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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Two New Kavanaugh Allegations Bring Total to Five; Trump Press Conference Riddled With False Statements. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired September 26, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, Anderson. It's a big and important night.
We could be on the eve of the most important night of Donald Trump's presidency.
I am Cuomo -- Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
A dumpster fire burned in New York City tonight. It was set by the president of the United States in the form of a news conference as he wrestled to bring his Supreme Court nominee back from the brink. He was fuming. Most of the time, even though he was at the U.N., were spent on the mounting allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, that are all, quote, false to him. A big fat con job, he called them, orchestrated by the Democrats.
And the man we are about to talk to, Trump's best defense for his nominee seemed to be that one of the accusers' lawyer is a bum. That lawyer's name is Michael Avenatti, the same man who exposed Trump as somewhat of a bum in their tussle over the truth about Stormy Daniels and the deal that was made on behalf of the president. Avenatti is here to respond within seconds, and to talk the truth about what his client can offer.
We are also going to talk to a senator calling on her Republican colleagues and the president to recognize the value of women and end this nomination even before the hearing.
We are 13 hours from history. What do you say? Let's get after it.
CUOMO: Another wild day, cracks in the dam you could say tonight as Brett Kavanaugh fights to keep his Supreme Court nomination alive. Why is he fighting?
Because in just the last four hours, we've seen a lot happen. President Trump opened the door to withdrawing his nomination. He did. I don't know if he intended to say that but he said it. Even as he repeatedly defended the judge tonight who faces three on the record female accusers and two additional allegations.
They are anonymous. It's hard to put weight on those the same way, but we'll talk about that.
One of them is from 1985, one is from 1998. That makes it a little more interesting. But still, anonymous.
Now, the latest two claims being that way, you know, you just have to look at them as not carrying that much weight, at least not right now until there is more to them. But they were enough for the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask Kavanaugh about them. How do we know? Because we have gotten a copy of one of their transcripts or part of the transcript of their dealings with him.
Now, remember, what Kavanaugh says to that Fox reporter, that's not a crime if he says things that aren't exactly true. But if he doesn't tell the truth to those Senate staffers, that's different.
What do we know? Kavanaugh has categorically denied all of the accusations that you've heard about and the new ones.
Then, there's Christine Blasey Ford. Her legal team has just released these images of Ford taking a lie detector test last month after she first decided to contact Congress about her allegation of a sexual assault by Kavanaugh in the early '80s.
Today, a third accuser, Julie Swetnick, came forward with extraordinary claims of this really ugly culture surrounding the prep school that Kavanaugh went to, aggressive behavior, alcohol-fueled parties, wild and arguably illegal sexual activity. Her attorney, Michael Avenatti, is with us tonight.
The president this afternoon in a rare solo press conference stepped up his defense, calling all the claims against Kavanaugh false and a big fat con job. His attack extended to Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Swetnick, as well as Stormy Daniels. Take a little listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thirty-six years, there's no charge. All of a sudden, the hearings are over and the rumors start coming out and then you have this other con artist, Avenatti, come out with another beauty today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Michael Avenatti is with us now.
Welcome back to PRIME TIME. You are not the story. I do not intend to make you as such.
But I do think you have to be given a chance to respond to the president of the United States who called you a con man.
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR KAVANAUGH ACCUSER JULIE SWETNICK: Well, you know, if anyone knows a con, I guess it would be Donald Trump based on the last two years, Chris.
You know, look, this guy has zero credibility in the eyes of most Americans, and certainly in the eyes of the world. He's a habitual liar. He has distractions against allegations made against Brett Kavanaugh who has no business being on the U.S. Supreme Court. I said a while ago that he should go to the next name on the list, and that's exactly what he should do.
But, look, as it relates to my client's allegations, she stands behind them. She is 100 percent credible. We want the FBI involved immediately to vet these allegations, to take interviews with all of the witnesses including Mark Judge, including Brett Kavanaugh, and perhaps we can test the veracity of his claims the other night on Fox News about being such an innocent high schooler where he would walk little old ladies across the street and bring an apple to every teacher of every day during the school year.
But, look, we want a search for the truth, a legitimate search for the truth.
CUOMO: OK. All right. So, let's take our time here. Let's start with process. You are calling on the FBI to continue their background thing. That's something for the president to do.
You could take Ms. Swetnick to the FBI to launch a complaint. You could go to local authorities. Why haven't you done that?
AVENATTI: Well, first of all, I don't believe we could take her to the FBI because I don't think the FBI would have jurisdiction over her claims of abuse or sexual -- inappropriate sexual conduct as pled or as stated in the declaration. I think that would be a matter for state authorities in the state of Maryland and we may very well do that. We may plead out a criminal complaint.
But, Chris, let's be clear. Even if we were to do that today or last week or over the weekend, that would not change or have any impact formally on the judicial nominee process before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
CUOMO: All right. Next question about this just in terms of looking at it outwardly, then we'll get into the credibility. I appreciate you taking this opportunity. This is what the process demands for fairness.
What do you believe that your client can demonstrate that is most damaging to Brett Kavanaugh? Because in reading the affidavit, one, the affidavit has some holes. There are some fact gaps. There's more information that would be needed obviously in this process.
But she does not blame him. She does not point the finger at Brett Kavanaugh for ever doing anything to her or ever having seen him do anything to anybody else.
What is the most damning nature of what she can show?
AVENATTI: Well, Chris, I'm not going to weigh the allegations in the declaration, but here's what I will say. If you -- even if you negate one paragraph, pick a paragraph of the declaration, the balance of the paragraph is still sufficient to call into question his fitness to hold a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. You can eliminate half of the declaration and still have a problem with his fitness for the position. And here's the other thing I'll say. I don't think that your
characterization is a fair reading of the declaration. I think the declaration is detailed as it relates to the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh individually as well as the allegations against Mark Judge and others.
CUOMO: Right. I'm saying what she says she suffered, which I'm not questioning, I have no basis to question. I don't know enough about any of this stuff. But I'm just pulling it out so I have it with me.
The idea of what was done to her, she said she was incapacitated at the time. She certainly couldn't form consent, she says. But she does not identify Kavanaugh as her attacker, that's what I'm saying, and she's not saying she ever saw Kavanaugh attack anyone else.
So, I'm asking you what do you think she could say if she were given the chance that should mean the most to senators? That's my question.
AVENATTI: But, Chris, she does say she witnessed Kavanaugh conduct himself inappropriately and verbally and physically abuse women in a sexual manner. I think that's early on in the declaration. I mean, it's right there in black and white.
AVENATTI: Here, let me say this.
CUOMO: Paragraph eight, by the way, for people at home. That's what Kavanaugh is talking about.
AVENATTI: Thank you, Chris.
This is a detailed statement. It is a sworn statement under penalty of perjury, and these facts, if alleged in a criminal context to start a criminal investigation, would be more than sufficient for the process to begin.
And again, we're at the beginning stages. We're not at the end stages. We're asking for an FBI investigation.
In my experience in nearly two decades, Chris, when you have an individual that is making the story up, they don't offer to take a lie detector test, which my client has done. They don't offer to sit down with the FBI and tell the FBI what they know. And they don't offer to identify other witnesses to the FBI which is exactly what she's doing.
CUOMO: Let's talk about them, Michael. You say that you have one or two other people that she told at the time. It's in the affidavit.
Are those people ready to be produced? Are they willing to come forward? Have they written affidavits or made affidavits as well?
AVENATTI: I think that we are going to hear from the witnesses that can support this declaration in the coming days. And again, hopefully we're going to sit down with the FBI and we're going to have an investigation.
You know, I find it ironic, Chris, that we allow the FBI to investigate the most heinous crimes on U.S. soil. 9/11, the Unabomber, Timothy McVeigh, serial killers, a host of crimes that we trust these very capable men and women of the FBI to solve, and yet for some reason, Lindsey Graham, Chuck -- the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Donald Trump and others, Mitch McConnell, do not want to trust the FBI with getting to the bottom of these allegations.
CUOMO: Right. Although, you know, look, to be fair to the process, Chuck Grassley the chairman has made that point. That's the name you were looking for there. They are not in the business of proving or disproving these types of allegations or even really assessing the credibility.
But what they could do and what I've been arguing about on the show, without any regard for who is telling the truth or not -- because frankly, I don't know how I could assess it, I don't know how the senators can -- would be talk to everybody. Use their field offices. Being able to canvas people that maybe the Senate can't get as easily and create a record, professionally, of knowing how to ask questions and have everybody in one place with what they say about everything that matters, and then the Senate could proceed.
But they're deciding not to do that. So, thank you for giving us this opportunity at least to look at Julie Swetnick and what she offers and what the challenges are.
So, the idea of what would happen if she were to be asked about this stuff, one of the things that came up in assessing this and looking at it is there's an age difference with Swetnick and Kavanaugh and the other ones. She's a couple years older than they. I think Kavanaugh was born in '65 and she was born in '62.
So, that means if this dating -- and again, it's approximate. She said somewhere around 1982. She would have been in college and still going to high school parties. This isn't a judgment of her habits, but how does she explain that, why she was still around the same group of guys?
AVENATTI: Well, Chris, these weren't just high school parties.
AVENATTI: They were like any number of other parties. I mean, you've been to parties, I've been to parties. There's an age difference at parties.
AVENATTI: This wasn't just limited to 17 and 18-year-olds. There were many different ages that went to these parties, anywhere from 16 years of age to 22 years of age.
AVENATTI: Which isn't that big a spread.
So there was a cross-section of individuals at these parties very often, mostly high school students, some local college students, some college students home on break, et cetera. So it was a cross-section of people like you would expect at any other party.
CUOMO: Understood. So that's the age.
So she says she went to a number of these parties, and sometimes -- not every time -- she heard about spiking. She heard about what she calls a rape train.
One of the questions is, God forbid you ever see anything like that, she's 20 years old, whatever age she was when she saw it, why didn't she ever think, oh, my God, look what they're doing to this girl, I have to tell somebody, I have to call the cops, you know, this is wrong. She knew it was wrong. She wanted to avoid it.
But she kept going to the parties and she didn't ever blow the whistle on these guys. Why?
AVENATTI: Well, Chris, she was aware of the spiking of the punch, et cetera, which is why she avoided the punch. And she was aware of some activity going on in these back rooms. But she was not aware of exactly what was transpiring in the back rooms.
You've got to understand there were a lot of people at these parties in general. And I think she's going to have valid explanations as to why she didn't report it at the time. And, look, I want to say this.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
AVENATTI: I'll put up her credibility against Donald Trump's or Brett Kavanaugh's any day of the week. I mean, all of these women cannot be lying. I mean, how many women are we up to now that are accusing Brett Kavanaugh of inappropriate conduct? There's plenty of judges and attorneys in America that don't have allegations like this in their background who would be more than qualified to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court for life.
CUOMO: I hear what you're saying. As you well know, I'm not calling anybody a liar. I'm testing what we have been told in the affidavit and what you can argue on her behalf. That's what fairness demands.
I know you know that and you welcome the opportunity and I appreciate you for taking it.
The reason I ask you, is I hear you saying she wasn't exactly sure what was going on. I'm not calling her "Colombo." I'm saying the paragraph 12, she says, I witnessed efforts by Judge and Kavanaugh and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so then they can be gang raped in a side room or bedroom by a train of numerous boys. I have a firm recollection of seeing boys in lines outside rooms at many of these parties.
That's why I asked. It seems as though she saw this more than once, identified it for what it was, but didn't do anything about it. I'm not blaming her, but I want to understand why if she now looks at it as being such a pernicious activity, why didn't she do anything about it?
AVENATTI: Well, Chris, it sounds like you are blaming her. The reason why she didn't do anything about it is for the reason I just said, because she didn't understand the magnitude of what was going on in these back rooms until she was gang raped at one of these parties.
And I can assure you that after she was gang raped at one of these parties, that was attended by Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, she never went back. And, look, I think the most important witness perhaps in all of this relating to all of these allegations is Mark Judge. And the fact that Mark Judge is Brett Kavanaugh's best friend or one of his closest friends and he doesn't want him to be called to testify to the point where they have him hiding out in a safe house so he's not subpoenaed to testify, tells you everything you need to know about who is telling the truth.
CUOMO: One other thing I want to give you a chance to respond to here. You saw what's in the "Wall Street Journal." They have reporting -- and, look, you know this is going happen. Swetnick, if she wants to be at this level of public discourse, there is going to be a look at her as well.
There are a couple things that came up in there. One is that she seems to have used the firm of or the attorney of Professor Ford, Deb Katz, that either she had somebody from that firm or she used Katz herself in an employment matter.
Do you know anything about that, the association between your client and the lawyer for Professor Ford?
AVENATTI: I know that many years ago she used Deborah Katz. Deborah Katz is an exceptional lawyer as I think she's demonstrated in connection with Dr. Ford. She's one of the leading lawyers in Washington D.C., on sexual harassment and other types of claims. So, it's not surprising that she used her.
But -- I mean, what's the allegation? That somehow --
CUOMO: The suggestion would be that there is coordination.
AVENATTI: No --
CUOMO: And the question becomes, did Katz give you Swetnick? Why didn't she use Katz? Do Ford and Swetnick know about each other? Is there any coordination of concern here?
AVENATTI: No, there is no coordination whatsoever. My client, Julie Swetnick, reached out to me because she has observed my conduct over the last six to seven months and the results I've obtained for Stormy Daniels and others. She's familiar with my background and she asked me to represent her.
We fully vetted her and, therefore, I agreed to represent her. CUOMO: When you were vetting her, you found out about the Katz,
AVENATTI: I'm sorry?
CUOMO: You found out about Katz when you were vetting her or is that new to you from "The Journal"?
AVENATTI: No, no, no. At some point in time, I became aware of Katz.
CUOMO: The other thing that's in "The Journal" is that -- and again, this isn't my reporting on it but I'll take "The Journal" face value and let you answer to it. An ex-boyfriend says she can't be believed. That she took out an injunction against him, they had an ugly fight, everything she said was wrong, she was menacing of him, harassing him, can't take her seriously.
AVENATTI: Well, first of all, I don't think the boyfriend has any credibility whatsoever. This is a guy that is engaged in fraud on a number of occasions and been found to have committed fraud. He used her resume to obtain jobs without her knowledge and then was found out and subsequently fired.
But, look, I'm not here to cast aspersions for the next ten minutes about her boyfriend. Here's what I'm going to tell you.
AVENATTI: I'm sure if you went to some of my ex-girlfriends they probably wouldn't speak too kindly about me and I'd say the say about you, although you are one of the nicest people I've met in my life, Chris.
CUOMO: Well, now, we know your judgment is certainly flawed by that last statement alone.
Michael Avenatti, this is what fairness demands. She's going to be put to the test when she comes forward. And that's the right thing to do. We need to know to judge the credibility as well as what these people say about others.
But thank you for taking the opportunity.
AVENATTI: Chris, let me make one last point, OK?
CUOMO: Yes, sir.
AVENATTI: I'm willing to make her available for eight hours of cross- examination by Brett Kavanaugh's attorney under oath if, in turn, she will make her client Brett Kavanaugh available for eight hours of cross-examination by me. I'll do it tomorrow.
CUOMO: Right. And they will not. Because they already have one set of questioners they're going to deal with tomorrow.
But, Michael Avenatti, this is relevant information. I appreciate you answering the questions. It helps the audience. Thank you very much.
AVENATTI: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. A week-and-a-half ago, the president voiced support for the process. You remember that? When he said, everybody's got to be heard. That's how we have to do this. What happened?
That wasn't the president we heard today, right, and really since then? He wasn't saying the accusers were liars but he was spewing rage at them and Democrats tonight. What will it all mean for tomorrow? Next.
CUOMO: Like binge purge with press conferences with this administration. They don't give us access to what we normally get. But when we do, President Trump invoked everything from George Washington to Elton John for almost an hour and a half. He tore through a lot.
And you'll hear a lot of people fact checking tonight because a lot of it was wrong like when he once again said he won 52 percent of the women's vote in 2016. No, he did not. Hillary had more women overall. He won 52 percent of white women, and that is a demographic that he is putting on the rocks with what's going on right now. Big risk with this push to get Kavanaugh through.
He claimed he rejected a one on one meeting with the Canadian prime minister. Justin Trudeau's people say they never asked for a meeting.
He said Barack Obama didn't even try to fill open judgeships. It's not that he didn't try. Republicans in the Senate flat out refused to confirm many of Obama's nominees. What do you think started some of this toxicity we're seeing with Kavanaugh?
The big take away Washington wizards Trump's take on the Supreme Court pick, and I'm not going to spend time with the fact checking because this is what mattered, all right? This was a pivotal point for our nation. But it also spent a lot of time with the president saying why it matters to him.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a very dangerous period in our country and it's being perpetrated by some very evil people. This is just a game that they're playing. It's a con game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Con game, con job, that was the language he used a lot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I've used much worse language in my life than con job. That's probably the nicest phrase I've used. I mean, con job -- it is. It's a con job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Fair point. Why does he keep saying it so much?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It is, it's a con job.
They're actually con artists. It's a con artist's job, and they know it's a big fat con job.
This is a big con job. A big fat con.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: First things first. He's right. The con in con man or con job does stand for confidence, he's right about that.
But what we're seeing is a Trump device. I'm going to say it a lot so that makes it true. But it doesn't, all right? And despite making it very clear that Kavanaugh is being attacked, Trump also kept trying to say he wanted to hear from the women.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They're giving the women a major chance to speak. Now, it's possible I'll hear that and I'll say, hey, I'm changing my mind. That is possible. We want to give them a chance to speak.
REPORTER: All three should have the chance?
TRUMP: Well, whoever is given a chance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: No, no, no.
All right. Let's take this one part, all right. That was Jim Acosta. So all three women are going to get a chance? No, not all three, OK?
One is getting a chance tomorrow. This is set up as a he said, she said. This is really by definition rush to judgment, all right?
So despite the president's professions of an open mind, it's clear to him Brett Kavanaugh is the victim and there are a lot of gold diggers out there who will make up lies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've had a lot of false charges made against me, really false charges. I know friends who have had false charges. People want fame, they want money, they want whatever.
So when I see it, I view it differently. It's happened to me many times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: There's a lawsuit actually against him by one of those women that's been given legal sufficiency to move forward. He talked about four, even using the rule of Trumpism of being a factor of three close, he's still off.
The president was asked about his daughters and whether that helps him understand the victims of sexual abuse. Didn't really answer. When asked about the message of his language sends to women, he doubled down about how bad false accusations again.
Then he was asked about the message to men and he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This is everything to do with our country. When you are guilty, until proven innocent, it's just not supposed to be that way. Always I heard, you're innocent until proven guilty. I've heard this for so long and it's such a beautiful phrase.
In this case, you're guilty until proven innocent. I think that is a very, very dangerous standard for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: It's also dangerously false. If we know nothing else from this confirmation process and this rush to judgment is that they're doing what they can to help insulate Kavanaugh from this. And I don't know why the judge is standing for it, to be honest.
Now, Trump said he'll be watching tomorrow. If Kavanaugh is guilty, he said -- although he's not going to be found guilty or innocent or not guilty -- sure, he would withdraw his nomination. Trump actually said that. If when he watches tomorrow he thinks Kavanaugh did it, he'll withdraw the nomination.
Now, I'd like to get the over/under on that since he's already reached his verdict. This is stuff we need to talk about. It is the premise for the great debate, next.
CUOMO: How about now, should the White House direct the FBI to investigate claims made against Judge Kavanaugh? Here's what the president thinks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The FBI told us they've investigated Judge Kavanaugh six times, five times, many times over the years. They know him very well. But here there was nothing to investigate. Thirty-six years, no charge, no nothing. Everybody --
REPORTER: But that happens often.
TRUMP: People are going to have to make a decision. These are all false to me. These are false accusations in certain cases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All false accusations in certain cases.
All right. Is the president going to change course? Nope. But it is certainly worthy of debate and we have great debaters. Ana Navarro and Carrie Severino.
I've got to be honest, Carrie, I couldn't follow him today. He was all over the place, the president about this. Con job he said a million times. Then he said I'm open to changing my mind tomorrow.
Well, if it's a con job, why would you be open to changing your mind if you think something is a con that you say 27 times, let's be honest? Do you think anybody in that room tomorrow is going to know what they're talking about? Do you think anybody has enough information to really know the truth or falsity of what's going to be presented before them?
CARRIE SEVERINO, JUDICIAL CRISIS NETWORK: I think one of the problems with these allegations is they are very vague. They go back more than three decades, and the attempts to corroborate them have all come up empty. I think we'll have to --
CUOMO: Come up empty or been insufficient?
SEVERINO: Her statements have been contradicted. So, everyone she said was an eyewitness to this account actually says, I don't remember this party ever happening. Her friend Leland says, I don't think I even knew Brett Kavanaugh.
CUOMO: Is her husband contradicted?
SEVERINO: Her husband just says she told me this 30 years after the fact.
CUOMO: Does the therapist say anything, she was planning this five years in advance?
SEVERINO: She has refused to release the records as a therapist which is her right. But if you want to use them to corroborate yourself, you have to release them. Besides, there's a real problem here where people misunderstanding what it is to corroborate something.
CUOMO: Tell me, help me.
SEVERINO: Corroborate is it's showing -- it's showing evidence of something you can look at, physical evidence, it could be things like medical evidence from the time, something at the very least --
CUOMO: Or someone.
SEVERINO: Hearsay, it could be hearsay, kind of the lower level, but it has to be contemporaneous. To say 30 years later someone told me this, that's not corroboration.
CUOMO: It depends on the context but I hear you on that.
Our larger point is this, Carrie, and I'll bounce it to you, Ana. They don't know. This is not a fact finding mission. We now know why the president said today, we should have done this two weeks ago. We know why Grassley and McConnell have been trying to move this along.
There's another allegation every day. We don't know if it's true or false but we've never seen anything like this about another nominee. Now, the right will say it's because the left values this position more than anyone ever. That's why they're doing this and didn't do it to Gorsuch even though these two guys went to the same school at the same time and none of this came out about him.
How do you see it, Ana?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, you asked -- when you were questioning Carrie, you asked if there was going to be anybody in that room who knew the truth. There are going to be two people in that room who know the truth, Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey Ford.
And, you know, unfortunately, we're probably never going to get a conclusive answer as to whether this was true or it was not. All we're going to have are both their testimonies. The American people are going to make an opinion and there is going to be senators who are going to vote on what they want.
What I would like is for senators from both parties to go in there with open minds, open ears and open hearts, to put ideology aside. You shouldn't be judging Kavanaugh on whether you agree with him on ideology or not. You should not be judging Kavanaugh on whether you want to support Donald Trump or not.
You should not be a rubber stamp. You should be there listening, scrutinizing, you know, really paying attention and following your heart. Treat this woman like if she was your daughter or your wife or your sister and treat Kavanaugh with the respect that he deserves.
One of two things is going to happen. Either a woman who is a victim and is traumatized is going to not get her due, or a man who is innocent is going to have his reputation ruined. And perhaps even still then, sit in the Supreme Court. That's why tomorrow is so important.
And that's why I am so disappointed the Republican Party, the Republican senators, this White House has not done more to do things like get the account of Mark Judge. Get the account of Mark Judge's girlfriend. Get as much information as possible.
This is really important. It's a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.
NAVARRO: There will be issues about sexual assault that will come in front of that court, and I just don't think that they have done enough to really try to get to the bottom of it. They're going pay a big price if they look like they're trying to ram through and plow through --
NAVARRO: -- this investigation and this testimony tomorrow.
CUOMO: You know, Carrie, I'll give you the final point on this. That's all I've argued all week, is process. I don't know anything about judge Kavanaugh except that which I've been able to pick up from reporting and his own accounts of himself and what we've seen in the allegations.
But I don't know why they didn't take the time to give him the clearance that he obviously wants and say, look, we had the FBI do what they do. They're not going to give us a conclusion. That's not what they do. They're not even going to assess veracity. That's not what they do in these cases. This is not a criminal investigation.
But here's what everybody said. It's all in one place and done professionally, and now we'll go through it all, Ramirez, Swetnick, Ford. Here's what we believe, here's what we don't, here's why, here's the corroborators, here's the corroborators that fell short.
Think about how much more trust there would be going into tomorrow if that had been done.
SEVERINO: I first of all agree wholeheartedly. I want both sides to get a hearing. I have daughters and I have sons. I want them all to get a fair hearing and not go in prejudging it.
However, the problem with not having a proper investigation is entirely on the shoulders of those who decided to shop these stories to the media rather than turning them over to the FBI in the first place, turning them over to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Then you could have actually had a more responsible investigation. You could have talked to witnesses separately, for example, before they all read about it in the papers first thing.
That's how it should have been done. That's how it was done during the Anita Hill hearings. That should have happened in this case.
It didn't so we're left picking up the pieces as best we can. The Senate Judiciary Committee is performing all of those interviews you talked about. The Democrats have only recently come to the table and been participating at all. They have an opportunity to take some of this testimony and all of the women making allegations, even the most recent ones, even the ones that are almost discredited by the time they get to the committee, they have reached out to every single one of them.
They have said, if you have evidence please present it. And that's something that is proper. But, look, you couldn't get them all in one place. If you couldn't get them all in one place to do it was they come out a new day with ever more surprising ones, the fifth one has already recanted.
This is looking like it's another attempt at a circus here. So, I hope we'll see tomorrow some respect given this and then we have to just move forward and not allow the circus to continue.
CUOMO: Well, we didn't --
NAVARRO: Here's the problem.
CUOMO: Last word, we have to go.
NAVARRO: I -- if this were a Democrat appointee, if this were a Democrat nominee and Republicans were running the Senate, I have no doubt they would have exerted every single effort to try to get to the truth. I have no doubt that they would have subpoenaed --
SEVERINO: They're trying.
CUOMO: No, they're not.
NAVARRO: No, they're not. They are not.
NAVARRO: All these women have asked for an FBI investigation. The ex-girlfriend of Mark Judge has said she's willing to talk. They have not subpoenaed Mark Judge.
They're doing a half hearted attempt. They're doing the least amount possible to check the box and look like they did something because they want to get this vote through. And the American people are onto it.
CUOMO: Look, we'll see tomorrow. Carrie, Ana, that's one thing for sure. We'll see tomorrow.
We'll see what they cover. We'll see what they don't. We'll see how it goes. It's going to be plenty to learn and it's a big day.
Ladies, thank you very much.
NAVARRO: Thank you.
CUOMO: When we come back, we talk to a senator who is outraged by what she heard from the president today. Her name is Kirsten Gillibrand, senator from New York. And wait until you hear where her head is going into tomorrow.
CUOMO: The hearing with Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford will go forward tomorrow as of now.
One senator already wrote a letter to the president calling for the nomination to be withdrawn before the hearing. Who? Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. We talked to her not long ago.
CUOMO: Senator, thank you for joining us on PRIME TIME.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: Hi.
CUOMO: In a world of shock, a bigger shock today, the president seemed to dispute that and said in his press conference, everybody's going to get a chance. They're all going to get a chance. Every woman is going to get a chance.
Then he had another wild case of double speak.
Let me play the sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're giving the women a major chance to speak. Now, it's possible I'll hear that and I'll say, hey, I'm changing my mind. That is possible. They're going to have a big shot at speaking and making their case. And, you know what? I could be persuaded also.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right, two things. One, who says? Who says more than Professor Ford is getting a chance to speak tomorrow or any day?
GILLIBRAND: No one that I've heard of, Chris. The truth is, is, you know, President Trump is credibly accused by multiple women of both sexual harassment and sexual assault. So, it's not surprising that his perspective is constantly to believe the accused as opposed to those who are bringing these cases forward.
CUOMO: Now, he says that the accusations against him were a basis for people going after Kavanaugh with wrongful accusations. Do you accept that?
GILLIBRAND: No. I think what President Trump -- again, he's attacking these survivors. He has attacked their credibility. He basically says this whole thing is a scam, and he doesn't believe survivors and he doesn't listen to women and he doesn't value women.
And that's clear in everything he said over the last year -- last two years about women. Attacking them, undermining them, devaluing them, minimizing them.
CUOMO: Now, he says that this is all a big con job, but he then said he's going to listen and his mind can be changed. How is that possible? Either he thinks it's a con job or he's open to what the truth is. How do you understand that?
GILLIBRAND: I don't. I wrote a letter to president Trump today asking him to withdraw this nomination because we now have three credible accusers of sexual assault, violent sexual assault in two cases that deeply concern me and people all across America and American women. And what message is he sending to our girls and boys that what you do in high school doesn't count, as if these sexual assault allegations aren't serious. They are very serious, and I think he should withdraw the nomination.
CUOMO: He says the message is false accusations are very dangerous, and that guilty until proven innocent is not a legitimate standard. You would agree with that. Not all allegations are equal.
You have to have corroboration. You have to have credibility and proof. Otherwise, you can't change a life just through an accusation, can you?
GILLIBRAND: I don't agree with his premise at all. First of all, this is not a trial. We are not trying to convict anyone. There is not a standard of innocent until proven guilty. Ms. Blasey Ford does not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
We're not sending someone to jail here. We are trying to assess the credibility of Judge Kavanaugh and whether he has the integrity, whether he has the honesty, whether he's trustworthy enough to be a Supreme Court justice, and to have a lifetime appointment.
And so, my job and the job of other senators -- and it's shocking to me that they can't ask these questions themselves. It's shocking to me that they need a female prosecutor to ask questions because they can't possibly do their job.
It is our job as senators to assess this individual's credibility and whether he is worthy -- worthy -- this is a job interview. This is not a criminal case.
CUOMO: All right.
GILLIBRAND: Whether he is worthy to be the next Supreme Court justice and whether he has the character and fitness to be that judge -- justice.
CUOMO: All right. Let's test two things. One, you wrote a letter to the president saying withdraw the nomination.
CUOMO: The criticism, too soon. Senator, you haven't heard a word of testimony yet. Why ask to have the nomination withdrawn? Maybe you'll find Kavanaugh very credible. Maybe you'll find Ford incredible.
Why ask for action before due process?
GILLIBRAND: First of all, it's not due process. Again, that is a legal standard. This is just a hearing.
But I've heard from both sides already. I've heard from Judge Kavanaugh. I heard him on Fox News saying this was all not true and that he was spending time with friends and studying and going to church in high school.
We have a very different story from many corroborating witnesses. You have now three allegations from three women about ways he treated them in high school and college. You have -- Dr. Blasey Ford has submitted affidavits today of friends of what happened.
She has her therapist she told five years ago with therapist notes. She now has affidavits with several friends who also corroborate that she told them in advance before he was ever nominated to be a Supreme Court justice that this happened to her, with the same set of facts.
You then have ms. Ramirez's testimony and that's been corroborated by Kavanaugh's college roommate, freshman year roommate, yes, he came home drunk, drunken many nights and he was belligerent when he came home.
We've now had this new affidavit from Ms. Swetnick who says he was drinking heavily throughout her knowledge of him for two years. And so, the truth is you have this corroborating evidence that I have learned, I have listened to, I have read, and I weigh that evidence with what Judge Kavanaugh has said throughout these hearings and what he said last night, and I believe the women.
CUOMO: So, maybe the Republicans are right and there is no need for any investigation because I'm assuming other Democrats are in the same position as you were. You've already made up your mind before the hearing.
GILLIBRAND: No, there needs to be an investigation because for any judicial nominee, for any justice, for the Supreme Court or any judge, you have to have a completed FBI background check. These three allegations have come to light after they concluded that background check so that background check likely did not include the investigation of these claims.
CUOMO: Last question. Are you open to changing your mind?
GILLIBRAND: Based on everything I have heard to date, no. And before these allegations came to light, I thought Judge Kavanaugh's record was disqualifying. His view on women's rights, the fact he doesn't see women's rights in the Constitution, the fact he believes insurers have more speech rights than you or I, if you have a preexisting condition, they should charge you whatever they want, the fact that he believes my boss deny should decide whether I have access to contraception, all of those views are disqualifying, because his views they are so far outside the mainstream, so conservative that I can't imagine him being a force for good on the court and I can't imagine him actually having the kind of judicial character that is necessary to be a justice on the Supreme Court.
Then you just add to that all these allegations, so no. Whatever he says tomorrow, it will not change my view and I've already read Dr. Blasey Ford's testimony and I believe her.
CUOMO: Senator Gillibrand, thank you for coming on this very important eve.
GILLIBRAND: Thank you. Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. Also at issue tonight, four pages of a calendar from 1982. Have you seen Judge Kavanaugh's calendar? What does it show? What does it not show? Next.
CUOMO: How many of you have a calendar from 1982 just lying around? How many of you were even born in 1982? Judge Kavanaugh does, and he handed it over to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It's filled with really fascinating stuff. I mean, I think it's fascinating that he kept it all these years. Good thing for him that he did. Some typical kid stuff, chores, exams.
But some entries stood out. He's blocked off beach week. Sound familiar? That's on his yearbook page listed as the beach week Ralph Club. Biggest contributor.
I don't know about you, but to me Ralphing used to mean throwing up. Weird for a guy who says he never had any drinking to excess, drunk to the point of vomiting and proud of it back then.
Now, the impression that he left after his Fox interview where he portrayed himself as the virginal teen, focused on church and service projects. There are several references to Mark or Judge, who Blasey Ford says was there when she was assaulted. These pages don't show much about whether or not there was an assault of course, but they do show Kavanaugh was a privileged teen and that he went to a lot of parties.
Let's bring in Don Lemon.
I also didn't see in the calendars over the summer, the three months or so that we looked at, of service projects that he says in the interview he was doing all along. What's my point? My point is this --
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I know what your point is.
CUOMO: Oh, then, tell me.
LEMON: He's not the choir boy. His calendar -- you know, people are putting a lot of stock in the calendar and what he said in the yearbook. But what's important about it is that it shows quite a difference in what he says he was in that interview.
CUOMO: Look, it's interesting that he had it. It's interesting that it's out there. You know why it's really interesting to me? Because it's such a piece of detailed evidence --
CUOMO: -- in a situation where nobody is killing themselves to get the facts.
CUOMO: Do you know what I mean? To me, it's such a juxtaposition.
CUOMO: That's got a calendar. Look, I kept a calendar from all the way back then. But they won't even bring in the people who say they want to talk to them today.
LEMON: And the people who are listed in the calendar -- listen, Philip Bump of "The Washington Post," the folks at "The Washington Post," they annotated this calendar, and my question to him is maybe it doesn't put these folks in the same room, but does it put them in the same place, and what does that mean? Is that corroborating? We shall say, coming up.
CUOMO: Strong question, look forward to that. Thank you, D. Lemon.
LEMON: See you.
CUOMO: All right. Tomorrow is a big day. If you've been watching, I'm not much for the hype. Tomorrow matters. You're going to hear directly from Kavanaugh and his accuser. Now, there's so much that's been discussed about what tomorrow is about, and I'm not looking at any of it for what may have the biggest impact. What will? Closing argument, next.
CUOMO: Delays by the Democrats. The GOP rushing to judgment. Trump's rabid double speak. All relevant but not the real concern -- at least not for me when I think about Kavanaugh tomorrow.
Going on Fox was the decision that may come back to haunt. Why? Because deciding to sit across from a friendly face and give all the perfect answers and face none of the hard questions may have felt good in the moment, but he left himself vulnerable to having his perfection picked apart.
And then he told Senate staffers every word of that interview is true, and there is a penalty for lying to them. So, now, the judge has to own all of it. And if it's all true, fine.
If you take the three named accusers at the absolute minimum value, OK, what do we know? Someone was not in church all the time. Someone was seen drunk a lot for a guy who denies any excess and may have been present for far worse than just drinking.
It does not make him a rapist. Don't say it does. It's not fair to the process. It doesn't make him someone who would attempt to hurt any woman ever.
But these accounts if true in any way, a minimum standard, they mean something you may hear a lot about tomorrow. Brett Kavanaugh was not telling the truth about himself. So what?
At trial, if he lied about blacking out and being at parties where bad things happened, still can't prove he's the one who committed the assaults. No forensics, direct witnesses. The lies hurt, but they don't convict. No way.
What about an election? Could it be the difference? Doubt it. Why? Look at what we just saw. You can lie a ton about yourself and your virtues and even lie about what you yourself said about yourself and still get elected.
But we're not in either setting. Here's the problem for Kavanaugh tomorrow he has set up a perfect story of himself. That account has multiple accounts of women and men who do not coordinate, as far as we know, from different occasions and different settings, all saying he is not who he said he was.
Enough to send him to jail? Nope.
But here's the question for the senators. Do you put him in a job that is all about the truth? The highest echelon of integrity among all our institutions, the Supreme Court?
So this is not about what he did back then necessarily because I don't see how in this rush to judgment the GOP has set up how the truths of the matters asserted can in any way be proven to any reasonable standard. So, this is going to be about how he dealt with the past in the present.
If he is judged to be someone who would lie about partying in high school, can he be trusted to be truthful and impartial about the president and major issues of consequence? Everyone's so focused on what's true and not and why I believe her and why I believe him. You don't know anything.
Let's be honest. That's not what this process has been about. This is more about credibility than it is about proof. It's not a trial. These folks have run away from being fact-finders.
What I'm looking for is whether or not his story comes back to haunt him. I don't believe that what others say about Judge Kavanaugh will prove to be his biggest challenge. I think what Brett Kavanaugh has said about himself will be.
Thank you for watching tonight.
"CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON" starts right now, delivered to you early twice. You can thank my time-obsessed E.P. for that, shorting my science so you can have more time.