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Kavanaugh College Friends: "There Were Certainly Many Times When He Could Not Remember What Was Going On"; Former Yale Classmate: Brett "Has Not Told The Truth"; McConnell: We'll Be Voting This Week" On Kavanaugh. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 1, 2018 - 19:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ACHOR: OUTFRONT next, Kavanaugh's college friend says the Supreme Court nominee is not telling the truth when it comes to alcohol. This as the president also weighs in on Kavanaugh's drinking. So is this where the FBI investigation is headed?

Plus, Republican leaders vowing to go through with a vote on Kavanaugh by the end of the week. Is that now wishful thinking? And President Trump lashes out at female reporters, two of them. What happened? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Brett has not told the truth, those were the powerful words of Brett Kavanaugh's college classmate, Chad Ludington, about the Supreme Court nominee. Ludington speaking out just moments ago about the Brett Kavanaugh he knew at Yale.


CHAD LUDINGTON, BRETT KAVANAUGH'S COLLEGE FRIEND: I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth. I felt it was my civic duty to tell of my experience while drinking with Brett. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His former roommate said he never saw him black out. He was with him when he got home at night and saw him when he woke up, your response to that.

LUDINGTON: I unfortunately believe that my -- probably now ex-friend is lying.


BOLDUAN: Ludington says he has spoken with the FBI, this as the president jumps back into the fray defending his nominee while raising new questions. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are now concerns that he may have lied or mischaracterized his drinking while testifying. If they find that he did, do you think that bars him from being your Supreme Court nominee?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I watched him. I was surprised at how vocal he was about the fact that he likes beer. And he's had a little bit of difficulty. I mean, he talked about things that happened when he drank.


BOLDUAN: During Kavanaugh's forceful testimony, you'll remember that he repeatedly talked about his love for beer. But was adamant that he did not have a drinking problem.


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

BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: You're asking about a blackout, I don't know, have you?

KLOBUCHAR: I have no drinking problem, Judge.



BOLDUAN: And signs tonight that the FBI is moving quickly in its new investigation, conducting new interviews with some of the key players. Kavanaugh's friend Mark Judge, Patrick or P.J. Smith and Leland Keyser. Christine Blasey Ford says all three were at the party where she claims she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh.

Investigators are also questioning Deborah Ramirez, the second Kavanaugh accuser. As you can tell, a lot to get to tonight. Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT live at the White House for us live at the rally where President Trump will be going very shortly. Jim, we know this question of how much Kavanaugh has drank is on top of the president's mind as well.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kate. You heard the president say earlier today at that news conference, you know, he went as far as to say that Judge Brett Kavanaugh has had difficulty with alcohol over the years, and contrasted that with his own drinking history, which he says he doesn't have a drinking history. And then went on to say -- he went to almost issue a warning to Washington that he knows of at least one Democratic lawmaker who he says has a drinking issue.

But putting all that to the side, Kate, you know, the thing that jumps out to me today is the president once again treading ever so carefully when it comes to this issue of Judge Brett Kavanaugh ordering the FBI today to go ahead and tell its agents to follow the leads wherever they take them. If they have leads to follow that they should go ahead and follow those leads. And that is a directive that came from the White House. After some complaining from both parties, senators from both parties were calling the White House and saying that this probe needs to be opened up.

You heard the president earlier today saying that he wants this investigation over by the end of the week. That's essentially where Republican senators are on the Judiciary Committee. That's obviously now where Democratic senators are in that regard.

But, Kate, I will tell you that this is something the president talked about over the weekend at a rally that he had in West Virginia. We expect him to do it again here tonight, complaining that this process has been unfair to a Supreme Court nominee. But I will tell you, speaking about all this in the political context state, I talked to a number of GOP sources close to the White House today who feel like this issue, whether Brett Kavanaugh rises or falls that this issue of his fight over the Supreme Court, the fate of the Supreme Court is something that is a winning issue for this White House setting into the midterm elections.

I talked to one GOP source close to the White House who said, this may be waking up a sleeping giant in what has been at times a depressed conservative base. This fight over the future of the Supreme Court feels really -- they feel really energizes the base at a critical time just weeks before the midterm elections.

[19:05:04] BOLDUAN: Fascinating. I think they win at lose or draw. That's really a draw when it comes to this one. Great to see you, Jim. Thanks so much.

OUTFRONT with me tonight, Dana Bash, CNN chief political correspondent, Josh Campbell is a former FBI supervisory agent, and Laura Coates, a former federal prosecutor.

Dana, first, did the president make this week harder for his Supreme Court pick and Republicans with his comments today? I know you have some new reporting?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: With his comments, I'm not so sure, he certainly -- no question gave the judge some heartburn in saying publicly that he wants the investigation to go where it leads, but it's not so much the president, because he isn't holding the cards. It is the three senators, Republican senators who have been very strong and very sort of cohesive, which is another interesting thing here, when you look at the raw math and the numbers.

The Republicans and the president can only afford to lose two Republicans, essentially, and/or two senators on the Republican side. And if these three senators stick together as they have so far, and as I am told they intend to as long as they can, they have enormous power. They have the power to determine what happens.

So that really matters more than anything. And I am told that they individually made calls to the White House over the past 24 hours saying, if there's any confusion about what we wanted in this FBI investigation, there shouldn't be. We want it to be very -- want it to be broad enough so that it can get to the bottom of any outstanding questions and it shouldn't be limited to four individual witnesses whom I'm told Mitch McConnell had relayed to the White House would be interviewed, they say, no, it should be more than that, wherever it goes.

BOLDUAN: And, Josh -- wherever it goes. And, Josh, to Dana's point, I mean the president today coming out and saying that he does not want to see the investigation limited. Listen to this --


TRUMP: I want them to do a very comprehensive investigation. Whatever that means according to the senators and the Republicans and the Republican majority, I want them to do that.


BOLDUAN: I want to play for you two of the president's top aides from over the weekend when this all was being talked about. Listen.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Well, it's not meant to be a fishing expedition.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This can't become a fishing expedition like the Democrats would like it to be.


BOLDUAN: So how do the FBI agents were working this? What do they do with these two pieces of information right now? Is there -- where is the space in between comprehensive and a fishing expedition?

JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: So I think there's further clouds and already blurry situation. If you're sitting there in the FBI and if you're trying to determine, OK, what is our mandate here, are we allowed to do whatever we want, follow the facts where they take us, or do we have to fall within these constraints, these guardrails that the White House has said up, I don't think we have the answer to that question.

If you listen -- look at this remarkable press conference that we saw today, there were a lot of caveats that the president had. He said, you know, I want him to do whatever they want to do within reason. If they can do whatever they want to do, you know, what the Senate says they can do, it's always caveat. And event the reporting today that we see, they're saying no, the White House is now saying, we're broadening the scope, the FBI can go where the facts take them.

There's still a part of that that requires the FBI to go back to the White House and request permission before they continue to expand their investigation. So I don't think this changes anything. I think what's happening is we see a spin machine that's an overdrive now and there's trying to say, look, OK, you know, this doesn't look good for us, it's not a good look for us to look like we're micromanaging this. But the fact that the bureau still has to go back and ask, Mother May I doesn't really change anything at all.

BOLDUAN: So we're just getting span into confusion. Laura, the president speaking of spinning into confusion, the president today said many things, but especially this that caught my ear about the investigation. Listen.


TRUMP: I actually think it's a good thing for Judge Kavanaugh. I think it's actually a good thing, not a bad thing. I think it's a good thing.


BOLDUAN: This is the point I've actually heard from Democrats, not Republicans, that more investigation is a good thing for Kavanaugh, for the process, but to get to the fact that it would be good for Kavanaugh to have more investigation. Do you agree?

LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it depends on what they find. It may not be good if they actually find something substantial that calls further his credibility into question. However, the idea of why process and due process in particular is important, Kate, is that you want both sides to be able to feel they had a meaningful opportunity to be heard, that it's not a he said she said opportunities to bolster or even undermine the other side's credibility. A full investigation provides that particular vehicle.

The part of the question here and the reason of confusion is that it's hard to tell at times what specifically is on trial. Is it the active sexual assault? Is it his credibility? Is it his drinking? Is it the political operative notion going on? And so unless the FBI has clarity on that issue, which seems to be really, really fractured now in the president's mind and in his spokespeople is that what is actually to be investigated if we're to be told and believed what Mitch McConnell has to say, it's very limited to crossing of the t's and dotting of the i's.

[19:10:10] And that's really antithetical to what the FBI does. They don't take direction on the parameters and scope. They're supposed to be able to follow the leads as they come and follow it to exhaustion. We don't have that here because of that confusion.

BASH: And that's --

BOLDUAN: It is -- go ahead, Dana.

BASH: No, I was just going to say, that's a really important point that Laura made about whether or not, you know, what the scope of the investigation is, or more importantly, what matters and what doesn't. And that is by definition in this political environment, not a legal environment, going to be up to the senators who have to make that judgment at the end of the day.

And my reporting is that they're not so sure, at least these key senators, what the answer to that is yet. And they probably won't know how they feel about that judgment call until they see all of the facts as they bear out. Not just with the sexual assault, but with the heavy drinking, because they of course are potentially related and have to do with the credibility of Judge Kavanaugh.

BOLDUAN: But it's also not clear, and this gets to kind of your point, Laura, of like first, let's figure out what we're investigating, but also who's running the show is another huge, huge question mark.

Let me play for you, Josh, I want to play one other piece of sound of what the former friend, I think we should call him now, and former classmate as well, Chad Ludington, what he said today. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What specifically did he testify to that you believe is a lie?

LUDINGTON: I have seen Brett drunk to the point he could easily be passed out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you never saw him passed out?

LUDINGTON: No, I never saw him passed out. But I saw him quite drunk. He saw me quite drunk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he testified that he did drink and wasn't proud of everything.

LUDINGTON: He did. But he also downplayed to a great degree the possibility that he could never not know what was going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you're saying there were omissions?

LUDINGTON: I'm saying there were omissions. There were certainly many times when he could not remember what was going on.


BOLDUAN: What do you do with that?

CAMPBELL: So this statement that we saw from Mr. Ludington is a prime example why I think the guardrails on investigation like this are potentially, you know, hindering a further wholesome investigation because his name isn't on that original list that went to the FBI to investigate. So if he is going to now provide information that may question the veracity of statements that were made by Judge Kavanaugh to the Senate, to the American people essentially, will that be incorporated in this investigation? Does he have names of additional people who might be able to --

BOLDUAN: Do you think it should?

CAMPBELL: I think it should. Because again, at the end of the day, this isn't a legal investigation, not a criminal case, this comes down to, is this person suitable to sit on the United States Supreme Court? A very powerful office. This is someone -- you know, we talked about earlier today that the average life expectancy in United States for males is 76 years old, he's 53. Over two decades, potentially, he's going to spend in a very powerful office. To look at the FBI and say, you've got a week. And by the way, you can only investigate x, y, z, I don't think is the right way to handle such a serious and important position like the Supreme Court.

BOLDUAN: And, Laura, let me ask you because in response to basically -- not necessarily Chad, but this idea of investigating this blackout question. The White House has put out two statements from college friends who say that they never once saw Kavanaugh black out. Republican leaders have also made clear that his drinking, they don't think should be part of the investigation. Why do you think, Laura, this is becoming such a point of contention? I know that first and foremost we're not sure what they're investigating, but what do you think?

COATES: Well, because even in a court of law, and in you're talking to people in your every day terms, the idea that somebody perhaps would lie about a very benign and inconsequential detail calls into question whether they lied about far more consequential things. In fact, part of the jury instructions that are given in trials in courts of law, are about your ability to call into question the credibility of a witness who lies about even minor things and to be able to that point, take that lack of credibility there and apply it to the entire testimony.

So if you have that as your guidelines here, it's not really that odd that senators, many of whom have previously been attorneys and prosecutors or themselves are just questioning people would say, if he lies about this minor point, what is the other third rail he's not touching. That's important.

BOLDUAN: And unanswered right now. Great to see you guys. Thank you so much.

OUTFRONT for us next, President Trump telling the FBI to follow the leads wherever they may go. But will he accept their findings after repeatedly slamming that very agency?

Plus, President Trump tells a female reporter, "You're not thinking. You never do." Sexist comment or something else.

And the sex crimes prosecutor who questioned Christine Blasey Ford in that hearing says she would not be able to bring charges against Kavanaugh from what she heard. How much wait will her words hold?


[19:18:22] BOLDUAN: Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell vows to move ahead with a vote on Brett Kavanaugh by the end of the week. But Republican Senator Jeff Flake is signaling that he will not be settling for just any FBI investigation. Watch.


SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It does no good to have an investigation that just gives us more cover, for example. We actually need to find out what we can find out.


BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT now, national affairs correspondent for The Nation, Joan Walsh and former Trump White House Director of Legislative Affairs, Marc Short. Now, as we always point out with you, Marc, as well as others, former Trump officials has signed a non-disparagement agreement with the campaign.

First to you, Marc, on that note, the president says that he's going to take the Senate's lead on the scope of the investigation. The Senate is apparently leaving it to the FBI. That's what we heard from John Cornyn today. Do you have a real sense of who is running the show right now?

MARC SHORT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: My understanding is that the Senate sets the parameters but the request has to come from the White House. So I believe that the Senate is and as Dana said in your last segment, the reality is there's a handful roughly four senators who I think dictate the outcome here. And so, I think that the parameters ultimately will be decided where their comfort level is.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And where that is is a big mystery for everyone right now. I mean very seriously.

Joan, the fact that there is so much -- I don't know, confusion three days later in term of who is in charge. I mean Marc seems to know and I'm very happy that Marc know. But all three --


BOLDUAN: Marc knows so much. But when it comes to this, there has been -- I mean it was -- are you in charge? Are you in charge? I mean back and forth from the White House to Congress, these are questions that go into senators all day. What does that say about how quickly this thing is going to move?

[19:20:06] JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: I don't know how it moves quickly. And, you know, we've also been hearing all day that some people are trying to get in touch with the FBI, Kate, and they go to one office. And they say go to D.C. and D.C. says go to your local and their local has a tip line and they leave a message. I mean it's crazy. And I really don't understand.

I appreciate that Marc thinks he knows, hopes he knows. But I don't think anyone knows. And it really shouldn't be like this. This is really unacceptable. And I think it sounds like it should be unacceptable to Senator Flake, but we'll see what he does in the next day or so.

BOLDUAN: I mean more unknowns than knowns at this point. When it does come to the FBI, Marc, the president has -- he's had a complicated relationship with the agency to say the least, a refresher.


TRUMP: When you look at what was going on at the top of the FBI, it is a disgrace and everybody in this room understands it.

The top people in the FBI headed by Comey were crooked.

Well, it's a shame what's happened with the FBI.


BOLDUAN: With all that in mind, how confident are you that the president is going to trust what the FBI produces, especially if it's not good for Kavanaugh?

SHORT: I'm confident. Kate, I think the president has said many times that even when he went to Quantico how much he respects the FBI, he's had problems with those who props for leadership positions there who I think did try to politicize the FBI. And in fact, there's been plenty of evidence the ways they look to tried to undermine his campaign and those agency were taxing back and forth each other, their efforts to try to stop the president. So I think some of that has been exposed but it doesn't mean that he doesn't trust other FBI agents.

And again, I think as where we are in the situation, we can all agree that this is a debacle. The Senate mishandled it. And hopefully we can all agree as well that if Senator Feinstein had actually handed this over to FBI in July when she received the letter, we wouldn't be in this situation.

COATES: Marc, we all know why that didn't happen. Why are we still talking about that? I mean when the victim doesn't want to come forward -- I wish, as a Democrat, as a feminist, I do wish there had been some way for her to come forward. But it's not -- to keep blaming Senator Feinstein is really unfortunate. It's not her fault. It's not her doing.

SHORT: Oh I think quite frankly, it is her doing. I think it is her fault. I think there are plenty of ways that she could have handled this. She could have worked with Chairman Grassley in private on this as well. She could have gone to the FBI. She's could have address this in private meetings that she had with Kavanaugh. But instead, the Senate decided to leak the letter to the press and he got out the way it did.

COATES: We don't know who leaks the letter. We don't know who leaked the letter.


SHORT: There's only one person who had receipt of the letter.


SHORT: And despite all the accommodations to date, accommodations to say, we can't move forward until we hear her testimony. We can't move forward until there's an FBI investigation. I have not heard one Democrat, not one say, hey, in light of doing this, I'll reconsider my decision, I'll reconsider it based upon the FBI investigation my position on Kavanaugh. Not one has come forward and said, hey, I'll actually reconsider.

COATES: Actually, we still have some Democrats who have not said what they're going to do. Senator Manchin has not said what he's going to do.

SHORT: He's the only one who said it, but there's not one who said I will reconsider in light of this.


BOLDUAN: Because of how this has played out, it's messy, and have put many people -- I mean Christine Blasey Ford, one of them -- Brett Kavanaugh and others get to come back for another hearing and Christine Blasey Ford haven't speak up publicly. But in terms of what this has done, it blew past an arbitrary deadline. So no matter how it pans out, if we're at this moment when it comes to just getting the truth, isn't it just time to get there?

SHORT: I think ultimately, Kate, as we said, that there's a landful of senators that control that determination, what the real-time line is. And if they feel that they've reached a perspective on Friday, that they have comfort, that they trust what testimonies Brett Kavanaugh gave, I think we move forward. If they're not comfortable yet, then I think it's hard to see it moving forward quickly.

BOLDUAN: Joan, do you see -- I'm being cynical, but do you think in the end anyone's going to believe the outcome? There's going to be a general consensus around the outcome of this reporting? I am skeptical.

WALSH: I hope. There won't be consensus.

BOLDUAN: I'm just saying because of political climate. I'm not questioning the FBI.

WALSH: We're all grown-ups, so there won't be consensus, Kate, but there could be more coming together. It really depends on what the FBI finds and how transparent the process is. I mean -- and that's what think all of us, let's be fair to Marc. Marc may feel this way too. All of us kind of wonder how are they going to let us know what they find? How is it going to move forward? You know, who is going to tell whom, and what will we know in the end? Will it be some secret process where these senators are given some information and we don't know. Dr. Blasey Ford doesn't know. Maybe Judge Kavanaugh doesn't know. It's hard to know what's going to bring us, what if anything will bring us together.

BOLDUAN: We are finding out already which people, which people are the kind of the center of this are already being investigated three days in. So we are getting some information, be it through transparency or just good reporting. Regardless, on ward and upward. Great to see you guys. Thank you so much. [19:25:00] SHORT: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, we have some breaking news. "The New York Times" is reporting that Brett Kavanaugh was involved in a bar fight while in college, and they have breaking details coming out.


TRUMP: That's OK. I know you're not thinking. You never do.




BOLDUAN: Breaking news right now, "The New York Times" is reporting tonight that Brett Kavanaugh was questioned by police after a bar fight back in 1985. Kavanaugh was an undergraduate student at Yale at the time. And according to this police report obtained by "The New York Times," the 21-year-old victim accused Kavanaugh for throwing ice on him "for some unknown reason."

A witness claims another one of Kavanaugh's friends hit the man then in the ear with a glass. The victim, according to the police report, was treated at the hospital. Kavanaugh was not arrested and Kavanaugh has not responded to this report this evening.

OUTFRONT with me now though, Democratic congressman from California, Eric Swalwell, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee.

Congressman, thanks of coming in.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Good evening, Kate. Thanks for having me back.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. Now, you have another story coming out tonight about Kavanaugh and an incident involving drinking, according to a police report. What do you think this does to his nomination?

SWALWELL: Well, Kate, typically this would not be disqualifying for any Supreme Court nominee the fact that they drank in college like most people in college do.


SWALWELL: However, it is disqualifying because he has painted himself as a choir boy who never engaged in any of this behavior. And all of the evidence seems to go the other way.

And so I think we just have to ask ourselves, if he's willing to lie about something so small like that, would he also be willing to lie about some of these larger allegations? That's what's so concerning?

BOLDUAN: Do you think -- and this is still coming out in the source of "The New York Times" in this police report, do you think something like this, something like a bar fight is something that the FBI should be including in its new investigation?

SWALWELL: As it relates to his truthfulness before the Senate confirmation hearing? Yes. As it relates to anything else? No. But he has put his character and the way that he says he conducted himself now on the line, and I think up for being tested or corroborated. And right now, there's not really anyone who's willing to come forward and say that Brett Kavanaugh is the person that Brett Kavanaugh has told everyone he was in college.

BOLDUAN: Well, there are -- a couple -- actually, the White House has put out a couple friends who are defending him. I want to get to that in just one second. But on this police report that was filed, this account filed as a police report, it's back in 1985 again. It sounds similar to an incident that Kavanaugh's former classmate, Chad Ludington (ph), who is speaking out, that he talked about in a statement. And let me read that statement to you.

In part it says: On one of the last occasions, I purposely socialized with Brett. He said that he witnessed him semi-hostile remark not by defusing the situation but by throwing his beer in the man's face. Could be the same thing, could be different. This is all just coming out.

If this is a pattern, what does it mean?

SWALWELL: Well, the arrows continue to point in the same direction, which is that this was a person who conducted himself in an aggressive way especially when he was drinking. And we saw that same aggression on display during his opening statement and as he went back and forth with many of the senators. And I would say this, Kate, the standards should not be, can he be criminally charged? This is a job interview. And I don't think he should be hired.


SWALWELL: But if they want to raise the standard to a criminal standard, I would also put in this jury instruction that every jury in America is told, that a single witness can prove any fact if you believe that witness. And I think America believed, for good reason, the account of Dr. Ford.

And so, she herself was credible. Anything else that corroborates who he was or what she's saying I think just adds more reasons not to hire him.

BOLDUAN: Well, a couple of things on that, though. The White House today, though, did put out a statement, statements from two college friends of Kavanaughs who say from their perspective, they never once saw him black out. So, if you're going to believe accounts of one friend, you have to take into account also the accounts of other friends who say this is not the Kavanaugh that they know, the one not getting into a bar fight.

SWALWELL: Yes. Yes, Kate. I mean, as you know, I think most people know, there's no indicator light that goes on when you're walking around and you're blackout, and blackout doesn't mean that you're actually passed out. People all the time go beyond their, you know, drinking capabilities and do things that they regret the next day.

So, I don't really buy that, but I do buy the stories that I've seen in "The New Yorker" that it's been very hard to get people in this boys club of Judge Kavanaugh's to talk, or to go on the record out of fear of retribution because of the close knit circle that existed at Georgetown Prep and at Yale College.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this, congressman. The reason this FBI investigation is taking place is because of Republican Senator Jeff Flake, he insisted on it. I want to play for you what Flake told "60 Minutes" last night about his decision.


INTERVIEWER: You announced you're not running for re-election, and I wonder could you have done this if you were running for re-election?

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: No, not a chance.

INTERVIEWER: Not a chance?


INTERVIEWER: Because politics has become too sharp, too partisan?

FLAKE: There's no value to reaching across the aisle. There's no currency for that anymore. There's no incentive.


BOLDUAN: Can you acknowledge you've had to make decisions like that?

SWALWELL: No. I acknowledge, I'm grateful Jeff Flake did what he did. I'll just relate back to the Russia investigation, when I was trying to get colleagues to work with me in a bipartisan way. And I heard so many Republicans say that if Donald Trump tweets at me, he wins. I started to realize what they were saying was that their job would be a risk if they spoke out.

And, Kate, what I don't understand is we are members of Congress, right?

BOLDUAN: But can you at least acknowledge that Democrats and Republicans are alike in what Jeff Flake said? You're not saying the Democrats are immune from that amount of pressure?


BOLDUAN: You guys always, especially in the House, the moment you get elected, you're running again and fund-raising again.

SWALWELL: Sure, sure. But I would hope, Kate, that members of Congress are otherwise employable elsewhere and this is not the only job that we can hold. It is a lesson for me, though, because I know how upset I am by not seeing the Republicans stand up to the president, that maybe in a position one day where I need to stand up to someone my own party and I hate how I feel about what they're doing. And I want to make sure I hold myself to that same standard, because it is awful that no Republican can come forward other than Jeff Flake to just say this is wrong.

[19:35:00] BOLDUAN: We'll hold you to that standard as well. Don't worry, Congressman. Thank you.

SWALWELL: You better. I hope you do. Thank you. Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: I appreciate you coming in. Thanks for jumping on the breaking news. Thanks so much.

SWALWELL: Of course.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next: President Trump takes a dig at not one but two female reporters today. Is it about gender or not?

Plus, the battle for control of the Senate could come down to a key race in Nevada, and for voters, it's personal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, it's life or death for me.



BOLDUAN: President Trump silencing reporters today and his targets: two women doing their jobs asking questions at a Rose Garden press conference. It really came out of nowhere. Just listen, watch and listen as ABC's Cecilia Vega gets up to ask her question.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She's shocked that I picked her. She's in a state of shock.

CECILIA VEGA, ABC NEWS: I'm not. Thank you, Mr. President.

TRUMP: That's OK. I know you're not thinking. You never do.

VEGA: I'm sorry?

TRUMP: No, go ahead.


BOLDUAN: You heard that, right? I know you're not thinking, you never do. The words of a president toward a reporter today.

And here's how he reacted when CNN's Kaitlan Collins tried to ask her questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [19:40:03] KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. Now that you've answered several questions on trade, I'd like to turn to Judge Kavanaugh --

TRUMP: Don't do that. Do you have -- excuse me, do you have a question? We'll do one or two more questions on trade.

COLLINS: You've answered several questions on trade.

TRUMP: OK, don't do that. That's not nice. And besides, somebody is before -- excuse me. Don't do that. Do you have a question on trade?

COLLINS: You answered several questions on trade.

TRUMP: Do you have a question on trade?

COLLINS: My question is on Judge Kavanaugh.

TRUMP: OK, please, yes?

COLLINS: You said the FBI should interview whoever they believe is appropriate, does that include Julie Swetnick, the third accuser?

TRUMP: Give me your question, please. Yes, go ahead, please?

COLLINS: Can you promise to release the findings of the FBI after they finish their report, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Hey, you know what? You've really had enough. Hey, you've had enough.


BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT now, April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and author of "Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House", and David Gergen, former presidential adviser to four presidents.

April, is this what it looked like today? I mean, the president telling female reporters basically to sit down?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: In its most base and raw form, yes, it was. This president was disrespecting journalists number one, regardless of gender, and two, good reporters, I mean, excellent reporters who are asking real questions, not questions to pacify the president or this administration, or questions that are from a party affiliation. These are good reporters who are asking real good questions and he didn't want to hear it.

BOLDUAN: David, you saw this today play out. And you thought what?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I thought that he has a deep down, a real animus now toward women who have been coming forward and bothering him, festering him, you know? We know of 25 women that have come forward that he's aware of, alleging sexual assault for male or another, many of them about him. And in every single case, he has demeaned and dismissed the women.

And now that he's under attack on the Kavanaugh front, he engaged in these gratuitous insults against these two women reporters, something that just isn't done. I'm sorry, it just -- I can't remember a bullying of reporters like this, ever. But he's almost itching to have a fight, and he's so surprised, because his numbers are dropping so rapidly among women. There's one report out on a poll of Republican women are down 19 points, and the credibility of the president.

And there's a sharp drop among women with regard to the Kavanaugh -- independent women are down over 15 points, on -- against Kavanaugh. And the overall among women is now -- it's seven or eight, nine points down. I just -- I'm so stunned, I have to believe he's carrying around a lot of anger and bitterness about what's been happening, and he lashed out a couple times, as a result.

BOLDUAN: And, April, I guess you hit on it right off the top. I guess, forget gender, the president has a fraught relationship with nearly every journalist that covers him. What was it, because it struck me as something different today? What was so striking about this today?

RYAN: Well, these are two great journalists who asked questions again that this administration doesn't like, and this president doesn't like. They have asked the president questions in the oval office or other places that really catch this administration and make headlines, and I think back, there are three instances in history, and David can probably attest to this.

I remember Helen Thomas, the late great Helen Thomas, you know, even though presidents may not have liked her, they acted like they did, and also, if she threw a tough question, they would kind of make a joke about it, and go into the answer.

I think about Anne Compton, the great Anne Compton, veteran who -- you know, from ABC, who was working for ABC News. I remember the day when she used to talk about the women who would sit in the front row to ask a question, and I remember Barack Obama, the former president of the United States, when he had that historic all female question-and- answer session in the briefing room, eight women, just eight women he called on to question him, and I was the last one, I was number eight.

For this president to demean, number one, the press corps and to demean the women in the press corps who are there to do a job, it does not bode well for him, this is -- against freedom of the press, and it doesn't look good for him when it comes to women. David said it so succinctly, we're going into the midterms and his numbers are dropping. This does not bode well for him.

BOLDUAN: Let me talk about those numbers. One of them that you're alluding to, David, the new Quinnipiac poll out today about Judge Kavanaugh, it's just a big gender gap now. Women now opposing the Kavanaugh nomination by 18 points. I mean, yes, they might say they don't care, but should the White House really be worried about his number? GERGEN: Yes, this is not a gender gap, it's a gender canyon.

[19:45:02] And it's deep and forbidding. And it really is -- and in country's interest, I can't -- this is not just about Trump's approval or disapproval, it's about what kind of country we've become or are becoming. And whether our leaders are going to try to be healers and people who respect each other, and move us towards civility, or whether they're going to continue to drop these bombs on our civility and make us all angry with one another.

BOLDUAN: Yes, in the end, I don't think we need nice, we just need respect. And the thing I was so impressed with --

GERGEN: I agree.

BOLDUAN: The thing I was impressed with is the level of respect still from both of those reporters to the office of the president. They didn't respond. They just kept asking their questions.

Great to see you, guys. Thank you.

RYAN: Thank you.

GERGEN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, President Trump with a surprising admission about the fight for control of the senate.

Plus, the skit that has everyone talking.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you agree to an FBI investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want a real investigation? Then just look at my calendar.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, President Trump offering up some fresh predictions ahead of the midterms. Watch.


TRUMP: There were senators that were not in play. They were not even -- and you know exactly what I'm talking about, numerous of them.

[19:50:03] They were not in play. In other words, let's not go here. Let's not go to this state, four or five states. Now they are like even races. In one case, they're up two points.


BOLDUAN: One of the states the White House is watching the closest right now, Nevada. Among likely voters, Democrat Jacky Rosen is neck and neck with the Republican incumbent Dean Heller.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.



KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The battle for control of the Senate reverberating loudly through Nevada. Democrat Jacky Rosen energized, speaking to union members about her message to protect health care.

REP. JACKY ROSEN (D), NEVADA: The future of pension, all --

LAH: The first term congresswoman's goal, unseat Republican incumbent.

ROSEN: To hold Senator Heller accountable.

This isn't a Trump state. And Senator Heller is guilty of a lot of broken promises.

LAH: Dean Heller, the only Republican senator up for election in a state Hillary Clinton won. This was Senator Heller in June 2017, voicing opposition to a GOP repeal proposal.

SEN. DEAN HELLER (R), NEVADA: I'm telling you right now, I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes interest away from kids and millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans.

LAH: One month later, public pressure from President Trump.

TRUMP: Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn't he? OK.

LAH: Heller reversed course and voted to repeal.

HELLER: Mr. President, welcome to Las Vegas.

LAH: He is now campaigning with the president.

TRUMP: We started off slow but we ended up strong. I've had no better friend in Congress than Dean Heller.

LAH: Heller's shifting stances --

AD NARRATOR: They call him Senator Spineless.

LAH: -- becoming fodder in Democratic political ads.

ROSEN: He doesn't have the character to stand up because he thinks people aren't paying attention. And we are.

LAH: Heller's ads are attacking Rosen for being all talk and thin on record.

HELLER: Jacky Rosen has done nothing to fix health care. Nothing, zero.

LAH (voice-over): It's very personal for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. It's life or death for me.

LAH (voice-over): Jack Lavine (ph), a type 2 diabetic and on Medicare, joined anti-Trump protesters. In Heller, they see a political villain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man sold out every single Nevadan and I am angry.

LAH: Heller's headwind swirl even among Trump supporters.

(on camera): What do you think of Senator Heller?


LAH: What questions do you have?

SIMS: Because of what he did with health care bill last time, he voted no against it. And I'm iffy. He needs to back the president 100 percent.

LAH: The Democrats are saying the exact same thing.

SIMS: Correct.

LAH: Is that a problem for the senator?

SIMS: I think so.


LAH: Now, CNN made multiple requests to speak to Senator Heller. The campaign declined, citing his busy schedule in Washington and in Nevada.

Now, today is the one year anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, that massacre that killed 58 people. A CNN poll does show that among young voters, 18-34, they do find gun control, the gun issue as number one.

And among all register voters, Kate, it is health care that is number one -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: See that so many times all over the country still. Kyung, thank you.

OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on the reaction from lawmakers getting the "SNL" treatment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me this, Judge, did you ever drink so much that you blacked out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. Did you?



[19:57:50] BOLDUAN: The Kavanaugh hearing gets the "SNL" treatment. Here's Jeanne Moos.



Matt Damon sniffed.


MOOS: Damon flipped the pages with more fury --

DAMON: I went to Yale.

MOOS: -- than the real Kavanaugh.

KAVANAUGH: Some embarrassing parts.

MOOS: But at least the real Kavanaugh managed to keep his water in his mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Judge Kavanaugh, are you saying --

MOOS: Sometimes "SNL" barely had to change the words.

KAVANAUGH: Yes, we drank beer.

DAMON: Boys like beer.

KAVANAUGH: I like beer.

DAMON: Girls beer.

KAVANAUGH: Still like beer.

DAMON: I like beer.

KAVANAUGH: I drank beer.

MOOS: We may never know what Judge Kavanaugh thought of "SNL's" opening sketch.

DAMON: I am usually an optimist. I'm a keg is half full kind of guy.

MOOS: But we do know what Senator Amy Klobuchar thought of her portrayal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever drink too many beers?

DAMON: You mean was I cool? Yes. MOOS: Senator Klobuchar tweeted comedian Rachel Dratch, you played a

good me. You are so good that you even got my daughter to text me on a Saturday night, a first.

But who needs a flesh and blood impersonation with an actual "SNL" cast member.

DAMON: You just want to humiliate me in front of my wife and my parents and Alyssa freaking Milano.

MOOS: Milano liked her cardboard cameo so much, she tweeted a freeze frame. At the hearings, the actress stayed impassive, except for the occasional --

DAMON: You're asking about black out. I don't know, have you?

MOOS: Expressive slip up.

The real Kavanaugh, Matt Damon and Kate McKinnon has Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg all talked about their calendars. Though McKinnon's supreme dance routine was to die for. Ginsburg chuckled when she was shown McKinnon's impersonation in the documentary "RBG".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Remind you of yourself?

GINSBURG: Not one bit.

MOOS: Exaggerated, sure. But there's nothing canned about the laughter.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts right now.