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Trump: FBI Has "Free Rein" to Investigate Kavanaugh; Indonesia Quake & Tsunami Death Toll Now 800+; Elon Musk Ordered to Step Down as Tesla Chairman, Stays As CEO. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 30, 2018 - 07:00   ET



[07:00:02] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is never been anybody that has been looked at like Judge Kavanaugh. The FBI, I believe, is doing a really great job and they have been all over it. They have free rein. They're going to do whatever they have to do, whatever it is they do.

Having them do a thorough investigation I actually think will be a blessing in disguise.

He wrote me beautiful letters and they are great letters. We fell in love.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge Kavanaugh, are you ready to begin?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, hell, yes. This is my speech. There are others like it, but this is mine! I wrote it last night while screaming into an empty bag of Doritos!


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you.

We're going to get to the Supreme Court battle in just a moment. But, first, I want to show you what's happening in Indonesia right now.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Aerial footage into CNN overnight of a devastating earthquake and tsunami and the effect. It's killed more than 800 people. Rescue workers are digging through the debris.

And you're looking at pictures of a hotel right now. This is of a hotel, and it's just a pile of rubble now. Dozens of people are still thought to be trapped underneath. We will take you live to Asia later this morning.

PAUL: But we do want to start with you with the latest on the battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the sexual assault allegations against him. BLACKWELL: With a new FBI background investigation happening now,

President Trump says nothing will be off limits.


TRUMP: There has never been anybody that has been looked at like Judge Kavanaugh. I think that it's going to work out very well.

But the FBI, I believe, is doing a really great job. They have been all over it. They have free rein. They're going to do whatever they have to do and whatever it is they do, they'll be doing things we never even thought of. And hopefully at the conclusion, everything will be fine.


BLACKWELL: Well, this week's heated hearings provide plenty of material for the return of "Saturday Night Live" guest star as Brett Kavanaugh, an angry Matt Damon.


MATT DAMON AS BRETT KAVANAUGH: Now, I am usually an optimist. I'm a keg is half full kind of guy. But what I've seen from the monsters on this committee makes me want to puke and not from beer!

Dr. Ford has no evidence. None! Meanwhile, I've got these. I've got these calendars! These beautiful creepy calendars!


BLACKWELL: Jokes aside. We are learning more about who could be interviewed by the FBI and this investigation of Kavanaugh.

PAUL: Yes, live from the White House now, CNN correspondent Ryan Nobles.

What are you learning about the scope -- about where this is right now and where it's going?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you guys showed there, Christi and Victor, the president has said that the FBI has free rein to talk to whomever they like to when it comes to this investigation into Brett Kavanaugh. But there is a simple fact that there is a relatively short time line to get this done. They have to have everything wrapped up by Friday of next week and that's when the Senate has promised that they are going to vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation ultimately.

And President Trump seems buoyed by this new round of investigation, believing that it will actually help Brett Kavanaugh's case. He said that Kavanaugh has been vetted many times by the FBI and this new round of looking into his background won't reveal anything new.

And he told supporters last night at a rally in West Virginia that this is going to help his case and it could be a problem for Democrats in the midterm elections. Take a listen.


TRUMP: For ten years, they have been talking about him, longer than that. I didn't know him, but I heard about him a lot because they were all saying he should be on the United States Supreme Court. That's why I put him up.

And I will tell you, I will tell you, I will tell you he has suffered the meanness, the anger, but a vote for Judge Kavanaugh is also a vote to reject the ruthless and outrageous tactics of the Democrat party.


NOBLES: And those comments are significant because the president made them in West Virginia. That is one of the highly contested Senate races in the midterm elections. Patrick Morrissey, the Republican endorsed by President Trump, taking on Joe Manchin, who is the Democrat. West Virginia, among a group of states where president won -- the president won in 2016, where Democrats are up for re-election. Manchin has not said whether or not he supports Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Meanwhile, the FBI investigation is well under way and we expect them to zero in on four individuals to have conversations with to learn more about Judge Kavanaugh.

[07:05:05] Among them, Mark Judge. He, of course, the friend of Brett Kavanaugh who Dr. Blasey Ford believes was in the room during this alleged assault. Also, Deborah Ramirez, she is the Yale classmate of Brett Kavanaugh and she claims he exposed himself to her while they were in college. Patrick Smyth, he's known as P.J., a friend of Kavanaugh, he too may have been at that party and then Leland Keyser, the friend of Dr. Ford's who also at that party.

It's important to keep in mind that at least everyone involved in the Ford allegations had said that they have been unable to specifically corroborate her claims, but they've also not been able to say that they didn't happen. Victor and Christi, of course, this next week, important as the Senate decides whether or not Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation will go through.

BLACKWELL: Certainly, Ryan Nobles for us there at the White House, thank you.

PAUL: So, Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief of the "Chicago Sun- Times" is with us now, as well as Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney.

Thank you both for being here.


PAUL: Lynn, so, he just went through a list of people know that have been contacted. What about Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Julie Swetnick has said, they haven't been contacted yet. We had his colleagues, Kavanaugh's college friend Liz Swisher who called him a sloppy drunk, I know that she's been contacted yet.

What do we know about the scope of people they are going to reach out to and if they don't reach out to people like this, will it be seen as fair?

SWEET: If they don't reach out to all of the principal names that have been mentioned, then the investigation would not have gone where I think Senator Flake thought it would be which is to check out the leads. The FBI doesn't work to either clear or confirm these allegations, but to bring out information even if they could pinpoint that the party happened, if they have some evidence to show that it happened, if they have some evidence to show of the judge's drinking habits. That is all there, you know?

So, if they don't look at these other claims and because Avenatti is so vocal, we'll know about if they do or don't, it will lead to the public maybe to say this investigation wasn't as thorough. I think that is why Trump realized that and he said they have free rein. That's the whole point of this is if you think this will help confirm Judge Kavanaugh, if this extra investigation brings up nothing that will prevent the key senators that is Lisa Murkowski, the Republican from Alaska, and Susan Collins of Maine, and maybe Jeff Flake, too, this is all really for a small group of people to be convinced that at least due diligence was done.

So if they don't go there, to be more specific in your question, what will this do? It may give them an excuse to say, due diligence was not done.

PAUL: So, Joey, if the FBI finds any indication, as Lynn talked about, to the drinking point, say, and he in this hearing said I did not essentially drink -- he said I drank a lot but that he never blacked out. If they find any indication that perhaps that is not true, is there any vulnerabilities there for him?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I really think there is, Christi. Good morning to you and Lynn. I think Lynn has it absolutely right.

I think first of all, you want an investigation that has public confidence, right? When you have an FBI, world renowned law enforcement agency as good as they are, you want them to do their job. And due diligence matters and due diligence is significant and it's important, not only for the senators, but for America to know that the process was followed, to know that the leads were pursued and to know that everyone, all of the information was aired.

And we spent a lot of time talking about the FBI and not drawing any conclusions, but that is beyond the point. The point is that they present facts whereupon people can draw their own conclusions based upon those facts. And to your direct point, I think that the issue of drinking goes to contradictions and all of the information will go to whether or not, you know, there was truthfulness or veracity during the hearing or whether there was not. And that's important, too.

Remember, the allegations themselves certainly significant, certainly you want to get to the bottom of them and whenever you speak to one person, remember, there are others that can come forward because they point you to them, hey, was anyone else at the party? Do you know anyone? Did you see?

And so, you get to other people but at the end of the day, it's not only about the incident, it's about your response to the incident and whether you were absolutely truthful and if you're not, I believe that is problematic too.

Final point, Christi, just in terms of like his temperament was important, right? Because the hearing, we learned a lot about when he got really triggered, how his judicial temperament can be. I think that is very important.

PAUL: OK, but, Joey, let me ask you about that, because you're right, but let me ask you this. Some might say, well, he was angry because this was an allegation directed solely at him and his family which wouldn't necessarily be the case if he was sitting on the court.

[07:10:00] To that you say what?

JACKSON: It wouldn't but what happens is, you know, you're a gladiator in a courtroom. If I could just take you into a courtroom, the stakes are very high. You know, irrespective of what case you're doing. And with the stakes being so high, often time advocates get into their advocacy and a judge is the referee of those proceedings and oftentimes there is a lot of pushback with the court, not because we are mean spirited or rude but we feel our positions and are passionate about our positions and you want someone who can take control of that.

So I get that it was about his family, but I think comportment and demeanor matter and attitudes matter. And so, I'm not one that buys the excuse that I can act one way, Christi, when you say something about my family, but if it's a friend or if it's something detached, I think comportment in all respects is important, and I think it's a mere excuse to say it's about my family so I'm really mad and justifies what I do. You know, answering back senators and answering questions or asking questions when you're supposed to answer them, I think it was kind of, you know, beyond the pale performance by someone who knows better and who knows the decorum and the proceedings.

PAUL: All righty. Hey, Lynn, I want to ask you about North Korea, because their representative of the United States General Assembly yesterday morning said that North Korea's commitment to denuclearize is unwavering.

Let's listen to what the president had to say about Kim Jong-un last night.


TRUMP: You know what is interesting? When I did it -- I was really being tough and so was he -- we go back and forth. And then we fell in love. OK? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they are great letters. We fell in love. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Lynn, did they fall in love? Or does North Korea just want to woo the president to try to dissolve some of these sanctions?

SWEET: Well, this is like advice to the lovelorn morning session here. But it's all, I think, but from both sides what you see is very unusual negotiating tactic where probable probably the psychological assessment by the North Koreans of President Trump is if you write very flattering letters, it helps you get the president in a favorable disposition for you, perhaps as favorable to the point of love. And Trump probably is -- not probably. We know he thinks his negotiating hand is strengthened if he portrays the two as in this "in love" relationship.

The thing this relationship has to yield something. It has to yield proof of denuclearization. It has to yield something that the inspectors could say happened.

Now, one of the things Trump points to is that there have been no missile tests since this, I guess, long engagement, wooing and engagement period between the happy couple are going on and that is true. But the goal is to have evidence of denuclearization.

This is an interesting ploy on both sides to say you're -- but not uncommon when you think of the marketplace. You know, lavish praise. Oh, I love what you're doing. I hope you can bring the price town a little bit because I so would like to buy your product. I just need a little help on the price is what you're kind of hearing and put in very personal terms because the leaders that you could never hear President Trump say this, I suppose, falling in and out of love with Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada.

PAUL: Right.

SWEET: Because I think he sizes up each leader and also sizes up what he thinks the leader wants to hear, so this is a two-way relationship.

PAUL: Lynn Sweet, Joey Jackson, so grateful to have you both here this morning. Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

SWEET: Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely.

You know, one of the senators noted for her questioning of Judge Kavanaugh in Thursday's hearing is with Jake Tapper live this morning. Hear Senator Amy Klobuchar live on "STATE OF THE UNION", that's at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

BLACKWELL: Desperate search of survivors is happening now in Indonesia. The death toll is going up after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the area. We'll have a live report. PAUL: Also, a plane load of people so grateful for fast acting U.S.

Navy sailors and local fishermen after their plane belly flopped into the water. We've got more pictures for you. Stay close.

BLACKWELL: And Elon Musk got away with smoking marijuana while he was recording a radio interview by his single tweet could cost him his job as chair of Tesla.


[07:18:32] PAUL: Breaking news out of Indonesia this morning. Rescue crews are looking for survivors after that deadly earthquake and tsunami that hit the area. And we know overnight the death toll has skyrocketed. More than 800 people have now died and authorities believe more bodies are going to be recovered here.

BLACKWELL: Right now, rescue crews are work to go get at least 50 people right now trapped under the rubble at this hotel.

CNN's Will Ripley is live from Hong Kong.

Will, what do you know what is happening in that hotel?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is just a massive rescue effort that is under way and complicated by the fact it's extraordinarily difficult to get to the hardest hit area, which is the coastal city of Palu. The airport only partially reopened after devastation there. In fact, an air traffic controller was killed trying to get a passenger plane up safely before the tower reportedly collapsed on him. So, now, they have some flights that are coming in with relief supplies and military personnel but a lot of the aid workers are having to drive in 10, 12, even 20 hours just to get there.

And so, supplies are badly needed. And there is no electricity. No communications. You can't really call in. You know, people have managed to get the videos up and you can see the devastation. First from the 7.5 earthquake which was, you know, devastating in its own self. The tsunami that hit Palu, these ten-foot waves came crashing in and even more horrific.

I want to show you a video posted on social media. There was a man who is standing up on what looks like a parking garage and desperately trying to shout to people down on the street below.

[07:20:02] Some of them oblivious to the danger that was just seconds away. Watch this.


RIPLEY: You hear his voice once the waves started crashing in and almost turned to a sound of sadness. I mean, he was watching people who were swept up in this disaster and maybe didn't even see it coming. It's horrifying.

And we know that 17,000 people are now homeless. Building are destroyed. Homes are destroyed and people had to sleep outside because a lot of the structures if they are still standing just aren't safe. They're not intact.

And you can see driving along the coast how the tsunami waves take out everything in their path. I remember visiting the areas of Japan where I used to live devastated by the tsunami that hit in 2011 and even several years later, they still hadn't finished cleaning up.

So, this is going to be a long process. The immediate need, tents, food, water. You know, just people -- to be able to make sure the conditions are sanitary and to avoid the spread of disease and what not, medical supplies for the hospitals which have been inundated.

But then in the longer term, you know, people are going to need help rebuilding their homes and their lives. These are not wealthy areas. And again, some of the hardest hit areas, these rural areas have even less than they do along the coast there, they still haven't been reached yet. So, they don't know how people are doing there.


PAUL: Will, I heard you earlier say that the mayor and the former mayor of Palu were killed in this. And then I heard as well that people are told to be sleeping outside their homes because the threat of more earthquakes are coming.

Help us understand, you know, in terms of these rescue efforts, if they are continuing through the night, what are they able to do in the dark?

RIPLEY: Well, it's very limited. I mean, the Indonesian President Joko Widodo was there and he has basically ordered rescuers to do whatever they can to try to find people who might still be alive. But when you're in a situation you don't have any electricity or infrastructure, having to rely on battery power, fuel is running low. We're hearing reports on the ground, they are almost out of fuel and having to bring that in from other cities, which again it's difficult to even get in there because the roads are down.

And yes, you look at the skill, the devastation and think about the fact the mayor of the city killed, the former mayor as well because all of these buildings collapsed and then the tsunami waves. You're -- it's really a situation of chaos right now. And it's going to be quite sometime before they able to get the rescue effort organized and get people the help they need.

BLACKWELL: All right. Will Ripley for us there with the latest on what's happening in Indonesia, now more than 800 dead after the earthquake and tsunami. Thank you.

PAUL: Thanks, Will.

Well, a passenger has been reported missing after his plane crashed into a lagoon in Micronesia. 47 passengers and crew all survived after the plane missed that runway. The man was seen on one of the rescue boats. We know that much but apparently has not been seen since.

BLACKWELL: A new video shows U.S. Navy sailors rescuing passengers and crew from that plane. You see it here. The sailors just happened to be working in the area. Local fishermen also pitched in also to help to try to shuttle everyone to the shore. But, wow. Remarkable video here of what happened on the New Guinea flight.

PAUL: So, of course, waiting for the FBI investigation into the sexual assault claims against Judge Kavanaugh to create, you know, make it through the process this week. But President Trump told a rally Kavanaugh had suffered the meanness of the Democratic Party.


BLACKWELL: This week, the Senate is waiting for the FBI investigation before they vote on Judge Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination. Judge Kavanaugh is accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school. And although we don't know yet what the FBI will find because they are finding it or looking for something now, President Trump says he does not have a backup plan and says he doesn't need one.


TRUMP: But having them do a thorough investigation I actually think will be a blessing in disguise. It will be a good thing. I'll see you in --

REPORTER: Do you have a backup plan with Mr. Kavanaugh? Do you have a backup plan, sir?

TRUMP: I don't have any -- I don't need a backup plan. We'll have to see what happens. I think he's going to be fine.


BLACKWELL: Joining me now, CNN political commentators Maria Cardona and Ben Ferguson.

Welcome back.



BLACKWELL: All right. So, Ben, let me start with you. Senate Judiciary suggests to the White House that all credible allegations should be investigated. We've talked about Dr. Ford. We have talked about Deborah Ramirez who says that her -- her attorney says they have been contacted.

Michael Avenatti who represents Julie Swetnick says they have not received a call. Just to remind people, she says that she saw Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, quote, consistently engaged in excessive drinking and inappropriate sexual contact with women during the 1980s.

Do you think she should be interviewed as well?

FERGUSON: Look, at this point, if the FBI wants to talk to them, I totally fine with it. I don't have a problem with it. I think most Republicans at this point say, whatever you want to look into the next week, look into it. At this point, when you open this investigation, if these allegations are out there, there should be accountability for those that are accusing Brett Kavanaugh, if, in fact, their stories are not accurate, and the FBI will have accountability with them.

[07:30:09] At the same time, I also think it's important for people to step back and maybe take the politics out of this and say, let the FBI do their job and if Brett Kavanaugh is, in fact, seen as credible after this investigation, which I fully expect he will be, I really hope that many Democrats will come to his aid and say, look, I may not agree with him because a conservative member going on the bench, but I'm going to say this man's name is a name that is well-respected that should not continued to be talked about in these allegations of rape and they should support him moving on to the Supreme Court with his dignity intact and to say they are sorry that this got ugly, because there was a lot of people trying to ruin his life.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Ben you just said, and I had to write it down to make sure I got it right. Take the politics out of this let the FBI do their job.


BLACKWELL: It was Republican politicians who told you the FBI had no job to do.

FERGUSON: Well, I mean, I'll quote Joe Biden. He also said the same thing when he was in charge of the Judiciary Committee when Clarence Thomas was there. It's not just Republicans.


FERGUSON: I think that is putting the politics --

CARDONA: Joe Biden is not there!

FERGUSON: Well, no, but if you talk about precedent, you're talking about former vice president of the United States of America that's well-respected. If you want to take politics out of this, then you have to look at the words of Joe Biden who said the exact same thing.

CARDONA: No, you do not. My gosh.

FERGUSON: You may not like it now.

CARDONA: He is not there and has nothing to do with this.


FERGUSON: He is a former vice president who sat on this committee.

CARDONA: He has absolutely nothing to do with this. So to me that kind of indicates that Republicans were in a quandary because they knew that the majority of Americans-- first of all, the majority of Americans don't want Kavanaugh confirmed to the court, but the majority of Americans, especially the majority of women, were demanding an FBI investigation to at least, at least have the decency to not ignore or push under the rug or sweep aside the allegations of sexual assault and all of the agony and trauma and tragedy that so many sexual assault survivors have gone through this past week as they were triggered by Dr. Ford's incredibly credible and heartfelt testimony.

So, yes, I do think that Republicans are doing the right thing. I think they were forced to do it because of what they were seeing. And, you know, who knows what is going to turn up.

BLACKWELL: Well, Maria, let me come in at this point.


BLACKWELL: If Democrats want an FBI investigation, many of them said a week-long investigation. They got it. Short of any corroborative information, any details confirmed, should this then just go to a vote?


CARDONA: Should then what?

BLACKWELL: Should there be a vote on the Senate floor to confirm Judge Kavanaugh?

CARDONA: Well, I'm sure that there will be because that is exactly what Republicans have been trying to ram down the throats of Americans.


BLACKWELL: But Democrats have asked the investigation. They got the investigation. If the FBI comes back with no corroborating information and nothing that confirms the details of the accusation from the three women we have identified, is it time then to vote? Or will we see another effort from Democrats to find another way to push this another week, another week, and then past the election?

CARDONA: We will see what comes up from the FBI.

FERGUSON: You won't answer the question! It's a simple question about a man's integrity.

CARDONA: I am about to answer it.


CARDONA: I am about to answer it, Ben. Listen. In my opinion, I believe many Democrats believe this, I think Kavanaugh has already proven that he does not have the temperament and that he does not have the character to serve on the Supreme Court. FERGUSON: It's the politics. It's absurd.

CARDONA: No, it's not.

FERGUSON: Yes, it is.

BLACKWELL: Hold on, Ben. I'll come back to you in a second. Hold on, Ben.

CARDONA: Can you let me finish, please?

BLACKWELL: Finish up.

FERGUSON: I've been hearing a lot what you're saying. You've been talking a while.

BLACKWELL: Well, we have seen -- what we have seen from his past testimony, there is already prove that he has perjured himself.

FERGUSON: That's not true.

BLACKWELL: We saw --

FERGUSON: Democrats aren't saying that on the Hill.

BLACKWELL: Hold on, Ben.

CARDONA: Ben, can you please let me finish? Jesus!

We already saw with his outburst that he does not have the temperament. If he had acted like that during a court session, he would have been found in contempt.

FERGUSON: It's not a court.

CARDONA: It was absolutely appalling the way that he acted. And this is not something that he deserves. This is not due process. This is a job interview and he was not -- he showed he was not fit for this job.


BLACKWELL: Let me get back to Ben. But what you're naming here are reasons that Democrats were not going to vote for Judge Kavanaugh. At the end of this investigation, even if it comes back and they cannot corroborate any of the details, most Democrats are not going to vote for him no matter what came back.

[07:35:01] CARDONA: That's correct. That is correct.

BLACKWELL: Ben, let me get your response to what we heard from Maria and then I have to go. Go ahead.

FERGUSON: The bottom line here is, if Democrats were so obsessed with this investigation, they would have put pressure on Dianne Feinstein early on while she was withholding this information while handing and hand-picking the lawyer to represent Mrs. Ford. So if you're upset at women being triggered last week, you should be upset with Dianne Feinstein.

Second of all, if you're upset about women being triggered, you should be upset with Democrats leaked Mrs. Ford's identity when she desperately asked for her identity to not be leaked.

CARDONA: You don't know that Ben.

FERGUSON: When you say Brett Kavanaugh does not have the temperament to be on the Supreme Court because the man has had some of the most ludicrous claims come up against him, including that he's a serial rapist as a high schooler, that he was involved in different things, on boats that that never happened and it was reported like it was just total fact, if you think a man or a woman does not have a right to be upset, to be personal to defend their good name, Maria, when people are coming after them and let's not forget, Ms. Ford did not bring any corroborating information or testimony.

That is why Republicans felt solid moving forward. You have a right in this country to be innocent until proven guilty.

CARDONA: That's why you're losing the women's vote because you have swipe aside the tragedy and the trauma of sexual assault survivors.

FERGUSON: You can say that all you want. And that means that an innocent man cannot defend his name --


BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap it here. But coming with no corroborating evidence is usually the reason to start an investigation.

CARDONA: Exactly.


BLACKWELL: The one that Republicans fought for so long and is now happening. We will see what is happening at the end of this week.

FERGUSON: I hope Democrats will not try to destroy this man's name if no new information comes up. They should not try to destroy him.

BLACKWELL: Ben Ferguson, Maria Cardona, thanks so much.

FERGUSON: Thanks, Victor.

CARDONA: Thanks so much, Victor.

PAUL: So, Elon Musk may have to step down as chair of Tesla because according to the SEC, tweets have consequences.


[07:41:16] BLACKWELL: One tweet has ended up costing Elon Musk $20 million and his seat as chairman of Tesla. It's part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

PAUL: Back in August, he tweeted that he was take thing the electric car company private and had the funding to do it, which sent Tesla stock soaring but he didn't. Musk is going to be able to stay on as CEO but have to pay a $20 million fine, which will go to those investors.

So, joining us now, Janet Johnson. She's a trademark and criminal attorney.

Janet, I know some people saying, this had my head around -- help us understand exactly what he did wrong here.

JANET JOHNSON, TRADEMARK & CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. Well, he tweeted is the short answer. But in that tweet, he said that he had this private funding, which he did not have. He hadn't told Nasdaq he was going to tweet out this information. And he basically sort of defrauded 22 million people who follow him and anyone else who then saw that information who relied on that information to trade his stock.

BLACKWELL: So, Musk will be allowed to stay on as CEO, right? But he'll have to give up the chairmanship there. How would his responsibilities change? And then does he then have a boss?

JOHNSON: Yes. He is. He is going to have a couple of bosses.

It's a little unusual that he does get to stay on as CEO and I think that the logic is that they didn't want to tank the stock altogether. And a lot of the Tesla stock is based on his presence in the company. But he is going to have to report to the chairperson of the board. They are going to have two independent people named and, most importantly, they are going to monitor his tweeting.

PAUL: So how much authority will he have? I mean, is there a gauge of that?

JOHNSON: Yes. You know, I think that he will have authority over his employees but he will not have authority in terms of the stock and reporting to, you know, the public. But, you know, what we have to look out for as well, guys, is under the rule that he is charged under, which is the same thing Martha Stewart was charged under, insider trading, he could actually face criminal charges so he is not out of the woods yet.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll look for the next chapter of this.

JOHNSON: Stay tuned, right?

BLACKWELL: Yes. Janet Johnson, thank you so much.

PAUL: Good to see you, Janet.

JOHNSON: Thanks for having me.

PAUL: So, "Saturday Night Live" finds plenty of political punching bags on Capitol Hill with their take on the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. Well, guess what? We have reaction from one of the senators who was depicted in last night's sketch.


[07:47:47] PAUL: So, the 44th season launched for "Saturday Night Live" last night. And, of course, they did so, of course, strongly, let's say. Sketch focused on the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, which you kind of knew by the timing.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it was certainly going to be there, at the top of the show, the season premiere opened with Matt Damon as the Supreme Court nominee. Here is a portion of it.


MATT DAMON AS BRETT KAVANAUGH: Look, I like beer, OK? I like beer. Boys like beer. Girls like beer. I like beer. I like beer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, I asked if you drank in high school and you said, I like beer ten times. That leads me to the next question -- did you ever drink too many beers?

DAMON: You mean was I cool? Yes.


BLACKWELL: Well, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar was an instant fan, let's say, of the sketch, saying that Rachel's performance so good that Klobuchar's daughter sent her a text about it.

PAUL: Joining us now, opinion contributor and host of "The Dean Obeidallah Show" on SiriusXM, Dean Obeidallah.

Thank you so much, Dean, for being with us. So, your take, first of all, on last night.

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, CNN OPINION CONTRIBUTOR: I think it was a great way to start the new season. You know, I worked at "SNL" for eight seasons in the production staff and the first show was always very special. You want to start out with a great cold open. And here you had Matt Damon getting out of the park as Brett Kavanaugh.

I just have to say, it doesn't matter if you're on the left or right, we all need to laugh if you're following politics. It's aging people. Look at me. I'm 19 and look what politics has done to me!


OBEIDALLAH: So I think we need to have some fun and enjoy ourselves and laugh. I think "SNL" did a great job making people laugh, while also showing some of the reality in heightening a little bit for comedy.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And "SNL," we have talked about this before, has never shied away from politics. You go back to Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford and all of the presidents.

On this topic, let's go back to the early '90s and the treatment of the Clarence Thomas hearing and talk about the differences in the treatment here. Let's watch.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you go about asking her out for this date?

[07:50:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure I know what you mean, Senator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, did you just go right up and ask her? Or did you have one of her friends tell her that you thought she was cute?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just walked right up and asked her.


BLACKWELL: So a different tone to this, to be fair, a different tone between the two hearings from the early '90s and to now. What do you think about the transition from the tone we saw there and what we are seeing from this cast?

OBEIDALLAH: I think it really makes if you can watch it online from 27 years ago, the comedy was so much about the senators trying to get dating tips from Clarence Thomas, even Al Franken as a senator on that committee asking for dating tips, and flash forward now and it's much more about Brett Kavanaugh. And I think the comedy has evolved because times have changed. In that time, it was much easier for the men sitting around, not really showing concern of sexual harassment of Anita Hill, but saying, hey, Clarence Thomas, how can we learn from that. And that's the comedy.

The question is now, are men and specifically conservative men moving forward the same way "SNL's" comedy has over the last 27 years? And I think that's what American is going to wait and watch on the series, though, in the terms of politics here.

But last night's comedy, I think what I love so much is that Matt Damon summed Brett Kavanaugh as a grown up frat boy, and say that no pejoratively, I think that's what Brett Kavanaugh was, a high school guy, college guy, had fun, drank. He is a different person today but remnants are still there with today's Brett Kavanaugh.

And they make fun of everyone, from Cory Booker, to Alyssa Milano, to Brett Kavanaugh, so whole people on the left and the right can take a break and I know we're very passionate about politics. Laugh. Have some fun about this. I think it's a great sketch.

PAUL: It needs to be a little bit lighter. I think we just take a breath, I think all of us.


PAUL: And sometimes, it's hard to do. We've taken a look at this next clip. I mean, it might rub people the wrong way. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to point out that Democrats in this committee have acted like cowards. If you would forgive me, I would like to hide behind a female prosecutor we hire as a human shield.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. So now before we begin --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, your time is up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow, already regretting this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would also like to yield my time to the female assistant. Sorry, do you prefer stewardess?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, I cannot believe I flew here on Southwest for this.


PAUL: I wonder what Rachel Mitchell thinks. Oh, my gosh, I'm on "Saturday Night Live."

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes. Dean Obeidallah, good to have you this morning. Thank you for your thoughts.

PAUL: Thank you, sir.

BLACKWELL: All right. This 13-year-old boy who was attacked by a shark while diving for lobsters for the first time. Quick thinking by some people who were there might have helped save his life. We'll talk about that.


[07:57:40] PAUL: Well, a 13-year-old boy is in critical condition this morning after he was attacked by a shark. We know this boy was diving for lobsters off the coast of Encinitas, near San Diego.

Well, witness said they heard the boy shouting. They thought he was just excited, and then they realized he was yelling I got bit.

BLACKWELL: Well, some divers nearby help him get into a kayak, back to shore. One witness says the boy was conscious but he had some serious injuries to his back, chest. Beaches in that area are closed at least for another day.

PAUL: So, in the latest episode of "PARTS UNKNOWN", Anthony Bourdain is taking us to this enchanted region of Spain with chef and humanitarian Jose Andres.

BLACKWELL: Secret cheese caves? That's a thing. PAUL: Mmm.


BLACKWELL: Never seen that facial expression.

BLACKWELL: Secret cheese caves are an undisclosed locations, hence the secret. Ocean cliffs, gooseneck barnacles, they are just of the stuffs. Here is a look.




BOURDAIN: Hope he's getting some rest.



BLACKWELL: I still don't know what a cheese cave is.

PAUL: That's why you have to watch.

BLACKWELL: Great tease.

PAUL: Do not miss "PARTS UNKNOWN" tonight at 9:00, only on CNN.

And thank you so much for spending your morning with us. We hope you make great memories today.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS", hosting today, Dana Bash. It starts right now.