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Supreme Court Hearing; Typhoon Trami to Make Landfall in Japan Sunday; Nerve Agent Attack Suspect is Military Officer; Anti Kremlin Activist Speaks after Suspected Poisoning; Ford: 100 Percent Certain Kavanaugh Assaulted me; Senate Committee To Vote On Kavanaugh Friday; Kavanaugh: I've Never Sexually Assaulted Anyone; Protest For And Against Kavanaugh Nomination; American Bar Association Urges Delay. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 28, 2018 - 1:00   ET



[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM for the last time live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, a circus and a sham, brutal and tough to watch, a day without equal in U.S. Politics as Christine Blasey Ford goes public with her allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh and he, in turn, fires back accusing Democrats of a political hit job. And now, senators must vote on one of those consequential confirmations in a generation.

Hello everybody! Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause and this is NEWSROOM L.A.

After unprecedented contentious of emotional day on Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote in the coming hours on President Trump's Supreme Court nominee. As many as four Republican senators remain undecided after Christine Blasey Ford testified on Thursday telling the committee she's 100 percent certain she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh 36 years ago. And she says they were at a party when Kavanaugh and his friend forced her into a bedroom and it was Kavanaugh's she said who held her down and groped her and tried to remove her clothes.


DR. CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, ACCUSER OF BRETT KAVANAUGH: Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two and they're having fun at my expense.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: You've 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)

VAUSE: And when it was his turn to testify, Kavanaugh went on the offensive almost yelling at times declaring his innocence. But during his opening statement, he also choked up saying the process had destroyed his family and he blamed Democrats for that.


JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: This whole two- week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with a parent 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.


VAUSE: Joining me here in Los Angeles, former L.A. City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, we also have KABC Talk Radio Host John Phillips, former Assistant U.S. Attorney David Katz, and CNN's Senior Political Analyst and Senior Editor for The Atlantic Ron Brownstein. Ron, I'd like to start with you. It seems there's one thing everyone agrees on. Washington has never seen a day like this. It was jarring and it seems also what we're seeing from Kavanaugh is a strategy not dissimilar to the one used by the President went over the base even it needs alienating and enraging the other side.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, John, I think this is the kind of day you will look back on as a moment where the country seems to be coming apart, where you have the two side you know, the two sides of the country have moved so far apart that they can barely even pretend that they value and respect the other. I mean just think about what several of the things that are there -- that are under or in motion here. You had Kavanaugh today I think make the most explicitly partisan appeal I have ever seen from a Supreme Court nominee.

I can only go back to the 70s. I don't know if John Parker did more in the 1930s. But certainly, in the last half century, no one has ever gone on -- potentially gone on to the court in such an overtly partisan manner essentially saying that he view the Democratic Party and liberals and America as part of a plot to destroy him. How will that shadow everything that he does on the court especially since he was -- he's picked precisely to be the decisive fifth vote and a more consistently conservative way than Anthony Kennedy was.

And the second the prospect that the Judiciary Committee will vote less than 24 hours after hearing this very powerful testimony from Dr. Ford, in essence, saying you know, we are -- we are you know, plowing right through to use Mitch McConnell's language, that is just another extraordinary moment that I think has just tremendous implications for midterm elections where the biggest threat to Republicans already is the historic numbers the Democrats are now posting with college- educated white women. [01:05:02] VAUSE: And with that in mind, they were -- there were a

lot of moments and one of the more sort of memorable moments for all the wrong reasons, it was an exchange between Brett Kavanaugh and Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar. She asked Kavanaugh about his drinking habit in the past. Listen to this.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: So you're saying there's never been a case where you drink so much that you didn't remember what happened the night before or a part of what happened?

KAVANAUGH: It's -- you're asking about you know, blackout. I don't know, have you?

KLOBUCHAR: Could you answer the question, Judge, I just -- to you, that's not happened? Is that your answer.

KAVANAUGH: Yes, and I'm curious if you have.

KLOBUCHAR: I have no drinking problems, Judge.

KAVANAUGH: Yes, nor do I.


VAUSE: Kavanaugh actually apologized for that but this is what the Conservative Columnist Jennifer Rubin from the Washington Post wrote. One saw a flash in the exchange with Klobuchar the same sense of entitlement, cruelty and lack of simple decency that Christine Blasey Ford allegedly experienced way back when, the memory seared in her brain of two obnoxious teens laughing at her ordeal.

So, Wendy, there were a lot of moments like that during Kavanaugh's testimony but you know, for a party and a president, he was struggling with the issue of women, for president who's being accused of sexual assault this you know, this is just doesn't do them any good. It's a -- you know, it's a bad look, to say the least.

WENDY GREUEL FORMER CITY COUNCILWOMAN, LOS ANGELES: No. I mean, the behavior was appalling. And you know, he actually used in his statement, what goes around comes around. Who does that who has -- someone who's trying to be the Supreme Court Justice of the United States. And you know, if he had acted like that, he was a woman. You know, the kinds of things that people would have said about her in that position. He was disrespectful. He was not acting as though he really wanted any of their votes. He just wanted to say I'm going to get the votes regardless of you and I'm going to pay you back to that.

VAUSE: Yes, on the flip side, here's Professor Ford detailing what she says happened that night, 36 years ago.


FORD: Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. There was music playing in the bedroom. It was turned up louder by either Brett or Mark once we were in the room. I was pushed on to the bed and Brett got on top of me he began running his hands over my body and grinding into me.

I yelled hoping that someone downstairs might hear me and I tried to get away from him but his weight was heavy. Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was very inebriated and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit underneath my clothing. I believed he was going to rape me.


VAUSE: John, do you believe her?

JOHN PHILLIPS, TALK RADIO HOST, KABC: I believe that she believes that certainly happened and I believe that Judge Kavanagh believes what he said. They both appeared to be very sincere. They were both emotional in many instances during their presentations what we didn't see is evidence. That is the same allegation that we've heard repeated in the newspapers, it's the same allegation that we've heard repeated from political talking heads for many weeks now but I haven't seen any evidence that has convinced me that it in fact happened. I don't know if it happened or not, you don't know if it happened or not.

VAUSE: It's true.

PHILLIPS: Nobody knows if it happened or not.

GREUEL: (INAUDIBLE) to FBI to check it out.

VAUSE: So here's the question, Brett Kavanaugh, would you support an FBI investigation? It was happening over, over again by Democrats. Here's Senator Dick Durbin again putting that issue to Brett Kavanaugh. Why would you not want an FBI investigation?


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I would hope that all the members of the committee would join me in saying we're going to abide by your wishes and we will have that investigation.

KAVANAUGH: I welcome whatever the committee wants to do because I'm telling the truth.

DURBIN: I want to know what you want to do.

KAVANAUGH: I'm telling the truth.

DURBIN: I want to know what you want to do.

KAVANAUGH: I'm innocent.


VAUSE: David, the fact that Kavanaugh couldn't give a give a direct answer, he kept dodging it. You know, if that's your witness, if you're the court, what does that say to you about that witness?

DAVID KATZ, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, when I was Assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, it was under the Reagan administration, and we've now been working as you know, criminal defense attorneys and so forth, and these are not court proceedings, this is not a court of law. Kavanaugh has no right to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. President Trump could pick somebody else, another conservative jurist and not have all of these problems with the voters, not have all these problems, especially with female voters.

And you know, we have to remember that Kavanaugh was the person who was the aide to Ken Starr. He was a top aide to Ken Starr. He wanted the most graphic anatomical interrogation of President Clinton when the shoe was on the other foot. And this looks to me -- frankly, if I were coaching him, if I were his attorney, I think that he should have said right from the beginning, look I was drunk, I was stupid, I should have put my hand over her face, I'm a totally different person. This is not from the last 34 years and I'm sorry.


[01:10:08] KATZ: I'm terribly sorry. And I think that's what would have been something that would have resonated. But this to me just seems like something as a trial attorney having been on both sides, this seems to be utterly unpersuasive which is why they want to push him through. They're obviously figuring, if we don't get him now, we're never going to get him. And if we have an investigation, if it breaks -- if it --

VAUSE: A lot of people say that, John, so what's the answer?

PHILLIPS: Yes, I think is going to get confirmed. And I think this is --

VAUSE: But does that mean he'll be tainted for the you know, for a lifetime --

PHILLIPS: Well, I mean, that's what the Democrats tried to do here. And this is consistent with their philosophy --

VAUSE: The didn't create Christine Blasey Ford.

GREUEL: She came forward.

PHILLIPS: What they did at the very beginning was they said, we need to delay this because we need to -- we need to make sure that the midterms play out because that's what happened with Merrick Garland. Then they said, oh no we need to delay this because we're waiting on paperwork. And then oh no, we need to delay this until the Russia investigation takes place. And then Dianne Feinstein has this information in July when she could have conducted an investigation at the FBI. She could have questioned him about it. She didn't do it. Then someone just happens to leak it.

VAUSE: But she held the information at the request of Christine Blasey Ford. GREUEL: She -- I was going to say -- yes. Not only Christine Ford attorney has said that, she said that. Dianne Feinstein was following my wishes in doing that. And I will tell you, it wasn't that they were waiting for some documents, they were asking for documents to be presented 90 percent of which they haven't gotten yet, and that they have said they aren't ever going to see. This was rushed through. What a week or two weeks, whatever it is to get the truth --


VAUSE: At one point Kavanaugh warned that this whole politicization of the nomination process would have consequences for years to come.


KAVANAUGH: The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades. This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country. And as we all know in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around down comes around. Today, I have to say that I fear for the future.


VAUSE: So Ron, there will be consequences but far beyond what Kavanagh has outlined.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first of all, I mean, you know, just think it was only a few weeks ago September 4th where he echoed John Roberts and said a judge has to be an umpire, a judge can't take sides, a judge must be independent. I mean, today all of that was stripped away and he basically tried to resurrect and protect the nomination by rallying Republicans against Democrats. I mean, that was the strategy. It was a very Trump-like strategy of trying to consolidate your base by basically pointing them toward other you know, other forces in American life that you say are threatening them.

And so now, if he goes on the court potentially in a virtually party- line vote and possibly a completely party-line vote, I think this is not the end. I think that the pressure on Democrats if they win the House, to have the House Judiciary Committee next year do the investigation that the Senate Republican you know, Senate Republicans would not. I think it's going to be insurmountable. And it's unclear where that would lead, whether that would begin the discussion of impeachment and of course they probably could not convict him anyway, but I think that is going to be very much a part of the discussion in 2019 because it's very hard for anyone to look at this and feel as though every investigative lead was run down.

The American Bar Association's act which had called him highly qualified is saying do not confirm him without a further FBI investigation. And we're going to have to see whether Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins are going to be willing after they have made noises to the opposite to say let's ignore that, let's go ahead and let's vote in 72 hours. VAUSE: You know, what we heard, the testimony, the style, you know,

just the demeanor of these -- of Kavanaugh and Ford you know, they could not be more different but essentially they pretty much had the same message. Listen to this.


DURBIN: Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?

FORD: 100 percent.

DURBIN: 100 percent.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: None of these allegations are true?


KENNEDY: No doubt in your mind?

KAVANAUGH: Zero. I'm 100 percent certain.


VAUSE: So David, did you hear anything on Thursday which has moved this beyond the tears of the tantrums you know, to anything in favor of one party or the other?

KATZ: Well, I think that from what I heard and saw today, I think the issue really is not what happened even 35 years ago, although that's obviously very important, and I think that Dr. Ford gave compelling, very persuasive testimony. I think it would have been stronger if they subpoenaed Mark Judge to the stand which the Republicans would not do. But I think the issue was his demeanor and his attitude toward the Senators and toward the system today.

I think he showed himself to be unfit today, because that kind of partisan attack when a Senator asks you a question, you cannot go into contempt of Congress. Think what that means, if, in his own courtroom, a litigant had said under his questioning, Kavanaugh's questioning, no, no, no, I want to talk now, it had been held in contempt. Why is it OK for him to act that way in the Senate of the United States, and to be a political opponent?

People worry, is he going to be this a siding swing vote on women's right to choose and other critical issues, and is he going to be -- everyone's thinking, OK, the swing vote is basically Trump in a black robe that's terrible for the country.


KATZ: We rely on the goodwill that the people have towards the judiciary. Their intellect towards they're trying to get these cases right. They're not just another branch of the political system.

VAUSE: Because when you do were -- there were times when -- you know, to David's point, Kavanaugh was rolling his eyes, his -- you know, his arms cross, he -- you know, he was clearly disdainful it seems of the Senators who are questioning him. And again, that does raise the question of temperament. And -- you know, is he -- is he the right person for the job?

GREUEL: Absolutely. And I think, you know, the whole idea was that before this hearing, even there were questions about his character, there were questions about his positions on things, and was he going to be too political. And I think he proved to a lot of people's points today that he doesn't have the kind of temperament that is necessary to be on the Supreme Court.

And I think, it also I want to say that what they have done is devalue sexual assault issues. And that they don't want to get to the truth. And why not have Mark Judge? Why not? I can't underscore that enough. And also, he didn't sign some document that Mark Judge about that he didn't think it happened. His lawyer do that.

There are lots of questions that need to be answered. It should not have a vote tomorrow, it should not be voted on Saturday. It should be in a time in which people can actually hear the truth.

VAUSE: Last word, John.

PHILLIPS: Yes, if I got accused of being a rapist by those jackals and ghouls who were sitting there on that committee with zero evidence. What he did today would be subdued compared to how I would behave in that committee and their hypocrites, because Dianne Feinstein, Pat Leahy, all of those people were aware of Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, back in the 1990's.

VAUSE: You may don't care.

PHILLIPS: That point about --


VAUSE: You know, well, how the Democrats reacted, you know, in dealt with Monica Lewinsky is a fair one to make -- has been made -- you know, it is a fair point to bring up but we are out of time, at least this segment.

You know, what you can bring it back to you guys coming back the later this hour? I so appreciate that. Ron, (INAUDIBLE) stick around for a little more on this after the break. But thanks to all of you.

GREUEL: Thank you.

VAUSE: OK. Well, the consequences from the Supreme Court battle will be felt wavy on the bench. In a moment, how Brett Kavanaugh's faith will impact U.S. politics in the upcoming midterm elections?


[01:20:34] VAUSE: Well, across the U.S., protests have been held with for and against Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMERICAN CROWD: He needs to go. Kavanaugh has got to go. He needs to go. Kavanaugh has got to go. He needs to go.


VAUSE: In the U.S. Capitol, demonstrators marched through the streets demanding Kavanaugh's accuser Christine Blasey Ford actually be believed. At the same time, counter-protesters carried signs reading, "Confirmed Kavanaugh," or "I stand with Brett".

In testimony on Thursday, Ford told the Senate committee, she was a 100 percent certain she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh when they are teenagers. But Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations. In turn, accusing Democrats of coordinating what he calls a character assassination.

Let's go back down to CNN's Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein, for more. You know, if you look at that -- you know, sort of the physical manifestation of those protester, it seemed in many ways that -- you know, this is sort of what's happening across the country. You know, now there's for and against, people being divided.

And I want to read a tweet from Trump's son, Don Jr. "I love Kavanaugh's tone. It's nice to see a conservative man fight for his honor and his family, against the 35-year-old claim with zero evidence and lots of holes that amounts to nothing more than a political hit job by the Dems. Others in the GOP should take notice."

I think that last part is interesting.


VAUSE: You know, this isn't just for conservatives, either you're with us or against us. It's either you're with us or we're going to take you out and destroy you.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, Lindsey Graham once said to me 10 years ago when I was writing a book called The Second Civil War, the problem modern politics is it's not enough to be for people. Now, you have to also hate the people that they hate, and he was lamenting that. And today, he showed how much he had surrendered to that.

And Kavanaugh embraced that as a strategy. I mean, you know, it was a very Trump-like political strategy to try to rally your side around you, consolidate your side around you by expressing you are disdain for the other side, for other Americans.

And you know, it was -- this was always going to be a controversial nomination because of the Republican decision not to give a vote to Merrick Garland, and because the point of Kavanaugh was to create a consistent 5-4 Republican majority of five Republican-appointed justices who now have the potential in the years to head to outvoted for Democratic justices on party-line votes that will indelibly stamp the Supreme Court as more partisan. I think, incalculably accelerated by his decision today to try to -- and as I say, save this nomination by essentially portraying himself as a partisan warrior against Democrats and stripping any pretense of being an umpire or a neutral arbiter. How can he hold to that position after basically saying Democrats and liberals were conspiring against him? I've never seen anything like his statement today.

VAUSE: You know, this was seen as sort of back moment. The make-or- break moment for Kavanaugh. His test measure enough to commend -- you know, those few Republican lawmakers that he should sit on to the Supreme Court or did Professor Ford's testimony have enough credibility to end his chances.

CNN is reporting, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether to favorably recommend Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court as previously scheduled Friday morning. The top GOP Senators did not know as of Thursday night whether enough key Republican votes have been convinced to confirm President Trump's nominee.

So, from what you see, how is this all going to play out?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, as on so many things, we're down to a handful of folks. I mean, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Jeff Flake, more often than not, they have barked but not bitten, and they have fallen into line.

But once they did not fall into line on the Affordable Care Act where Collins and Murkowski joined McCain in blocking the repeal. So, I don't think you could say for 100 percent that they will vote to confirm. And I don't -- but it is possible a Democrats will vote, but I don't think Democrats will provide the votes to get them over the top.

I think if Collins and Murkowski are no, I don't think any Democrat is going to be a yes, and the added complication tonight is the American Bar Association asking for a further investigation before a vote. And I -- that could provide an out for Murkowski and Collins to say that they will not vote until they get that investigation.

VAUSE: You know, with that in mind, with that investigation which -- you know, at least as the Republicans are concerned it is not going to happen. There are a lot of moments during the hearing for Kavanaugh when he just seemed to avoid the issue, not just on the FBI investigation that why -- you know witnesses won't subpoena, why he didn't want to go further in depth and trying to clear his name. Here is one of those exchanges.


[01:25:13] DURBIN: Judge Kavanaugh, will you support an FBI investigation right now?

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


DURBIN: Personally, do you think that's the best thing for us to do? You want to answer?

KAVANAUGH: You know, look, Senator, I've said I wanted a hearing and, I said I was welcome anything. I'm innocent.

LEAHY: If she saying Mark Judge was in the room, then he should be in the room here today. Would you want him called as a witness?

KAVANAUGH: Senator, this allegation would come into the committee.

LEAHY: No, no, I'm just asking the question, would you want him to be here as a witness?

KAVANAUGH: He's already provided sworn testimony to the committee.

LEAHY: Judge Kavanaugh, I'm trying to get a straight answer from you under oath. Are you Brett Kavanaugh, he's referring to? Yes or no? That's it.

KAVANAUGH: You'd have to ask him.


VAUSE: Yes, they tried, they tried. But -- you know, there were so many instances like that where he just would not give a straight answer which is the very least raises questions about whether on -- you know, where he stands on clearing this now.

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. Well, look, I mean, again, I think that -- you know, we talked about this before. There have been previous precedence of the accused of sliding voters outside of their base. I think President Trump has gone a long step further than any of them by -- essentially, having strategy of consolidating his base. By targeting the voters outside of this coalition.

I think it's exactly what Brett Kavanaugh did today. He essentially tried to consolidate Republicans by targeting Democrats. And you know, wasn't was more interested in sparring with them really -- I think, then kind of giving them -- you know, full answers.

And -- you know, that to me is kind of the real legacy of today. Whether or not Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski fall into line and more often than not they have, although, as we said not always.

They -- this is what is going to go on to the court, and not for any justice. A justice who could be the decisive vote on critical issues like voting rights protections and environmental legislate -- legislation. And above all, the right to abortion where you could have five Republican-appointed justices, two of whom have been -- you know, credibly accused of sexual -- severe sexual misconduct. Voting to either rescind or hollow out the legal right to abortion.

And just imagine the fireworks of the -- you know, the explosiveness that such a development. I just cannot -- you can't foresee where this would lead. I mean, it's not inconceivable to me that if Democrats get unified control after 2020, that you will have the first serious discussions as Franklin Roosevelt. About changing the number of justices on the court.

We are spiraling toward a level of polarization and division that nothing can be ruled out. And you saw how tribal -- you know that basically with his back to the wall Kavanaugh went to a tribal appeal. And it may work. It certainly worked on the committee today. But as that happened, you just keep pulling the rubber band of the country more and more taut. And eventually, it snaps in ways that we can't predict.

VAUSE: Yes. It's interesting about the number of justices on the Supreme Court does naturally nine has been as few as six, I think. And what FBI wanted to stack it with 16, I got pretty big numbers but he paid a heavy political price there.


VAUSE: But, hey, Ron, thank you so much.


VAUSE: For the last three years.

BROWNSTEIN: Time has been great. It's been really terrific.

VAUSE: We mean, thank you. We appreciate everything. Thanks, mate.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me. Yes, and good luck down the road.

VAUSE: Thank you, appreciate it. A lot more on the Kavanaugh hearing. Still ahead, including some surprising reactions from President Trump's favorite news channel. Stay with us.


[01:31:21] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

And in the coming hours, U.S. senators will decide whether Brett Kavanaugh is still in the running to become the next Supreme Court justice. A Senate committee will vote on whether to recommend Kavanaugh's nomination. They'll take the hours of powerful testimony into account (INAUDIBLE) by an emotional Christine Blasey Ford as well as Kavanaugh's raw anger.


CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: 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.

I was pushed on to the bed and Brett got on top of me. He began running his hands over my body and grinding into me. I yelled, hoping that someone downstairs might hear me. And I tried to get away from him but his weight was heavy. Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was very inebriated. And because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit underneath my clothing.

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 was 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.

SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: What is the strongest memory you have, strongest memory of the incident? Something you cannot forget? Take whatever time you need.

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

SENATOR DICK DURBIN (D-IL), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I'm asking you address this new defense of mistaken identity directly. Dr. Ford -- with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?

FORD: 100 percent.

DURBIN: 100 percent.

RACHEL MITCHELL, ATTORNEY: May I ask, Dr. Ford, how did you get to Washington?

FORD: In an airplane.

MITCHELL: Ok. It's -- I ask that because it's been reported by the press that you would not submit to an interview with the committee because of your fear of flying. Is that true?

FORD: Well, I was willing -- I was hoping that they would come to be but then I realized that was an unrealistic request.

MITCHELL: It would have been a quicker trip for me.

FORD: Yes. So that was certainly what I was hoping was to avoid having to get on an airplane but I eventually was able to get up the gumption with the help of some friends and get on the plane.

MITCHELL: When you were here in the mid-Atlantic area back in August, end of July, August -- how did you get here?

FORD: Also by airplane. I come here once a year during the summer to visit my family.


FORD: I'm sorry not here -- I go to Delaware. MITCHELL: Ok. In fact, you fly fairly frequently for your hobbies and your -- you've had to fly for your work. Is that true?

FORD: Correct, unfortunately.

[01:34:54] JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You've tried hard. You've given it your all. No one can question your effort.

But your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and destroy my family will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. You may defeat me in the final vote but you'll never get me to quit. Never.

I'm here today to tell the truth. I've never sexually assaulted anyone. Not in high school, not in college, not ever.

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: -- we hear from the witnesses but the FBI isn't interviewing them and isn't giving us any facts. So all we have --

KAVANAUGH: You're interviewing me.

FEINSTEIN: -- is what they say.

KAVANAUGH: You're interviewing me. You're doing it -- Senator. I'm sorry to interrupt but you're doing it. There's no conclusions reached.

FEINSTEIN: And what you're seeing, if I understand it is that the allegations by Dr. Ford, Miss Ramirez and Miss Swetnick are wrong.

KAVANAUGH: That is emphatically what I'm saying. Emphatically. The Swetnick thing is a joke. That is a farce.

FEINSTEIN: Would you like to say more about it.


DURBIN: I'd just say this. If you, Judge Kavanaugh, turned to Don McGahn and to this committee and say for the sake of reputation, my family name and to get to the bottom of the truth of this I am not gong to stay -- be an obstacle to an FBI investigation. I would hope that all the members of the committee would join me in saying we're going to abide by wishes and we will have that investigation.

KAVANAUGH: I welcome whatever the committee wants to do because I'm telling the truth.

DURBIN: I want to know what you want to do.

KAVANAUGH: I'm telling the truth.

DURBIN: I want to know what you want to do, Judge.

KAVANAUGH: I'm innocent. I'm innocent of this charge. DURBIN: Then you're prepared for an FBI investigation.

KAVANAUGH: They don't reach conclusions. You reach the conclusion, Senator.

DURBIN: No, but they do investigate questions.

SENATOR 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.

This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics.


VAUSE: We're back now with Wendy Greuel, John Phillips and David Katz. What was interesting though is obviously all the cable networks covered what happened on Capitol Hill with the testimony.

Fox News covered it in their own sort of special way as Fox News does. And when Christine Blasey Ford was testifying it was not good for the home king, you know. There was a lot of sad people over there.

Listen to Chris Wallace -- here he is.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: This was extremely emotional, extremely raw and extremely credible. This is a disaster for the Republicans.


VAUSE: Ok. He said it was a disaster when, you know, Ford was giving her testimony but when Kavanaugh turned up and he went on the offensive, the sun came out. You know, the birds started chirping and everything was fine. Again here's Chris Wallace.


WALLACE: Well, I think some of us had some questions as to whether or not Judge Kavanaugh was going to be able to match the emotion, just the raw moments that we saw from Christine Blasey Ford this morning. And the answer is absolutely yes.

It was exactly what a lot of people were hoping for, wondering, waiting for --


VAUSE: So John -- we were told that, you know, by some reporting that President Trump wanted Kavanaugh to go out on the offensive. He wanted him to be combative like he was. He was very pleased with his testimony. And if, you know, Fox News is any guide -- that seems to be a winning strategy with those hard-core conservatives who support Donald Trump. JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it's beyond hard core conservatives. I mean we're talking about an electoral majority in the country who voted for Donald Trump.

So the anger and the vigor that you saw from Judge Kavanaugh today is something that I think was required here. I mean you have charges that he's a rapist without any evidence to back them up, being on the front page of every newspaper in the nation. It's a ploy by the Democrats to try to delay this thing as much as they possibly can to ultimately leave this seat vacant until a Democrat potentially could take over the presidency in 2020.

I think he saved this seat. I think he's going to -- he's going to get voted out of the committee tomorrow. And I think he's going to get approved by the Senate on Saturday. And he should.

VAUSE: Ok. First of all, there is evidence. There is a reason for investigation. Polls show that --


VAUSE: Well, let's talk about the evidence (INAUDIBLE). Polls show that more Americans actually do not support Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court than those who do.

But anyway, as always reasonable and the opener of Al Capone's vault -- Geraldo Rivera weighed in with his own intellectual theory about what the Democrats were up to. Here he is.


[01:39:59] GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I have deep suspicions that what we just witnessed was an attempted coup by the minority Democrats who played their hand as best they could to delay this process.


VAUSE: Wendy -- Geraldo believes that the coup could also be described as deep political process.

WENDY GREUEL, FORMER LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCILWOMAN: And getting to the truth. We have to remember that this is a woman who was sexually assaulted.

VAUSE: She's a victim.

GREUEL: And she is a victim. And she is telling the truth. She has nothing to gain to putting her life out on the line here other than, as she said, to do her civic duty. I still cannot understand why they will not have Mark Judge come testify.

In any other issue you would have the person -- the third person in the room actually there and testifying. The FBI is not impotent. The FBI could ask those questions. The decision ultimately are by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but they can ask the tough questions and be able to even ask some of the question of Mark Judge. Did you and Judge Kavanaugh go drinking? Was there ever a time that he would actually black out? Was there -- all of these things that have been -- he's been accused of?

But they won't even have Mark Judge there. Why? Because they don't want to get to the truth.

VAUSE: We also have -- a few hours ago, unofficial White House spokesman Sean Hannity went to it (ph). Here's his verdict on the hearing.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: This has not been about protecting victims or finding the truth even. To them, from day one, Chuck Schumer leading the way this has all been political.

Is reelection more important than another person's life here? Did anybody hear the pain in Brett Kavanaugh's voice today?


VAUSE: And David -- I mean if you take Chuck Schumer out of that sentence and you replaced it with, you know, Mitch McConnell in terms of who was politicizing the process, I'm wondering if that statement would be more accurate.

DAVID KATZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, there's no doubt that the Republicans politicized the process because President Obama was the President. He had a right to appoint a nominee after Justice Scalia died. They appointed Merrick Garland who is an outstanding moderation selection. President Obama was actually criticized for not having put in a more left-wing or more liberal judge to be a justice.

Merrick Garland was brilliant. He was centrist and yet the Republicans would not even give him a hearing for a year.

When you hear that this seat can't be open on Monday or Tuesday because the Supreme Court's going to start the first Monday in October, this Monday next -- the Republicans let that seat stay open for a year. They let it be four-four even if that meant that the Supreme Court couldn't decide important matters of federal law.

And if I could just add one other comment, I think that there will be, if the Democrats are ever in control of the presidency and both houses of Congress. I think it's certain that there will be a movement to expand the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court does not have to have nine members. They have a huge work load. Courts have sat en banc around the country with 13 judges, 11 judges. Those en banc panels have been great. And I think the Supreme Court could possibly use having 11 or 13 members. And that's absolutely going to be on the agenda.

VAUSE: Ok. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted this. "Today Senate Republicans conducted a hearing that was fair and respectful to Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. The same can't be said of the Democrats. Based on today and his decades of service, I stand with Judge Kavanaugh for his integrity and impeccable credentials. Take the vote."

Wendy -- what are the implications here though of having a Supreme Court -- potential Supreme Court justice so openly cheered not just by the administration but by, you know, its state-controlled television news network as well over there at Fox.

GREUEL: And that's been from the beginning. He has avoided a lot of questions that were asked, wouldn't answer them during this whole process prior to these accusations. They have not provided all the documentation that was requested by the Democrats that has been provided in previous nominations of Supreme Court Justices.

And I think that this has triggered in a lot of people that you're going to see in November a big change in the kind of votes because people want the truth to come out. And they want to have a process that has some credibility.

VAUSE: And John -- it just seems like something's changed because, you know, we now have openly-partisan nominees to the Supreme Court.

PHILLIPS: I want to read you a headline. This is from CNN Politics. This is July 13, 2016. The headline from --


PHILLIPS: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg calls Trump a faker. He says she should resign.

VAUSE: And she apologized.

PHILLIPS: Ok. But she's a justice on the Supreme Court and she's getting involved in an American political election when people are actually casting the ballots.

VAUSE: Oh, ok.

GREUEL: I don't think she's --


PHILLIPS: And suddenly --

GREUEL: She said what goes around comes around.

PHILLIPS: -- this guy is the first one to ever have a political opinion on the court.

VAUSE: Well, I will raise you --


VAUSE: Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- and I will bring in Justice -- what was it -- Alito from back in 2010 to the State of the Union Address with President Obama. Here we go back to the time machine.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the flood gates for special interests, including foreign corporations to spend without limit in our election.


[01:45:10] VAUSE: You probably missed it because it was so subtle. It was "not true". But that was, you know, David -- that was a big controversy at the time because it was seen as politicization, you know, of the Supreme Court.

But what we saw on Thursday in front of the committee -- that has gone way off the reservation, way beyond anything we've ever seen.


GREUEL: No question.

KATZ: Well, I think that yes. I think that Judge Kavanaugh interrupting the questioners who are senators, who are supposed to advice and consent -- they're supposed to ask him questions. They have the floor.

For him to yell back at them, to speak over them, to treat them with such disrespect -- and it sounded like well, the payback is coming. If I get in there, the political payback is coming.

And if people think the Supreme Court is just a way to, you know, even up the score and fight political battles, it won't have the respect that it needs so that we have the rule of law.

The rule of law is crucial to the functioning of society. Democrats, Republicans -- they've worked in different administrations. They've worked together. They have common goals, which is that there be precedent. They just overturned a 22-year-old precedent against the public sector unions last time.

This idea that they can't overturn a precedent like Roe v Wade or they can't strangle a woman's right to choose. And that's the question. Are Senators Collins and Murkowski -- did they just want to have a nice hearing because they had a nice hearing -- they were nice to Dr. Ford during the hearing. Or do they want to actually vote on something that's so crucial for the future.

VAUSE: I guess because -- we're out of time -- but go quickly, John -- where does it end? Because it just keeps getting -- and both sides.

PHILLIPS: Ok. So go back to when Harry Reid was running the Senate and he decided to employ the nuclear option to get judges confirmed. What happened? Well, the Republicans eventually got back in power and they used the same thing for the Supreme Court.

If all of a sudden you can end someone's career with allegations and no evidence guess what -- there are a lot of members on that committee who have lots of allegations against them and they're political careers could be over.

VAUSE: Right.

GREUEL: They don't want to hear the evidence. So I think they --


KATZ: Subpoena Mark Judge.

GREUEL: Yes, subpoena Mark Judge.

VAUSE: Ok. There are a lot of questions. Anyway -- but you know, hey thank you.

GREUEL: Thank you -- John.

VAUSE: Wendy, John and David -- over the years you've all been great. David a recent addition and we're going to -- (INAUDIBLE)

GREUEL: We've enjoyed it. Thank you.

KATZ: We're sure going to miss you.

GREUEL: Good luck. Good luck to you

KATZ: We're sure going to miss you.

VAUSE: Ok. Thank you.

We're keeping a close eye on a dangerous and powerful typhoon projected (ph) to make landfall in Japan in the coming days.

When we come back, meteorologist Derek Van Dam will have the very latest.


VAUSE: Typhoon Trami is expected to make landfall in mainland Japan by the weekend. Derek Van Dam joins us now with the very latest -- Derek.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, John -- Typhoon Trami already starting to make its presence known in the Ryukyu Islands. This is just south of mainland Japan. Okinawa starting to feel the effects of this typhoon, 165 kilometer-per-hour sustained winds.

Check out this trajectory. This brings it into the Kyushu region late Saturday and then eventually into Honshu by Sunday afternoon. That is going to impact the very largely populated area of southwestern Japan. And the potential for this system to strengthen is definitely in the cards, at least another 10 maybe 20 kilometers per hour in terms of sustained winds.

Not good news. That would make it an equivalent to a strong Category 3 or a weak Category -- excuse me -- strong Category 2 or weak Category 3 Atlantic hurricane. Nonetheless we've had an active tropical season to say the least. This will be the fifth if it makes landfall, a fifth typhoon to impact Japan since June with nearly a dozen typhoons or tropical storms coming close to the mainland area so far this tropical season.

Look at how this wind picks up in intensity especially the east end of the eye wall continuously just impact the Kyushu region, again Saturday into Sunday. Tokyo -- you will not be spared from some of the stronger winds out of this system.

But really what I'm concerned about is the flood potential because if this storm actually interacts with the frontal boundary draped across the country, it's going to slice off just pieces of energy and all that energy is associated with plenty of moisture.

Rainfall totals across this area in excess of 300 millimeters. Some localized heavier amounts possible -- John. That means landslides are definitely a possibility here. So we're going to keep an eye on this storm all weekend long.

Back to you.

VAUSE: Ok. DVD -- thank you.

VAN DAM: Pleasure.

VAUSE: So could a highly decorated Russian military officer be responsible for poisoning a former spy and his daughter in the U.K.? The mystery has lingered since the two were almost killed back in March by the nerve agent Novichok.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports now from Moscow.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.K. investigative Web site Bellingcat says that it's identified one of the people possibly behind the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in the United Kingdom earlier this year.

They say the man described by British authorities as Ruslan Boshirov is in reality a colonel of Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU. Now they've named this alleged colonel as Colonel Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga and say that someone by that name also received one of Russia's highest award, the award Hero of the Russian Federation.

Now, needless to say Russian authorities immediately went after Bellingcat when this report came out the foreign ministry describing it as bogus. And then later the Kremlin, in the form of the Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, he came out and said that while the Kremlin would look into this reports he also said that he believes many people might look alike.

Now Bellingcat said that it conducted extensive research with sources in the Russian Federation and so then it came to this conclusion. Certainly, of course, this is making lot of waves, not just here in Russia but also in the United Kingdom as well.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN -- Moscow.


VAUSE: Well, Pussy Riot's Pyotr Verzilov is planning to return soon to Russia just days after being treated in a German hospital for suspected poisoning. The anti-Kremlin activist believes he was targeted by a specialized Russian military unit and he spoke to CNN's Atika Shubert.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pyotr Verzilov is looking pretty relaxed for someone who nearly died two weeks ago in a suspected poisoning. He temporarily lost his vision, control of his limbs and for a while his memory was wiped out.

His pupils are still unnaturally large but he has been cleared from the hospital.

So now that you know, that doctors have told you that it's highly likely this was a suspected poisoning what was your first thought upon realizing it?

PYOTR VERZILOV, PUSSY RIOT: Well, my though was like I was quite calm and ok about it because probably when you do things like that in Russia you have to be prepared for some -- for certain things to happen to you.

[01:55:02] And since I've been active with the Russian opposition and with activism for the last decade and that's something that you sort of start treating it as, you know, like weather (INAUDIBLE).

SHUBERT: A much more dangerous climate in Moscow. Verzilov is known for collaborations with punk band Pussy Riot but his last action was storming the pitch at the World Cup finals dressed as Russian police, interrupting the match and high-fiving confused players.

It was a major embarrassment to Russian security but Verzilov believes there may also have been another reason for the suspected poisoning.

VERZILOV: Moscow police was quite upset that we only got 15 days for the World Cup action because it was like such a high-profile event. And the number two reason is that because we were -- we announced some time ago that we're looking into the merger of three colonies in Central African Republic.

SHUBERT: You had actually received a report, a field report on that investigation --


SHUBERT: -- the night before the suspected poisoning.


SHUBERT: The journalist had been investigating a Kremlin-linked private security company, the Wagner Group, whose mercenaries have been documented in conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

Other journalists who have investigated the Wagner Group have also been threatened, one of them Maxim Borodin mysteriously fell from his fifth floor balcony. Russian police did not open a criminal investigation into his death.

So who do you hold responsible for this apparent attack on you.

VERZILOV: We think that the Russian military special unit called (INAUDIBLE). They are most likely the organization which has the capability to make these attacks.

SHUBERT: You don't sound like you're going to be dissuaded from your work at all.

VERZILOV: Definitely not.

What people always ask is that is Vladimir Putin giving orders like this. It's -- we have a general line of how they can behave and how these mercenary groups can protect themselves. And apparently going after people from different parts of the world is something they are allowed to do.

SHUBERT: The Russian government has refused to comment on Verzilov's case. Saying it is a matter for local police who have yet to open an investigation. Verzilov says he will continue to investigate the killings with his colleagues and he will return to Moscow soon.

Atika Shubert, CNN - -Berlin.


VAUSE: Well, after three years, for the last time now, you've been watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. We are packing up and we are moving on. Some are heading back to Atlanta. Some have left like Isha, my co-anchor. (INAUDIBLE).

Thank you to everyone here in the L.A. Bureau. We owe you. We love you and we'll miss you.