Return to Transcripts main page
A Very Emotional Day On Capitol Hill; Sexual Assault Allegations; Supreme Court Nomination; Benjamin Netanyahu's Claims; Senate Committee to Vote Friday on Kavanaugh after Turbulent Hearing As It Happened; Report: Nerve Agent Attack Suspect & Military Officer; Anti-Kremlin Activist Speaks After Suspected Poisoning; Typhoon Trami Projected To Hit Mainland Japan. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired September 28, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:00:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This confirmation process has become a national disgrace.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's impacted in different (Inaudible) development of my life, so the immediate impact was probably the worst.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NATALIE ALLEN, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: An emotional and historic day on Capitol Hill, an alleged victim of sexual assault testified, and Republicans now get ready to vote on President Trump's Supreme Court nominee. That's our big story for this hour. Hello and thank you so much for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen, and you are watching CNN Newsroom.
Thanks again for being with us. A Senate committee is set to vote Friday on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. And if Republicans have the votes, he could be confirmed by the full Senate early next week. But that confirmation is anything but certain. After an extraordinary judiciary committee hearing on Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford, seen right there, says a drunken Kavanaugh held her down and tried to take off her clothes 36 years ago when they were in high school.
Kavanaugh was loud and forceful in his denial, merely shouting at times. But he was also emotional, choking back tears during his opening statement. He accused Democrats of trying to get, quote, revenge on behalf of the Clintons. There's a look now at some of the key moments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: I am here today not because I want to be. I'm 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 (Inaudible) 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 is what terrified me the most, and this 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.
PATRICK LEAHY, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: What is the strongest memory you have, the strongest memory of the -- something that you cannot forget? Take whatever time you need.
FORD: Indelible. In the HPA campus is the laughter, the furious laughter between the two. And they're having fun at my expense.
DICK DURBIN, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: I'm asking you to address this new defense of mistaken identity directly. Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assault you?
FORD: One hundred percent.
DURBIN: One hundred percent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: May I ask, Dr. Ford, how did you get to Washington?
FORD: In an airplane.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Is -- 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 me. But then I realized that was an unrealistic request.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would've 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 (Inaudible) with the help of some friends and get on the plane.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you were here in the mid-Atlantic area back in August, end the July, August, how did you get here?
FORD: Also by airplane. I come here once a year during the summer to visit my family.
[02:04:58] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
FORD: I'm sorry. Not here. I go to Delaware.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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.
BRETT KAVANAUGH, NOMINEE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: 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 it college, not ever.
DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: 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. 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 saying, if I find understand it, is that the allegations by Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez, and Ms. Swetnick are wrong.
KAVANAUGH: That is emphatically what I am saying, emphatically. The Swetnick thing is a joke. That is a farce.
FEINSTEIN: Would you like to say more about it?
DURBIN: Just say this. If you, Judge Kavanaugh, turn to Dan McGahn and to this committee, and say for the sake of my reputation, my family name, and to get to the bottom of the truth of this. I am not going to stay and 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 your wishes and we will have an 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 reached the conclusions.
DURBIN: They do investigate questions. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: 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 it in 2020. You said that, not me. This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Let's talk more about this with David Gergen. David is a CNN Senior Political Analyst. He is also the former advisor to President's Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton. David, thanks much for your time.
DAVID GERGEN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Thank you, Natalie.
ALLEN: First, your assessment of Professor Ford's testimony and Judge Kavanaugh's regarding the alleged sexual assault that was on the table, to be discussed.
GERGEN: This had been one of the most dramatic days we've had in American public life in the last few years. I am afraid it's also been one of the most divisive moments we've seen. And what started out to be a hearing that was seeking the truth descended eventually into a partisan brawl, revealing the deep poisonous differences in our politics right now.
How it's all going to come out. I must tell you. I think that here in the District of Columbia, in D.C., the accuser, Mrs. Ford, gave a very compelling testimony. And there was -- and she seemed to be winning the day, and then the -- Judge Kavanaugh came in for the second half of the day. He was fierce. He was determined, defiant, and he sort of evened the score.
When Obama was a political draw, you're in Washington. I think out on the countryside, beyond Washington, what we're likely to find is that many men will stick with Judge Kavanaugh. But women will overwhelmingly support the -- Mrs. Ford. And that's going to lead -- we are on the edge of a decision in the Senate, probably in the next three or four days.
We'll have a voting committee very likely on Friday. But then it's likely to be early next week when the vote in the full Senate occurs. It looks now as if Judge Kavanaugh is going to be confirmed, but is going to be a great expense to the public support of the court. Even though they wound up in a draw, there is -- there remains of a cloud over Justice Kavanaugh's head.
[02:09:48] ALLEN: Right.
GERGEN: It's not been dispelled. And I think that's going to be real trouble down the road for the Supreme Court and for him.
ALLEN: Right. Let us talk about that. She said she was no ones pawn. Kavanaugh, though, thought differently. He expressed heeded anger. He was incensed really at the process that he was accused of this, and he directly blamed Democrats, even mentioning the Clintons. How did he come across to you during that time? And does his claim have merit?
GERGEN: Well, I think that -- I think that some of his claims had had merit. And that is his argument that he had been badly hurt, and his family had been badly hurt by this late accusation, that it came very late in the process. And I think he had great reason to be angry about that. But what he displayed in the process was a belligerence that was so contradicted what he did -- the earlier appearance of Justice Kavanaugh had seemed like choir boy in his earlier public appearances.
We kept hearing in these various investigations, and was -- with people weighing, actually when he had something to drink, he became aggressive and belligerent. And today, what we saw was a, you know, someone who hadn't been drinking, but he was very aggressive and very belligerent. And it's raised questions about two things, about his judicial temperament.
This is the (Inaudible) partisan attack and response by a nominee to the Supreme Court in anybody's memory. And the second question that arises is he was so angry at the Democrats at the left of this. They think he accuses them of basically sabotaging him and causing him all this destruction of his family. And so the question becomes when -- if he is confirmed, as I think is likely to be confirmed.
He is going -- whether he will seek revenge when, you know, parties on the left and -- end of the spectrum come in, in front of the Supreme Court, is he going to look for ways to get even.
ALLEN: Right. Because he went out of his way to say he would be an impartial Justice on the Supreme Court. And then we saw what happened on Thursday. So the question becomes if he is confirmed, David, what then for the midterms. What then for the Trump Administration?
GERGEN: Well, I must tell you. We'll have to wait and see. But even before Judge Kavanaugh came to these hearings today, women were sharply split. There was a huge gender gap, asking whether people wanted Kavanaugh on the court or not. Women by 58 to 33 said no, 25 percent gap. This was even before these hearings.
And I think a lot of women who are very sympathetic with Justice Kavanaugh, after all, in this country, one out of every three women apparently were actually assaulted in some fashion along the way. That's an extraordinarily high number, and so many of these women have been hiding. They suffered. And this was -- she gave them hope.
She was -- she became a heroine in just few hours today. She was very, very appealing, very human, very, you know, very -- seemed very authentic. You know we didn't have all the Washington (Inaudible). She just came in as a citizen to do it -- and she seemed like a good neighbor. (Inaudible) a lot of women, and there is going to be real anger on the part of women.
I think in the midterms, a lot of women are going to show up and vote their preference. And it is not going to be for a continuation of the Judge Kavanaugh's of the world. ALLEN: David Gergen, we really appreciate your insights. It was an
extraordinary day. And I just want to ask you one more thing. You know we saw what happened in 1991 with Anita Hill, also bringing sexual charges against Clarence Thomas. Do you think Professor Ford was treated anymore fair today in 2018, beside the fact that did this descend into so much of a political show.
GERGEN: I must tell you, that sadly, I believe she was treated less fairly than Anita Hill. And that caused a real storm as you well know. Anita Hill, when she made her allegations, the White House of George H.W. Bush ordered the FBI to conduct an investigation of what she was saying. It took three days. It went quickly, but it helped clarify.
There is no FBI investigation. The White House has refused to do that in the current situation. Anita Hill was able to have some witnesses kind of not enough, but she (Inaudible) and testify on her half, on her behalf. Mrs. Ford has not been accorded that favor. She has nobody. And she has witnesses, at least one strong witness she would like to call.
And this committee said no. So the bottom line is there are a lot of women who feel that unbelievably after more than 25 years, we haven't made much advances as we should have. We may seem to be behind.
ALLEN: Thank you so much again for...
[02:14:57] ALLEN: David Gergen thanks. President Trump was apparently a big fan of Brett Kavanaugh's fiery approach. Jeff Zeleny has reaction from the White House for us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: President Trump is urging the Senate to take a vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Now this comes on the heels of a day of riveting testimony here in Washington that captivated the President as well. It had virtually no events on his public schedule, as he was in the residence of the White House all day long watching this unfold.
And this is what he's saying in a tweet today. He says this. 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 and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote for.
Now the President, I am told, is going to be taking a hands-on approach to some of those undecided Republican Senators. Now, there could be a vote that comes as early today. Of course, there could not be as well. But I am told about one key turning point. President Trump found the testimony Thursday morning from Christine Blasey Ford very credible, even compelling.
And was uncertain how the rest of the day would unfold. But once he heard the anger in Judge Kavanaugh's voice, once he heard him push back so hard in that 45-minute statement. He changed his tune. And he calls (Inaudible) on Capitol Hill. We saw Senator Lindsey Graham go after the Democrats, and that changed everything.
So no question, Judge Kavanaugh's tweet which he wrote himself, was designed for an audience of one. That was the President. Keeping the President's support for him was key to potentially (Inaudible) nomination. It's still an open question of course, if those undecided voters, Senators, will stay on and will support him. That's what the White House is hoping for today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: So many people who watched the testimony have opinions. Of course, across the United States and friends of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh are reacting as well. Two of them spoke with CNN's Chris Cuomo just a few hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was a very unwitting hero in my opinion, to witness another's opinion. She did not want to be in this situation. That was part of the delay in this coming out, which is unfortunate in the timing, because she wrestled with it so much. She had absolutely nothing to gain, absolutely nothing to gain by doing this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody who has a wonderful reputation. Everybody who has known professionally says this is unbelievable that he would do that. And in a matter of two weeks, smearing him in this campaign when he could have had a chance to fully refute it, actually, I thought he did a pretty good job with the calendar that showed here's where I was.
And every other witness at the time says he didn't do it. When you do have a he said she said. That's the standard anybody goes by. What does everybody else say?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Well, the highly respected American Bar Association is urging the Senate to delay its vote of Kavanaugh until there is an FBI investigation. The group's president says each appointment to our nation's highest court, as with all others, is simply too important to rush to a vote. Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate's reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court.
So let's take a look at the math. Republicans hold a 51 to 49 majority in the Senate. Assuming no Democrats vote for Kavanaugh, two Republicans would have to vote against him to defeat his nomination. Four senators are currently on the fence, undecided, Republican Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia is also undecided. Meantime, Republican Governors from Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont, Illinois, and New Hampshire say the Senate should not vote before a more thorough investigation. With huge crowds of protesters have a clear message for the U.S. Senate about this, they say they believe (Inaudible) reports account of sexual assault.
And they want senators weighing Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to believe her too. We'll have more about that coming up here. Also, we'll look at how U.S. lawmakers are divided on whether Kavanaugh should become the next Supreme Court Justice.
[02:20:00] ALLEN: That march right there showing deep divisions in the U.S., as as people are rallying for and against Supreme Court Justice Nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. These are protesters in Washington demanding the Senate withdraw Kavanaugh's nomination. Supporters of the Judge also speaking out, protesters held signs in Washington Thursday, saying I stand with Brett, and confirm Kavanaugh.
A coalition of conservative groups called Women for Kavanaugh gathered outside the Senate office building to voice support for the nominee. One speaker said the issue was about due process, and that Kavanaugh is suffering from a political smear campaign. On social media, reaction to Christine Blasey Ford's testimony has been swift, some using hashtags like I believe Christine Blasey Ford.
Many comparing her testimony to Anita Hill, the woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, of sexual harassment way back in 1991, one Twitter user referenced a full-page ad in the New York Times with the signatures of men supporting Blasey Ford's testimony, mimicking a similar ad supporting Anita Hill 27 years ago.
Another who says she's a law student tweeted a picture of what appears to be a sit in at Yale Law School during the hearing, ending with the hashtag I believe Christine. Actress and MeToo activist, Alyssa Milano, was at the hearing and tweeted a picture with a quote from California Senator, Dianne Feinstein, saying that this was not a trial for Christine Blasey Ford but a job interview for Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Many people posted pictures of themselves or others watching the hearing. Members of Congress who tuned in included Bob Menendez, a Democratic Senator from New Jersey, also taking in the drama, passengers on a JetBlue flight, as it flew from New York to San Francisco. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi posted a photo of herself, following the hearing on four different networks.
And CNN captured video of law students in New York as they took in the historic testimony. I was (Inaudible) and can tell you a lot of people on that airplane were watching it. But there's no doubt the showdown between Ford and Kavanaugh is captivating the country and highlighting the deep divisions that we have along party lines these days.
[02:25:02] Here are a few more examples from both sides during Thursday's testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: 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 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 you've done to this guy.
FEINSTEIN: Mr. Chairman let me be clear. I did not hide Dr. Ford's allegations. I did not leak her story. She asked me to hold it confidential, and I kept it confidential as she asked. She apparently was stalked by the press, felt that what happened. She was forced to come forward. And her greatest fear were realized, was realized. She's been harassed. She's had death threats. And she's had to flee her home.
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 won't answer?
KAVANAUGH: You know look, Senator. I've said I wanted a hearing, and said I was welcome anything. I'm innocent. This thing was withheld when it could have been presented in the ordinary way. It could've been held and handled confidentially at first, which was what Dr. Ford's wishes were, as I understand it. And it wouldn't have caused this -- destroyed my family like this effort has.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Our coverage of the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing on Capitol Hill continues right after this, but first, a couple of key moments from Thursday's extraordinary testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAVANAUGH: This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination.
FORD: I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me when Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.
ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Atlanta. Our top stories for you, Israel's Prime Minister says Iran has a secret nuclear warehouse and facility in Tehran. Benjamin Netanyahu made the claim at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday. [02:30:08] On Twitter, Iran's foreign minister countered that Israel is the only country in the region with a secret and undeclared nuclear weapons program.
Canada's House of Commons has voted unanimously to strip Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary citizenship. The motion now goes to the Canadian Senate. Myanmar's de facto leader has been widely criticized for in action as violence against the country's Rohingya minority has raised charges of ethnic cleansing. Dutch police say they have thwarted a large scale terror attack in the Netherlands. They say it was planned for Thursday and was intended to kill a large number of victims.
Seven men had been arrested following months of investigation. Police say the suspects were seeking AK-47, small arms, hand grenades, bombs, and (INAUDIBLE) our top story once again, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday. If Republicans get enough votes, he could be confirmed by the whole Senate early next week. But that confirmation is anything but certain after an extraordinary hearing on Thursday featuring Kavanaugh and the woman of accusing him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford.
For more now, our MJ Lee is in Washington.
MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: This was an electric hearing to say the least and being inside the room was just so incredible because you could really feel the raw emotion going throughout the room, not from the two people that were testifying but also members of the audience as well. First, let's just talk about the two people that were testifying, Christine Blasey Ford, of course getting very emotional as she describes this assault as she says happened when she was in high school and described being the (INAUDIBLE) alleged assault has had on her life describing the trauma.
We obviously saw her crying at moments not being able to get through some of her sentences. And then later in the day when Brett Kavanaugh testified, you could tell right away that he was incredibly angry and frustrated by this process and a process that he says has really dragged himself and his family through the mud. Let's just take a look at some of the more emotional moments from Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh's testimony.
DR. CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, BRETT KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: I believe 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. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The laugh -- the uproarious laughter between the two and they're having fun at my expense.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you? FORD: One hundred percent.
JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, NOMINEE TO SERVE AS AN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: You sowed the wind for decades to come. I fear that the whole country will whip the whirlwinds. The behavior of several of the Democratic members of this committee am I hearing a few weeks ago was an embarrassment. But at least it was just a good old fashion attempt at boor king. 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 of money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus. The other night, Ashley and my daughter, Liza, said their prayers and little Liza, all of 10 years old said to Ashley, we should pray for the woman. It's a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old. I like to hear --
KAVANAUGH: -- I like to hear -- I don't know if you like to hear, senator, or not? What do you like to drink?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next one is --
KAVANAUGH: Senator, what do you like --
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: None of these allegations are true.
KENNEDY: No doubt in your mind?
KAVANAUGH: Zero. One hundred percent certain.
KENNEDY: Not even a scintilla?
KAVANAUGH: Not a scintilla. One hundred percent certain, senator.
KENNEDY: You swear to God?
KAVANAUGH: I swear to God.
[02:35:08] LEE: And as I mentioned, during both of these testimonies, it wasn't just the two people who were testifying that emotional. There also emotions running through the audience member as well from Blasey Ford was testifying. There were members of the audience who were victims of sexual assault very involved with the Me Too movement and then of course her friend as well who wanted to be there to show her support. We saw them get very visibly emotional and then there were also senate
staffers and senators as well who got emotional. You could tell when Blasey Ford was talking about her alleged assault. And then during Kavanaugh's testimony especially when he was talking about his family and this whole -- all of this has taken on them. He too have support of some friends sitting in the audience and you could tell that this was a hard moment for them as well.
Needless to say, this was a truly extraordinary hearing that we witnessed yesterday.
ALLEN: Joining us to talk more about it is CNN Legal Analyst Areva Martin. Areva, thanks so much for coming in. We appreciate it. First, I want to get your assessment on both testimonies. She was soft-spoken if you heard earnest a bit fragile even shaken perhaps by what she was wanting to do before a country. He on the other hand angry livid at being accused and said he was having his family name tarnished forever. Was either more believable?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, no doubt Dr. Ford was very credible. She was even toned. She was appropriately emotional. She didn't try to embellish on the facts, her body language, and, you know, the way she presented her testimony all spoke to someone who's incredibly credible. And I think Brett Kavanaugh when he was talking about the impact that, you know, the allegations have had on him and his family, he was someone speaking from a place of pain.
Now, I think his testimony went off the rails when he got political, when he brought in the Clintons, when he talked about, you know, the star investigation, when he attacked the Democratic senators. That's when I really was sitting here and thinking as a judge who's already on an appealing court and who's looking to become a judge on the highest court on the land, you know, you have to question where is this judicial temperament, this composure that you would expect to see from someone speaking to be, you know, on the highest court of the land.
So I don't think he did himself any service by being so combative, by being, you know, at times very angry, very hostile, and sometimes even belligerent with the Democratic senators.
ALLEN: Right. The way he was even turning his pages each time just getting angry and angry with the comments and blaming a left-wing conspiracy for all of this. He says he had endured. But will that, Areva, factor in with this committee as they vote on whether he should be confirmed?
MARTIN: You know, unfortunately, Natalie, I think both sides, both Democratic senators as well as Republican senators went into these hearings with their minds already made up. There was already so much testimony and information, you know, public made publicly available in the media. I'm not certain that there was anything either of those witnesses could have said that would have change the minds of anyone.
However, I do think and I would like to think that the two critical women GOP senators, Susan Murkowski, Lisa Collins that, you know, Susan Collins, I'm sorry. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski that they would have to have been moved by Dr. Ford's testimony. I don't think any woman could have sat there, listen to that testimony, and not felt like they themselves can imagine that being them, their daughters, their sisters, you know, a co-worker, or some woman all -- I think all women know someone who's been in that position or something very similar to that and you do remember it.
So I'd like to think that this was a teachable moment for the entire country told us so much about rape culture and about how women are treated then maybe those two GOP senators maybe they soften, maybe they now are prepared to say, look, a conservative judge should be on the Supreme Court, but not this judge.
ALLEN: Well, other than basically, Areva, he said-she said, what do you think the testimony Thursday accomplish toward getting to the truth? A lot of voters might have said, OK, she was believable. But he was adamant. This didn't happen.
MARTIN: And, Natalie, that's why we needed that FBI investigations. That's why we needed a subpoena issue for individuals like Mark Judge. Look at what happened today. We heard Dr. Ford say that Mark Judge was in the room.
[02:40:01] This is an eye witness that she put in the room at the time that she says Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her. Who better to have been sitting there today than Mark Judge? The Senate Judiciary Committee has the ability to issue a subpoena and to force him to come in and to give testimony under oath. They didn't do that. So it really begs the question as to whether this entire process was designed to get at the truth or was it just designed, you know, as a sham hearing and you saw as the day were on the Republican staff using Rachel Mitchell.
They said they were going to give her all of their time. She was going to ask all of the questions and I think what happened as they saw the testimony wasn't going very well for them so rather than focus on getting at the truth, they just started giving very partisan political speeches.
ALLEN: Right. That was definitely hard to follow the way that was fed up and she even indicated that didn't she during the hearing, so it will be interesting to see what happens next and how history will write what we witness and what so many people were riveted too on Thursday. We thank you for your insight, Areva Martin.
MARTIN: Thanks, Natalie.
ALLEN: Other news we're following, two Russians say they were just tourist and had nothing to do with the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter. But an investigative group is telling a quite different story. We'll have that right after this.
ALLEN: A potential airline tragedy was averted Friday morning in the tiny Pacific Ocean nation of Micronesia. All 46 people aboard this Air Niugini flight survived after the plane landed short of the runway at the airport in Chuuk State and crashed in a lagoon. Small fishing boats were used to rescue the passengers and crew. No serious injuries were reported. British Prime Minister Theresa May struggled to reach a Brexit deal with the E.U. has opened a door for her political opponent.
Opposition Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn was in Brussels for talks with the E.U.'s chief Brexit negotiator. He says the meeting focused on jobs, trade, and the Northern Ireland border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:44:52] JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY: We made it fair that we do not want any hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. And we would obviously make sure that there is access to a trade arrangement to ensure that there was trade between Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Meantime, the UK's former top diplomat has laid out his vision for Brexit in the Daily Telegraph under the title, My Plan for a Better Brexit. Conservative M.P. Boris Johnson slammed the Prime Minister strategy.
Johnson wrote. "It is widely accepted that the U.K. is now in a weak position in the Brexit negotiations. That the checker's proposals are deservedly unpopular with the U.K. electorate and have at least formally been rejected by our E.U. friends."
He went on to say, "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."
Could a highly decorated Russian military officer be responsible for the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in the U.K.? The mystery has lingered since the two were almost killed in March by the nerve agent Novichok. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has our report from Moscow.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The U.K. investigative web site, Bellingcat, says that it's identified one of the people possibly behind the poisoning a 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 Dmitry Peskov, he came out and said that while the Kremlin would look into these 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 said that it came to this conclusion certainly, of course, this is making a lot of waves not just here in Russia, but also in the United Kingdom as well. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
ALLEN: An activist with the group Pussy Riot, Pyotr Verzilov is planning to soon return to Russia, just days after he was treated in a German hospital for suspected poisoning for being aligned with the group.
The anti-Kremlin activist believes he was targeted by a specialized Russian military unit and he spoke with our CNN's Atika Shubert about it.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL 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 there's highly likely this was a suspected poisoning. What's your -- what was your first thought upon realizing?
PYOTR VERZILOV, ACTIVIST, PUSSY RIOT: Well, my thought was like I was quite calm and OK about it. Because obviously, we -- you do things like that in Russia, you have to be prepared for some -- for sudden things to happen to you. And since we've been active with the Russian opposition and with our activism for the last decade, then it's something that you sort of start treating it as -- you know, like weather outside.
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 final, 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've announced some time ago that we're looking into the manager or for three colleges in Central African Republic.
SHUBERT: You'd actually receive 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 like 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.
SHUBERT: So, who do you hold responsible for this apparent attack on you?
VERZILOV: It seems that the Russian military special unit called GRU, they are most likely the organization which has the capability to make these attacks.
[02:50:10] SHUBERT: You don't sound like you're going to be dissuaded from your work at all.
VERZILOV: Well, definitely not. And people always ask, is that -- is Vladimir Putin personally giving orders like this? It's -- that they have a general line of how they can behave, and how these mercenary groups can protect themselves.
And apparently, going after people in 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 a local police who have yet to open an investigation. Verzilov says, he will continue to investigate the killings with his colleagues and will return to Moscow soon. Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.
ALLEN: Elon Musk is in more hot water for his tweets. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO is being sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This after he tweeted last August, he might take Tesla private. And he said the funding was secured. You might remember that. But the SEC says it wasn't. And that is fraud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE AVAKIAN, CO-DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF ENFORCEMENT, SECURITY AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION: At the time he made these statements, Musk had not secured funding for the proposed transaction. To the contrary, we allege that he had not even discussed key deal terms including price with any potential source of funding.
The SEC's complaint which was filed earlier today in federal district court in the Southern District of New York seeks a finding that must committed securities fraud, an injunction prohibiting him from doing so in the future. Civil penalties, disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains, and a bar prohibiting Musk from serving as an officer or director of a public company in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Well, Musk had this response. He says, "The unjustified action by the SEC left him deeply saddened and disappointed." He says, "He has always taken action in the best interest of truth, transparency, and investors." He also says that "Integrity is the most important value in his life and the facts will show he never compromised that in any way."
We are keeping a close eye on a dangerous and powerful typhoon. It's projected to make landfall in Japan at the coming days. Our Derek Van Dam, gives a closer look, coming next.
ALLEN: The Typhoon Trami is projected to slam at the mainland Japan this weekend and if the current forecast holds, Trami will hit the Ryukyu Islands, south of Japan, with winds between 185 and 200 kilometers per hour.
Look at that another big one and Derek Van Dam is following it for us. Derek.
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Yes. Another, the operative word there. This will be the fifth, or has potential be the fifth landfalling typhoon in Japan since June.
VAN DAM: They've had several close calls, nearly a dozen in total. It has been an extremely active season for them. Let's get to the details, head over to the big wall, show you everything that's happening along with Typhoon Trami because this storm is strengthening.
Just looking with my producer a few moments ago, the current satellite loop showing a little more organization at the last few frames. Colder cloud tops showing intensification and more of a concentric eyewall. Meaning that this storm could potentially get stronger and stronger before it makes landfall.
165 kilometer per hour winds, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. There is Okinawa, late Friday there. This is going to start to see conditions. This particular area, we'll see conditions deteriorate overnight as we head into the Honshu region.
We have the potential for strong winds and heavy rainfall as this makes landfall into the day on Sunday. So, we're looking towards the second half of the weekend.
But just look at the winds wrapping around the east side of the system, Kashima, you can easily experience winds over 150 kilometers per hour. We also feel the outer rain bands and stronger wind gusts around the Tokyo region. Late Sunday and into the day on Monday.
One thing, for sure though, this system is going to produce a lot of rainfall. And the potential exists for flash flooding and landslides across this area. They're all too familiar with this. We've had one typhoon lineup after another, after another. And in between those typhoons, there have been heat waves that have been deadly for this area as well.
So, it's been a rough few months for Japan. Needless to say, with rainfall totals in excess of 250 millimeters. Locally, up to 500 millimeters, we'll see images coming in this weekend of unfortunately for more potential for landfall and more landslides, I should say.
Unfortunately, would you believe me if I said there was another typhoon waiting in its wings?
That's something we're monitoring closely churning across the Central Pacific near Guam. So, that will be another focus as we head into next week.
On the other side of the world, we take you to Europe. We're looking for a tropical light feature developing across the Mediterranean. This is called a Medicane. It is a strong cyclone that has tropic characteristics, forms in the Mediterranean, hence, the word Medicane. And this is produced in the extremely strong winds across Southern Greece all the way into Turkey.
So anywhere from Istanbul, all the way to Athens, we could experience wind gusts in excess of 80 to 90 kilometers per hour. In fact, so much so that the Greece Meteorological Department has had issued medium impacts where you see that darker shading of orange, wind gusts over 110 kilometers per hour possible.
This is also going to be a significant rain event for the area as well. Rainfall totals could exceed another 200 millimeters for some locations. So, the potential for flooding exists.
[02:57:09] ALLEN: All right, thanks very much, Derek.
VAN DAM: Yes, lots (INAUDIBLE)
ALLEN: Lots going on as always.
VANDAM: All right. Yes.
ALLEN: Well, thank you for watching. Where are we? Here we are. CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Natalie Allen. Right back with our top stories and another hour of news for you.