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Senate Committee To Vote On Kavanaugh Friday; All On Air Niugini Flight Survive Crash In Micronesia; Boris Johnson Slams Prime Minister May's Brexit Strategy. Aired 12m-1a ET

Aired September 28, 2018 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, they're calling it one of the messiest days in District of Columbia. The judge was in the sludge as a Senate committee hears from one of the women accusing President Trump's Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault.


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



VAUSE: Judge Kavanaugh is back insisting he's innocent, the victim of a political attack by Democrats.


BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: None of these allegations are true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No doubt in your mind?

KAVANAUGH: Zero. I'm 100 percent certain.


VAUSE: And in the coming hours, a vote is expected on Capitol Hill of this nomination which will have consequences for at least a generation to come.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.


VAUSE: A Senate committee is to vote on Friday on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court if Republicans have the numbers he could be confirmed by the full Senate early next week.

That nomination is anything but certain after extraordinary Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday. In calm, deliberate tones, Christine Blasey Ford testifying Brett Kavanaugh held her down and try to take off her clothes 36 years ago when they were in high school together.


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 it's 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the strongest memory you have? The strongest memory of the incident, something that you cannot forget?

That 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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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. It is basic memory function.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So what you are telling us is this could not be a case of mistaken identity?

FORD: Absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were not, based on somebody else of Brett Kavanaugh, is that correct?

FORD: Correct.


FORD: Correct.

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

FORD: One hundred percent.


VAUSE: When Kavanaugh testified, he was loud and forceful. He went on the offense, nearly shouting at times. He was also emotional, choking back tears during his opening statement. (INAUDIBLE) at the Democrats, accusing them of exacting revenge on behalf of the Clintons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KAVANAUGH: This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. Since my nomination in July, there's 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 in 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.


VAUSE: Kavanaugh dodged a question about why he didn't ask for the FBI to investigate this all claims. He was out on a boat in declaring his innocent.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Ford described an incident where you were grinding your genitals on her.

Have you ever ground or rubbed your genitals against Dr. Ford?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Ford describes an incident where you covered her mouth with your hand.

Have you ever covered Dr. Ford's mouth with your hand?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Ford described an incident where you tried to remove her clothes.

Have you ever tried to remove her clothes?



VAUSE: Joining me here in Los Angeles, former L.A. city council woman Wendy Greuel; KABC talk radio host, John Phillips; former assistant U.S. attorney David Katz and also we have --


VAUSE: -- CNN senior political analyst and senior editor, (INAUDIBLE).

(INAUDIBLE) I think?

We also have David Katz as well, sorry. OK. I want to start with Donald Trump, who was clearly impressed with the testimony from his Supreme Court nominee. He tweeted out Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest and riveting.

Democrats search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham, an effort to delay and obstruct and resist the Senate.

So Ron, first to you, are there any clear winners what he clearly loses office after today or does it simply depend on the politics here?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the evidence moved. The testimony from Dr. Ford was as powerful as anybody could've predicted and the response from Judge Kavanaugh was unequivocal but also kind of off-balance in the sense of eliminating any -- it was only a couple weeks ago that he said a judge is an umpire. A judge doesn't take partisan sides.

And today I think he chose to try to rescue his nomination by essentially identifying himself as a warrior for one side against the other. It was a very Trumplike kind of political strategy to go after the Democrats on the committee and, by extension, in the country, actually overtly in the country.

So, you know, explicitly I think is unprecedented in a Supreme Court nominee and this is the person who could be the decisive vote on the court on many of the most polarizing issues facing the country and, you know, just an extraordinary way to eventually going into the corner, a virtually party line vote after you have, you know, indicated that you view one political party as irresponsible and out to get you. Just an incredible moment I thought today.

VAUSE: So John, before Kavanaugh dottered his opening statement, he said only one other person had actually seen it. I'm wondering how the president, Donald Trump, because clearly it wasn't but it sounded almost like there's this very Trumpian, almost like the president had signed off on this opening statement.

So it seems like, as we have with so many Trump appointees, there's an audience of one, the President of the United States.

JOHN PHILLIPS, REPUBLICAN TALK SHOW HOST: Well, it's not an audience of one. It's an audience of about five or six, which are the number of U.S. senators who could theoretically flip one way or the --


VAUSE: That's not the question. He's pleased Trump --



PHILLIP: -- and I thought that the judge was very emotional. He was very powerful, he was very truthful, he was a guy who was sincere. And if you look at the strategy that the Democrats have employed throughout this entire process, their strategy has been to delay, delay, delay.

At first Dick Durbin was saying we should delay this until the new Congress is voted in because that's what happened when Merrick Garland was nominated. And then we heard, oh, we need to delay it because we're waiting on documents.

And then they said, oh, no; we need to delay until the Russia investigation is over to find out if this president is legitimate. And then at the 11th hour, someone, maybe Senator Feinstein, leaked this information that was given to them in July and suddenly you have this huge crisis at the 11th hour we suddenly needed to shut the process down on.

The judge was successful today. The vote in the committee will be tomorrow. The vote for the overall Senate will be on Saturday. I suspect he will have the votes. You -- we have a reporter from "The Atlantic" about the name of Alaina Plot (ph), who has reported that Senator Manchin from West Virginia is indicated that he is going to vote in favor of the judge.

So I think that this train has left the station --


VAUSE: Very quickly, Wendy on judicial nomination (INAUDIBLE) about politics.

WENDY GREUEL, FORMER LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL WOMAN: And today, I think this is why there were a lot of Democrats even before today that were not supportive of him. He was not one of those that came in and seemed like he was going to be above all the politics and really be somebody who was going to take each case as it was, that they felt very strongly that his political actions in the past.

And I think it is today, he acted like no one we've ever seen. I think Ron said it right. This is unseen before that he was going to stand up there and almost yell and scream and disrespect those senators --


PHILLIP: -- if you're called a rapist, then you need to respond with that. If I was called a rapist, I would respond --


GREUEL: -- a rapist, he would say I want the FBI to investigate --


PHILLIP: -- they don't come up with conclusions. I would want to be able to defend myself out there in front of the cameras.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) David Katz in because, David, when you look at the allegations against --


VAUSE: -- Kavanaugh and the response that we saw today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, how do you evaluate all of that together?

DAVID KATZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think that the witness, Dr. Ford, her only role was to be credible. She was incredibly credible. I think that when she got done testifying, the White House and the Republicans realized they had a huge political problem on their hands.

And that was when Kavanaugh came out and was so combative. And this is not the way to appear in front of any judge in any country at any level. They're the judges --


KATZ: -- to treat them with such disrespect, he would have been held in contempt of court if he had done any of that in his own courtroom, to talk over the judges, to be so disrespectful. It looked very partisan. It looked very combative.

And the person on the Supreme Court has to be nonpartisan. That's why people have faith in the courts. When the decision goes against what you believe in, you say you know what, the goodwill I have in the court, these are some intellectuals trying to get it right.

If it's just part of the political spoils system, then the courts start to lose their validity.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) Kavanaugh lashing out at Democrats and on the offensive.


KAVANAUGH: This whole two week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political 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.


VAUSE: Ron, to you, we know this whole new world for judicial appointments will be what happens with Kavanaugh taking this vitriolic attack against the Democrats, even dropping a Clinton conspiracy for good measure.

Is that where we're now heading for these appointments?

BROWNSTEIN: It was astonishing and I believe unprecedented moment at least in modern times. It is one thing to defend yourself against a specific allegation. It is another thing to basically go onto the court, potentially on a virtually party line vote, announcing on your way on that you view a party as your enemy and you believe that they have been conspiring against you.

And the shadow that will cast over anything that he does on the court I think is just incalculate.

Also by the way I think one thing that today did was virtually guarantee that if the Democrats win the back majority in the House, the House Judiciary Committee will do the investigation that the Senate Republicans did not.

And I would suspect that many of the people who were, you know, discussed today but not summoned will be summoned, will be subpoenaed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next year.

I think it is (INAUDIBLE). The other thing I think is really striking is that there have been three polls in the last week showing that college educated white women are voting Democratic for Congress, (INAUDIBLE) at over 60 percent, a number we have never seen.

This was a professional white woman giving, as we just heard, very credible testimony. Whatever else you thought, she was credible, she was composed, she was persuasive and, in less than 24 hours, the Judiciary Committee is at all likely going to vote to advance the target of that testimony.

You're talking about taking a match and dropping it into what is already a pool of gasoline in terms of the 2018 election with that particular constituency.

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) of all of this when we come back after a break. But for now, here's a little more from Kavanaugh trying not to say if he supports an FBI investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge Kavanaugh, would you support an FBI investigation right now?

KAVANAUGH: I will do whatever the committee wants to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Personally, do you think that's the best thing for us to do?

You don't want to answer?

KAVANAUGH: No, look, Senator, I've -- I've said I wanted a hearing and I've said I was welcome anything. I'm innocent.


VAUSE: John, why doesn't he want an FBI investigation?

PHILLIP: Because this is just another tactic the Democrats are using to delay the process. As Joe Biden --


PHILLIP: -- outlined during the Clarence Thomas hearings with Anita Hill, that is not the role of the FBI.


PHILLIP: This is just another delay tactic by the Democrats. The Democrats think that they're going to win back the Senate and if they win back the Senate, they're going to shut down the process so they can leave the seat vacant until they think that they can win back the presidency in 2020.


GREUEL: In this instance, what it says to me is the Republicans devalue sexual assault victims. If he had committed -- if there was somebody who was in the room that said I saw him commit a murder, we would have the FBI investigate. But they don't value the fact that a woman --


PHILLIP: -- that's an allegation.

GREUEL: -- what evidence --


GREUEL: -- and she, again, she remembered --

[00:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: at the grocery store because that would help me backdate when the attack -- the alleged attack took place when Republicans were, you know, complaining that she didn't even know when it took place.

They are not doing that. I mean, they are -- there's no question that this -- you know, and whether or not Senator Feinstein shared it earlier. The fact is the information that is available now, there's no question that this is being short-circuited and move forward.

And, you know, it is -- and for all of those reasons, I believe this -- whatever happens in the next 72 hours is not the end. I think if the Democrats win the House, all of this issues are going to be re- examined and --

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Can they impeach? Can they impeach him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: with unpredictable results. Yes. Well, they're going to impeach him in the House. I mean, it hasn't happened since 1804, I believe, with the Supreme Court justice. But even before that, I think before you get to that question, I think the investigation that Republicans refused to do, I think is going to happen if Democrats win the House.

And on balance, I know John would say this, probably helped Republican base, unbalanced given the problems they're having with suburban women. I think this has to (INAUDIBLE) Democrats do in the House and obtain the authority to do an investigation. VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) we'll take a break. We'll see you guys next hour. We appreciate you being with us. Ron, Wendy and John, especially John, it's been awhile, so thank you. With that, we'll take a short break. When we come back, Ford is not the only woman with accusations against Kavanaugh. We'll look at the two others who come forth and also their allegations, as well.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines. U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will vote Friday on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. And the Republicans have the numbers. He could be confirmed by the full Senate early next week. Small handful of Senators, remain undecided.

A quick recap of Thursday's testimony, Christine Blasey Ford told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, she was 100 percent certain Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. She said she was not mistaken him from anyone else and the assault drastically altered her life.

Brett Kavanaugh denied the assault, and said there is no corroborative evidence or witnesses to support Ford's allegations. He told the committee his family and his name has been damaged rather by the false accusations and accused Democrats of coordinating his character assassination.

Ford is not the only woman making allegations against Kavanaugh. She's not -- she's not the only one who's willing to testify. CNN's Brian Todd has this look at two other accusers, Julie Swetnick and Deborah Ramirez.


BRIAN TODD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Their names came up during the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, two other Kavanaugh accusers. One is Julie Swetnick, who's lawyer says, his heartened that Senator Dianne Feinstein read her allegations.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: She recounted seeing Kavanaugh engaged "in abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls."

[00:35:13] TODD: In a declaration released through her lawyer, Swetnick claims Kavanaugh was present at a high school party around 1982 where she was a victim of a gang rape. She did not identify Kavanaugh as one of her attackers.

JULIE SWETNICK, KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: From what I experienced first- hand. I don't think he belongs on the Supreme Court. And I just want the facts to come out and I want it to be just. And I want the American people to have those facts and judge themselves.

TODD: Swetnick's lawyer tells CNN, she watched Thursday's hearing from a private location. There's Deborah Ramirez, in an interview with a New Yorker, Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a party at Yale University in the 1980s.

FEINSTEIN: She recalls pushing him way and then seeing him laughing and pulling his pants up.

TODD: Kavanaugh demently denies both women's allegations.

JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: I've never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not in college, not ever. The Swetnick thing is a joke. That is a farce.

TODD: Lawyers for both Swetnick and Ramirez have been sparring with Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, the Republicans accusing the women's lawyers of stone-walling requests for information.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), CHAIRMAN, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: And they have made no attempt to substantiate their claims.

TODD: The lawyers for the women denying that, saying they want to testify. Now, a key question, would the Judiciary Committee vote still scheduled for Friday and the full Senate vote slated for Tuesday? Will these two accusers ever appear on the Senate?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND COLUMNIST, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: I don't think there's any chance that Republicans are going to give another forum like this to the other two accusers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you swear that --

TODD: Analysts say Senate Republicans have viewed, Ford, as the most credible accuser. Swetnick was herself, accused of domestic violence in Florida, in the early 2000s. And ex-boyfriend, alleging she threatened to harm his family. The case was dismissed. And Swetnick's lawyer claims the ex-boyfriend has no credibility. Still, Republicans would likely zero in on that episode if she testifies.

STODDARD: Her entire past is on the table, and Republicans will take every opportunity to go every liability she has in her past, in her testimony, any holes, any character and credibility questions, and they will use that to shoot her down.

TODD: There's another woman who's information could shed new light on these allegations. A lawyer for Elizabeth Rasor, an ex-girlfriend of Mark Judge, the man allegedly in the room when the incident with Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh allegedly took place, says that she's willing to share her information with the FBI or the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Rasor says that Judge told her of an incident where he and other young men took turns having sex with a drunk woman. Rasor says that Judge regarded the incident as consensual and she says she has no information that Brett Kavanaugh took part in that incident.

Right now, there's no indication that Elizabeth Rasor or Mark Judge is going to appear before the Judiciary Committee. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Well, when we come back, it was just another day at the U.N. General Assembly, the Palestine authority wants the U.S. to reverse course on aid as well as recognizing Jerusalem.

Meantime, Israel has gone after Iran, claiming it has a secret nuclear weapon facility (INAUDIBLE) at that. Also ahead, the U.K.'s former top diplomat says his Brexit plan is better than the prime minister's. Boris Johnson has a lot to say about his E.U. trade deal, that's ahead.


[00:40:00] VAUSE: While a potential airline tragedy has been averted in a tiny Pacific Ocean nation of Micronesia. All 46 people on board the Air Niugini flight actually survived after plane landed short of the runway at the airport in Chuuk state, and actually ended in a lagoon. Small fishing boats were used during the rescue of passengers and crew.

While Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas is demanding the Trump administration reverse its controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also wants U.S. -- the U.S. to resume aid payments to Palestinian refugees.


MAHMOUD ABBAS, PRESIDENT OF PALESTINE (through translator): With all of this decisions, this administration has reneged on all previous U.S. commitments and even undermined the two-state solution and revealed its false claims and conspiring about the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people.

It's really ironic that the American administration still talks about what they call the deal of the century.


VAUSE: Meantime, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu focused on Iran. He brought pictures and a map to the U.N. to show Tehran has a secret nuclear weapons facility.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL: What I'm about to say is not been shared publicly before. Today and disclosing for the first time, that Iran has another secret facility in Tehran, a secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and material from Iran's secret nuclear weapons program.


VAUSE: In response, there was (INAUDIBLE) from Iran's Foreign Minister Javid Zarif, saying no arts and crafts show will ever obfuscate that Israel is the only regime in our regime with a secret and undeclared nuclear weapons program, including an actual atomic arsenal. It's time for Israel to fess up and open its illegal nuclear weapons program to international inspectors.

While the battle of the Brexit plans in Britain is heating up and he, Boris Johnson has written an op-ed in the Daily Telegraph, calling -- which is called, rather, my plan for a better Brexit. The Former Foreign Secretary has slammed Prime Minister Theresa May and he has laid out his own strategy.

He writes, it is widely accepted that that the U.K. is now in a weak position in the Brexit negotiations. But the Chequers proposals are deservedly unpopular with the U.K. (INAUDIBLE) and have at least formally be rejected by E.U. friends.

He goes on to write, there has been a collective failure of government, and a collapse of will by the British establishment, to deliver on the mandate of the people.

Johnson also called prime minister's strategy moral and intellectual humiliation. He says the U.K. should try and get a free trade deal similar to what the E.U. has with Canada. And that should be pretty easy.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause. Stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is next. You're watching CNN.


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