Return to Transcripts main page
Kavanaugh Letter Raises Questions About Testimony Truth; White House Counsel: No Need to Interview Kavanaugh & Ford, Senate Testimony Enough; 2nd-Most Mentioned Concern for Women Candidates is Guns. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired October 3, 2018 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:31:17] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: New questions today about whether Brett Kavanaugh may have perjured himself during his Senate testimony last week. The questions stem from this two-page letter that the "New York Times" published, which Kavanaugh wrote when he was in high school. In it Kavanaugh describes himself and his friend as, quote, "loud, obnoxious drunks" and, quote, "prolific pukers." This is a stark contrast to the image Kavanaugh painted during his testimony. He signed the letter, "FFFFF Bart." Not Brett, but Bart.
Here is why the signature is raising even more questions today. I want to remind you during an exchange during Kavanaugh's hearing when, under oath, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy asked Kavanaugh about a character named Bart from a book written by one of his former classmates and friends, Mark Judge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, (D), VERMONT: He references a Bart O'Kavanaugh vomiting in his car during beach week and passing out. Is that you?
BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Mark Judge was a friend of ours in high school who developed a very serious drinking problem. Now, as part of his therapy or part of his coming to grips with sobriety, he wrote a book that is a fictionalized book, an account.
KAVANAUGH: I think he picked out names of friends of ours to throw them in as kind of close to what -- for characters in the book. So we can sit here and --
LEAHY: So are you the Bart O'Kavanaugh that he's referring to? Yes or no?
KAVANAUGH: You'd have to ask him.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: Let discuss with former FBI agent, Manny Gomez.
Manny, on that exchange, he doesn't say, yes, I'm Bart, you'd have to ask Mark Judge, the guy who wrote about his alcoholism and years of partying with his friend in college and high school. Will the FBI be able to do anything with this, Bart, Brett?
MANNY GOMEZ, FORMER FBI AGENT: Obviously, he's under a threat of perjury if he did openly lie. He was very cautious as to what --
BALDWIN: He didn't say yes or no.
GOMEZ: Right. He said you'd have to ask the author of the book, Mark Judge, who already said he doesn't want to speak to anybody because he could get in trouble himself.
So the FBI is going to talk to everybody around this book, around that party to try to discern, number one, what potentially actually happened at that party. But now, more importantly, as well, did Judge Kavanaugh potentially perjure himself? And, three, what is this whole alcoholism or potential alcoholism thing all about because that's become the focus of the investigation now.
BALDWIN: Let me come back to that in a second.
We're also hearing from the White House counsel's office, which is coordinating the FBI's work, and they believe the testimony that millions watched last Thursday, from Kavanaugh and Ford, that that is enough, that is enough and the FBI doesn't need to interview them. Do you think that's appropriate that they wouldn't need to?
GOMEZ: The FBI way is to dot all the "I"s and cross all the "T"s. In an ideal world, they would interview both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. They would even go to the next step, which is a polygraph exam, which is a very lengthy process. However, I don't think they have the time to do that here.
BALDWIN: Is that what it is --
GOMEZ: They have a time crunch. You have a very important investigation which hinges on potentially the next Supreme Court justice of the United States, and they have a very small window in which to conduct this investigation. There's numerous people that they have to track down, find, get them to cooperate, get all those facts together. And if they had their druthers, I'm sure they would want a lot more time.
BALDWIN: You were saying to me in commercial break that this whole investigation will create even more questions. But at the end of the day, it's up to the Senators to vote and make their own conclusions.
[14:35:15] GOMEZ: That's right. BALDWIN: Manny, thank you. Thank you very much.
GOMEZ: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Coming up next, was it all a myth? The "New York Times'" investigation claims President Trump's story of being the self-made billionaire is not only completely bunk but alleges Trump used dubious tax schemes and outright fraud to cheat the system. We'll discuss.
BALDWIN: President Trump's rags-to-riches myth is fast imploding. An unprecedented "New York Times" investigation suggests the president lied about being a self-made billionaire. It's a claim we've heard time and time again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I started out in Brooklyn. My father gave me a very small loan of a million dollars.
My father gave a very small loan in 1975.
I got a very, very small loan from my father many years ago.
I started with a million-dollar loan.
I started off with a million-dollar loan and I built it up to more than $10 billion in value.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:40:16] BALDWIN: Not so fast. According to the "New York Times," that "very small loan" from Trump's father was more like $60 million. Trump received more than $413 million from his father's real estate empire worth more than half a billion dollars.
The "New York Times" reviewing thousands of pages of confidential documents that clearly shows Donald Trump was born into wealth. Starting at age 3, Trump was receiving $200,000 a year from his dad and that ballooned to $5 million annually as he grew older.
The White House pushing back hard moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Totally false attack based on an old recycled news story. I'm not going to sit and go through every line of a very boring 14,000-word story.
The president's lawyer addressed some of the specific claims and walked through how the allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false and highly defamatory. There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. He went on much further. And I would encourage you to read every word of his statement, which completely undercuts the accusations made by the "New York Times." (END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: I want to bring in Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, David Cay Johnston, author of "The Making of Donald Trump."
David, you have been poking holes in Trump's story all along, right? He said he's this self-made billionaire, and according to this the "New York Times" investigation, he lied over and over and over again. Of all of it, what do you think is the most egregious?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER & AUTHOR: Well, the "New York Times" using 100,000 pages of documents, many of them leaked from inside the Trump family, establishes beyond a doubt that Donald Trump has been involved in years, decades of criminal tax evasion. Now, you can't prosecute them now because the statute of limitations has run. But both the federal government and state of New York can sue civilly. Remember, Donald has been tried twice for civil tax fraud and lost both cases. While the White House want to say this is an old recycled story, none of the work I or Tim O'Brien (ph) or Wendell Blair (ph) or the late Wayne Barrick (ph) did put a candle to the work the "New York Times" has done that involved five years of reporting time. And that story is technically accurate on every issue of accounting and tax law. Very difficult things to master and put into plain English in the newspaper.
BALDWIN: One part of their reporting, the Trump parents transferred over $1 billion to their kid, which should have resulted in a $550 million tax bill. According to the "Times," they paid just over $52 million. How did they get away with that?
JOHNSTON: There's almost no enforcement of tax laws affecting high- income people. We have 160 million taxpayers in this country, but we only prosecutor about 1,600 a year, and those of mostly drug dealers or politicians who took bribes. I have held in my hand the documents showing the transfers of billions-dollars pieces of property over period of a couple of hours from parents to children. Not the Trumps. But because I don't have access to the gift tax return, I can't prove they committed a crime, though in my heart, I'm certain they did for other technical reasons of public filings.
BALDWIN: You addressed the can't be prosecuted, statute of limitations is up. Everybody wonders could he get in trouble right now.
My next question is, if Trump's dad bailed him out as much as he did, doesn't it get you wondering who else might have done the same?
JOHNSTON: Well, we know that Donald has done lots of squirrely deals that make no economic sense with Russian oligarchs, that's he's been involved with Russian mobsters. That's not surprising. The only known case of a casino in Atlantic City ever cheating a customer took place at Trump's Castle. So, no, I'm not surprised by that at all.
BALDWIN: Last question. We heard from Independent Senator Angus King, of Maine. He said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ANGUS KING, (I), MAINE: This isn't going to hurt Donald Trump. He has developed a persona where his supporters, if he gets attacked by the "New York Times," his approval rating among his supporters will actually go up. The truest thing he said in the campaign in 2016 was, if I shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight, I won't lose any votes. I think this is another case where, ironically, an expose of this kind, even assuming it's entirely valid, I don't think significantly will undermine his support. It might actually help him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:45:07] BALDWIN: David, do you think the Senator is right?
JOHNSTON: No, I don't. I think this is likely to be the first real nick, other than what's going on with Stormy Daniels, that may peel away a little bit of his Teflon. Without a doubt, those people who support Donald Trump because they hate the civil rights movement, because they don't want immigrants, they're going to stick can Donald Trump. But the people who went with him for economic reasons, the half century of stagnant income for the bottom 90 percent of Americans, some of those people have moral compasses and they're going to be offended by this. And more will come out about this over time. Be patient. We'll get closer to getting Donald Trump's tax returns. If the Democrats take control of the House and Senate, we'll see them within a year.
BALDWIN: Wow. Wow.
David Cay Johnston, thank you very much.
JOHNSTON: Thank you.
BALDWIN: As furious backlash erupts against the president for mocking Christine Blasey Ford last night at that rally, the White House says he was just stating facts. Let's talk about that.
And it's one of the key Senate races that will be decided next month, Senator Ted Cruz versus Bet O'Rourke. Just a short time from now, Cruz will have a special guest campaign with him. Someone very close to President Trump.
[14:50:44] BALDWIN: The last time there was a contentious fight over a Supreme Court justice, a record number of women were elected to both the House and the Senate. At that time, back in 1992, many pointed to Anita Hill's treatment during the Clarence Thomas hearings as a reason to run. And 2018 could very well be the next year of the woman.
So 239 women are running for the U.S. House right now, 23 for Senate, 16 for governor. And this unprecedented number of women on November's ballot was really my inspiration for my series "AMERICAN WOMEN IN POLITICS."
I've spent the last couple of months on the weekends traveling across America, talking to them about why they wanted to run now. And the second most-mentioned issue by women on the campaign trail this year? Guns.
Here are two women. The one on the left, the other on the right, who couldn't feel more differently about this controversial issue.
CHRISTINA HAGAN, (R), OHIO CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: It's not unusual for guns to be stripped away and then rights to be stripped away after.
Both the Second Amendment rights and the president himself are under attack and under assault.
LUCY MCBATH, (D), GEORGIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: At the end of the day, we want to make sure no one else dies.
Did you vote?
What I aim to do is make sure that we're putting some solutions into our system's gun laws.
HAGAN: I'm Christina Hagan, and I'm an American woman because I was blessed to be born and raised here.
MCBATH: I'm Lucy McBath and I'm an American woman because I'm a fighter.
BALDWIN (voice-over): This midterm season, gun reform is the second- most mentioned issue among female candidates on the campaign trail. I wanted to talk to two women running on opposite platforms to try and understand each side of this contentious debate.
MCBATH: Thank you.
I think a lot of women are very concerned about the future of our communities and our families. What does that look like for my children? I mean, there are people who want you dead for having a difference of opinion, and it would just be nice to know we can protect ourselves.
I'm Lucy McBath. I'm running for the sixth congressional district. I'm the mother of Jordan Davis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MCBATH: Remember that shooting?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, yes.
UNIDENTIFID MALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: Seventeen-year-old Jordan Davis was gunned down
on Black Friday.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The alleged gunman complained they were playing their music too loud.
MCBATH: I used to wonder why I had so much painful experiences in my life. But now I see it.
BALDWIN: After Jordan's death, Lucy became a gun control activist, but it was parkland that pushed this mother to run for Congress.
MCBATH: It's long overdue for standing up and attacking this destructive and deadly culture. And now these are our children crying out for their own futures and their own lives.
BALDWIN (on camera): What do you say to those Americans who worry about someone like you being in Congress?
MCBATH: It's not about taking away your guns, but it's about making sure that under the Second Amendment that there are responsible behaviors that we have to have in the ways that we're using our guns.
HAGAN: Big believer in the Second Amendment. I'm actually endorsed by the NRA. So --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.
HAGAN: That gives you a stance of where I am.
BALDWIN: Did you really get A.R.-15 for Mother's Day?
HAGAN: Yes. But my husband, actually, he built it as well. When I first started dating my husband, he said you have to be an Annie Oakley about guns, and you need to know everything about guns and you have to be able to break one down and know what your rights are.
BALDWIN: What do you say to people who say we're not trying to take away your gun, we just need common-sense law reform?
HAGAN: To them, I say does a law against speeding stop people from speeding? Changing a law doesn't necessarily stop the bad guy moving forward.
BALDWIN: You say it's less than a probably.
HAGAN: Yes. I don't think statistically but it does.
BALDWIN (voice-over): Despite their differences, Christina and Lucy both agree America's future is at stake.
[14:55:03] HAGAN: For me, it's much more about preserving and promoting the value of human life while also balancing and recognizing that we have a right to our Second Amendment and then instilling that in my children. MCBATH: The future that we're fighting for is not for us. It's for
our children and the generations that come after us. I see Jordan in them.
BALDWIN: Lucy faces a Republican incumbent, Karen Handel, in November. And Christina lost to her Republican primary opponent, Anthony Gonzalez, a former Ohio State University football player, who also received an "A" rating from the NRA.
That was just one snippet of all of this work that this wonderful team and myself have been putting out. Please check out the rest of my series. Go to CNN.com/Americanwomaninpolitics.
The key Republican Senators who will decide Brett Kavanaugh's fate called the president's mocking of Christine Blasey Ford appalling, wrong, inappropriate. And just in, one Republican says they have been told they may see the FBI's interview notes today.