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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Yale Classmate Says Kavanaugh Lied to the Senate; Kavanaugh Questioned by Cops after 1985 Bar Fight. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 1, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thank you, Anderson.
I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.
Tonight, we have the players for you. The Yale classmate who came forward just today. He's here for his first TV interview.
We have had the first TV interviews with several who say they can attest to Kavanaugh's behavior in school. Why? Because I think his habits are disqualifying? Of course not. Because from the beginning, check it, I have thought the Ford testimony would prove unsatisfying as a matter of establishing facts in that setting, and that the bigger test would be how Kavanaugh portrayed himself.
And now the media is fixated on that. And we have two people at the center of that fixation.
Chad Ludington, who has new information about a police report that is out just tonight. He says it has Kavanaugh's name on it. That much is true. You're going to hear from Ludington directly, right here in just a moment.
Also here, Michael Avenatti. He represents the third woman to step forward with misconduct allegations against the judge. Has the FBI reached out to Julie Swetnick yet? Will they?
Now, she's come forward with more details tonight. Is she credible? Only four days left for the FBI to complete the Kavanaugh probe. Will this little look prove hurtful or helpful to the judge?
My answer may surprise you, but that comes at the end of the show. Let's start with facts first. Let's get after it.
CUOMO: All right. I just mentioned the name Julie Swetnick. You've probably heard it before. That's the Judge Kavanaugh third accuser. Now, she's talking to the press again about her recollections of Kavanaugh when under the influence of alcohol years ago. But she is backing away, I would suggest, from some of her claims.
Let's bring in Michael Avenatti, her attorney.
Counselor, thank you for jumping in the chair.
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR KAVANAUGH ACCUSER JULIE SWETNICK: How are you?
CUOMO: It's good to have you.
So let's just get right to the meat of the matter because I know you're here to make the case and you're open to being tested and I appreciate that, because many are not. The thought is, if still true, the FBI has not reached out to her yet, accurate?
CUOMO: OK. The argument for that, among the GOP, is, she's in- credible. Look at her background. She got jammed up in litigation regarding her employer. Yes, it went away, but it showed that she can't be trusted. Her boyfriend says she can't be trusted.
That it's a credibility thing. Swetnick can't be trusted. I said it three times. Are any of them impressive to you?
AVENATTI: No, Chris, it's ludicrous, first of all. One lawsuit was filed, it was almost immediately dismissed. The claims by her ex- boyfriend -- I mean, who doesn't have an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend that might say bad things about them.
This case was also immediately thrown out, dismissed. There was no adjudication or determination relating to the validity of any of these claims.
But let me back up, OK? Last time I checked, it's the FBI's job, it's law enforcement's job to determine whether an allegation is credible. It's not another gatekeeper's job to tell the FBI who is credible or who is telling the truth.
But that's what Donald Trump and the GOP, the Republican senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee are attempting to pull off here. They want to tell the FBI who should be believed --
AVENATTI: -- and who should not be believed. That's not how the FBI works.
CUOMO: Yes, you're right, in general. This is a little bit of a tricky situation, because it's not a criminal investigation, where they have subpoena power and all these other things, where what you're saying is 100 percent. With these judicial nominees, they have a tailored background set of criteria that they go through. And they do take direction from the White House on this.
They could still look at whatever they're allowed to. I don't know whether or not the White House has said, don't look at Swetnick, look at other, but the White House has said they're open to anything.
AVENATTI: But Chris, shouldn't we know that? Shouldn't we be privy -- shouldn't the American people be privy to the communications from the White House --
AVENATTI: -- and the Senate Judiciary Committee to the FBI.
CUOMO: A hundred percent. A hundred percent.
AVENATTI: And if they have interfered in the process, that should tell us something.
But we're not talking about that many people that the FBI has to go out and interview. I mean, the FBI has vast resources. You know that and I know that.
CUOMO: They could interview a thousand people, but they don't believe Swetnick.
AVENATTI: Well, I don't know that.
CUOMO: No, not the FBI. I'm saying that the White House believes that she is in-credible.
AVENATTI: Wait a minute, or maybe the White House thinks she is credible. Maybe the White House and the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are really concerned about her allegations and they don't want the truth to come out. That is equally likely. I mean, we don't know.
CUOMO: To be fair, Michael, and I would say the same thing if I could interview Ms. Swetnick. The dings on her with the litigation and with the boyfriend, those are usual impeachable constructs.
AVENATTI: You know what, I disagree. None of that, and, Chris, you know this, none of that would ever come into evidence in any trial relating to these allegations.
CUOMO: Why not?
AVENATTI: Because they would be found to be irrelevant.
CUOMO: Even to impeach her credibility?
AVENATTI: Absolutely not.
CUOMO: If she open the door on cross examination?
AVENATTI: Absolutely not, because it's a mere allegation. It's not an adjudication that goes to the voracity or the truthfulness to her statements under oath.
If I tried to bring any of that into evidence before a judge, the judge would say, Mr. Avenatti, approach the bench, do you have your bar card, because I'm going to take it from you because it's so ludicrous your attempt to put that into evidence. None of that would come into evidence in a million years. This is what I've been doing for 20 years.
AVENATTI: No, no, listen, I'm not questioning your credentials as an attorney. I'm saying that ordinarily, if you can say, hey, you're saying now in a legal setting, this happened. In a legal setting here, your employer says you weren't being truthful.
CUOMO: In a legal setting here, your boyfriend says you're not being truthful.
AVENATTI: No, because it was never adjudicated. Never judge ever passed on the validity of these allegations. They were mere allegations. Anybody with $600 or $700 or $800 can file a lawsuit and claim any number of things.
I mean, those cases were dismissed in their infancy. None of that would ever even come into evidence. It would never be put before a jury or a fact finder, because there was no adjudication or determination as to whether it was valid or not.
CUOMO: All right, so that is what they're going to look at in terms of the background.
But now, present sense testimony of her testimony, right? Not present sense impression the way we mean it in the law, but people just heard her on MSNBC talking about things. Now, it seemed in terms of what she knows about Kavanaugh and what she actually saw him do, it gets a little different. Let's play what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: Did you see Brett Kavanaugh, you know, spiking the punch, putting alcohol in the punch?
JULIE SWETNICK, BRETT KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: Well, I saw him giving red solo cups to quite a few girls during that time frame and there was green punch at those parties. And I would not take one of those glasses from Mark Kavanaugh -- Brett Kavanaugh, excuse me. I saw him around the punch -- I won't say bowls, or the punch containers. I don't know what he did, but I saw him by them, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now the sworn statement, let's put up, just so that we remind people, obviously, you know.
I became aware of efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to spike the punch at house parties that I attended -- we'll leave it there.
CUOMO: Now, I argue those are different.
AVENATTI: Can I explain that? Yes, can I explain that?
CUOMO: But I argue that they're different. AVENATTI: Well, what her testimony stated and the declaration, I
understand, you are used different, one of her friends informed her of what she just put in the declaration or what was attested to you in the declaration. And last night at 10:40 p.m., I had a telephone conversation with a woman who will go unnamed, who lives in Florida, who told me directly that Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh would spike the punch with grain alcohol and Quaaludes. Last night --
CUOMO: And she knows it because she's seen it or she's heard it?
AVENATTI: She knows it because she saw it. And it's about the fifth conversation I've had with her in the last two weeks --
CUOMO: Will she come forward to the FBI?
AVENATTI: A hundred percent. And this is what we keep saying --
CUOMO: So she's nameless for us, but she would give her name --
AVENATTI: Yes, yes, because she doesn't want to be outed publicly. She is prepared to speak to the FBI.
And, Chris, this is what I keep coming back to, OK? We're not talking about a lot of resources to interview my client, the woman in Florida, and other witnesses that I'm aware of. We've got to make sure that we get this right as a nation. There's a lot at stake here.
It doesn't take a lot for FBI to interview my client and others to get to the truth, if we're interested in a search for the truth. Now, if we're interested in some sham investigation, some farce of an investigation, just so we can whitewash it and try to tell the American people that we actually did an investigation, that's a different thing, and I think that's where we're at right now.
CUOMO: Let's not set them up. We've got to be careful here, because it's not fair to the FBI. This is a one-week investigation. That's not a real investigation.
AVENATTI: I'm not critical of the FBI.
CUOMO: No, I'm saying like it can't be satisfying to people if that's the parameter, they should talk to everybody, they should chase down every lead. That's what they would normally do in a criminal investigation. But that's not what they're doing here.
AVENATTI: But, Chris, I'm critical of the puppet masters. I'm critical of the puppet masters. And the puppet masters are Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the Republican leadership on the Senate Judiciary Committee. They're pulling the strings. They're telling the FBI what to do.
CUOMO: The Senate has a lot of sway here, because technically, they are in charge of this, right? This is this muddled system that we have here, now, because of the timing in part, where the White House is going back to the FBI to check things, but really, it's the Senate judiciary that's supposed to do the digging. If Grassley et al. makes the determination, we've looked at these,
we've looked at Swetnick, I don't find her credible, the former litigation, she changes her story, she never says Kavanaugh did anything to her, she heard him do other things on TV, she says, well, after the fact, I realized that the lines of boys, that's what it was about. She says she contacted the police, but no police report.
AVENATTI: Well, we don't know if there's a police report yet.
CUOMO: They say that it will take a month to find out.
AVENATTI: She stated in the interview that she reported it to the police around the time that it happened.
CUOMO: A policeman that she knew or something like that?
AVENATTI: No, no, she just went down to the precinct and reported it to someone at the precinct.
CUOMO: How could a police report like this be filed, legitimate question, and they didn't do anything about it?
AVENATTI: You know, I don't know. I have no idea. I have the same question. But look, let me say this --
CUOMO: Seems unlikely. And the cop is dead now that she supposedly talked to.
AVENATTI: I don't know. We're talking about a different time period, Chris. We're talking about 35 years ago. You know, in 35 years ago, things were handled slightly different.
CUOMO: No, I hear you, but the policeman she says she has the name of, he's deceased. She said she told her mom, her mom is deceased. You know, in the court of public opinion, people will say, is it convenient that everyone she says she talked to isn't here anymore.
AVENATTI: It's not convenient, because many, many years ago she confided in other witnesses that this had happened.
AVENATTI: And we have these witnesses and we're prepared to present them to the FBI so that the FBI can go out and interview these witnesses. But I want to go back to something you said.
AVENATTI: OK? Days ago, a week ago the Republican leadership on the Senate Judiciary Committee came out immediately after these allegations surfaced and said my client was a liar.
Immediately. Without any investigation. Without any fact determination. Without hearing from my client. Without asking her to testify.
Without any of this.
How would they know, Chris? If this was -- if this was about a search for the truth, they wouldn't be so quick to criticize my client and call her a liar.
CUOMO: It was your attachment that bricked their purpose a little bit, right?
AVENATTI: Well, no, but how do they know?
CUOMO: Several of the senators and the president named you.
AVENATTI: How do they know? I mean, when I -- when we made the allegations, guess what? I had done significance due diligence in connection with this before we made the allegations.
What had they done before they called her a liar? Nothing. You know why? Because it's all about politics.
CUOMO: Did you know about the lawsuits?
AVENATTI: Yes, I was aware of the lawsuits.
CUOMO: And you weren't --
AVENATTI: I'm not at all worried about it.
Look, a lot of people get sued for a lot of different things. It doesn't mean, all because somebody files a lawsuit, it doesn't mean there's any credibility to it, at all. Anybody can file a lawsuit. It's about the adjudication.
Now, if a jury had found that she had lied, if a judge had found that she had lied, that would be a different scenario. Both of those lawsuits were dismissed.
CUOMO: Why is she relevant in a discussion of what Brett Kavanaugh did? He did not, from her own reckoning, touch her in any way that was wrong. She never saw him touch anyone.
AVENATTI: No, that's wrong. That's wrong. If you look at paragraphs, I think it's seven and eight of the declaration, she talks about how aggressive Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge were at numerous parties, pushing up against women, grinding against women. I believe she testified in the interview about pushing women against walls, being overly aggressive, especially under the influence of alcohol.
And let me say this, Chris --
CUOMO: I don't give her full credit, by the way, just so you know, because of what I heard tonight on TV, it seemed to be more of a characterization of a group dynamic than really pointing the finger at Brett Kavanaugh directly, as we saw with the red solo cup versus knowledge of spiking the punch. AVENATTI: So I disagree, because she has a firm recollection of
specific conduct by Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge.
And let me also say this. Brett Kavanaugh, in my opinion, with has zero credibility. This man is an absolute liar. He's lied about big things and he's lied about small things. If you saw that Fox News interview --
CUOMO: What big things?
AVENATTI: If you look at the Fox News interview of a week ago, where he talks about his high school experiences, did you believe that interview? I didn't believe the interview.
CUOMO: Is it material? If he lied about his partying, is it material?
AVENATTI: I think it is. Because the man is supposedly under oath at points in time, testifying with his right hand raised to the Senate Judiciary Committee --
AVENATTI: Why is he lying about these things? I mean, why does --
CUOMO: Because he doesn't want to be framed for conduct that he knows is untrue. And he feels if he says I drank a lot, people will say, well, then, maybe you were drunk and that's why you're denying this?
AVENATTI: Chris, if you asked me and someone asked me, did you drink too much in high school? Yes, you know what, I was a high school student. Did you pass out because you had too much to drink? Yes, sometimes that happened.
AVENATTI: Did you do that?
CUOMO: I do it.
CUOMO: But then I say to you, Michael, that's why you don't know whether or not Ford is correct. Because you drank so much, just at parties like this.
CUOMO: You passed out so often that it can be true, Judge Kavanaugh, that Ford is write and you don't remember.
AVENATTI: Right. (CROSTALK)
CUOMO: And he didn't want to give them that little theory.
AVENATTI: I agree with you, but this guy has lied repeatedly throughout the process. Fox News, the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is not a genuine person. He is lying repeatedly about drinking too much.
I mean, let me get this straight. All of these women are liars. His friends from Yale Law School, they're liars.
CUOMO: They're talking about different things.
AVENATTI: The only person that's telling truth, only person that's telling the truth is Brett Kavanaugh.
CUOMO: I think the only thing we have to separate is lying about what -- and I know we all say, we all teach our kids, all lies are bad. But they're not all equal. And it has to be a material misrepresentation. And it's for the senators to decide.
But I'll tell you what. Conversations like this, access to your client, and what she's going to be table to offer, very helpful.
AVENATTI: She has offered to take a polygraph exam. She's offered to meet with the FBI. She's offered to be cross-examined by Brett Kavanaugh's attorney, as long as he will be cross-examined by me.
CUOMO: Not going to happen.
AVENATTI: Never going to happen.
CUOMO: Never going to happen.
AVENATTI: But she's offered all of these things. Women that are lying, that are making things up, they don't agree to sit down with FBI agents.
CUOMO: I hear you and I am very slow to go at somebody making an accusation, but we have to test them. That's the job. She is welcome to the chair you are in wherever she wants it.
AVENATTI: Appreciate it.
CUOMO: Michael Avenatti, appreciate it.
So truth, that has become a national obsession here, not just politically, but now as practical matter. Who is telling the truth and how much does it matter? Vexing questions for the senators and for you in judging their votes. We have more on Judge Kavanaugh's credibility ahead with a man who says he knows the truth about Brett Kavanaugh and, in fact, he is central to a new report that just came out from "The New York Times" about a police report, both next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CUOMO: A new report from "The New York Times" says that Brett Kavanaugh, in fact, did drink to excess and was belligerent when he did so. The proof, a police report that outlines both aspects of ingredients in a nasty bar fight back in college in a place that I knew all too well.
But a report like that needs context, right? Anybody there decades later, how are we going to prove that?
Guess what? Chad Ludington, he was there in the bar, part of the incident. And I just spoke to him minutes ago.
He happens to be the same Chad Ludington who came forward before this report came out about the police action to say Brett Kavanaugh was not the man he explained to the senators, under oath.
CUOMO: Chad Ludington, thank you for joining us on PRIME TIME.
Let's start with news. There is a report out there that Brett Kavanaugh is named in a police report about an incident that stemmed from drinking and being angry out one night. Do you know anything about this report?
CHAD LUDINGTON, YALE CLASSMATE OF BRETT KAVANAUGH: Yes, I do. In fact, I know a great deal about this report.
CUOMO: Tell me.
LUDINGTON: Well, it all began -- that evening began -- in fact, I know the date now, I've found it in "The Hartford Courant," a program guide for September, 1985, and Chris Dudley and Brett Kavanaugh and I went to a UB40 concert. They were a popular reggae band in the 1980s.
In any event, at something called the Palace Theater. It was a Wednesday night, so it was sort of an odd night to be going out, but the concert was a good one. So after the concert, we went to a bar called Demory's (ph). And we were drinking and -- I assume beer, but -- and at some point, we looked over at this fellow who looked very similar to the lead singer of UB40, a guy named Ali Campbell.
And we were giving him the eye, looking at this guy, is that really him? Could he be here? And -- if so, we're going to introduce ourselves and say, great show and maybe share a beer him or whatever.
And, well, he saw us looking at him and didn't like the fact that we were looking at him. So he said something like, you know, what the hell are you looking at? And I said, oh, we just thought you were the lead singer of UB40.
And he said something fairly aggressive, frankly, you know, I'm not and screw off or something to that degree. And at that point, Brett took umbrage at this and threw his beer at the guy. I actually now found out from the report that it wasn't beer, that I had misremembered. It was ice cubes in whatever the drink was that he was drinking. I guess we weren't drinking water, so it must have been some sort of mixed drink.
And, well, the fellow -- well, Brett said, look, fuck (ph) you, or something to that effect, and threw the ice at the guy, and the guy understandably, even though he had been aggressive in his response, found that was a little one step too far. So, he took a swing at Brett and then they were kind of -- two guys fighting, that was all pretty quick. And at that point, Chris Dudley, who had his drink in his hand proceeded to smash it up against the guy's head.
Well, the melee went on very briefly. I don't know what Brett was doing, exactly, but I was pulling -- I was pulling -- I was pulling Chris back and someone else was pulling the other guy back and next thing you know, there's some shouting and, I don't know how many minutes it was. It wasn't very many at all, frankly, the police show up. And they look around and ask questions about, you know, who did what and clearly the big mistake had been, the smashing of the glass against the guy's head.
So Chris was put in a squad car and taken down to jail. But Brett was questioned and I was questioned and I forget exactly how the sequence turned out but --
LUDINGTON: -- or the sequence from there, but I then called the coach and the coach went down to the station and picked up Chris, you know, an hour or two later and that was that.
CUOMO: Do you believe Brett Kavanaugh lied to Congress in a material way?
LUDINGTON: Yes. I believe that he lied and distorted and dissembled to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
LUDINGTON: He obviously said that he -- he obviously acknowledged drinking beer and beer and beer, but he also -- so he did say on occasion that I had too much and others had too much, but for me, he never acknowledged that he -- that he got to the point that he might not actually remember something. And I find that very hard to believe, frankly.
I find that impossible to believe, actually.
CUOMO: Should it matter?
LUDINGTON: You know, that's not entirely up to me to decide, but I don't think that getting drunk in your college years should matter, no. I wouldn't be sitting here with a coat and tie on, probably, if that was going to restrict, you know, what happens to us the rest of our lives. But I do believe that it's fundamentally wrong, indeed, illegal to lie in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
CUOMO: Did the FBI reach out to you? LUDINGTON: Yes. At the end of today, about 5:00, a form showed up in
my inbox, that said that, you know, requested that I fill out the form with my testimony. And so, my understanding from here is that I fill it out later tonight, telling the stories that I just told you and, well, they either call me in or they don't, but I'm happy to give that on oath. And as I said, I'm not certain of all the different words that were said and, you know, between people to start that fight, but the general tenor, I know, absolutely --
CUOMO: Let's talk about that for a second. You say this is the one specific example, which is obviously bolstered by the fact that it's in the news right now with an alleged report from the police, recounting the same event as you remember it. Can you think of any other occasions where Brett Kavanaugh was drunk to the point where he probably couldn't have remembered what was going on or was belligerent or was tough on women?
LUDINGTON: Well, remember, Chris, I was probably drinking, too, much of that time and it was a long time ago, but -- and I've also said, it's not something I'm judging. But given that we're -- the whole claim is that that was never the case, I would say I have some sort of picture images of Brett in a bar called Rudy's that was, oh, I forget the name of the street was, but it was a popular late-night watering hole for -- for many men, hard-drinking Yale men, and women, too.
What I have is many memories of, of Brett -- and again, many of them jovial and laughing, but also many aggressive, too. So, it's not as if it was all, you know, anger and, you know, and fisticuffs. It was -- you know, there was the good and the bad. But there was definitely some aggression, some aggression that did come out, quite often when Brett was drunk.
CUOMO: You don't remember him ever doing anything that was wrong with women, do you?
LUDINGTON: No. I have no recollection of anything like that. I can't comment to any of that. And in my statement, that I put out yesterday, and in what I've -- the draft I have for the FBI has nothing to do with women.
CUOMO: Before the lying about his drinking and his habits in school, did you believe that Brett Kavanaugh was a good choice for the Supreme Court?
LUDINGTON: Well, there, too, you know, I can't deny that many of his political views are not the ones that I hold. But I'm also the kind of person who believes that elections have consequences. And Donald Trump won the election, Republicans won. And despite the fact that I completely disagree with what happened with Merrick Garland, that's certainly not Brett's fault.
CUOMO: All right, Chad. This is very helpful, especially right now. We'll see what the week brings, but it's very important to paint an accurate picture of the nominee for the Supreme Court. Thank you for helping us.
LUDINGTON: Well, my pleasure. I've -- my pleasure.
CUOMO: Chad Ludington, we let him tell the whole story. You know why? Details count. When somebody says they were there, you want to hear everything that they remember. Again, an isolated event decades ago, but this all matters right now and there are a lot of people kind of telling parts of the truth.
But I'll tell you what? Go online and Google the police report that "The New York Times" has and take a look at how squarely it lines up with what Ludington just told you.
So, what does it mean what he just told you? Well, there's this central occupation right now of trying to determine, discern how much and how much it matters, whether or not Kavanaugh told the truth about his habits. Well, he was under oath.
Well, does that make it perjury? Maybe. Should it matter? Maybe. Both are debatable. And we will have that great debate about both, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: If Judge Kavanaugh is shown to have lied to the committee, nomination's over?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Oh, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: I'm going to give you the eyebrows facedown? Really?
Interesting to hear the senators do that. Why? Because are all lies equal? I know we tell our kids they are. But in this setting, a material misrepresentation of fact. Does this qualify?
Now, if it turns out that Kavanaugh did lie under oath, the trouble for senators who you be, now, do I trust anything that he said? Well, that's not a legal standard. Yes, it is.
So, it's certainly up for debate. And we're going to do that right now. Jennifer Granholm and Rick Santorum.
Let's start with this vexing question for senators. If they are going to obsess on credibility, right, because you have jurisprudence, you have judicial philosophy, you've got a lot of things you can base your decision on. But if it's about credibility, Jennifer, is lying about his habits in high school and college a material misrepresentation of fact?
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it's a really great question, Chris. You talk about the legal standard, and there is that jury instruction, which everybody has been told about by now, falsus in uno, false in omnibus, if you lie in one thing, you can discount the credibility of somebody in other things. You lie in something small, you can discount the credibility in something large.
So, for example, if it's found out that his acquaintances in high school didn't say that devil's triangle is a drinking game within a triangle, you know, is that big enough? You know, probably not, right? If it's that, you know, ralphing doesn't mean an upset stomach because of spicy food, but something else, is it a problem if he says he doesn't know or he doesn't -- he didn't say, he asserted that he was old enough to drink and he wasn't. You know, now you start to see a sort of pile-on of different kind of mischaracterizations and lies.
And then you throw in how he characterized himself in the drinking and then he says, well, I never went to a party like the one that Dr. Ford described. And there on his calendar is the very kind of party that she described.
So, how many of these sort of steam roll into something?
CUOMO: Well, is it how many or is it about the nature? Is it the number or the nature?
GRANHOLM: Well --
CUOMO: Rick, let me bounce this to you, Jen, so I can get everybody in here. The idea of if he's lying about anything in this context, short of his actions toward the women who were making the accusations, do you think that that is not disqualifying, Rick?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, first off, I don't know how you're going to prove that he's, quote, lying about something. I mean, this is -- he said that he drank. He said that he drank to excess at times. That he was drunk at times. He admitted to that.
The only thing he did not admit to was blacking out and not recalling things. And he -- you know, he has his college roommate basically, you know, saying, you know, I've lived with this guy for three years and I never saw him in this position where the next day he couldn't remember and tell what was going on.
CUOMO: That's true and Chris Dudley also said he never saw him blackout. I don't know that the blackout standard is the sole criterion. I know -- I hear what you're saying.
SANTORUM: He admitted that he got drunk. I mean --
CUOMO: But he didn't really admit it anymore than he needed to. I think it's fair criticism to say that he was not talking about himself the way his classmates talk about him. The question is, does it matter?
SANTORUM: Well, again, I don't think -- I don't see where -- does he have to go out and say, oh, yes, I got hammered all the time? I mean --
CUOMO: Well, the Fox interview who calls out when it happened, as a mistake, and not because it was with Fox folk. It's because he sat across from a friendly face and he painted a perfect picture of himself, church and social projects for me. I was 18, I could have a beer here and there.
SANTORUM: He said he drank.
CUOMO: We drank beer, but maybe have one too many, he was not talking about himself the way other people talk about him.
But, Jennifer, so what?
SANTORUM: That's a characterization, that's not a lie.
CUOMO: Well, then why are all these people -- hold on, hold on. Why are all of these people coming forward who went to school with him and saying they're lying about who he was? People who call him a friend, people who think that he is a good nominee?
SANTORUM: And a lot of people are coming -- and many, many more are coming and saying that the Brett Kavanaugh they know is exactly consistent with what he's saying.
CUOMO: No, not many, many more.
SANTORUM: Yes, yes.
CUOMO: No, no.
SANTORUM: What, 65 women signed a document saying this was all a bunch of -- that that's not Brett Kavanaugh.
GRANHOLM: But just because they weren't there doesn't mean it didn't happen.
SANTORUM: It's not they weren't there -- these are tight-knit communities.
CUOMO: None of them ever said he didn't party. He didn't get drunk a lot.
SANTORUM: He didn't say he didn't do that.
CUOMO: They came forward to vouch about his character. You're parsing and I get why.
SANTORUM: I'm not parsing.
CUOMO: Oh, you are parsing. You're saying all of these people came out to say what the other person is untrue, but none of them say that. None of those 65 women said -- and on the issue of his credibility about his habits, drinking, he is sober 100 percent of the time and he only drank a little bit too much once in a while.
SANTORUM: He didn't say that.
CUOMO: Nothing out of character. That's not true. They don't offset.
Jennifer, what's your point?
GRANHOLM: So, I was just going to say, you know, when I was governor, I appointed scores of judges. And if there ever was three sworn allegations of sexual assault or harassment, plus or separate from that, any allegations of drinking and belligerence, et cetera, or allegations of intemperance, I think -- I know those would have been disqualifiers. I would not have appointed somebody --
SANTORUM: So, Jennifer, you would disqualify someone from three uncorroborated allegations with no evidence to back them up.
GRANHOLM: But you say they're uncorroborated.
SANTORUM: They are specifically corroborated.
GRANHOLM: All right. Dr. Ford -- do we have to go over this again? Dr. Ford took a polygraph. I mean, what's -- so in court, when you're a prosecutor, you use polygraphs to assess the credibility --
SANTORUM: We don't.
GRANHOLM: This is not a court, but I'm telling you, polygraphs are used all the time to assess the credibility of a witness before you put them on.
SANTORUM: And the validity of them is very suspect, as you know.
GRANHOLM: Well, the FBI and law enforcement use them all the time. I'm just saying that there are a lot of additional ancillary corroborating pieces of evidence. And, Rick, let me just say this, too.
GRANHOLM: The part that's so frustrating about this is that we have a woman who gets up there and takes an oath and who comes across to most people as incredibly credible. I'm not sure that's the right thing to say, but as amazingly credible. And when you look at how women have viewed this, Rick --
SANTORUM: I understand.
GRANHOLM: -- this is a dangerous, dangerous thing. SANTORUM: It's equally as dangerous --
GRANHOLM: Let me finish my point --
SANTORUM: Let me finish --
CUOMO: I'm running out of time. So, Jennifer, finish your point. Rick, you get the last word.
CUOMO: Hey, calm down. Jennifer, you finish your point and then, Rick, you get the last word.
Rick, hold on. We're going to do this right. Jennifer, finish your point. Rick, you get the last word.
GRANHOLM: There was a Quinnipiac poll that was out today that tested the credibility among especially this group of people, white college- educated women. Women believed her and did not want him to be confirmed.
CUOMO: All right.
GRANHOLM: They didn't want him to be confirmed by 24 points and they believed her by 30 points! This is a dangerous thing for politics, in addition to the judiciary and the credibility of the court.
SANTORUM: I would just say, first off, it's equally -- in fact, it's more dangerous to have a situation where someone who makes an accusation that's uncorroborated is believed --
GRANHOLM: But it is --
SANTORUM: Because we have a system that he protects the accused, so one innocent person doesn't go to jail. We have lots of things in place to make sure innocent people --
GRANHOLM: Sexual assault is never done usually with another person in the room.
CUOMO: Hold on, Jennifer. Let him make his point.
SANTORUM: The other thing -- as far as your poll is concerned, I suspect if you ran that poll and you looked at whether those women were favorable or unfavorable of Trump, you would have equal numbers. So I think a lot of this has to do with the politics that's being played here.
CUOMO: All right.
GRANHOLM: This is a huge majority of people. I didn't look -- SANTORUM: We're talking about college-educated women, at 30 percent,
I guarantee you, the same number opposes Trump.
CUOMO: I've got to leave it there because of time. I appreciate it, both.
And, Rick, I don't mind to come you have s a scold of you, you're always welcome to give your opinions. I just want to keep it apples to apples.
SANTORUM: I appreciate it.
CUOMO: Thanks to both of making your argument.
GRANHOLM: I appreciate it.
CUOMO: All right? Jennifer Granholm, Rick Santorum.
Now, so who wants to delay the process? Democrats want to delay the process, fair criticism. But they're not the only ones.
We have a top Republican who says it is in the best interest of the country to do so. Why? You just heard that debate, right? We're not exactly in a good place on this.
Governor John Kasich is here to talk about where he thinks this is headed and what we need to do better, next.
CUOMO: A second conservative Supreme Court justice. That is music to conservatives' ears, Republicans' ears. It was a huge selling point in the midterms.
It was a huge selling point in the presidential race. In fact, many might argue it is exactly why real conservatives who share very, very, very little with President Trump excuse so much that he says and does. Why? Judges.
But even before we know what the FBI finds, the Kavanaugh confirmation process is not sitting well with voters. Let's dive into where this leaves the GOP with Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Gov, it's good to have you.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: You understand the machinations. You weren't in the Senate, but you get this. You get what this is about and where it's going to wind up.
What is your take on whether at the end of this week, we will have a moment of clarity where the senators can say, oh, now I know. Now I can do this.
KASICH: Chris, I guess it was a day before the hearing, I asked for a full and complete investigation. I think it was important, very concerned about the testimony of a woman. They need to be listened to. There was without any question about it.
And I thought it made sense to slow down. And it turned out, that's where the Senate went when they were in that hearing.
When I look at things now as to what you believe or what I believe or what somebody else out here believes, we're not getting very far on this. And I don't know what's going to happen when the FBI comes in. But here's my observations and the lessons we're learning: Chris, we are in a zero-sum game. It's like the flip of a coin. I flip the coin, heads I win, tails, you lose. Or you flip the coin and, you know, you got heads, you win and I lose.
You can't run politics, you can't run life in a zero-game environment. And so it's like when you're in that environment, all the tactics are permitted. You can say anything about anybody, you can -- because it's all about me winning and you losing. We can't live our lives that way.
And then we get to our tongues, you know, our tongues, which one person wrote, I think it was even in the Scripture, that the tongue is more powerful than a rudder on a ship. And we use this tongue as a weapon and we use social media now as a weapon, almost a virtual tongue to say things that we end up turning around, and we apologize to our spouses, we apologize to our friends, we apologize to our business partners and guess what? Sometimes we can't heal it.
And we have got to all wake up, that I don't have to win and you have to lose. You know, we can all have some victories.
CUOMO: But how does that work in the confirmation process?
KASICH: Well --
CUOMO: Kavanaugh is going to be a win for some and a loss for others.
KASICH: Well, we have to think about what we're learning from this. Now, we had, Gorsuch was confirmed, but we have to learn, why did that work? Why is this not working? And why can't we have a process?
Because I was in the Congress for 18 years when we did so many things, including the fights to balance a budget after a government shutdown. We got to the point where we could figure out, yes, I might have a lot, but you're going to get something. I ran a budget committee. You know, it was a very partisan committee, but I would tell the people in my country, you've got to give them something. We can't win everything. It doesn't work.
I learned about pressure cookers when I was a kid. I said to my mother, you know, when you make those potatoes, why does that thing whistle. She said, Johnny, if it doesn't whistle and blow off steam, it will all explode.
We're about to see the explosion and what we are seeing in some sense the explosion of American politics. We -- I hope people will listen to me and think about, it doesn't have to be win and loss. There are ways in which we can get these things fixed.
Now, I think the investigation might have been a little bit of that, right? Where somebody said, OK, let's go --
CUOMO: Politically, it was.
CUOMO: Flake did a brave thing. He can say now on "60 Minutes," that, well, I'm going to be out of office. If I was staying in, I could have never done this. I hope he's wrong about that.
He and Chris Coons and the others worked together. There was no reason for Grassley to be accommodative unless Flake was saying, I won't give you my vote in committee and we're going to flip and Kavanaugh doesn't make it out. It was something that was done despite advantage and that was good. I just don't where we wind up.
KASICH: But think of the tactics, though. I mean, right now, because of I win and you lose, I can do anything, I can say anything. And then if I don't say it to your face, I can say it on social media. Who's winning on this?
KASICH: We're not teaching our kids this.
KASICH: We teach our kids, you win at all costs. The Ryder Cup was on over the weekend. You know what everybody liked? Each team giving each other a hug.
KASICH: You know, you play as hard as you can and you show respect for somebody because when you've backed them into a corner, whether it's a human being or whether it's an animal, you learn you back somebody into a corner, and they'll strike at you. And this is not the way we want to live in America, and this is just -- this is like the top of the hill from everything we've been seeing in that town for a very, very long time. And we see it in a lot of parts of life too.
CUOMO: But what I don't like about it, I'll tell you what. And I'm running out of time here, but this is what I don't like. No matter how this comes out, everybody's hurt.
KASICH: Everybody loses in this.
CUOMO: The allegation is going to go unsatisfied. Some people will believe the -- Professor Ford or maybe Ms. Ramirez, whichever allegation they decide. And what if they're not true? And what if there wasn't a proper vetting done that would have cleared Judge Kavanaugh or at least in a way that let people know it can't be corroborated.
KASICH: Well, it's got to be -- yes.
CUOMO: And he's not going to get that clarity either. There will be a stain on him and that's the concern.
KASICH: But, you know what? The question is, will somebody on that committee from both the Democratic side and the Republican side -- will they have the guts to say, I think we can just move forward here? You know, it's not everything I wanted, but can we move forward? And we'll see if we have any heroes in that regard.
CUOMO: Well, we'll see.
KASICH: It could be a start of healing, but then again, where we are with this, I got to win and you got to lose, it makes it very difficult.
CUOMO: Well, that's the hope that we saw with flake and coons. We'll see what we get here at the end of the week. And let's not forget, there's a big cheerleader banging the pompoms together for exactly this type of divisiveness, and it's the president of the United States.
Governor, thank you for being with us.
KASICH: All right. Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: We've got to talk NAFTA. It matters.
CUOMO: You're welcome back to do exactly that once we get through --
KASICH: I know. All of this. Thank you.
CUOMO: This vexing situation.
KASICH: All right. Let's go back to this key question we've been asking tonight. If the judge lied to senators on Thursday as some of his classmates allege, did he commit perjury? Would he be held accountable if we were in a court of law? Should it matter?
That's the closing argument, next.
CUOMO: Does it matter? That's the question facing Judge Kavanaugh on all these credibility issues. Now, look, I'm open to being wrong, and it would be really nice if the FBI could provide clarity in a situation that is certainly cloudy.
But assuming arguendo that the senators can't judge if the Ford and Ramirez or any other allegations are credible and well-corroborated, how do they Judge Kavanaugh when it comes to credibility?
Now, first, I don't believe that this is about how much Brett Kavanaugh drank in high school or college. I don't see that as a relevant, moral play here. In fact, I think it's silly. I went to the same university by the way, and the stories about Kavanaugh are as unimpressive as they are familiar. So let's put that to the side.
The problem for the judge is whether he comp -- let me put it the right way. It's whether or not he compromised confidence in him to administer and hold people to the same oath that maybe he abandoned and did so out of convenience. Swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is a weighty matter of discernment by the same robed folk that Kavanaugh seems to think he should join.
There was plenty in his pedigree and judicial record to parse. There were answers about his writings and his opinions to scrutinize, but that was all par for the course in this confounding confirmation process that's all about hiding from scrutiny. But that's not Kavanaugh's fault. That's the process that he's in. Those are the rules that are allowed.
So let's move past that meaty stuff that they should be basing this on and now go to what has become new with Kavanaugh that we didn't see with Gorsuch, the extent to which a senator is going to judge Kavanaugh on the basis of credibility. Central, did he lie, and does it matter? Well, did he lie? I'm going to leave that to you and the senators.
Let me go a step further about a consideration for you on that matter. Why would he lie? OK. The answer: to look better. To deny his critics a reasonable basis for questioning his denial of the Ford allegation. How so? By suggesting that he may not remember because of being drunk off his ass once again.
Now, I told you early last week that the test for Kavanaugh would not be what others say about him, but what he says about himself. That was clear because the allegations are not. I knew that that's an unsatisfying setting. I knew they weren't going to do the real investigation. We all did.
So how would the allegation be corroborated in that setting when you're only setting it up for a he said/she said. It was set up to be unsatisfying. That's why Brett Kavanaugh took the unprecedented step of going on Fox and painting a perfect picture of himself before a friendly face. And by doing so, he painted himself into a corner that he has spent every moment since then trying to get out of.
The proof? Many who have known him and may have thought he was a fine choice for the Supreme Court heard him say things in that interview and then under oath that bothered them because they know differently.
Now, in a court of law, would he be found guilty of perjury? A 1,001 violation for lying to a federal officer. The senators count as that. I don't know. Is it a material misrepresentation of fact?
What about if it were a big race, an election? Look at the president. Look at the standard. Look at the disaffection.
Lying is taken as forgiven. It's granted. It's assumed. All right. But we are not in a court of law. This is not a political
contest. This is a job interview to become a member of the paragon of integrity in our society.
So, where does that leave the senators? Does any lie matter? Do repeated lies matter? How about lies shouted with belligerence and disrespect to senators?
How about lies cloaked in spurious political rationales like the Clintons did it to cover for what he was covering? Those could be relevant considerations, and those are for the senators. Let's hope that their decision is made more easy by what the FBI finds out, but we will track it every night.
"CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON" starts right now.
What do you think?