ads featuring the Gosar siblings. Their mother told "The New York Times" that she was shocked and crushed by the ad and that she and Congressman Gosar -- quote -- "share the same philosophy."

The congressman tweeted, "You can't pick your family." Adding, "To the six angry Democrat Gosars. See you at mom and dad's house."

He retweeted "The New York Times" article saying, "I guess I really am mom's favorite." Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist Mike Luckovich is in studio with us this morning. He's going to go through how he comes up with ideas for cartoons like the one you just saw. That's Mike. And why he says it's harder than you might think. Stay with us.


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.

(on camera): First time on this continent?


BOURDAIN: It's unbelievable.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I always wanted to do it.

BOURDAIN: Try that in New York.

New York in your mind was where the writer's life was?


BOURDAIN: Yes. Here we go.

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




PAUL: All right. So take a look at this. Yes, it is yet another baby Trump blimp getting ready to fly.

This is in Palm Beach, Florida. There was a rally supporting Puerto Rico's storm victims and that's why they brought it there.

It's one of six that was created after that caricature was first flown in London during the president's visit there by protesters. And so now it has come to the states.

BLACKWELL: Yes. That's actually not too far from Mar-a-Lago, the president's beach resort there.

You may see this floating in different places but that inflatable caricature of the president it really never changes. You can't do that if you're a political cartoonist. You have to draw up something new almost every day like this one on the effects of a possible trade war on the president's base. Here to show us how it is done, Pulitzer Prize winner Mike Luckovich. Welcome back.

MIKE LUCKOVICH, POLITICAL CARTOONIST: It is great to be here, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Good to have you.

LUCKOVICH: Thank you for having me.

BLACKWELL: So you've been working on one in what? The last 10, 15 minutes --

LUCKOVICH: No. Actually probably the last five minutes.

BLACKWELL: All right. Five minutes.

LUCKOVICH: So here it is. Where should I show this? Right here?

BLACKWELL: Just hold it right up. Yes.


BLACKWELL: There you go. So explain it. It says?

LUCKOVICH: OK. Can you read it?

BLACKWELL: Yes. If he is worried, we are wearing wire. Shouldn't we be the ones that are naked?

LUCKOVICH: Yes. So he is sitting there naked, Trump is. So keep in mind as I wrote right here, drawn live on the set of CNN. Like, you know, this was a quickie.

BLACKWELL: Yes. So this was the last five minutes. You've written in this new book and I've got it right here.

LUCKOVICH: Oh, great, yes.

BLACKWELL: "A Very Stable Genius."


BLACKWELL: Of course we remember that from the president's tweets --


BLACKWELL: -- that he called himself a very stable genius that it's harder during the Trump administration to satirize. It's not as easy as it was in previous administrations. Why?

LUCKOVICH: No. Well, first of all, there is so much kind of nonsense coming.

BLACKWELL: Good morning show word.


LUCKOVICH: He's like -- he's like -- like he talked about Hurricane Florence and he said, you know, it's a very wet storm water wise or something like that.

BLACKWELL: Yes. From the standpoint of water.

LUCKOVICH: From the standpoint of water.


LUCKOVICH: And, you know, I never even did a cartoon on that because there was so much other stuff. It's like -- did you ever see the "I Love Lucy" show? And Lucy and Ethel they're on a -- they're at a conveyor belt and they're working in a chocolate factory --


LUCKOVICH: -- and there are chocolates coming down the conveyor belt and they have to wrap them, and they're coming so fast. So they're stuffing them in their -- in their -- under their hat and their mouths. This is what it's like to be a cartoonist. There are just so much coming crud coming down the conveyor belt so --

BLACKWELL: Do you ever draw one and say, I can't submit that? Where you go too far even after you've looked at it for a little while?

LUCKOVICH: No. You know, actually it's strange because I need somebody to look at my stuff. Because if I -- when I'm drawing -- doing a drawing it's like -- it's like the word who, w-h-o.


If you look at the word "who" for an hour you think, what the hell does "who" even mean? So I need to show it around.

So occasionally my editor will say, you can't do that. There will be something that I haven't recognized is inappropriate. But I try and go up to the line. I try to be controversial.

BLACKWELL: You talk about your editor. You're syndicated so people see your stuff all across the country but you actually work for the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" in Georgia.

LUCKOVICH: Yes, in Georgia. Yes.

BLACKWELL: Georgia, right? So you are clear about your political views. You drew one that said that -- said that you were depressed when Hillary Clinton lost.


BLACKWELL: How has the response been in Georgia and across the country to your cartoons considering your viewpoint?

LUCKOVICH: Yes. Yes. Well, you know, Atlanta is sort of a more diverse maybe -- you know, it's not -- it's not as red maybe as the rest of Georgia. And so, of course, you know I get -- I get angry mail from people and especially on social media. You know, people don't hesitate to tell you what they really think.

BLACKWELL: Oh, we know.

PAUL: We -- yes.



LUCKOVICH: You know, I sort of -- I sort of get a fun feel for it. I mean, it's -- if someone is really nasty with me, I think, at least they are paying attention to my cartoons so that is what I care about.

BLACKWELL: Yes. You really don't get hate mail from people who don't watch, right?

LUCKOVICH: That's exactly true, yes.

BLACKWELL: So they are paying attention. Now considering your political point of view, do you find -- and this book is about the president.


BLACKWELL: I mean -- so all of those drawings are about Trump and his administration and the Republicans in Congress. But how often do you focus on Democrats in this Trump era?

LUCKOVICH: You know, I haven't been doing too much on Democrats. I haven't really done too much other than Trump. He just takes the -- he just is so out there every day and so I get in and, you know, he'll tweet something kind of nonsensical and I'll think, OK, I'm just going to wait a little while and then he'll come up with something even funnier.

And it's just so -- it's just a constant -- it's a constant thing like that with me. And then, you know, the Democrats really don't have power and so, you know, there is not a lot that you can do about them. I hit the Republicans, you know, when Bill Clinton was president, I had a field day with him and Monica Lewinsky.


LUCKOVICH: But it just -- it really depends on who has the power and who's out in front.

BLACKWELL: The book is "A Very Stable Genius." These are the cartoons of Mike Luckovich. Again for the "Atlanta Journal- Constitution" but it's syndicated across the country. Mike, good to have you back.

LUCKOVICH: Thank you. Thank you, Victor. Thank you, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Thank you. All right.

PAUL: Always glad to have you here, Mike.

OK. So President Trump has slammed Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford's timing of her allegations. Sexual assault survivors say, listen, there are so many reasons that victims do not talk right away. We are going to talk about that and talk about how to balance these kinds of accusations with due process.



PAUL: Forty-seven minutes past the hour right now and this week we are going to get to hear from Christine Blasey Ford on her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

There are many including the president who are doubting her claims because she waited years before coming forward. President Trump tweeted this. "I have no doubt that if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says charges would have been immediately filed with local law enforcement authorities by either her or her loving parents" -- unquote.

Now assault survivors took to Twitter with the #WhyIDidntReport to explain why so many do not report their assaults. With the main reason being shame, guilt, fear.

Anushay Hossain, a political commentator is with us now and also Tracy DeTomasi, executive director of the No More campaign. Thank you both for being with us. We appreciate it.

Anushay, you said, "I think the GOP is wildly underestimating its peril with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford." What peril do you see Republicans are getting themselves into here?

ANUSHAY HOSSAIN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, Christi, I think that what we are seeing now is exactly why -- what we are seeing now online and in reality is exactly why women don't report and I think that the GOP are wildly underestimating women and what we have to go through, you know, our entire lives.

And this is a spectacle honestly just to cover up that virtually no Republican, virtually no members of the GOP actually care whether Kavanaugh assaulted Dr. Ford or not. They are just trying to jam -- jam their nominee through.

And it's amazing to me in 2018 the parallels that not only are we seeing with Anita Hill but, Christi, this is a demonstration in rape culture 101. Normalizing men's sexual violence and blaming women.

PAUL; Tracy, help people understand why women or men who go through something like this do not come forward with it right away?

TRACY DETOMASI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NO MORE CAMPAIGN: I think it's really common that people don't come forward and there are so many reasons. As you said the #WhyIDidntReport is a really good thing to look at. But a lot of times it's fear. It's fear of retribution, especially if the perpetrator is in a position of power or has a lot of clout in the community.

The criminal justice often retraumatizes victim by having them share their story over and over and over again often in front of the perpetrator and that often brings the victim right back to the assault that happened. And they experience all of those feelings and all of that trauma immediately.

PAUL: Victims don't immediately, you said, this was interesting, Tracy, they don't even immediately identify that they have been a victim of a sexual assault. You mean because it just takes so long to process it?


DETOMASI: I think that sometime it takes so long to process and I think also is that we have a -- we have a version in our head of what a rape looks like and what a rapist looks like. And when -- and that typically involves a stranger or somebody jumping out from behind a bush. But 80 to 90 percent of people know their abuser.

And so when they -- they see this person that they know and that maybe they have good experiences with in the past, they have to really wrestle with the fact of did I experience that? Is that what it looked like? And they have to really combine the fact that that is not what I thought rape looked like and that was not what I was expecting but they have the feelings of being violated and being assaulted and a lot of times it takes -- it takes a lot to go through and to process that and to really understand that what they experienced was, indeed, sexual assault.

PAUL: So, Anushay, you know, in the middle of the MeToo movement and it seem like we have to be very careful about this balance. It takes such courage and strength to come out and admit that something like this has happened to you. At the same sense, an allegation does not immediately equate to a crime being committed, to guilt.

How do we balance the strength of these women who are coming out with due process for the alleged perpetrator?

HOSSAIN: Well, you know what is so interesting, Christi, is that Kavanaugh is not being tried for crimes. He about to get a massive promotion to the Supreme Court which has the power to tell the president no, which has the power to tell Congress no. And we have every right to know everything about this candidate and to know everything about this nominee.

But what is interesting is that we don't need this public performance that is going on right now. Every woman's case is different. Every woman's story is different and experience is different.

And Dr. Ford has asked for an FBI investigation. We are on this artificial timeline because the Republicans don't care. They want to jam their nominee in and we don't need to, you know, have this resolved by Monday or by Thursday.

We can allow for an FBI investigation which is what people are calling for, which is what Dr. Ford is calling for. Instead, we are putting this woman and her character and whether she is lying or not or she is telling the truth on trial. And this is exactly what rape culture is and I find it very interesting that the president doesn't believe her and is putting out these doubts on whether she is telling the truth or not because he is a self-admitted sexual assaulter.

It's very interesting which path the GOP is going down. They are clearly following the head of their party.

PAUL: So, Tracy, to her point, I would like you to answer the same question -- how do we balance accusations against due process? Because it seem like either way, from either side, people are coming to their own conclusions without there being an investigation.

DETOMASI: Well, I think that we need to listen to survivors and false accusations are very, very -- a small percentage of sexual assault because victims have so much to lose in coming forward and they don't have a lot to lose if they false report. And so I really think that we need to look at that and we just really need to listen to survivors and we need to educate ourselves about what it looks like to experience sexual assault and all of the different thing that survivors can look like after they have experienced that.

PAUL: All right. Tracy, real quickly. Do you have any concerns for Christine Blasey Ford if she gets in front of this committee?

DETOMASI: I think that her character is going to be put into question and I think that we have a tendency to ask victims what did you do, instead of asking perpetrators what have you done. And so she is going to have go through all of that and really have to face that situation yet again so many years later.

PAUL: Yes.

DETOMASI: And it's going to be really difficult for her.

PAUL: We appreciate the two of you being here and hearing your voices. Anushay Hossain and Tracy DeTomasi, we appreciate both of you. Thank you for taking the time for us today.

HOSSAIN: Thank you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, Japan's tiny robots have successfully hopped their way onto an asteroid and into history. More ahead on this remarkable mission.



PAUL: Well, the city of Lagos is known as Nigeria's Silicon Valley but the technology sector that's still dominated my men.

BLACKWELL: A successful computer programmer is determined to help disadvantaged girls fill the gender gap.


ABISOYE AJAYI-AKINFOLARIN, COMPUTER PROGRAMMER: When I went to Makoko for the first time I was surprised to see the living condition of human beings. Most girls are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty.

Many of them are not thinking education, a plan for the future. I believe girls should be given opportunities.

Working with HTML -- what you can't see you can't aspire to. They need to be shown another light.


BLACKWELL: To see more of her story, go to


PAUL: Well, Japan's space agency just made history. Landing two robot rovers on an asteroid. I know it sounds like a movie. They are transferring images and data back to earth. In fact that's one of our first look there right now.

BLACKWELL: Well, it's not just bragging rights. Stargazers hope the asteroid samples they collect will give reveal information about the origins of our solar system billions of years ago.

PAUL: So you probably know the wedding wear tradition for a bride. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.