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Kavanaugh Won't Return to Harvard Law; Kavanaugh Investigation; President Trump Historically Unpopular Throughout World. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired October 2, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.
President Trump just said lying to Congress is not acceptable, just as his Supreme Court nominee is facing more and more accusations that he could have lied to Congress.
A third former college classmate of Brett Kavanaugh's says Kavanaugh was not truthful when he testified under oath last week that he never blacked out from drinking too much alcohol. We will hear from his classmate here in just a second.
But, first, this was the president from the White House just a moment ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think you should lie to Congress. And there have been a lot of people over the last year that have lied to Congress.
And, to me, that would not be acceptable. I don't want to do anything to interrupt what's happening with Judge Kavanaugh. And I think the process -- I must say, I think, hopefully, as Mitch said, to have a vote by the end of the week, and it will be a positive vote.
Well, I say that it's a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of. This is a very, very -- this is a very difficult time.
What's happening here has much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice. It really does. You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life, and somebody could accuse of something. Doesn't necessarily have to be a woman, as everybody says, but somebody could accuse you of something, and you're automatically guilty.
But in this realm, you are truly guilty until proven innocent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Trump's comments come on the fourth full day of FBI -- the FBI's background investigation into sex allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.
Thus far, sources say the FBI has interviewed the witnesses on the Republicans' list. That includes Patrick Smyth, Leland Keyser, and Mark Judge. These are the people Christine Blasey Ford said were present at that party where she says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.
Also interviewed, the second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, who alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were together at Yale. What is not clear is if the FBI is looking into this New Haven police report about a 1985 bar fight. It shows officers did question a young Brett Kavanaugh, but they did not arrest him.
It also shows Kavanaugh did not want to admit or deny that he threw ice at one of the men involved in the fight.
In the end, Kavanaugh's friend, ex-NBA player Chris Dudley, was arrested. Another person at the bar fight is now speaking out.
Chad Ludington is one of several people from Kavanaugh's college days who says he saw Kavanaugh drink to excess.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAD LUDINGTON, KAVANAUGH YALE CLASSMATE: Yes, I believe that he lied and distorted and assembled to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 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. I don't think that getting drunk in your college years should matter, no, but I do believe that it's fundamentally wrong, indeed illegal, to lie in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Several other classmates do backup Kavanaugh's testimony that he never drink to excess, including the classmate Dwayne Oxley, who said that he -- quote -- never saw Kavanaugh "in a state where he wasn't in control."
So with me now, CNN law enforcement analyst Josh Campbell, once a supervisory special agent for the FBI.
So, back at it again today. We have heard from Democrat Senator Chris Coons. We have heard from the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary, Dianne Feinstein, both of whom say they do not believe that this FBI report -- they believe it should be kept confidential, right? No matter the findings at the end of the week, keep it sealed.
You disagree with that?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I do, wholeheartedly.
CAMPBELL: I think that's going to be a nonstarter for the American people.
I mean, if you think about this case, the intense public interest surrounding this investigation, surrounding this confirmation, surrounding someone who is going to be a Supreme Court justice likely for over two decades, should he be confirmed, if these lingering questions aren't answered, not only by politicians, by people who have an axe to grind, who have some type of personal benefit that may be derived from this, but the actual investigators who are apolitical, who are nonpartisan, if we don't see the results of their work, there will always be this lingering question.
I don't see how you don't release this.
BALDWIN: We just heard the sound from Chad Ludington from Yale, obviously telling a different story as far as how the Brett Kavanaugh he knew, right, back in the day and detailing his bar fight.
And he apparently was going to talk to the FBI, I believe in North Carolina, about all of this today. Does that mean that they then would have to look into the bar fight in New Haven?
CAMPBELL: So that's the part we don't know. That is the crux of the issue.
Now, there's been this competing narrative that we have seen. Over the weekend, we were reporting that this was very limited in scope, that the White House was actually dictating very specific terms to the FBI.
And then, yesterday, the president and the White House, they were saying, no, the FBI, they can do whatever they want. But there's an important caveat. The bureau still has to go back to the White House and ask for permission.
It's that key piece that we don't know. If the bureau wants to interview Mr. Ludington, whether he's providing information voluntarily or they want to speak to him on their own accord...
BALDWIN: Ultimately, it comes from the White House to green-light that.
CAMPBELL: It comes to the White House to green-light that. That part, we don't know if they're going to allow this.
BALDWIN: Because the other piece of this, which then would branch off of this bar fight story, I would presume, is that not -- not included in the scope, from my understanding, was anything about drinking, right, back in the day.
BALDWIN: But how can they not then look into drinking when they're looking at a bar fight?
CAMPBELL: That's right. And the president, I will take it a step further than what he just said on the South Lawn.
CAMPBELL: Lying to Congress is not only unacceptable. It is illegal.
In the United States Criminal Code 1621, 1001, these are statutes that make it a penalty to lie both under oath. And then you don't even have to be under oath. But it's a five-year penalty for lying.
So -- and this is why it's important. No one cares -- I mean, some people do, but most people don't really care whether some college kid was drinking. That happens.
BALDWIN: That is exactly what I was going to say. Like, big-picture this, because people are like, OK, so he tossed ice when he was in college at some guy who he thought was the lead singer of UB40.
BALDWIN: Why does this matter to the FBI?
CAMPBELL: Yes, it's highly important today, because we're looking through the lens of what is happening right now.
If you have a federal judge who is sitting before Congress and testifying to something that other witnesses are saying, no, this is not consistent with the facts, that's an issue. We have to get the bottom of that.
Now, overarching this whole -- this whole of investigation is this one-week arbitrary deadline. The question will be, are all of these questions answered by the time the clock runs out and the Senate majority leader call for a vote on front by Friday, or is this something that they're actually going to allow the bureau to investigate, to allow a fulsome, thorough review, so the American people have a lot of these questions answered?
BALDWIN: Sounds like they want this vote on Friday.
CAMPBELL: I think you're right.
BALDWIN: I think they want it Friday. Josh Campbell, thank you so much. Good to see you.
It was this elevator confrontation that have -- may have made all the difference, when two survivors of sexual violence confronted Senator Jeff lake, but he's not the only Republican senator getting an earful.
Want you to watch what has happened now to Senators Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, Senators David Perdue and Senator Bob Corker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do your constituents feel, Mr. McConnell?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. McConnell, why will you speak to this man, and not to these women who are talking to you about their surviving stories?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you support a full investigation of all of these things?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven't touched you, sir. You aren't being touched, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you all are having -- I know this is enjoyable to you all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not enjoyable. This is our lives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is not fun for us to survive our stories.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to make sure that people like me don't have to...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Those senators, of course, they're all expected to vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation.
But, remember, you have these key senators, Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, saying, I'm going to wait for the investigation to play out before forming an opinion. And then you have this other group of senators who have essentially made up their minds and saying, I'm not going to learn anything.
With me now, CNN national political reporter Maeve Reston.
And, Maeve, between these two groups of senators, how do you square the two?
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Brooke, that it just underline what a powder keg this is, really for both parties.
I mean, we have seen in the polls so far a lot of conservatives are energized. We're five weeks from an election. They are angry about what Democrats are doing. They think that -- that Judge Kavanaugh has been basically slandered here and defamed.
But for those Republican senators, appearing as though you're not taking this issue seriously is also a huge risk. I mean, there are -- there is so much at play right now for both parties when it comes to women.
And if they look like they're not taking these women's stories seriously and the testimony last week seriously, that could really affect all of these races all around the country.
BALDWIN: I think women want to be heard, but you juxtapose that with what we heard from the president as well earlier saying it is a very scary time in America for young men, which that sentiment echoes what we heard from his son, Don Jr., that he actually fears more for his sons than daughters, given the climate in America right now.
RESTON: Yes, I think that those comments are exactly -- President Trump kept saying over and over again how he wasn't trying to get in the middle of this, but those comments are very...
BALDWIN: That's getting right in the middle of it.
RESTON: Yes. They are very unhelpful to Republicans around the country, as they are trying to maintain control, not just of the House, but of the Senate at this point.
So there will be many women voters out there who make up their mind about how they feel about the comments. But we have seen this over and over again, where the president takes it too far, and then everyone in his party then has to comment on what he just said about it being a scary time for young men in America.
So, I think we have to look at the ripple effects that all of these conversations in Washington are having out in the country, and it'll be fascinating to see how that turns out at the polls. I think nobody really knows right now which way the Kavanaugh energy will go.
BALDWIN: Five weeks from today.
And as far as beer is concerned, we have heard from the president a bunch on this. We heard him say he doesn't see anything wrong with Judge Kavanaugh's drinking. We know that President Trump does not drink. We know that his brother Fred died as an alcoholic.
And the president and as a private citizen for years, he's spoken out against drinking quite a bit. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Why is it that everybody is suing the tobacco companies and nobody sues the alcohol companies? You have the car crashes and the kids that get killed by some drunk that's riding on the road. It's just terrible. My brother Fred was a great guy. He had everything, I mean, the most handsome guy. And then he got hooked, and there was nothing. And, by the way, nothing we could do about it. And I have seen strong people, really strong people, people that you and I know, but really strong, tough people, they can't shake the habit.
The way to shake the habit is not to start. My brother used to say -- and he knew he had a problem -- he used to say to me, no drinking, no drugs, and no alcohol.
To this day, I have never had a drink. And I have no longing for it. I have no interest in it. To this day, I have never had a cigarette. Don't worry. Those are only two of my good things. I don't want to tell you about the bad things.
There's plenty of bad things too. But he really helped me. I had somebody that guided me. And he had a very, very, very tough life because of alcohol.
I never had a drink. I never had a glass of alcohol. And I -- in all fairness, I have watched people and I study people. And I had a great -- in particular, a great tutor on this, but I look and I see what it does to people when they lose control.
So I think, when somebody running, if there is a potential problem with alcohol or with drugs, I think people have to know about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Trump was actually talking there about President Bush's drinking, saying that people should know if someone has a drinking problem, right, if they're running.
And Kavanaugh has said he never had a drinking problem, but this is all kind of coming full circle.
RESTON: It really is.
And this is -- I think this is one of the most fascinating threads, because we do know that President Trump feel very strongly and personally about this issue.
I remember in our town hall during the election when he was with his children. They were talking about how their father over and over again said, no drugs, no alcohol, and they really internalized this as a really important message from him.
So I just -- I think it was fascinating, as I was watching the hearing and Kavanaugh's testimony last week, thinking about how President Trump would judge that, because clearly this is not a kind of behavior that he likes or admires. And in many other ways, sure, Brett Kavanaugh is out of central casting for Trump, but this is the kind of thing that bothers him personally.
And we will have to see. So far, he's been standing behind his nominee, and we will see if that continues as more of these stories come forward, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Maeve Reston, thank you very much.
RESTON: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Coming up, as this nomination fight plays out, why Judge Brett Kavanaugh's teaching job at Harvard Law is now in question, what students are being told about the future of his course he's been teaching for more than a decade.
Also ahead, a week after world leaders appeared to laugh at President Trump during his speech of the United Nations, a stunning new poll reveals how the rest of the world currently views the U.S. with Trump as president and which foreign leaders are now on the rise.
BALDWIN: Around the world, President Trump's approval is plummeting.
A new Pew Research Center survey shows overall confidence in President Trump is down; 70 percent said they have no competence in Trump doing the right thing when it comes to world affairs.
So, CNN's global affairs analyst Susan Glasser is with me. She's also a staff writer for "The New Yorker."
And, Susan, I mean, really, this is all about how the world perceives the U.S. since Trump moved into the White House. And I was reading further. One of only three countries whose opinion of the U.S. went up with actually Russia. Are you surprised?
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, President Obama had about the lowest ratings anywhere in the world in Russia by the end of his two terms in office.
So, in that sense, it's not surprising, although, interestingly, in the two years of President Trump's presidency, President Trump actually is down in Russia, even from where he was in 2017.
And I think the initial high hopes, as you know, Russian state TV propaganda was very high on Trump when he was elected, saw it as a great victory for President Putin. This year, they're not so sure. So his numbers are a little bit off in Russia even from having gone way up from Barack Obama, but, overall, obviously, the picture is stunning.
You just have the president of the United States' approval ratings in the single digits in many of our closest allies in Europe, for example.
[15:20:03] BALDWIN: Well, may be in the single digits, but let me just channel the other side, which may say Trump and his supporters would say that he puts America first, so who cares if the other nations don't view him favorably?
Is that a fair argument?
GLASSER: Well, I haven't even heard President Trump himself make the argument that he wants everyone to hate him.
There's a difference between America first and America alone. In fact, I have heard very heated pushback from many of President Trump's advisers and supporters on the idea that it means America alone.
But what I'm struck by is, even during this poll -- this is the Pew Research Center's annual global attitudes poll, so they have been doing it every year since 2001. President Trump's ratings are even lower now in most of these countries than President George W. Bush was at the height of American unpopularity and Bush's own unpopularity during the Iraq War.
President Trump is now even lower than that in virtually every place, I think every place that I looked at around the world. And, again, what it means is it limits America's soft power and President Trump's power of persuasion. And we live in a multilateral world in which we have alliances and relationships with all of these big countries.
And it just -- it represents a very stark, even head-snapping change in the American position in the world in a very short amount of time.
BALDWIN: Well, this whole conversation matters. And it also matters -- I was just told as were talking -- it's fortuitous I have you on -- that the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, will in fact be going back to North Korea. I believe they just said to me at the end of this -- did you say at the end of the week or -- this week. Yes, he will be going this week.
This is after the president over the weekend said that he and Kim are in love.
What do you make of this move?
GLASSER: Well, I again, what we're seeing is a head-snapping moment in American foreign policy, where you do have the president of the United States lavishing praise on dictators like Kim Jong-un.
At the same time, many of our closest allies -- in France, the president's approval rating is 9 percent. That's right, 9. In Germany, it's 10 percent. In Mexico, after the president's repeated criticism of Mexicans, it is 6 percent, which I believe is the lowest in the world.
At the same time, South Koreans have been encouraged by the opening and the diplomatic talks Trump has begun with North Korea, so his numbers rebounded there a little bit. They were absolutely in the cellar last year when it looked like fire and fury was going to rain down.
So, again, it's a pretty big shift in America's position in the world. And I -- President Trump is saying he wants to have a second one-on- one summit meeting with Kim Jong-un after their Singapore summit.
GLASSER: And this is -- this Pompeo trip would be probably talking about that, among other issues.
BALDWIN: This after just a year ago calling him rocket man. What a difference a year makes in this world in which we live.
Susan Glasser, thank you very much.
GLASSER: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Coming up next: Harvard announces Brett Kavanaugh will no longer be teaching a class there this winter. We will talk to the reporter for the school's paper about the reaction around campus.
Also, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is under major pressure from some of her constituents back home to be a no vote on Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. And it's not only about the sex assault allegations. We are live in Anchorage, Alaska, to explain.
BALDWIN: Not only is Brett Kavanaugh's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court in doubt, but now he won't be teaching at Harvard Law School come January.
CNN obtained an e-mail from Harvard informing students that Judge Kavanaugh -- quote -- "indicated that he can no longer commit to teaching his course."
Kavanaugh was scheduled to teach a law class entitled the Supreme Court since 2005 in the upcoming winter term. Kavanaugh has taught at the law school for roughly a decade. But his return sparked controversy and protests. We're told more than 800 Harvard Law School alumni signed a letter calling for the school to rescind Kavanaugh's lecturer appointment.
So, with me now to discuss, Aidan Ryan, who's a staff writer for "The Harvard Crimson."
So, Aidan, nice to see you.
And tell me -- tell me how this all unfolded, because my first thought when I saw the news was, wow, the vote -- the vote to see if he's seated on the Supreme Court hasn't even happened, and, bam, he's not teaching. What happened?
AIDAN RYAN, STAFF WRITER, "THE HARVARD CRIMSON": Sure. Yes. So, this has been an ongoing issue at the law school for students,
professors, alumni, really since the sexual allegations against Judge Kavanaugh first emerged.
But, really, back in August, I was reported a story. There were two separate letters, one opposing his nomination and one supporting his character and his time as a teacher. That letter that supported him was from his former students. And the other letter was his response to that letter.
It was saying that they wanted to make clear that the entire law school community is not in favor of his nomination. And at the time, the dean, John Manning, he congratulated Judge Kavanaugh on his nomination when President Trump announced that he would fill Kennedy -- or wanted him to fill Kennedy's seat on the Supreme Court.
But now that -- since sexual allegations -- assault allegations have risen against Kavanaugh, the dean has been very quiet, and students have been very loud. Last week