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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Dems Suggest Prior Kavanaugh Background Checks Showed Inappropriate Behavior, GOP Calls "More Falls Smears"; Source: White House Expects To Receive FBI Report On Kavanaugh Soon, Will Then Send Info To Capitol Hill; White House Repeatedly Denies Trump Was Mocking Ford. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 3, 2018 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[19:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All Right, Barbara, we'll get administrator information on that. Thanks very much.

And thanks to our viewers for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUT FRONT" starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Out front tonight, breaking news, the White House about to receive the FBI report on Brett Kavanaugh. These as Democrats drop a last minute bombshell, suggesting previous Kavanaugh background checks included inappropriate behavior. Is it a delay tactic or is there proof?

Plus, the White House claims Trump wasn't mocking Christine Blasey Ford at a rally last night. Were they listening to the same event?

And a top Republican now says Trump may have to release his tax returns. Let's go out front.

Good Evening, everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, an 11th-Hour accusation. Senate Democrats tonight suggesting that past FBI background checks on Brett Kavanaugh include evidence of inappropriate behavior. A major charge if true.

Eight of the 10 Democrats of the Judiciary Committee writing a letter to Chairman Chuck Grassley. Their issue? A tweet sent out by Republicans last night which read this, in part. "Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports, which the committee has reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there ever a whiff of any issue at all related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse." Well, tonight, Democrats say that tweet is not accurate and are demanding that Republicans correct the record. Is it a Hail Mary? Is there something more to it?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: So there are witnesses, potential witnesses, out there at large who have made serious, from your perspective, and I know you can't discuss this publicly, serious allegations of sexual impropriety or alcohol abuse in earlier background checks? SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: There are witnesses who can corroborate and possibly substantiate those kinds of allegations. That still have not been interviewed and they need to be.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Senator Grassley's staff responding tonight with this. "Nothing in the tweet is inaccurate or misleading. The committee stands by its statement, which is completely truthful. More baseless innuendo and more false smears from Senate Democrats." This bitter all-out war on Capitol Hill very clearly escalating, if it's even possible to, tonight.

Just as the FBI report on the new background check is expected to make its way to the White House and the Hill for senators to soon see. Sunlen Serfaty is out front on Capitol Hill. Sunlen, is there anything more to what Democrats are charging here tonight?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At this point, Kate, I think it's best to say we simply do not know. This is still a very veiled suggestion by Democrats, but certainly a very big accusation coming from eight Democrats on the Judiciary Committee and they are essentially calling out Republicans on the committee for the claim that Republicans made that there had not been, in Republicans' terms, any whiff of an issue related to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse by Brett Kavanaugh that might have been uncovered in these past background check investigations.

And Democrats are taking a big issue with this tonight. They say this is not accurate, but they are not expanding beyond that. We don't know what they're reverencing to and certainly they are, of course, very limited in what they can say because this is a private, confidential background check, but this only adds to the drama and the very tense moment up here on Capitol Hill as everyone is just waiting on bated breath in a holding pattern, essentially, waiting for this FBI report to hit. And certainly we are hearing remarks from top Democrats on that committee, the Ranking Member, Diane Feinstein really calling into issue and taking issue with this new investigation, even before it even hits, she's questioning in a statement how credible this report will be if it -- if the FBI does not investigate Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford as part of that investigation. Regardless of when this hit, it's very clear that Mitch McConnell, as soon as it does, he will take procedural steps to proceed to a vote this week. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Sunlen, thanks so much.

So, out front with me now, former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, former FBI Senior Intelligence Adviser, Phil Mudd and former Federal Prosecutor Laura Coates. As always there's a lot that's happening tonight that we need to get to. Phil, what do you make of this and this being what's coming out from Democrats about past background checks?

PHIL MUDD, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER: I got a couple things to say on this. First of all, shame. Shame on them. Look, this is a private citizen who's undergoing a background check. He does not surrender privacy just because he's a Supreme Court nominee. Do not discuss what you read about his background when the U.S. government brings tremendous investigative resources to power to investigate a private citizen. They shouldn't be talking about any of this.

On the specific allegations, quickly, look, there's got to be a lot of context in those reports and I'm guessing there's a lot of cherry picking going on. What's the context around people said about his reputation, maybe with women, maybe with alcohol, versus whether there are specific allegations. I don't want to see a single sentence. I want to read the entire report to get that context and they should never talk about it.

[19:05:12] BOLDUAN: Anne, I want to get your take on this. I mean, the letter suggests that there is inappropriate either -- maybe it's either/or. Again, we don't know. It is literally a suggestion in a letter. Either inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse in these past background checks. Do you want to venture to guess why this would be coming out now? Do you see this, without any information, do you see this as anything more than a delay?

ANNE MILGRAM, FORMER NEW JERSEY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Right. So, we are all speculating here and I think we have to acknowledge it but there are a couple of points that are worth mentioning. First, to Phil's point, the Republicans shouldn't be tweeting on this. Nobody should be talking about it.

BOLDUAN: Either side --

MIGRAM: Neither side. Right. So there shouldn't have been this initial statement of there's never been anything until the last six background checks. That's inappropriate. And having now this sort of specific allegation is also incredibly problematic. That said, it is possible when you do a background check and I have reviewed the state version, I've been background checked federally, you know, the FBI agents, they ask all kinds of questions. Have you ever heard rumors, is there any speculation, so it is very possible there could be things in there that have not been followed up on that were not substantiated.

You know, when you do something like this and you talk to hundreds of people, you get lots of different versions, sometimes, of a person, often not necessarily criminal or rising to the level of something that you would take action on. So, we don't know. But again, to Phil's point, he's right. None of this should be taken out of context and really this is a conversation that we shouldn't be having as a country about --

BOLDUAN: You guys are both getting at something very important, that context is key. And this is, again, what we're likely not going to have when the next report comes to Congress, because it's not going to be publicly released. But before I get there, Laura, this -- before Christine Blasey Ford came forward with her allegation, there wasn't any talk in his -- about problems in his background like this. Who's going to clear this up for everyone now?

LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, that's the problem with innuendo, when you don't have clarity, it's ambiguous, and you have people who are essentially tarred and feathered in the public square without any opportunity to defend themselves or to bolster their own statements. And so you had this problem that's brewing here, and I have to say, I disagree a little bit with what Phil had to say and Anne about this notion that it should be hands off. And this is somebody who is being vetted for an office with a lifetime position.

I agree that innuendo should not stand, but I also think that his entire life is fair game because he's venturing for a lifetime appointment. Having said that, there are certain parameters that should be followed and the person who can clarify this and the reason that timing is so important in process is that the FBI is charged with the opportunity to give the background investigation, to give the information to the Senate Judiciary Committee well in advance of the initial hearings, let alone Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's hearing and testimony just last week. And so, a lot of this, perhaps, could have been clarified, not just the timing of when Dianne Feinstein handed over the information but what they had access to in the prior six background checks.

And so, I think "The 11th Hour" claims is full of innuendo without the clarity of the American people sit (ph) is really counterproductive to the credibility, perhaps, of Senate Judiciary Committee, whether this is a partisan venture and certainly what the FBI was able to uncover initially in any of those prior six that could have allowed them had they looked, I guess, prudently enough or carefully enough to uncover all that we're seeing right now. Everyone's in question.

BOLDUAN: Phil, on the most basic level, is the public going to get anything more than what we have at this moment about this latest suggestion from Senate Democrats?

MUDD: They shouldn't. I suspect they will. I mean, I don't want to take this analogy too far. The Senate is like an old toilet. They're going to leak. I don't care what the agreement is. Now, I think the question is, and we're confusing two questions.

BOLDUAN: OK.

MUDD: One is the investigative question about whether there was inappropriate maybe even illegal sexual behavior 35 years ago and whether the Senate thinks that a lot of drinking 35 years ago that doesn't quite correspond to what Judge Kavanaugh said in a hearing is acceptable for a Supreme Court justice. They're trying to get the FBI to solve the question about whether Judge Kavanaugh lied to the Congress, that's not the FBI's problem. The Congress has got -- the Senate has got to look in the mirror and say, do we like this guy or not, do we want him on the court and they're trying to buck that question.

BOLDUAN: And it seems right now, Anne, that the FBI is really going to end up caught up in the middle of this. I mean, I'm already hearing from Democrats saying that this, this latest innuendo that's come out in this letter, this is the reason that they want the FBI's report to be made public. This new background check. Do you see a universe of possibility that given the stakes that could happen?

[19:10:07] MILGRAM: It would be a very different report that would be made public than what we are about to see delivered to the President and to the senators. What would happen if you made a public report, you would not name names, you would try to cloak people's identity, it would be tough here with some of the folks, for example, Mark Judge, be virtually impossible to cloak his identity. But, you know, you might take pains to cloak the identity of people who haven't been publicly named yet. You would write a different public version of report. The actual 302s of the interview should not be made public.

BOLDUAN: Laura, if the FBI -- if this latest background check, this investigation is handed over to the White House and the Hill tonight, short of the week deadline that was set, does that tell you anything already about what's likely to come out of it? How should people read that, the fact that they beat the deadline by two days?

COATES: Well, I mean, the fact that bureaucracy is suddenly expedient would shock a lot of people and should, especially the notion that you have at least 24 or more people from the Democrats who asked them to look into and interview a series of witnesses. Deborah Ramirez asked for at least a dozen people on her allegations regarding what happened, a freshman year at Yale. And, so a lot of the testimony, particularly the ones in which the Democrats asked for, were derived from the actual testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. It's not a fishing expedition for them to have looked into those interviews because they derive from the testimony. It's called follow-up, not a fishing expedition.

So, if they're not actually engaged in doing a full, comprehensive follow-up on testimony that actually came out of the subject's mouth, then I'm not sure whether this is more than a matter of crossing your T's and dotting I's and checking a box that they had a supplemental investigation. In many ways, this is almost talking about, I have a conclusion, can you please give me something that might change my mind. If it might support me, that's all I want to hear. That's odd.

BOLDUAN: Phil, is it a full, complete investigation if Ford and Kavanaugh are not interviewed?

MUDD: It depends on what the FBI was asked to do. There is one piece of this that should become public and if I were the FBI, and I'm sure they're doing this, they should prepare for it to become public and that is something -- let me use a phrase, scope note. That is what exactly were they asked to do. Where they -- I'm guessing it --

BOLDUAN: Because -- But here's the thing that I always have -- what were they asked to do and then the White House says that they have free reign to do whatever they need to do. Are those two things in conflict?

MUDD: Not necessarily. If they are asked to investigate a couple of very specific incidents from 35 years ago, I can see the FBI saying, especially in the pre-digital age, when you don't have to go through a bunch of text messages and e-mails, boy, a bunch of people at a high school party 35 years ago told us they don't remember much and the interviews didn't take that long. My guess is we're going to find the scope of the investigation, they were requested to conduct, was very narrow.

MILGRAM: Yes, I want to just -- if I could jump in here. I mean, I think that the scope is going to be what's problematic more so than what the FBI agents actually do when they go out to do the investigation. I mean, you know, I have a huge amount of -- I really believe in the FBI and I think most agents would go out. They would do an interview and if there were derivative witnesses, they would go talk to them if they're allowed to do so.

BOLDUAN: So, of course, that points the finger back at the White House and the Senate as it probably should. Thank you guys, I really appreciate it. Lot more to learn tonight. Just standby.

Out front next, the White House Press Secretary claiming President Trump was just stating the facts when he mocked Christine Blasey Ford last night. Really?

Plus, a top Republican now says Donald Trump may have to give up his tax returns after all this. Will more follow?

And that presidential alert on your phone today already getting plenty of laughs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your phone will be, like, I'm on "Fox & Friends" at 7:00 a.m. Enjoy. Oh and also, a tsunami is coming. Sad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:17:42] BOLDUAN: Tonight, the White House defending President Trump's mocking of Christine Blasey Ford. Trump imitating ford to laughter and applause from supporters at a campaign rally in Mississippi last night. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders today repeatedly took issue with the word mocking instead saying that the President was simply stating the facts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President was stating the facts and frankly facts that were included in special prosecutor Rachel Mitchell's report. He was stating facts that were given during Dr. Ford's testimony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have any problem defending the President's comments last night?

SANDERS: I don't have any problem stating facts, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: So was the President playing it straight or was he attacking someone who came forward to say she was sexually assaulted when she was a teenager and saying it in front of an audience of thousands and who he just days earlier had called a very fine woman whose testimony was, quote, very credible. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How did you get home? I don't remember. How'd you get there? I don't remember. Where is the place? I don't remember. How many years ago was it? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.

What neighborhood was it in? I don't know. Where's the house? I don't know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don't know. But I had one beer. That's the only thing I remember.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Today, top Republicans whose votes are key to Kavanaugh's nomination, they were asked about the President's comments. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I don't approve of the comments from last night. I thought that they were wrong and extraordinarily unfortunate.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The President's comments were just plain wrong.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It's just not right. I wish he hadn't have done it. Just say it's kind of appalling.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: President Trump went through a factual rendition that I didn't particularly like and I would tell him knock it all. You're not helping.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Jeff Zeleny is out front tonight at the White House. So, Jeff, there's definitely a change from the President when it comes to Christine Blasey Ford. Why the change?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, good evening. No question there is a change. First and foremost, it is the fact that we were so close to that midterm election and Republicans are seeing data out there that this is galvanizing the Trump base, galvanizing male Trump supporters, male Trump voters. The President clearly at that campaign rally, which I was at last night in Mississippi and you saw the excitement and interest and you heard that applause.

[19:20:06] But those senators you were just playing clips of were not laughing today, and that is only audience that matters right now for the confirmation battle of Brett Kavanaugh. It is Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Jeff Flake, potentially a couple Democrats as well, but that is the audience that matters, and the President simply was not helpful for that. But he is stoking his base and we heard Sarah Sanders say today in a rare White House briefing that this should not be based on emotion, it should be based on facts.

Kate, that's exactly what President Trump was doing last night, stoking emotion of the Republican base. They are seeing in polls across the country. They actually believe this is helping -- Republicans believe this is helping them potentially win close Senate races. But on the other side of the board, House races, so much different. Those suburban districts, educated women voters, not helpful.

So, the question here tonight, the White House is still waiting for that FBI report, Capitol Hill waiting for it as well. We will not know how those three key senators will vote and the future of the Kavanaugh confirmation until that FBI report comes out. But, you know, despite the President's antics, many senators believe that he would, you know, just stay out of it.

As John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the Senate said earlier today, Mr. President, leave the confirmation fight to us up here, focus on your own thing. So they hope the President does not keep weighing in here, Kate, but I think there's a decent chance that he will.

BOLDUAN: Yes, fat chance that request goes through. Thanks, Jeff, great to see you.

Out front with me now, Van Jones, former Special Adviser to President Obama and the Host of "The Van Jones Show" and Marc Short, former White House Director of Legislative Affairs for President Trump. Great to see you guys. Van, not mocking, just stating the facts. Is that what you heard?

VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: No. I mean, when people are laughing when you say something, that tends to indicate there was some mocking going on. One of the things I think is really sad here is that you take a step back. This is a President that doesn't have credibility on either side of this -- these kind of disputes. Now he wants to be the champion of fair play, but when you have the Central Park Five and you had alleged sexual predators who were black, he wanted to throw the book at them, he wanted executed with no process at all.

So he's not credible to be a defender of due process and then at the same time he's certainly not credible as a defender of women. I don't think we've ever had a President that could literally be completely not credible on either side of a dispute that's important.

BOLDUAN: Hugely important.

JONES: Yes.

BOLDUAN: And dividing the country right now. I mean, Marc, where are you on this? Mocking or stating the facts?

MARC SHORT, FORMER W.H. DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Kate, I think that there's a lot of legitimate reasons to question the veracity of Dr. Ford's testimony but I also think it's a mistake to try to play to the crowd. I think that we shouldn't in any way look to be making fun of somebody who's alleged victim of sexual abuse. And as Jeff was making in his commentary earlier, there's very important audience of three in the Senate and there's not much margin for error there.

BOLDUAN: Marc, why can't the White House say what you just said?

SHORT: I don't know, Kate. I mean, I think that -- I candidly think that Sarah does a phenomenal job. I think she handles that with great professionalism and grace. But --

BOLDUAN: She was lying today. She was not telling the truth.

SHORT: Look, I'm giving you what my perspective is, Kate. I'm not going to --

BOLDUAN: And I appreciate that.

SHORT: -- sit here and question Sarah. I think that, again, Sarah, it's a very difficult job and I think there's a lot of people that go into the room for the -- theatrics of the room. But I'm just giving you my honest assessment that I think there's a lot of reasons to question Dr. Ford's veracity, I truly do. But I also think that there's a danger in appearing to be playing to the crowd and a danger in questioning somebody who's an alleged victim of sexual abuse. It's serious.

BOLDUAN: Van, the evolution of the President on Christine Blasey Ford, it shows something. From your perspective, do you think it shows that he is more confident in the nomination today or is he more nervous about the nomination today?

JONES: These tactics, as much as we don't like them, have tended to work for him more than not. This idea that you never apologize, you go on offense, you, you know, because I remember people saying, hey, he attacked John McCain, he's finished. You never do that. He doubled down. And so this idea that you attack and you attack --

BOLDUAN: That feels like a hundred years ago.

JONES: A hundred years ago, but just remember. The learned behavior here is, even if it's a so-called sacred cow, you don't go after veterans, you don't go after people who are victims, he has attacked and been rewarded. And so part of what we're going to have to have is a reckoning here in November, whatever happens with Kavanaugh, does the American public want to reward this type of behavior at the midterms and will the Senate reward it on the Kavanaugh vote.

BOLDUAN: They rewarded it in the 2016 election.

JONES: Exactly. Do we stay in that? Yes. BOLDUAN: Marc, the President's son, Donald Trump Jr., spoke tonight at a campaign rally for Ted Cruz and weighed in on this as well. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON: Now, I know that in this week in particular, you're not allowed to have a beer if you are a conservative. Now, if you're a liberal, you can do cocaine and you can be the President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[19:25:15] BOLDUAN: If what Donald Trump said last night isn't right, is that any better?

SHORT: No. But, you know, I think to respond to Van's points, I think that the American people responding to the President's remarks. I think American (INAUDIBLE) are going to respond this midterms by the spectacle on Capitol Hill and just what a disgraceful hearing this has been and frankly the way the Democrats have treated it. I mean, you're sitting there right now with Senate Democrats who, one is an acknowledged beating his wife, you have one who's acknowledged that when he was younger, he was drinking and tried to take sexual advantage of a teenager, you have one whose husband was headmaster of a prestigious school in New Hampshire who acknowledged that there was a cover-up of a professor who was sexually molesting adolescent boys at the school and these are the people sitting in judgment of Brett Kavanaugh? I think voters are outraged over this whole process too.

BOLDUAN: They were all -- they were elected, though, just like the President was elected. So everyone's hands seem super clean right now in this debate, Van.

JONES: Yes. Well, look, I mean, we can go through and depress everybody with how, you know, bad everybody in Washington, D.C., is. I see it very differently than you do in that I do think that Kavanaugh had an opportunity to address these concerns and these allegations and to show a certain kind of character. And my problem is that when he had the opportunity, the character that he showed was even more disturbing.

In other words, you have a situation where the question is, when you were young and drunk, were you belligerent and obnoxious and dangerous and now you're grown and sober on national television and you're belligerent and obnoxious. So, you know, I think that, you know, nobody looks great here but I think this idea that somehow it's a Democrats' fault we're in this situation, I think it's not fair and it's not true.

BOLDUAN: Real quick, Marc, your job was to read the minds on Capitol Hill and read the tea leaves. When you hear what you're hearing from Murkowski, Collins, and Flake tonight, are they a yes? Does this impact their vote?

SHORT: Well, Kate, I think a lot depends on that FBI report that should be received any minute at the White House and then handed over to Capitol Hill. But I think that there's a better than even chance that Kavanaugh gets confirmed this week.

BOLDUAN: With their votes.

SHORT: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys. Appreciate your time.

Out front next, that crucial FBI report expected to reach the Senate soon. Will it clear up anything? My guest, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden. He's about to view that report when it hits the Hill.

And New York's mayor vows to look under every stone, how he's putting it, to recoup Trump's allegedly unpaid taxes. Is that a real threat? We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:31:09] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: We're following breaking news. Any moment now, the FBI could be releasing the new background investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The White House will be the first to see it. Then, they send it to the Senate.

OUTFRONT now, one person who will get to review the report, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Senator, thanks for coming in.

SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: So, the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are making a potentially big accusation tonight, suggesting Kavanaugh's past background checks include inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.

Do you know what this is about?

WYDEN: I don't, and look, we are waiting for this report, and I just go on the basis of hard evidence. In the first hearing, for example, Mr. Kavanaugh said he didn't use stolen documents in a nomination fight. There were e-mails that showed that he did.

He said he didn't know anything about illegal wiretapping from the Bush administration. E-mails showed that he did. Then he said, most recently, that he'd only had a beer or two. We've got people coming out of the woodwork who say that's not true. So, I'm going to look at the report --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Well, that -- on the beer, you do know he said that he drank -- sometimes he drank too many beers. I know this has become a punch line in late night comedy but he said it a million times, I like beer, and times he drank too much. So a beer or two, he went further than that. WYDEN: There's a big gap between the kind of drinking he admitted to

which certainly wouldn't have been a problem and all of these folks coming out and saying that he drank a lot, that it made him angry and belligerent, big gap between what is on the record and what these folks are saying, and I'm just looking at hard evidence.

BOLDUAN: Well, part of the issue here is a lot of the hard evidence is confidential. What is confidential in these background reports, or is supposed to stay confidential. Can you say when it comes to this new -- this new suggestion from Democrats tonight about the past background checks, can you say to me with 100 percent confidence that this late move is not a delay tactic?

WYDEN: I can't comment on that.

Again, what I'm trying to do is look at specifics. Last night, the president gave a speech, and I have never heard anything like it. I've never seen anything like it in terms of being simply unpresidential and the reason it was unpresidential is because he spent that time belittling a survivor. Again, that's on the record.

BOLDUAN: But about the hearing -- about right now, I do wonder, Americans see that and everyone is digesting that. But also, I do wonder what Americans are supposed to do here. Because there were hearings, the initial hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, the focus largely then about missing documents from Democrats from the time when he was at the White House.

There was a new allegation that came forward and another hearing on that and now because of that, there's a new investigation. If there was a problem that Democrats were aware of before even the first hearing on Brett Kavanaugh, in these past background checks, why wasn't it addressed at the time?

WYDEN: I'm not familiar with the past background checks, but I can tell you what I saw last week. I'll give you another example. If you had had a female nominee ask a male senator on the Judiciary Committee about their drinking habits, the game would have been over. That would have been it.

But there's a double standard here in America against women and we saw that with our own eyes.

BOLDUAN: Do you know when you're going to see this report?

WYDEN: My sense is, and we have competing stories about when it's going to come, I just am mostly interested in the FBI having the opportunity to gather all the facts, to make sure it's a thorough investigation.

[19:35:11] At the beginning, the White House seemed to be interested in limiting it, then the president said he wanted to hear everything. Now, we don't really know.

I want to make sure that there's real transparency, real accountability, and the report we get is all the facts. BOLDUAN: And you're going to be able to get that in the report to

decide if you think it's thorough or not?

WYDEN: I'm concerned as of now that we're not going to get to see all the facts.

BOLDUAN: OK. Different story but also a very huge issue.

The president's taxes following the bombshell "New York Times" report, you're the top Democrat on the finance committee and have long called for Donald Trump to release his tax returns. The chairman of the committee now, Orrin Hatch, told Manu Raju this afternoon, Senator, that after this report, the president, quote, may have to give up those returns.

Do you think you're finally going to get them?

WYDEN: Well, I would like very much if the Republicans and Chairman Hatch would do what I asked for a year and a half ago. I asked the chairman -- there is a very specific process for our being able to obtain the returns and to look at it in executive session. The president -- excuse me, the chairman was unwilling to do that. Maybe he's opening up the door.

I can guarantee you, if I am the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, we're going to make sure we get to see those returns.

BOLDUAN: Do you think he is opening up the door? Do you see it opening here?

WYDEN: I haven't had a chance to talk to him since the statement, but what I know is I asked him to join me in doing that a year and a half ago and, by the way, if I'm chairman or I'm the ranking minority member, we're still going to try to do it in a bipartisan way, but if it isn't bipartisan, I'm going to make sure I get them.

BOLDUAN: Oh, first things first. Let's see what if you could get them even before then if you're working in a bipartisan way.

WYDEN: That would be terrific. I've introduced a bill with 23 sponsors. I wish we didn't need it.

BOLDUAN: Senator, thank you for your time.

WYDEN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, New York City's mayor talking tough about Donald Trump's taxes, but can he really get the president to pay up now?

And Trump says it's a very scary time for young men in America. My guest, a Trump accuser, responds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:35] BOLDUAN: Tonight, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, says the city is going after President Trump following the bombshell "New York Times" investigation into his taxes. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: And let's be really clear. City of New York is looking to recoup any money that Donald Trump owes the people of New York City. Period. And we will work with the state and we are going to look under every stone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: If that happens, the Trumps could owe a lot of money. In one case, cited by "The Times," the president's parents transferred over a billion dollars in wealth to their children. That could have produced a tax bill of around $550 million. The Trumps, though, they allegedly only paid $52.2 million on that.

OUTFRONT now, Harry Sandick. He's a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Hey, harry. What would -- de Blasio says they're going to look under every stone.

HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes.

BOLDUAN: What would that look like?

SANDICK: Well, I think there are two possible strategies here. One is what we heard described, which is to see if you can build a fraud case out of what "The New York Times" has revealed. It seems easy when you read the seriousness of the allegations, but tax fraud is actually harder to charge.

You have to show not only that the person tried to avoid paying taxes, everyone is allowed to avoid paying taxes, and not even that they thought it might have broken the law, possibly. You have to show real intent to violate the tax law, knowing exactly what you're doing, and to prove that for something that happen, so long ago, even with the very powerful evidence in "The Times," it's a hard case to make.

The other thing that they could do would be to try to use this as part of a larger investigation into the president's more recent tax returns, including the investigation that's already being conducted into the Trump Foundation.

BOLDUAN: So, what do you think the chances are, then, that they recoup any money?

SANDICK: I think based on "New York Times" allegations, it would be hard to recoup money. The allegations are from a long time ago. They point out in the newspaper that the Trumps were advised by lawyers and by people who did property valuation, experts, and when you rely on experts in the field, it's much harder for the government to show that you engaged in fraud, that you intended to violate the law. It looks like you intended to comply by hiring all of these people.

BOLDUAN: What about penalties? I hear about civil penalties. Could the city pursue that?

SANDICK: So, the way it works is this. If you are found within three or six years, depending on the situation, to have underpaid your taxes, the city can get every penny and the city can also get interest on what's been done, and in some cases, if they find fraud, they can also get penalties.

Here, the problem is that because we're beyond that three or six-year period, they would have to show this intentional fraud that is harder to demonstrate than it might seem at first blush.

BOLDUAN: And that gets back to what you were talking about in terms of -- it's like real intent is what you really need to find.

SANDICK: Exactly. And for the president specifically, it could have been other people in his family. It could have been that they were badly advised by people who told them to do this and they honestly thought it was legitimate. I'm not saying that any of those things are true, just that they are defenses and they make it harder.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Harry. Thanks so much for perspective on this.

SANDICK: Thank you. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, the president says in the #metoo era, men are guilty until proven innocent. My next guest accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment. What does she make of that theory now?

And Jeanne Moos on a Trump alert you cannot opt out of.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:48:51] BOLDUAN: Think of your son. President Trump doubling down on his belief that men, not women, are under attack in this country right now. And that him being accused of sexual misconduct by at least 15 women is proof of that. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a damn sad situation, OK? Think of your son. Think of your husband. I've had many false accusations. I've had it all -- I've had so many. And when I say it didn't happen, nobody believes me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT now, Samantha Holvey. She came forward in 2016 accusing Donald Trump of inappropriate behavior, watching and inspecting her and other contestants backstage where women were changing their clothes during a Miss USA contest in 2006.

Samantha, thanks for coming in.

SAMANTHA HOLVEY, ACCUSES TRUMP OF INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR: Thanks, Kate. BOLDUAN: You came forward to tell your story. Donald Trump called

you and his other accusers liars. So, then, what are you thinking when you hear that from the president, him talking more about men as victims than the victims, the alleged victims?

HOLVEY: I have to disagree with him wholeheartedly and completely.

[19:50:02] One in three women in this country experienced sexual violence, so I think we need to stop and think about the wives, the mothers, the daughters, the grandmothers, because let's be real about who America is really scary for.

BOLDUAN: And it's a different time and it's a different allegation, and it's a different man, but can you describe, in your view, what it's like to come forward with your story to stand up to be heard against a powerful man?

HOLVEY: It's not easy, for sure. And, you know, not only do people come after you, they come after your family, and that's the absolute worst part of it is when people are threatening your family for something that you took on yourself. It's very, very difficult to do and I commend anybody, especially Dr. Ford. I watched her testimony, and that was very, very difficult.

BOLDUAN: How long did that last for you? When does it subside? When does it go away? When does it feel like you're, quote unquote, back to normal?

HOLVEY: I'll let you know.

BOLDUAN: Still not yet?

HOLVEY: No.

BOLDUAN: Do you think it ever will be?

HOLVEY: Hopefully. We'll see who the next president is. But you know, I'm never going to stop standing up for women and stop fighting against sexual assault, which should be a nonpartisan issue.

BOLDUAN: It absolutely should be.

President Trump mocked Christine Blasey Ford last night about her testimony, when she came out with her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. I'm sure you've heard it but I want to play for you one more time what the president said last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: How did you get home? I don't remember. How'd you get there? I don't remember. Where is the place? I don't remember.

How many years ago was it? I don't know. I don't know.

But I had one beer. That's the only thing I remember. And a man's life is in tatters. A man's life is shattered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: The White House says he wasn't mocking her. He was stating facts and inconsistencies in her testimony. What do you see?

HOLVEY: No, that was absolutely a disgusting display of attacking a sexual assault victim. Are you kidding me with that? It just -- it makes my blood boil to watch that again and again, because I cannot believe that anyone in their right mind would attack a sexual assault victim.

BOLDUAN: And the fact that it was to -- I mean, it was to laughter and applause in the room and you see -- you can -- I mean, I could see two young boys in the background.

HOLVEY: Yes. We're better than that. We need to be better than that. Sexual assault is not funny.

BOLDUAN: President Trump and other Republicans have said that Ford and Kavanaugh are both victims here. Do you sympathize with that?

HOLVEY: No. Not really. I think that Ford is clearly a victim with everything she's had to experience, not only when she was a teenager and then living with that her entire life, but then to have to replay in front of the entire country and have the president mock her, that -- I mean, that -- she is certainly a victim, but for him, he could have shown some character.

When these allegations came up, when he had his opportunity to testify, he could have shown character and he simply did not.

BOLDUAN: Samantha, thank you for your time.

HOLVEY: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, Jeanne Moos on the alert from President Trump that comes through loud and clear -- that came through loud and clear today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:38] BOLDUAN: Tonight, the presidential message that you cannot opt out of. No matter how hard you try.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Never has an emergency alert been so much fun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there are 250 phones in the audience. Is everyone ready?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm excited. I feel like it's New Year's. MOOS: Type of thing the government used to do on TV has now been

expanded to wireless phones nationwide. Inspiring a game of who gets the alert first.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I won.

MOOS: Were you started or expecting it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was expecting it. I set an alarm ready for it.

MOOS: An alarm for an alert scheduled for 2:18 p.m. Eastern.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two, one.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government's late --

MOOS: This woman had a flip phone.

You didn't get an emergency alert?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, what's the emergency?

MOOS: There is no emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No?

MOOS: Just a test.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just a test? Oh, you are so beautiful.

MOOS: Thank you.

The alert was beautiful when it finally happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got it.

MOOS: It's called the presidential alert.

The president didn't write it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's true. Someone --

MOOS: We know that because there are no misspellings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.

MOOS: And it's not in all caps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man.

MOOS: But because it's called the presidential alert, it became fodder for jokes about what President Trump might text. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your phone will be, like, I'm on "Fox & Friends"

at 7:00 a.m. Enjoy. Oh, also, a tsunami is coming. Sad.

MOOS: Just the word "presidential" made it unwelcome for some.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I get this alert from him. I'm throwing the phone in the East River. That's all I'm saying.

MOOS: There were cracks like Tiffany Trump receives first ever text from father.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I don't think I'd feel comfortable having him have my number. I can imagine, like, 2:30 in the morning, what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My first response, somebody said, you know, it's like an Amber alert. I said, oh, is he missing?

MOOS: This mock presidential alert was for a different missing person. I haven't seen Melania in months.

At least the new wireless alert seemed to keep everyone alert.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not leaving this flood zone until he releases his tax returns.

MOOS: -- New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: Can only imagine what's next.

Thanks, everyone, for joining us tonight.

"AC360" starts right now.