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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Kavanaugh: I've Never Sexually Assaulted Anyone, Ford: 100% Certain It Was Kavanaugh Who Assaulted Me; Key Moderate Senators Meeting In Private. Aired at Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 27, 2018 - 19:00   ET

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


JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I mean maybe that's relevant.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Let me ask you this. You're a lawyer and someone else was asking us this. His lawyer signed a statement. Does that mean that Judge signed that statement, effectively?

TOOBIN: Absolutely not.

BORGER: Not. OK.

TOOBIN: Absolutely not. Your -- there has --I mean, there is no way --

BORGER: Yes.

TOOBIN: -- you could have a federal prosecution of Mark Judge for something his lawyer wrote.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jeffrey, let me ask you this. She said earlier this morning, 100%, it was the judge, the federal judge, who did this to her 36 years ago. She said, no doubt, 100%. And he said, just moments ago, 100%, it wasn't him who did anything along these lines. They were both under oath. They were sworn in. Is one of them committing perjury?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. Without question. Not perjury. Making a false statement under -- well --

BORGER: Well, what if he blacked out and he doesn't know?

TOOBIN: I don't know exactly which crime, whether it's 1001 or 1503 but it is a crime.

BLITZER: But lying to Congress is a crime. It's a felony.

TOOBIN: Lying to Congress under oath is a felony. One of them did it today. Absolutely.

BLITZER: So that's a problem. Somebody's going to have to investigate that.

TOOBIN: I doubt it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It wasn't a problem with the Clarence Thomas hearing. Same thing.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: Yes. I mean what Clarence Thomas or Anita Hill was lying under oath and no one investigated that except journalists and subsequent historians, all of whom have concluded that Anita Hill told the truth.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Can I go back to this question of whether or not he can be an independent judge or justice?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, that's what I was going to say. I mean look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ruth Bader Ginsburg will talk to you all about the fact that she got confirmed with such a wide margin. She was a lawyer for the ACLU. Look at Elena Kagan, she was in the White House.

BASH: But she didn't go after senators and talk about very specific political conspiracies. The Clinton comment. And I just -- I thought it was very interesting that he clearly understood or was told that. He took it steps too far -- or many steps too far in being belligerent to the senators when he went after Amy Klobuchar when she was asking him a legitimate question about blacking out because that's very important to the allegation against him.

JOAN BISKUPIC, SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER: Dana, I -- you're right. Played the partisan card like nobody else.

BASH: But what I was going to say was that, what I was told was that that was a very important moment for him to apologize for those key senators. He had to do it or he would have been in big trouble.

VOGUE: And it was such a departure from how he was the first time around for his first hearing. What a Brett Kavanaugh. Is it superman or is it the guy, you know, Clark Kent.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Harris made that point saying, you know, you think this is a democratic mastermind to derail your nomination but how come Neil Gorsuch, someone with a pretty similar pedigree to you, came through and this didn't happen to him. He didn't really answer that question but the White House's perspective of him going after them is it really it doesn't matter because he wasn't going to get those votes anyway.

Of course, they would probably raise into question if this was reversed and it was a Democratic nominee, a Democratic president and their nominee but they really don't care what the Democrats have to say here. They think they already made up their minds before these assaults or these alleged assaults even surfaced so it doesn't really matter what they have to say in this -- BISKUPIC: That's right. So I guess where he went over the line was not in the partisan way but in the woman way where you want to care about Senators Collins and Murkowski.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. But I think it's both.

BISKUPIC: But I think Dana made a great point --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's both.

BISKUPIC: -- about someone who's going to -- if he gets on the Supreme Court, he looks like a partisan fire brand more than anybody else ever.

BORGER: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Partisan fire brand? What about Scalia? No. What about Alito? I mean, they're partisan.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: That's difference. They're conservatives. I mean they are conservatives and they are conservative judicial philosophies. But you never heard Scalia, you never hear Alito saying, the Clintons are out to get me.

BORGER: But wait a minute. What about Alito at that state of the union? Remember when he said --

TOOBIN: He shook his head. That was a pretty minor thing. This was a speech -- this was a speech that Sean Hannity could have given.

BORGER: No. I'm not saying this isn't worse but I think this notion, as you pointed out before, that these Supreme Court justices are above politics somehow, I mean, Bush-Gore kind of got rid of that.

VOGUE: The process has changed. The hearings have changed. I mean think, Justice Scalia got through with just, I think --

BORGER: With a unanimous vote.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: He was alleging that because he worked for Ken Starr and Ken Starr was going after then President Bill Clinton during the Whitewater investigation, then the Monica Lewinsky investigation, then the impeachment process, this was now revenge against him by the Clintons and their supporters to get him.

[19:05:09] It was a search and destroy mission that they came up with. That was the conspiracy he was leveling.

JOHN KING, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That was and I covered the White House in those days. You covered the White House in those days. You remember how tense this moment was and you remember the hangover. We saw it play out in the Hillary Clinton campaign. Whether it's friends of hers who say that's what made her paranoid and defensive and we could go on and on about this, it's not relevant to the day. What he said there, he never backed that up. He never backed that up. The Democrats tried to come around a couple times, trying to say, what to him. They didn't press him on that because they wanted to do other things.

Trust me, I think we can all say from our reporting that you could talk to the Democrats on this committee. They're not getting their advice from the Clintons to handle. Most of them want to leave the Clintons behind. Most Democrats want to just turn the page, close that chapter. Respectfully, I don't mean to make a big deal but that was yesterday. We're moving on.

Fascinating, but I think the bigger question here to this thing, everything has changed in the age of Trump. Add Supreme Court confirmation process to the list. Just add it to a very long list and everything has changed.

BLITZER: Let me play this clip. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left wing opposition groups. This is a circus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: He went on to blame the news media as well.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I mean this was his, you know, high-tech lynching moment. That's what Clarence Thomas did. You know, I think Clarence Thomas was much more constrained because it's probably a little bit more perilous to be seen as angry black man. He can do that and which is what we saw and that's what Donald Trump wanted him to do. But it does veer into sort of Breitbart territory, this idea that somehow the Clintons are all powerful, even still, and pulling the strings.

And pulling the strings with Dr. Blasey Ford involved in it. I thought also what was very interesting was the ways in which they took pains to never really criticize Dr. Ford, right? I mean, they talked about her in some ways as a victim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They barely brought it up.

HENDERSON: They barely brought it up. But when they did, they basically said they felt like she was sort of a victim of this conspiracy, a victim of --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I say this line that we heard from them and what we've heard from Alex this week is they are sure that something happened to her, they just don't think it was by Brett Kavanaugh. That raises the obvious question. If you think she's credible enough that she's telling this story and you believe her, you believe this assault happened to her, why do you not believe her when she says she's 100% sure who it was? You can't have it both ways. You can't believe the allegation but just believe selected parts of it that fit to work with who you think should be on the Supreme Court.

So that really flies in the face of everything those Republicans have said. If you believe the allegation, you believe she was assaulted, then why do you not believe it was Brett Kavanaugh?

VOGUE: Can I just say one more thing? If you look back to Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings when he was up for the D.C. Circuit, so 12 years ago, he was there, he had just done Starr, he had been in the Bush administration, and Schumer and the rest of the Democrats, they called him a partisan hack. They said you have no judicial record, and that was then very much diminished for his first confirmation hearing because he had 300 opinions and he had this big judicial record. So, nobody then was calling him a partisan, right, a partisan hack again. So now, sort of we've gone all the way back to where we were when -- before he took the bench 12 years ago.

BORGER: I think it raises a lot of questions about who Brett Kavanaugh is. And I don't think we discovered that today in -- I mean, was his anger -- you know, is this a question of judicial temperament? I mean, you know, Brett Kavanaugh was really bitter and angry out there. Understandably, to an -- obviously because he's been charged with awful things. Or was he the guy on Fox News the other night or was he the guy who originally testified? We don't know.

KING: Great point, because -- and we should take him at his word because I believe it the way that it was so personal that he wrote this statement he gave. But who did he ask for advice? Who did he ask for advice? Because in the Trump age where all the rules are different, who did he ask for advice about it?

When you fire up the Trump base, which is what he did today, when you please the president, which is what he did today, when you get into the tribal war, and Jeff Toobin made this point earlier, the Ben Sasses, the Jeff Flakes even the Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowskis who have raised a lot of doubts about this president, almost every time they voted with him when it's all fired up because they fear him.

BLITZER: The judge came out swinging in his opening statement. He was emotional. He was fiery.

[19:10:00] You could see him pausing many times. He was crying. But then it really changed when Dick Durbin, the Democratic senator, had this exchange with him followed by Lindsey Graham. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: If there is no truth to her charges, the FBI investigation will show that. Are you afraid that they might not? KAVANAUGH: Come on. The FBI does not reach -- you know this -- you know that's a phony question because the FBI doesn't reach conclusions.

DURBIN: So then why would you recess that kind of investigation?

KAVANAUGH: Sir, I welcome -- I wanted the hearing last week.

DURBIN: I'm asking about the FBI investigation.

KAVANAUGH: The committee figures out how to ask the questions. I'll do whatever. I've been on the phone multiple times with committee counsel. I'll talk to it.

DURBIN: Judge Kavanaugh, will you support an FBI investigation right now?

KAVANAUGH: I will do whatever the committee wants --

DURBIN: Personally, do you think that's the best thing for us to do? You won't answer?

KAVANAUGH: Look, Senator, I've said I wanted a hearing and I'd said I was welcome anything. I'm innocent.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy's life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020. You said that. Not me. You've got nothing to apologize for.

When you see Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello because I voted for them. I would never do to them what you've done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn't have done what you done to this guy. Are you a gang rapist?

KAVANAUGH: No.

GRAHAM: I cannot imagine what you and your family have gone through. Boy, you all want power. God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham, that you knew about it and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None. She's as much of a victim as you are.

God, I hate to say it because these have been my friends. But let me tell you when it comes to this, you're looking for a fair process. You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TOOBIN: What is that? I mean, what is the thing about, she's a victim? I mean --

BORGER: Who?

TOOBIN: He keeps saying that Dr. Ford is a victim.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: Why is she a victim of this process? She told the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The process, not the assault.

TOOBIN: Yes. I mean it's like he's --

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: This argument that he's making is that she didn't want to come forward at all. She's didn't want any of this. The information got out there, he blames the Democrats for that happening. And then she got swept up into it.

TOOBIN: But she testified and -- openly and apparently honestly. Why is she -- why are they always portraying her as some sort of victim?

BORGER: Because his point, I think, is that she was being used and she said in her testimony, I'm not anyone's pawn. But his point is, they used you. They outed (ph) something that you wanted kept secret and they used you for their own political purposes.

TOOBIN: Maybe Dr. Ford is a better judge of her own interests than Lindsey Graham.

BORGER: I'm just translating Lindsey Graham.

KING: You're also trying way too hard to explain this. This is a senator, who has, if you go back in time when he was running against Donald Trump and soon thereafter, said terrible things about Donald Trump. This is a senator now who's trying to be a friend of Donald Trump, who's worried about a primary challenge in 2020, who has already sent that video out to his political list of him doing this. This is Lindsey Graham trying to be a Trump Republican and he forgot there in his signing of outrages.

And I get his political point about the Democrats, some of whom have said if we can block Kavanaugh, then maybe we can hold this open. He forgot that the Republicans would be following the example that the Republicans just set. That's why when Brett Kavanaugh went after the Clintons, if he said this is revenge about Obama, that would have been more believable because the Republicans did hold the Obama seat, Merrick Garland nomination open. That was forgotten today.

VOGUE: But I see Lindsey Graham, just from Supreme Court nominations, I don't see him from the political view, because I covered the Supreme Court. And in these hearings, he has always said in the past, when it was Kagan, when it was Sotomayor, he said, look, you wouldn't be my choice but politics is politics and I just think today that was -- I mean that angry moment there was giving up on that.

BORGER: But it's how the Senate has changed. It's how Washington has changed. I mean, you call it tribal. I think you're right. And just look at the evolution of Lindsey Graham. He did vote for Kagan. He did vote for Sotomayor, right? He is -- maybe it's your point, he's up for reelection but I just think --

KING: It's more than that but none of this started with Trump but it's exploded.

BORGER: It has. It has.

[19:15:00] BLITZER: Yes. And maybe you know the answer. The three moderate Democrats who are -- who have been on the fence right now, Joe Mansion, Joe Donnelley, Heidi Heitkamp, how do you think they're going to react?

BASH: That's a really good question. We don't know the answer to that yet but it is hard to imagine that after what we saw today that because it's kind of politically a draw at the end of the day, it's hard to see how -- whatever they were planning on doing ahead of time is going to change much. I always thought that they're going to watch what happens with the Republicans and then perhaps take their cues from them. I'm talking about Murkowski and Collins and Flake. And I still think that's the case.

BLITZER: Yes. Manu Raju is up on Capitol Hill, our congressional correspondent. You're working your sources. This is a sensitive moment, not only for a couple Republicans, for a few Democrats as well.

MANU RAJU, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. A major development happening right now on Capitol Hill behind closed doors. Four of the key senators who are going to determine whether or not Brett Kavanaugh gets a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court are meeting privately to discuss the Kavanaugh nomination.

Jeff Flake of Arizona, one of the key Republicans on that committee, the two key moderate Republicans senators who are not on the committee but hold pivotal votes, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and the one red state Democrat from West Virginia up for re- election the year, Joe Mansion, all discussing privately right now. This is reporting from our colleague Ted Barrett who watched them all go in to meet.

Now, this comes before the full Senate Republican conference is called an emergency meeting tonight to discuss what happened at that Kavanaugh hearing. Also to discuss what they believe was an investigation that was thorough, conducted by the Republican staff on the Senate Judiciary Committee to try to make the case to their colleagues and those wayward senators that they did enough to look into these allegations from Kavanaugh's past. That meeting, about to take place momentarily.

We do expect those three Republican senators who were at this meeting right now, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins. We expect them to attend this full Republican conference meeting happening momentarily. Afterwards, Wolf, we will get a clearer sense on the direction that this party wants to take. There's a major push right now among the Republican leaders to get a vote out of committee tomorrow and start moving through the process this weekend for a confirmation vote early next week. But the ultimate decision will rest with those handful of moderate senators, will they vote yes, will they allow the process to move forward. That's why this meeting that's happening right now with those four key senators, so significant. What do they do?

And I can tell you, I asked Jeff Flake over and over again about today's testimony as he left that hearing room. He refused to comment on a number of issues. He said, I'm -- I don't want to talk about it. I will talk about it later. We are going to talk about it. We're not commenting at all. So clearly, major decisions could be made as soon as tonight. We'll see what the Republicans' next steps are as well.

BLITZER: Yes. This is a critically important meeting, Dana. Manu, thanks for that great reporting.

BASH: Yes, fascinating.

BLITZER: The Republican conference, the Republican senators, 51 Republican senators, 49 Democrats, they need 50 because the vice president would break a tie in favor of confirmation. If it comes to 50-50, it's going to depend on popular --

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Can we just underscore? He said that Joe Mansion is in with the Republicans. The Democrat is in with the Republicans.

BISKUPIC: And that's actually important because do you know that we have never had a straight partisan vote for a Supreme Court nominee in modern times.

BASH: But it's also important.

BISKUPIC: Because, you know, they switched over both ways, Thomas, they switched over both ways, so if Joe Mansion is in with them.

BASH: But he's also somebody who's up for reelection in a very -- in a state --

TOOBIN: Trump plus 42.

BASH: And Trump has gone there like six or seven times. And if he's talking to Republicans, I'm guessing his Republican challenger down in West Virginia is saying, what are you guys doing to me here?

BORGER: He's been very clear that he's worried about the Supreme Court on the issue of health care, which is very big in West Virginia. I don't think that Professor Ford is the key thing for him at this point. I mean, his constituents care about what happens to the Affordable Care Act, what happens to preexisting conditions. He talks about it all the time. So, it's interesting that the Republicans have invited him in. Maybe he invited himself. I mean, we just don't know.

BASH: That's my guess.

BORGER: We don't know.

KING: He was part of that group earlier with Collins on health care when they were trying to figure this out. The question is, did they plan this in advance?

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: You know, this is clearly an historic day and this hearing has been explosive since 10:00 a.m. Eastern earlier this morning. We're waiting for a decision from the Republican leadership. Will there be a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee as early as 9:30 tomorrow morning, setting the stage for a full Senate vote as early as next week?

[19:07] Our breaking news coverage will continue right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan, in for Erin Burnett. Welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT.

Tonight, America stopped and America listened. Christine Blasey Ford, a name unknown to most Americans just 11 days ago captivated the country today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, ACCUSES KAVANAUGH OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Democrat or Republican, Kavanaugh supporter or opponent, people wanted to hear her in her own words. The images coming from across the country of people watching Ford deliver her gripping and emotional testimony on planes and subways, in offices, in bars, and at schools, silence even on Wall Street as ford detailed the assault.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FORD: I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from yelling. This is what terrified me the most and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.

[19:24:59] SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: What is the strongest memory you have? The strongest memory of the incident. Something that you cannot forget. Take whatever time you need.

FORD: Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA: How are you so sure that it was he?

FORD: The same way that I'm sure that I'm talking to you right now. So it's just basic memory functions.

FEINSTEIN: So, what you are telling us is this could not be a case of mistaken identity.

FORD: Absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You would not mix up somebody else with Brett Kavanaugh, is that correct?

FORD: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or Mark Judge.

FORD: Correct.

DURBIN: With what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?

FORD: 100%.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: 100%. 100% is also Brett Kavanaugh, equally defiant today as he proclaimed his innocence and lashed out at Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAVANAUGH: This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. Since my nomination in July, there has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation. Some of you were lying in wait and had it ready.

This has destroyed my family and my good name. A good name built up through decades of very hard work and public service at the highest levels of the American government. You may defeat me in the final vote, but you'll never get me to quit. Never.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Kavanaugh also pushing back on the accusations made by Ford.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL MITCHELL, DEPUTY COUNTY ATTORNEY, MARICOPA COUNTY ARIZONA: Dr. Ford described an incident where you were grinding her genitals on her. Have you ever ground or rubbed your genitals against Dr. Ford?

KAVANAUGH: No.

MITCHELL: Dr. Ford described an incident where you covered her mouth with your hand. Have you ever covered Dr. Ford's mouth with your hand?

KAVANAUGH: No.

MITCHELL: Dr. Ford described an incident where you tried to remove her clothes. Have you ever tried to remove her clothes?

KAVANAUGH: Ho.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Joining us right now, Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill. The very latest of the fallout, where this all go? Phil, you have some breaking news tonight. Key senators meeting right now. What are they talking about?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate, that's exactly right. Republican senators, the entire Republican conference, in a private meeting, but before that meeting, perhaps the most important meeting for the future of Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, a group of four senators, senator Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, and Joe Mansion, three Republicans, one Democrat, all undecided, all have raised significant concerns about parts of Brett Kavanaugh's record and also about the allegations, meeting privately in a Capitol office.

Kate, they kicked staff out. Basically, what they decide in that meeting and what those four senators decide to do going forward will likely dictate whether or not Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed as a Supreme Court nominee and will likely dictate how history kind of views this moment in time.

Now, an interesting element of all that, as that meeting was going on, Kate, I was talking to a number of Republican senators who were filing into this -- their own closed door meeting, and what I heard repeatedly is, they want to move forward. They still plan to have the committee vote on Friday. They could have a floor vote, a final floor vote as soon as Tuesday.

I spoke to Lindsey Graham who I know you know quite well, had one of the most fiery dramatic moments in the hearing, and he said bluntly, if I have my way, after I talk to my colleagues tonight, we are clearly going to be moving forward.

So, the bulk of Republicans, even after the gripping testimony throughout the day today from Christine Blasey Ford, are ready to move forward. But, Kate, you know how it works. You don't move forward if you don't have the votes, and those four senators meeting will dictate whether or not that's the case.

BOLDUAN: That is exactly right. Phil, it's great to see you. Thank you so much. Keep us updated on what's coming out of both of these meetings.

But joining me right now is Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal who's been in this hearing all day long. He's OUTFRONT with me now.

Senator, thanks for coming in.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D) QUESTIONED FORD & KAVANAUGH AT JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARING: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Where are we now after hours of testimony and these two riveting, riveting moments that we've seen between Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford?

BLUMENTHAL: Where I think we are is that my Republican colleagues and one Democrat colleague really have to look into their hearts and their conscience, because Dr. Blasey Ford's testimony was so powerful and credible that clearly she is entitled to the respect of at least a thorough, fair investigation.

So far, an FBI investigation has been blocked by the White House. She's requested it. She's taken a polygraph. She has corroborating witness who have never been interviewed by the FBI, including Mark Judge, who allegedly was in that room.

So, what's needed now is some delay in this vote tomorrow on her nomination by the Senate Judiciary Committee proceeding, rushing to judgment would be the ultimate insult to this courageous survivor, but also to the entire community of survivors around the country who have been so inspired and moved by her testimony.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Senator, you might want a delay on the vote, the committee vote, but you know the committee. Is there going to be a vote tomorrow?

BLUMENTHAL: The Republicans are meeting right now. If they look into their consciences as well as their political futures, they'll do the right thing and postpone this vote, so that experienced, trained professionals can go into the field and produce the facts and evidence that will persuade them, I think, that Dr. Blasey Ford was telling the truth and that Judge Kavanaugh, unfortunately, was not doing so.

BOLDUAN: I want to play for you just some of the many moments where Judge Kavanaugh became very emotional during his testimony. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: And little Liza, all of 10 years old -- said to Ashley, we should pray for the woman. We mean no ill will.

I've kept such calendars, diaries, for the last 38 years. Mine are not as good as my dad's, in some years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: What did you make of his emotion? Did you believe it was genuine?

BLUMENTHAL: I think his emotion was genuine. But looking at the cold, hard facts and evidence here, those issues as to his calendar, as to his daughter praying, much as we admire, much as our hearts may go out to his family and certainly the vile threats against him are inexcusable -- we have a responsibility, it's a constitutional duty, to advise and consent on whether this nominee is temperamentally and emotionally suited, and whether he has the integrity.

If there are lingering suspicions, they need to be resolved by a thorough, fair, impartial investigation. We have called on the president of the United States to move forward with such investigation. His blocking it is tantamount to a cover-up.

And we called on Judge Kavanaugh repeatedly today to ask the president for such an investigation. He refused to do so.

BOLDUAN: He was emotional. Someone else who became quite emotional during the hearing, as Phil Mattingly was mentioning, was Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. He unleashed during the hearing and directed it almost entirely at you and your Democratic colleagues on the committee.

If you need a reminder, here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy's life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020. You said that. Not me. You've got nothing to apologize for.

When you see Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello, because I voted for them. I would never do to them what you've done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn't have done what you done to this guy.

Are you a gang rapist?

KAVANAUGH: No.

GRAHAM: I cannot imagine what you and your family have gone through.

Boy, y'all want power. God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham. That you knew about it and you held it.

You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None. She is as much of a victim as you are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That was the most unethical sham he's ever seen. How do you respond, Senator?

BLUMENTHAL: Well, as soon as the committee Democrats learned about this credible, serious allegation, we asked for an FBI investigation, literally, from the moment that Sunday night that we became aware that Dr. Blasey Ford was going to come forward and identify herself and release the promise of confidentiality. We asked for an FBI investigation.

But here's the most important point -- Lindsey Graham's attacks, OK. But this nominee unleashed an equally vitriolic attack on a vast left wing conspiracy that he blamed for this courageous woman, Dr. Blasey Ford, and two other survivors coming forward.

[19:35:11] That is to disrespect and demean survivors everywhere, including these individuals.

They came forth voluntarily. There was no encouragement from anyone of the Democratic senators or anyone else to them in sharing their stories and they braved a lot at great cost and personal sacrifice.

BOLDUAN: Senator Blumenthal, thank you so much for coming in.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: All right. OUTFRONT with me now, David Gergen is here, former presidential adviser to two presidents, Joan Walsh, "The Nation's" national affairs correspondent, Marc Short, former White House director of legislative affairs for President Trump, Mark Preston is CNN's senior political analyst. Wendy Murphy is here, she's a former prosecutor, and Jenny Beth Martin is cofounder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots.

Thank you all for being here.

An amazing thing that we watched play out today, David Gergen. I mean, it was the most riveting, emotional, important in some ways saddening thing I've seen play out on Capitol Hill. I want to get your perspective.

Do you think, especially after what you heard from Blumenthal just now, do you think Kavanaugh is any closer or any further away from the bench than he was going in?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he's closer in Washington. I think he's further away in the country. And there's a difference. This was a sad day for democracy, in my view, because what started out as a search for truth turned into a partisan brawl.

And so, I think from the point of view of a lot of people who tuned in, it was sort of -- it was sort of like -- this is the way our politics -- this is what we've devolved into?

But at this point, I must say to you that a lot of conservatives believe, with some justification, that the -- that Judge Kavanaugh rallied the conservatives in the afternoon and he came out to a political draw. That's what they would argue right now.

But I must say, I think when we see the responses from around the countryside, what you're going to find is a large majority of women are going to find this repulsive and to think if you move on directly now to a vote, that it's been ram through, and I think the Republicans will pay a huge price in the midterms. Everybody is better off if this gang of four that met tonight, you know, calls for a one-week pause.

Let the FBI do a three-day search or investigation as they did with Anita Hill. Get Mark Judge up as a witness next Thursday, and then it's over. It's done. Everybody votes, everybody can go home and the people who are objecting, the Democrats, but especially women will have a greater sense that this guy is not -- that he doesn't go to the court with a big cloud over his head. That's really important for the country.

BOLDUAN: Joan, you're no fan of Judge Kavanaugh. We've talked a lot about this. The emotion, what he said today, did it have an impact on you? Did it make you think twice?

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Not a bit. No. Thank you for saying what you did, David, so I didn't have to say it as the -- as one of the women at the table. I was struck by, let's take a step back from the vote. We saw a portrait of acceptable behavior for men and for women today and it was devastating.

Dr. Ford was restrained. She was earnest. She was deferential. She was polite. She was patient.

She said, I'd like to be collegial. She didn't interrupt. She listened.

Judge Kavanaugh came out and insulted the Democratic senators, talked about a left wing conspiracy, revealed himself -- reminded us all that he worked for Kenneth Starr, his own partisan origin story. And for a woman -- and Kamala Harris could never get away from the histrionics of Lindsey Graham.

And one more woman I'd like to mention is Rachel Mitchell. What happened to her? First of all, they hid behind her. Lindsey Graham, none of those men had any words for Dr. Ford. They let Rachel Mitchell do their questioning.

And then suddenly, she disappeared. And there was a lot of speculation on social media she was actually doing kind of a good job. She wanted to get to know what happened on July 1st and what were skis that we don't know if it's brewskis.

So the treatment of women today, if this goes forward, we have not advanced from the Anita Hill days one hour. It's worse than it was for Anita Hill.

BOLDUAN: I want to talk about Rachel Mitchell in a little bit.

But, Marc, give me your hot take on this. I mean, we were talking about it earlier, saying it was an extraordinary day to watch. But extraordinary in what way, do you think?

MARC SHORT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: it was extraordinary in lots of ways. I agree with David. It's a sad day. I think we've devolved to a low point.

I'd encourage your viewers to go back and look back at Ben Sasse's opening remarks, where he predicted this was becoming a show trial and circus.

[19:40:01] And he said both parties are in this game here. But I thought that --

BOLDUAN: So, the end result is we ended up in a worst place than we did to begin?

SHORT: I think so. I think it's been a terrible process all the way through. But I also think candidly that Judge Kavanaugh had every right to be angry. I think he expressed his honesty.

BOLDUAN: You wish he had dialed it down slightly.

SHORT: No, because I disagree with David on this point. I think the left wing voters have all the energy in the world right now. They don't need more reason to come out.

But there's a lot of moderate voters, just remember, one of the reasons I voted for Donald Trump is because I wanted to make sure the court was secure and we had right nominees. There's going to be a lot of moderate voters right now who are kind of queasy, not really excited about voting, who see what the Democrats are doing and the way they're going after character assassination, reminds them as to why they came out to vote for the first time in 2016 and they'll come out again in 2018.

BOLDUAN: It's amazing to see the various reaction to the emotion of Judge Kavanaugh. I mean, that was -- it was remarkable.

But also emotional was Christine Blasey Ford. I want to play one key moment and I think this will stick out as the moment in her testimony. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: What is the strongest memory you have, strongest memory of the incident, something that you can not forget. Take whatever time you need.

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.

LEAHY: You never forgotten that laughter. You've never forgotten them laughing at you.

FORD: They were laughing with each other.

LEAHY: And you were the object of the laughter?

FORD: I was, you know, underneath one of them while the two laughed, two friends having a really good time with one another.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Marc, how do you think that impacts the very real tough calculation of the four senators behind closed doors right now, the four key votes? MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It was a very emotional response and whether you believe her or you don't believe her, it's something that gripped you, certainly at the moment.

I do think that we do have to take a step back and look at the totality of what has happened today and I agree with David and Marc, I mean, the harmoniousness that we have here at the table, but this has been an incredibly terribly day for the history of the United States. It's been a terrible day for our political system. It's been a terrible day for our kids and it's been a terrible day, quite frankly, for everyone across the country.

BOLDUAN: But who's to blame?

PRESTON: They're both to blame and here's the reason why, here's the reason why. They have both decided to weaponize -- both political parties have decided to weaponize the idea of sexual assault and accusations and allegations of sexual assault to destroy people's lives.

I will say this, though. The Republican majority does have the ability to put the brakes on this right now and it would be very smart for them to do so.

It was very telling when we saw Brett Kavanaugh today, who I thought showed a side of anger that a lot of us could probably understand why he was angry, but he came across terrible in doing so. He showed no empathy or it seemed like he had no empathy for the accused. Having said all this, what Marc said, we are in a worse place where we are right now than we were six, seven, eight hours ago, and it's only going to get worse.

BOLDUAN: I don't know, when do we hit bottom? Every time we get together, we keep saying it's only going to get worse.

Jenny, was there a moment when you watched Christine Blasey Ford, was there a moment that -- did she change you at all? Did you believe -- did you believe her today?

JENNY BETH MARTIN, CO-FOUNDER AND NATIONAL COORDINATOR, TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: I think that something terrible happened to her. And I don't know many Americans who doubt that something very tragic happened to her. And you can believe her and believe that something tragic happened to her, and you can also believe that it was not Brett Kavanaugh who did it.

And it's not just her word against his word. It's her word against the four people who she named who were there who have all signed, under penalty of felony, statements saying that this did not happen. They were not there. The event -- the party, the gathering, whatever you want to -- however you want to classify it, did not happen.

BOLDUAN: She finally answered that question today, saying it wouldn't be remarkable to them. It was any other day. I didn't tell them about it. I left the party. So many important moments, though, playing out. Wendy, you have both of them being 100 percent positive in what

they're saying. I mean, Ford saying she was 100 percent positive that it was Kavanaugh, and Kavanaugh saying before his family and God, he is innocent. Who came off more credible to you?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes, I mean, it's a tough thing when they both express such certainty, but when this situation first developed, it was fair to call it a he said, she said. Today, I think it's fair to call it a he said, three said, because remember, it wasn't just about Dr. Ford.

[19:45:05] There were three women who came forward and their statements were part of today's proceedings.

So, in order for anyone to discount Dr. Ford's 100 percent conviction, you have to believe not only that three women lied but that they conspired with the Democratic Party to lie for a political reason. Those are the choices. Those are the choices.

And it's just absurd to think of this as a conspiracy between three women, who didn't know each other, and that that's the actual truth? No. I think the truth is what the women have described.

BOLDUAN: Taking it from that, though, really quick, using your legislative affairs brain, do you think they're going to have to a vote tomorrow in

SHORT: I do think they'll vote in the committee tomorrow

BOLDUAN: OK. Stand by, guys, we have a lot more to come.

OUTFRONT next, who was Kavanaugh really talking to today? Was it an audience of one? Yet again.

Plus, did Republicans make a mistake by having an outside counsel ask the questions for them?

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:48:46] BOLDUAN: Some breaking news coming in tonight. An audience of one. A source telling CNN that Brett Kavanaugh wrote his emotional and fiery opening statement with one key person in mind, President Trump.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT at the White House for us now.

Jeff, what was the reaction over at the White House right now?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, there's no question, the president was thrilled by how the day ended up unfolding. He said that it was honest, powerful, and riveting.

But it wasn't always that way. There was a high level of anxiety and concern here at the White House, midday or so, after the first round of testimony from Christine Blasey Ford. That included the president, I'm told.

Now, he made no decisions or he did not move that close to saying he would have to withdraw the nomination, but there was high concern of what Judge Kavanaugh would say, and I am told tonight that Judge Kavanaugh was actually hearing from a lot of people in Washington, some old friends from the Bush White House, from some others, who were urging him to not do a scorched earth approach.

But Judge Kavanaugh, as he said, he wrote the speech himself with the help of one aide. I am told that was with the audience of one person in mind, first and foremost, the president. He did not want to lose the support of the president, so he, you know, essentially decided to go after many things that the president has been talking about over the last week or so, and by doing that, the president then reached out to his allies on Capitol Hill, private conversations with Lindsey Graham and others, and you could feel the mood turn in that hearing room and indeed here at the White House as well.

[19:50:10] So, no question that Judge Kavanaugh's anger caught the president's attention and may have changed everything -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Fascinating, Jeff. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

All right. Everyone's back here with me.

Mark, if it was an audience of one for Brett Kavanaugh, the president, did he succeed?

PRESTON: He's certainly succeeded and I think that we have to look for Brett Kavanaugh ahead, he has to look at hurdles. The first hurdle he needed to clear was support from the president. He has cleared that hurdle. So, the next hurdle now is to see if he can keep the support on Capitol Hill, and the next hurdle will be, can he keep support in the Judiciary Committee and there on and there on, until if he ever gets a vote.

BOLDUAN: Looks like, right now, it looks like that train is moving.

Marc, Jeff might have already answered my question, because I was very curious when it comes to Rachel Mitchell, the outside counsel that Republicans brought in to ask questions to the point of it was, all along, they wanted to depoliticize this process. That happened. She asked questions for Blasey Ford and then it changed with Lindsey Graham. Rachel Mitchell was not seen again through the rest of the hearing.

What was the change? Was it a call from the president?

SHORT: I don't know that it was the call from the president. I think honestly --

BOLDUAN: What do you think?

SHORT: Well, I think that Lindsey -- I wish Lindsey has been doing the questioning from the start. I think that the reality was they're in a sort of loss-loss situation, because if the all male judiciary Republicans beat up on a sympathetic witness, that would have hurt them too, and there would have been a lot of criticism.

BOLDUAN: But do you think the questions that he was asking were beating up?

SHORT: No, that's my point.

BOLDUAN: Couldn't they have asked those same questions?

SHORT: I think that no matter what questions they asked, there's going to be certain scrutiny they get versus what the prosecutor got. Having said that, I also feel like it's somewhat an abdication of your responsibility as a senator. You're there, you're elected, you're the one who should be asking the question.

BOLDUAN: Right.

SHORT: So I wish Lindsey Graham has been asking the questions.

BOLDUAN: Put Marc Short down. He thinks it was a bad idea to bring Rachel Mitchell in.

Joan, Mitchell repeatedly asked questions. It was hard to follow where it was going because of how the whole thing was set up in the increment, but she asked repeatedly about motivation, and if anyone had helped Blasey Ford.

Let me play this for you. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL MITCHELL, PROSECUTOR: Did anybody besides friends and family refer you to any attorneys?

FORD: I think that the staff of Dianne Feinstein's office suggested the possibility of some attorneys.

MITCHELL: OK. Including the two that are sitting along either side of you?

FORD: Not both of them, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: It did get back to again and again if there was Democrats involved in the process, if you will. I mean, she said she was no one's pawn, but do you think that Republicans got a point with that? Won a point with that?

WALSH: I don't think they did, because she was very clear all along about yes, she did go to the Democrats. She was -- she happens to live in Palo Alto and she's represented by Democrats. So she never -- it's not like she tried to hide it or she secretly got help. She was always transparent and said yes, I think they did recommend, you know, a lawyer. You know, I don't think you can play gotcha with it as much as

Republicans tried. My favorite moment is why did the polygraph person come to BWI? She said, well, I had been at my grandmother's funeral.

So, you know, I think she tried to impeach her gently. She was very respectful, but I don't think she succeeded, because she was always transparent how the story came out.

BOLDUAN: That gets to the questions that was enduring from me from the top, Wendy, is from the top, when Mitchell started asking questions, she told Blasey Ford, she was not going to ask about the attack, the incident inside the room itself. Blasey Ford did seem relieved.

But why? Was it fair to not ask? Was it smart to not ask about it? Because the search was for truth, if this happened or not.

MURPHY: Yes, I don't think there was a lot of searching for the truth going on today. This was really much more of a partisan battle about the midterms and also to things that most of the public watching had no idea why certain questions were being asked.

I think it's a tough call to ask someone to relay the details of an attack where it re-traumatizes them. But I think it would have been the right thing to do, even if she might have suffered some kind of trauma in answering, because that's when you can see the emotion connected to the incident, that we're all supposed to be wondering about, right? Is it true that this happened? Had she described it in detail, especially by the Republican's attorney, I think we would have been able to judge her emotions really well.

And it almost was like the missing elephant in the room actually. There was so much -- so little focus on not only her attacks, but the attacks the other women described, I almost -- I didn't feel like we were talking about what we should have been talking about, and that goes, you know, from the start of the hearing to the end, the women got lost. That's how I felt.

BOLDUAN: Jenny, do you think it was smart to bring in outside counsel after seeing it?

[19:55:5] MARTIN: I think that -- yes, I think it was. I disagree with you Marc, but I think that the members of the Judiciary Committee wanted to take the politics out of it and they wanted to be respectful of this woman.

And to ask the kind of questions that would be asked of her, I think it's much better coming from somebody who is not a politician, and who is just trying to ask the questions that need to be asked. If I had been in that position, and I actually have been before Congress and testified, I think that was the right move.

She's not a professional politician. She was there to give her testimony and tell her story, and she was able to do that and to do it in a way that was very respectful of her.

WALSH: But not one of the six Republican female senators is not on that committee.

BOLDUAN: We'll talk about that another day. I know we have no time. Did this day change the Supreme Court game forever?

GERGEN: I think that it changed it for Kavanaugh. He rallied people, but at some expense. This belligerence was a play into that theme, that was a rap on him. And the second, I think a lot of people are going to think if he's in the court, he's going to seek his revenge against Democrats.

BOLDUAN: Well, that's the way to end it, I guess.

Thanks, everybody.

"AC360" is going to continue our special coverage right after this.