Return to Transcripts main page


Kavanaugh Confirmation Vote Delayed as New FBI Probe Starts; Trump Agrees to Kavanaugh Vote Delay & Orders FBI Probe; Alyssa Milano Attended Kavanaugh/Blasey Ford Hearing; Newest FBI Investigation Will Include Ford & Ramirez; Kavanaugh's Nomination Rests on GOP Senators Collins & Murkowski; N.C. Police Believe Body Found is Missing Autistic 6-Year Old Boy; Nearly 400 Dead After Earthquake & Tsunami Strikes Indonesia. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired September 29, 2018 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: The already long and winding road that might take Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court is longer and more complicated, given the FBI's new marching orders. One more week. That's the delay for now, anyway, until the full Senate votes on Kavanaugh's confirmation. That's because one Republican on the judiciary committee, who first went on record as a thumbs up for the nominee, had a last-minute change of heart.


SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R), ARIZONA: I can only say that I would be only comfortable moving forward on the floor. I'll move it out of committee, but I will only be comfortable moving on the floor until the FBI has done more investigation than they have already.


CABRERA: And with those words from Senator Jeff Flake, the FBI is now on the case, taking a closer look at the sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, charges he emphatically denies.

CNN's Kara Scannell is joining us now.

Kara, this new investigation now officially ordered by the president would be short and, quote, "limited in scope." What can you tell us about what is happening now and what should we expect?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Ana, we just got in a statement from one of the women who accused Brett Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her when they were classmates in Yale. Her attorney told us that the FBI reached out and do want to speak with his client, Deborah Ramirez, and he will agree to cooperate and she will agree to talk to the FBI agents. He said, out of respect for the integrity of the process, he will not comment further.

But we know this investigation is under way. Like you said, it is limited, both in time and scope. The president has given the FBI one week, until Friday, to complete this investigation.

Here's essentially how it will break down. The FBI has applicant squads scattered across the country. Those agents are accustomed to doing these investigations. And they will go out, interview people, like Ms. Ramirez, who might have some useful information to fill in the blanks on accusations and allegations that were the heart of that Senate confirmation hearing this week.

These agents are not conducting a criminal investigation. They will not reach a conclusion and determine whether Dr. Blasey Ford's allegations are accurate or make any verification of that. What they're going to do is they're going to interview people. They're going to compile these notes in a form that's known as a 302. That's essentially their interviews. It won't be a Q&A. It's not a transcript. But it will tell you what they gleaned from these witnesses when they interview them. This is not a criminal investigation. It's also voluntary.

So three people, who were in the house, according to Dr. Ford, have agreed -- she said they can in the house at the time of the assault. Their attorneys said they will meet with the FBI if contacted. That will speed that up a little bit. But it is not a compulsory. These people have to agree to do it voluntarily. Once the FBI completes these interviews and investigations, they will submit these 302s to the White House, which will go to the Senate, and they'll get a report. But none of these conclusions will become public unless the Senators decide to reveal some of this in their decision-making on it.

CABRERA: All right, Kara Scannell, thank you.

President Trump agreeing to this vote delay and to the new FBI investigation. Here's his statement: "I have ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh's file. As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week."

CNN's Ryan Nobles is at the White House today.

Ryan, even though the president appears open to whatever the FBI turns up, he's expressing confidence that Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, he is sticking by his man. No doubt about that. The president seems confident that Judge Kavanaugh will come out of this as the next Supreme Court justice. This, despite the fact he was rocked a little bit by the fact the Senate decided to hold off for another week and allow this FBI investigation to go forward. The president seemed confident after the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday where he thought Kavanaugh performed very well. He was proud of the fact that he fought back and pushed back vigorously on those accusations made against him.

The president tweeting this about the situation, about 15 hours ago, saying, quote, "Just started tonight, our seventh FBI investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He will, some day, be recognized as a truly great justice of the United States Supreme Court."

Two big messages to pull out of this tweet, Ana. The first being that the president making sure his supporters know Brett Kavanaugh has been thoroughly vetted by the FBI on numerous different occasions as he's roamed through the ranks of the federal judicial system. And also that he is going to stick with him as long as possible to see them to the end. That's what his supporters want to hear.

Even though the country may be divided as to whether or not Brett Kavanaugh should sit on the Supreme Court, President Trump supporters and Republicans, by and large, believe he deserves that spot -- Ana?

CABRERA: Ryan, the president will be at a campaign rally in West Virginia later tonight. Any word how much of this Kavanaugh process he plans to bring up?

[15:05:07] NOBLES: Speaking of the president's supporters, Ana, he will be in front of an arena full of them today as he heads to West Virginia in support of Senate candidate, Patrick Morrisey. It will be interesting to see how he responds to all of this. Of course, the president has been relatively muted in his criticism of Kavanaugh's attackers. He's even said that they deserve to have their voices heard. And he's even endorsed this FBI investigation, even though he's not necessarily happy with the delay in this process. Does that Trump tone change tonight? Especially when you take into account that this has a big impact on the midterm elections. He's going to a state where there's a sitting Democratic incumbent in Joe Manchin, who has not said whether or not he's going to support Brett Kavanaugh. Does the president push Manchin and, by extension, attack this process in general? Or does he stay the course of trying to stay above the fray? That's something we'll get an answer to later tonight -- Ana?

CABRERA: We'll all be watching.

Ryan Nobles, thank you very much.

One celebrity who was in the room when both Kavanaugh and Ford testified, was actress, Alyssa Milano, a prominent #metoo activist. She had a front-row seat to history this week. And she joins us on the phone.

Thank you, Alyssa, for taking the time. Appreciate it.


ALYSSA MILANO, ACTRESS (via telephone): Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: You told reporters you went from feeling hopeful during Ford's testimony to angry during Kavanaugh's. Now that there's this one-week delay for the FBI to investigate they're stories, how are you feeling now?

MILANO: Definitely better. I feel that a fair process starts with a real investigation. Right? And I feel like some things need to happen to make that true. And when people choose not to investigate, especially someone who could potentially sit on the Supreme Court for life, it just devalues the justice of all survivors. So I'm very grateful to Senator Flake for coming forward and to those two brave women, Ana Maria Archila and March Gallagher, for confronting him in that elevator. And it was a very hard day to be in that room, but I was proud to be a woman, and I was proud to be a survivor, and I felt like I needed to be there for other survivors that couldn't be there.

CABRERA: Before we talk more about the hearing and your experience in being there, I know you've been very vocal about supporting and believing women. If this investigation doesn't provide clear answers about these allegations, will you at least be satisfied with the process that's taken place before the vote?

MILANO: I think so. I believe in the process. I believe in investigating. I believe in, you know, calling other witnesses, potentially, complete disclosure of all documents. I do think they need to subpoena Mark Judge. You know, and I think this whole time when he was -- he was sort of accusing her or the Democrats of being like a partisan operative, it was really him that came off as a partisan operative. And to me, when we're dealing with such sensitive issues like sexual abuse and assault, there's no place on the Supreme Court for that kind of partisan politics.

CABRERA: You were invited as a guest of Senator Dianne Feinstein to be there at the hearing. Why was it important for you to be there?

MILANO: Oh, so many reasons, but I think most of all I don't believe that any man's misogyny should take precedent over a survivor's humanity, and I thought it was important to stand in solidarity with Dr. Ford and all women and men who have been victims of crazy abuses of power. And I felt blessed to be able to do that and to be there no matter how stoic I had to be. And sort of prevent myself from, you know, rolling my eyes and being -- I just had to sit there and be stoic and that was difficult. It was definitely an exercise in how to constrain and restrain yourself.

CABRERA: We did see some emotion in some photos that were taken before the hearing as you met with other survivors outside the lawmakers' offices. What was that like?

MILANO: The day before, we had gone to the Republican women Senators' offices to tell our stories to Collins and Murkowski and Senator Hyde Smith and it was very emotional for all of us. And you could really feel how much was at stake for women. We all shared our stories of assault. And I -- we in the lobby of their offices. Not one of those Senators came out to hear our stories in person. And it was Murkowski's office that actually didn't listen at all, and it was heartbreaking, you know? We feel, as survivors, that our voices and our experiences are constantly just swept under the rug, and this was such a perfect example of that.

[15:10:28] CABRERA: So as up listened, then, to Professor Ford give her story to the world, what was that like for you, as a sexual assault survivor? Because we've heard from other survivors who said it -- they relived their own traumas during that time.

MILANO: Yes. I think anytime someone comes forward in such a public way, it triggers survivors everywhere. But I also think that there's power in that. We can find power in our collective hardships and heartaches and experiences. And there was a sense of hope. There was a sense of hope in that room beforehand. There was a sense of hope in that room as she spoke for so many of us that have gone through that, and such a powerful, intimidating way. And I can't imagine how difficult that was. And my stomach was in knots for her. But I felt, and I could see, the relief from her face as it came to an end and she walked out of the room. And it made me so proud to be a woman and proud to be a survivor. Especially being -- remembering Anita Hill in 1991. I was -- I was almost 20 years old, and so that was really a first experience of what the world was going to -- the hardships I was going to face in a world that looks at women as second-class citizens. So it was -- it was powerful. Really powerful.

Then he got up there and it was -- it was enraging. You know? I felt like, if a woman acted like that during a line of questioning, she would have been considered totally unhinged or like she was having a meltdown, which I think proves that he doesn't have the temperament to be on the Supreme Court. The fact that he completely denied the importance of an FBI investigation. He was clearly saying he didn't want to be any part of that or have any part of that.


CABRERA: He did say that he -- he said he would do whatever the committee wanted, while he didn't answer the yes-or-no question of whether he wanted --


CABRERA: -- an FBI investigation.

MILANO: An innocent man would have insisted on vindication through an FBI investigation. If his career is destroyed, as he is alleging, why not bring lawsuits against these allegations? And the "he said/she said" will get more due process. And I think that's the most important thing, not only about this -- this incident in particular and whatever else he has potentially in his past, but also just for survivors in general. This is such an important moment for us. And with the midterms coming, i just -- I hope that every woman that feels like they are not heard, that feels like their experiences don't matter, that they take that and channel it and show up at the midterms and vote for candidates that are going to protect women and women's rights. And I -- I think, if we can take back the House, I think -- and maybe even potentially the Senate, I think we're going to be in a lot better place than we are now.

CABRERA: You've got to go. But I want to ask you quickly, what is your response of people critical about you taking photos or videos during the testimonies?

MILANO: I actually was yelled at by -- by the police for taking videos, but my phone was not confiscated. And I totally understood that, and was respectful after the, you know, getting the warning. There were lots of people in there taking photos. So I didn't feel that was outside the realm of being a responsible witness to that historic moment.

CABRERA: Gotcha.

MILANO: But I couldn't -- I felt like I had to document it. And also having the perspective that I had, which was in the crowd,

was something that I think people at home needed to see in a very broad scope. I mean, people -- the Republicans were very disengaged when Dr. Ford was speaking. And I think that part of the reason was they didn't have to engage, because counsel was asking her the questions.


MILANO: A good reason to tune out and not look her in the eye and look at their phones. And that was going on during her testimony. And I was able to see that clear as day, and it was incredibly disheartening and disappointing.

[15:15:01] CABRERA: Sounds very powerful to be in that room as that was all taking place.

Alyssa Milano, thank you for taking the time. Appreciate your perspective.

MILANO: Thank you, Ana. Anytime. Thank you so much for doing what you do.

CABRERA: Thank you.

Now, two Republican women could determine if Brett Kavanaugh ultimately becomes a judge on the Supreme Court. We'll show you the wild scene that unfolded outside one of their offices yesterday.

Plus, a North Carolina community heartbroken after a six-day search for this little boy ends in tragedy. What police are now saying about the case.

And devastation in Indonesia as an earthquake-triggered tsunami slams ashore killing hundreds of people. A live report just ahead.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:19:53] CABRERA: If you're just joining us, we've learned the additional FBI background investigation just ordered to look into Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh will include the allegations made by Deborah Ramirez. Her attorney said, in a statement, "We can confirm the FBI reached out to interview Ms. Ramirez and she has agreed to cooperate with their investigation".

Ramirez alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they attended Yale together.

And, of course, the probe will include the first accusation against Kavanaugh from Christine Blasey Ford. Ford's friend, Leland Keyser, is the latest witness to offer cooperation with FBI. Other witnesses, including Mark Judge, who Ford named as being in the room during her alleged attacked, has also pledged to also answer any and all questions. Let's discuss with CNN political commentator, Sally Kohn, host of "The

State of The Resistance," podcast, is with us, and also with us, conservative commentator, Carrie Sheffield. She is the national editor for "Accuracy in Media."

Carrie, I'll start with you because you wrote an op-ed that said, "The Democrats have hijacked the #metoo movement for political gain."

But now not just Democrats calling for an investigation, but at least some Republicans, too.

CARRIE SHEFFIELD, NATIONAL EDITOR, ACCURACY IN MEDIA: Sure. And Senator Jeff Flake, I've reported on him, interviewed him since 2006, I'm a fellow BYU graduate like him. I respect him. I understand why he's doing that. I personally, on Thursday, felt like I had enough information, if I was in the Senate, to vote yes, a strong yes for Judge Kavanaugh. But I understand that some people, maybe to get over the finish line, they want to see a bit more confirmation for what we already no, that there's no evidence for these spurious allegations that are truly -- there's a crime they're alleging, a crime. So to weaponize women's rights and use them for political purposes -- there was eight weeks between when Senator Feinstein had these allegations of a sexual assault crime and did nothing about them. This is truly, truly, despicable. And so --


CABRERA: Remember, she was asked to keep this to herself. That accuser wanted to remain anonymous. She, in many ways, respected the wishes of this woman.

SHEFFIELD: She could have done it in a redacted form. In addition, the fact that the judge was in her presence for an hour in an interview with Senator Feinstein and she said nothing about these accusations. It's so clear. You cannot look at it in isolation. What's happening here is more and more smearing by the left. It happened to John McCain. They called him a racist, a white supremacist, in 2008 --


CABRERA: Hold on. We're going down a rabbit hole.

SHEFFIELD: It is not a rabbit hole. It is a pattern of --


SHEFFIELD: It is a pattern --


SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR; The Democrats didn't do it to Neil Gorsuch. So if this was a strategy, why wasn't it a strategy before?

And I want to be clear about something. First of all, the burden was always on, always on Kavanaugh to show the Senate and the American people that he is qualified, technically and ethically, to a lifetime Supreme Court appointment, period. So he has to show that.

Now, I want to be clear about something else here. It is ridiculously offensive to not only not take seriously the accusations of women because they weren't the perfect victim or didn't report it at the time, but now to insinuate they don't have the autonomy to speak up and speak out for their own reasons but are being used and manipulated, that is just disgusting.

SHEFFIELD: Her claims were taken very seriously. The entire United States Senate was held at a standstill for allegations that wouldn't make it past a local court.


CABRERA: Wait a second.


SHEFFIELD: The entire balance of the Supreme Court is holding on --


CABRERA: I have to push back a second. When you say her accusation were taken seriously, we had the president come out, said that, if they were true she would have gone to police right after it happened, her loving parents would have made a police report. We had Judge Kavanaugh himself talking about this all being essentially a big smear campaign. I mean --


SHEFFIELD: Can I say also, the economy of $20 trillion is brought to a standstill. The United States Senate, one of the most powerful bodies, brought to a standstill to hear this woman's allegations, that is taking her seriously. And it is incredibly partisan. And truly horrible, as someone who is a survivor of sexual assault, to see how it's been weaponized, because Democrats did not do the proper protocol. When someone has an alleged sexual assault, you're supposed to ask the question, as the Republican Senator said, you need to conduct a thorough forensic interview. That did not happen by these Democrats. They were not taking it seriously.


SHEFFIELD: They were trying to frame a strategy on how they could weaponize sexual assault. And it's disgusting. Lindsey Graham is absolutely right.

KOHN: There are two --

SHEFFIELD: And I hope Brett Kavanaugh gets confirmed.

KOHN: There are two things. First of all, one, the country needs to decide, the Senators decide should Kavanaugh have a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. As I said, it has always been up to him to prove he is qualified, technically, morally and ethnically, for that promotion, number one.

Number two, is, do we handle this debate in such a way, both Democrats and Republicans, that makes it clear to women in this country that if you speak out about sexual assault, the one in three women in this country who experienced sexual assault in their lifetimes, who do not report for reasons you and I both know very well, that if you speak out, you will be respected. You will be treated with respect. You will not be shamed, smeared and attacked. Let me be clear about something. There were Republican Senators, including Orrin Hatch, Chairman Grassley, Lindsey Graham, who made very clear, sure, we'll allow the testimony, we'll hear them out and hear the accuser, but it doesn't matter. Either I don't believe her and I'm voting for him anyway, before she testified, or in the case of Grassley, even if he did do this, he's a good guy now.


[15:25:37] SHEFFIELD: That never happened. That is not what happened.


CABRERA: Let me ask you a question, Sally, because, to the point about the politics of the situation, there's a reality here that politics are in play. So if this FBI investigation happens, and they come back and there's no clear answer as to what happened, and no definitive -- nothing's cleared up definitively, then do Democrats still have legs to stand on to try to block the nomination, other than

KOHN: Yes, but --

CABRERA: -- conservative --


KOHN: Look, I know this is hard to do in this moment, but let's be clear about something. Democrats were clear from the beginning, certainly, once the facts came out about Kavanaugh's record and, certainly after his initial hearings, that they weren't going to support him. They weren't going to support him, first of all, because they only got to see 90 -- I'm sorry. They did not get to see 93 percent of his record. And they were not going to support him because of several inaccuracies and misstatements he made during his testimony. Let's be clear. For legitimate reasons, that's not at issue. The issue is Republicans who were going support Kavanaugh, before these allegations were made, as it is their understandable right do so, are they still going to support him in the face of these allegations? And does the FBI investigation, if there are facts, that any doubt, we have a shred of doubt, do we have a shred of doubt, are we comfortable saying not only to the people of this country but the women of this country, you know what, we're not sure, he may be guilty, we don't know, but, hey, it's OK we're still going to give him the job.


KOHN: There are other judges. There are other judges.

SHEFFIELD: What you're doing is dishonest. And you're reflecting many, many Democrats who are fundamentally rejecting due process, forensic evidence, data, statistics. I mean, everything that would build a legitimate case to present sexual assault. We're telling women, you don't actually need to do that. And the way you protect yourself, as Gretchen Carlson told me, is evidence. If we don't believe in evidence, we don't have a judicial system. If we do not have a judiciary system, then we don't have the rule of law.


KOHN: This is not a trial.

SHEFFIELD: This is not a trial.


SHEFFIELD: It is a criminal charge, of which he is alleged --


KOHN: It is not a criminal trial.

CABRERA: Do you believe her?

SHEFFIELD: I think she -- the way she testified, there was some sort of sexual assault that happened to her. And as someone who was sexually assaulted, I understand how it does affect your life. I absolutely do. But --


CABRERA: Do you believe something happened to her?


CABRERA: She said with 100 percent certainty she knows who her attacker was. You are questioning whether she knows who her attacker is?

SHEFFIELD: I am questioning the fact that --

CABRERA: You don't believe her?

SHEFFIELD: -- according to -- according to due process, she has not said a date, a location. She could not explain how it was she was 6.2 miles away from the nearest location potentially of the radius of the alleged attack. The fact she has so many holes. She didn't even know the most basic information. The people -


SHEFFIELD: -- in her own -- (CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: It sounds to me like you believe Judge Kavanaugh over Ford?

SHEFFIELD: I believe evidence. This is what -- when I see women dressed up like Netflix, with the bonnets and red robes, saying we are moving towards a dystopian society, we are moving toward the, you know, a world where facts and science don't matter. This is where liberal women would take us. It is a rejection of the rule of law, of due process.

CABRERA: I'm sorry, but --

SHEFFIELD: And when Judge Kavanaugh said in his --


CABRERA: OK, we've got to wrap it up.

SHEFFIELD: -- a father or a son who was alleged to have committed this vile crime without due process and evidence? How would you feel about that? How do you feel --


KOHN: Less than 2 percent of rape accusations end up being false. So --


KOHN: I'm more worried about the ones that are real.

I must be clear about this. This is not a trial. This is a -- this is an interview for a job promotion. We decide, the American people decide, Senate decides, does he get or not. I want to be clear about something. What the Senate Republicans are signaling and what you're signaling -- you're right, I guess. We're not entering some dystopian moment. We're in a dystopian moment, saying --


KOHN: Excuse me. He said versus she said, you know, we're going to go out of our way to believe the man.


SHEFFIELD: Believe data, evidence.

KOHN: No. Go out of your way --


CABRERA: Sally Kohn, Carrie Sheffield, I appreciate you both. And we know this is something that is a passion point for so many of us. We're all women and we all care.

Thank you both for being here with us and offering your perspectives.

Emotions running high outside Senator Susan Collins office as well. Protests are erupting there around the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. What they're demanding from their Senator. We take you live to Maine, next.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:30:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you both for being here with us and offering your perspectives.

Emotions running high outside Senator Susan Collins office as well. Protests are erupting there around the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. What they're demanding from their Senator. We take you live to Maine, next.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Don't go away.


CABRERA: The future of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination may hinge on two women. Both are Republicans. Senators Susan Collins, of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, are under intense pressure from voters back home. Crowds of protesters gathered in recent days outside Senator Collins office in Maine urging her to vote no on Kavanaugh.

Let's get right to Kaylee Hartung, in Portland, Maine, for us.

Kaylee, what are you hearing from those protesters?

[15:35:12] KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, Senator Collins is back in her home state of Maine after being right in the middle of the drama in Washington. It's quiet on the streets of Portland now, but just 24 hours ago was a very different scene.


UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: There are several in the hallways. Some wouldn't mind trading places, that would be great.

HARTUNG (on camera): Tensions so high in Senator Susan Collins' Portland office today, cops were called to keep the peace.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: It's quite full at the moment.

HARTUNG: In Maine --


HARTUNG: -- and Alaska, home of Senator Lisa Murkowski --


HARTUNG: -- tears and bull horns.


HARTUNG: Part of the public campaign to convince the two undecided Republican Senators to oppose Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

HILLARY SHONDA, MAINE RESIDENT: It's huge in some ways, because it all comes down to the Senators from Maine and Alaska. Yet, on the other hand, he just needs to do the right thing. Like, this shouldn't be a discussion. It shouldn't even be -- shouldn't even be a difficult decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a Democrat and I voted for her. I was one of the people who signed in her name when she said she was going to stand up for women. I would never vote for her again.

HARTUNG: The effort to persuade Collins and Murkowski also playing out on television in their home states.


ANNOUNCER: Susan Collins, it's your party that's mistaken.


HARTUNG: In Portland, April Humphrey organized a sit-in she hoped would draw 15 to 20 people.


HARTUNG: Instead, hundreds showed up.


APRIL HUMPHREY, SIT-IN ORGANIZER: To have so many come out on such short notice, it just was organic. This was not some sort of concerted effort to mobilize people and get people out. People want to come out and they want their voices to be heard. And they feel like their voices aren't being heard.


HARTUNG: Protesters gathered in the plaza outside the office and soon packed inside the Senator's office.

UNIDENTFIEID FEMALE: OK, hold on. Sarah, I'm right here. I'm right here. It's OK.

HARTUNG: One staffer inundated, patiently taking notes and trying to keep order.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm happy to, again, pass on comments to Senator Collins.

KRISTEN SMITH, MAINE RESIDENT: I have called her office 17 times a day. I was traveling overseas and even tried to call through my Skype account and her voice mailboxes have been full but I wanted my face to be seen and my voice to be heard.


HARTUNG: We've also spent time here in Portland speaking to people who aren't here to protest. The people who simply live and work here and vote here. Among them, we found many mixed opinions on Brett Kavanaugh but generally a very similar opinion among them for their Senator Susan Collins. A woman who has served this state more than two decades in the Senate, there's a tremendous amount of respect for her. One voter telling me, Ana, he can't tell her how to vote one way or the other. That's why he voted for her, because he trusts her to make the right decision.

CABRERA: Kaylee Hartung, in Portland, Maine, for us in Senator Susan Collins' district. And we've mentioned Lisa Murkowski and the governor, lieutenant governor there, also urging her to vote no. A lot of pressure on those two in particular that we are watching.

A desperate search, meantime, and other news we're covering this weekend ends in a terrible tragedy. The FBI announcing the body they found is believed to be that of Maddox Ritch, the 6-year-old boy with autism who went missing from a North Carolina park. Why police are asking for the public's help.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:43:22] CABRERA: A lot of questions remain as investigators say they have found what they believe to be the body of 6-year-old Maddox Ritch. The body was found in a creek Thursday. Maddox, who had autism, was separated from his father at a park in Gastonia, North Carolina, last Saturday. Police urged anyone who was at that park to come forward.

CNN's Jean Casarez is on the ground for uses.

Jean, what are you learning about this tragedy?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're learning that we don't have answers, and this community, they want to know what happened. I mean, was this a tragic accident? Was this a homicide, death at the hands of another? The FBI and local law enforcement are investigating and say they will not quit until they have the answers.

It was a week ago today, right here in this park, where Maddox was with his father. They were having a wonderful time. And his father said that Maddox was always running ahead and would come back to him, run ahead, come back. He was autistic and he always had an inclination to run away and come back. A week ago today, he said he ran too far and he couldn't keep up with him.

His body was found more than a mile down a creek, in a creek bed. It was found on Thursday. And people in this community, they want to know what really happened.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tragedy is either going to tear you apart or bring you together, and there are certainly those saying things that would tear a community apart in this. But there are some women in our community who are determined to unite people together and support this family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a dad that is hurting and a mother that is hurting, and just pray for them. I can't say anything other than that. It's a very sad situation. You know? No one knows what happened but we all have to stick together.


[15:45:13] CASAREZ: This is how close Gastonia, North Carolina, is. Almost every night, they've had a vigil with community members. The mother of Maddox was supposed to come last night but, in the end, she couldn't.

Ana, the reality is, his body must be with the medical examiner. They won't even disclose that at this point. But it is the autopsy that will really be critical, because if this was an accident, an accidental drowning, he was found in two to three feet of water in the creek, that will be known by autopsy. If there was trauma to his body, which, by the way, they would not answer at the press conference, that will be found out through the autopsy.

And I think, Ana, we have to wait until those results come forward, because that will then give a lot of answers to questions that everybody has.

CABRERA: Oh. Just so painful. I have a 6-year-old son myself. Such a tough story.

Jean Casarez, thank you very much for that latest report.

Hundreds dead, many more missing as an earthquake-triggered tsunami slams ashore. A live report just ahead.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:50:46] CABRERA: A desperate search for survivors in Indonesia after a tsunami devastated a coastal city there. The catastrophic waves and ensuing chaos were caught on camera.



CABRERA: Look at that. At least 384 people are now dead following the earthquake and the tsunami. Hundreds have been injured, at least 29 people are missing. CNN international correspondent, Alexandra Field, is joining us now.

Alexandra, describe the scene for us.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can imagine the fear. You saw people running in that video as that wall of water came rushing toward them. Now we are seeing images of absolute devastation. Officials are saying it could be days before we fully understand how destructive the earthquake and the tsunami were. And that's because they simply cannot reach all of the affected areas. The images you're looking at are from Palu, a city of 350,000 people. They already found hundreds dead. There's another city not far off with about 300,000 people. Officials are having trouble understanding what exactly has happened there. That's because lines of communication are down and there are problems with infrastructure. It is incredibly hard to get there now. You're talking about roads that have been blocked by landslides, bridges that are down, power that's out. This is a long way for rescuers to get to because the airport is shut down. The next closest airport is 10 to 12-hour drive, in the best of conditions.

Rescuers are arriving, doing work carefully. They have to go through piles of debris to find anyone that might be trapped and alive.

Ana, you can see the images. We know already there are thousands of homes and builds damaged or destroyed. And with the risk of aftershocks, people aren't out of harm's way yet. They're being told to stay outside, sleep outside for their own safety. Hospitals even treating patients outside in case of aftershock.

Really a desperate, and a dire situation, and one that could still take days for us to fully grasp what's happened -- Ana?

CABRERA: I fear it could get worse, before it gets better.

Alexandra Field, thank you.

Tomorrow, at 10:00 p.m. on CNN, a new "THIS IS LIFE." Lisa Ling heading to the heartlands where meth addicts are taking extreme measures to get their fix.


LISA LING, CNN HOST, "THIS IS LIFE": Finally, we reach a bedroom with surveillance equipment.

UNIDENIFIED MALE: They've got cameras on the front of the house. There's the front yard. You can see folks out front, backyard, view of the side. There's meth residue in both plastic containers.

LING: Does it look like they're more than users here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It looks like with all of the baggies, more than likely, they're also selling.

LING: You have a suspect's son in custody. How often are you seeing families being involved in drug activity?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happens quite often. Once the kids get older, past the teenage years, if still living at home, they're going to start doing it. They're watching them and that's the example being set for them.

LING: I am pretty sure that is a young man in the back of the squad car now.

[15:54:12] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's just sad to see that potential waste on dope.


CABRERA: Young minors are being lured, threatened, beaten, sold for sex every day in the United States. This week's "CNN Hero," who was herself attacked at 16 and trafficked, is speaking out. She's offering a safe place for survivors to heal and build new lives. Meet Susan Muncie.


SUSAN MUNCIE, CNN HERO: Nobody wakes up and just decides one day I'm going to go sell my body and give the money away. Traffickers or pimps know exactly what they're doing. Much of it is on the Internet now. They're going on dating Web sites and they're gaming, they're looking for young, vulnerable women anywhere where young women might hang out.

My vision was to have a home where women could come and find safety and find themselves.


[15:59:41] CABRERA: To hear Susan's personal story and other incredibly courageous women who have survived sex trafficking and are sharing their painful stories with us, some for the very first time, go to

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Great to have you with us.

The political whirlwind swirling around President Trump's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court will stop at least for a week.