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Trump Arrives in Minnesota Amid Kavanaugh Controversy; Crowd Gathers in Senate Office Building After FBI Report Released; Pence Says, China Wants to Turn These Voters Against Trump. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired October 4, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANA NAVARRO, CNN HOST: Two moments happening right now I want to flag for. As we give you live images of two separate scenes in different states, in different parts of the country. You see the large crowd there on your left gathering in the Senate office building protesting the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
And meanwhile, President Trump is just landing in Minneapolis. We're waiting for him walking down those stairs. He's going to be speaking at a rally tonight. And after sparking outrage from mocking Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, today the President opted not to speak with reporters just before he departed for this campaign event in Minneapolis. And so, let's bring in CNN national correspondent, Jason Carroll, who is in the city there in Minneapolis following the President. Jason, the President is just about to headline that fundraiser. Do you think he's going to hail today's events to the people there?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely without question. It is a private fundraiser we should point out. That's expected to get off just as soon as he exits Air Force One and heads into Minneapolis. Again, it's going to be a private fundraiser. There is also going to be a roundtable, we're told, from a GOP source who also tells me the topics of discussion -- the lead topic of discussion will obviously be Kavanaugh. A number of folks who are on the ground, Ana, feeling encouraged, feeling excited about what this White House has done in terms of its handling of the nomination so far.
Other topics of discussion said to be at the roundtable, issues involving the mining industry and the economy as well. It's really important according to GOP leaders for the President to be here at this particular time. There are a number of Congressional races that GOP leaders are looking very closely at, specifically the 1st district and 8th district. You remember this is a president that did not carry Minnesota in 2016. And going forward there seems to be a lot of concern in terms of what sort of tone the President is going to use once he's done here at this private roundtable and heads down to that rally in Rochester. Will he use the same type of tone he used in Mississippi?
You'll remember during that particular rally where he mimicked Ford. It seemed to rally the base and perhaps beyond the base in the South. But this is the Midwest and leaders here are telling me that here a different type of tone will be needed to rally the base. Again, this is the state of Minnesota. Many local leaders see the state of Minnesota as somewhat of a bellwether. So, if they can do well here to rally the base in these local congressional races, they look at that perhaps as some sort of indicator of how the party might do in terms of trying to hold on to the House.
So, a lot of the questions about what sort of tone he's going to use down there in Rochester when he wraps up here today. And after Rochester -- we should point out -- the President is showing no signs of slowing down. He's going to be in Topeka, Kansas over the weekend and then next week he's going to be in Iowa -- where we were earlier this week.
[15:35:00] And he's also going to be in Pennsylvania. So, now sign the President is going to be slowing down in terms of holding these rallies. The big question that a lot of folks have here on the ground is what sort of tone is he going to use later on today -- Ana.
NAVARRO: And if you're paying attention to what is happening in Washington right now, as they put up that split screen showing just how crowded it has become inside the Senate office building.
There's the President now as he gets off Air Force One, waving to the cameras, a couple fist pumps as he gets ready for that private fundraising event ahead of his rally this evening. Our thanks to Jason Carroll. We will monitor if the President says anything as he comes down the stairs.
Remember, we are just a little less or more than a month away from the midterm elections. And just 30 minutes from now, one of the key votes to watch, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin will have his chance to look at the FBI report, that is that supplemental background check into Judge Brett Kavanaugh. I'll speak live to a Democrat on the House Intel Committee about what this vote means for the midterm when we come back.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, everybody. I appreciate it.
NAVARRO: Live pictures as the President just arrived in Minneapolis. It appears that he is greeting supporters. You see he just walked off Air Force One there on the tarmac lined up to greet him, signing autographs, taking pictures and selfies it looks like. We did hear him say something about he's doing well. Don't know if he's talking about Brett Kavanaugh. But certainly, his Supreme Court nominee is on many minds today.
My next guest is a Democrat in the House who is also up for reelection. As we know some of the key votes today, Congressman Eric Swalwell, happen to be those people who have their livelihoods on the line, whether they will be elected. Those five members we've been talking about, three Republicans, including Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Flake, and two Democrats, Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp. Heidi Heitkamp saying, she is going to vote no. I know you don't have a vote but you're watching closely and of course the Supreme Court nomination, the Supreme Court in general is a potentially voter igniting issue. You're there on the House Judiciary Committee. Do you believe this FBI report should be made public?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Good afternoon, Ana. Yes, it should be made public, but it should be a much bigger report. It's concerning that they would limit the scope of their investigation. And the fact that the White House had limited the scope of the investigation to me represents a consciousness of guilt.
[15:40:00] A fear of what they would find if they had heard from other potential witnesses provided by Debbie Ramirez. A fear of what they would have found if they had interviewed Judge Kavanaugh and also, Dr. Ford.
NAVARRO: Why do you think they would have found something differently?
SWALWELL: Well, certainly Dr. Ford and Debbie Ramirez offered a number of other corroborating witnesses. And Dr. Ford had her therapist, had her husband. She had the friends that she told on the beach in her surfing group. And then Debbie Ramirez provided another list of witnesses. You know, Ana, in 1991 -- I think most people agree -- that was a national disgrace the way that the Anita Hill hearing was handled. However, over 20 witnesses were interviewed. And both Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas were interviewed by the FBI. Here only two witnesses were heard from by the committee and the FBI report had fewer than ten witnesses interviewed. It feels like we've actually gone backward.
NAVARRO: So, Congressman, if he is confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh, will you call for further investigation?
SWALWELL: Well, I don't want to step on the Senate process. I hope that he's not confirmed. But we are not helpless, Ana, I think the importance of the court is to great that we would put someone on the court with asterisks and question marks around them. So, I hope the report becomes public so we can see the depth of the investigation. But if there are allegations that are still out there and have not been verified or corroborated, then we do have a duty to look into them and make sure the court is a court of integrity.
NAVARRO: Congressman, I'm not sure if you're seeing what I'm seeing. But we have a split screen right now. The President in Minneapolis greeting supporters on one side. And the other side, it appears to be some confrontations happening inside the Senate office building, where police are now arresting protesters who have gone in there. They are chanting. They appear to be people who are against Judge Kavanaugh's nomination and now they're sitting on the Senate office floor, some being arrested. What are your thoughts about that?
SWALWELL: This is a very emotional time for our country. I hope that the protests are peaceful. I myself have been quite emotional during this. I've said things to friend and family members that may have been a little too charged and regret that, but it's because the stakes are so high, Ana, and this is democracy. And people are concerned that these allegations are serious enough and that the fix is in and the witnesses truly will not be heard of. But I promise, Ana, that if the Supreme Court cannot save us, the American people will elect a Congress that can on November 6th.
NAVARRO: Congressman, there is recent polling that indicates Republicans may have been more energized after all of the controversy that has swirled around Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Are you concerned about that?
SWALWELL: No but, you know, Ana, on January 21 after the inauguration, we saw women go to the town squares. They went to Washington. When the Affordable Care Act was on the line, 80 percent of the calls that went to congressional offices came from women and we saved the Affordable Care Act. Women have saved our butts in the whole Trump administration in the first two years. I think we can count on them, especially the women that have stepped up, thousands of women running for office either for Congress or locally across America that they are the path forward this November.
NAVARRO: Congressman, we believe there's going to be a vote for Judge Kavanaugh here in the next 24 hours that would then trigger the final confirmation vote on Saturday. Where do Democrats go from here?
SWALWELL: Well, again, hopefully Senators Flake, Murkowski and Collins recognize the serious deficiency in the FBI investigation and don't go forward in supporting Kavanaugh. But again, we go to our voters and we tell them that we cannot count on the courts to protect us. We have an out of control presidency and Republicans unwilling to check that presidency. So, the best thing we can do is to move our feet from the town squares to the town halls. And as Dr. Martin Luther King called on everyone to do in the civil rights movement, march on the ballot boxes. Because the ballot boxes are where all the changes ever come from. So, we have a mission ahead and it's 33 days to go.
NAVARRO: Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you for being with us.
SWALWELL: Thank you. My pleasure, Ana.
NAVARRO: We're going to monitor these pictures from inside the Senate office building. Protesters gathering, we've seen what appear to be some people arrested. We'll take a quick break and be back in just a moment.
[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
NAVARRO: You hear the emotion, you hear the energy as we keep an eye on these live anti-Kavanaugh protests happening inside the Senate office building right now. We have seen what appeared to have been some arrests already as these protesters are appealing to senators as they contemplate whether to vote for or against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee. We'll continue to monitor these images and developments there. We also want to get in this important story today. Vice President
Mike Pence wrapping up his rhetoric against Beijing today saying China is meddling in the upcoming midterm election. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The tariffs imposed by China to date specifically targeted industries and states that would play an important role in the 2018 elections.
[15:50:00] By one estimate, more than 80 percent of U.S. counties targeted by China voted for President Trump and I in 2016. Now China wants to turn these voters against our administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NAVARRO: Joining us now, CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. And Barbara, some tough talk from Pence. Is it just more rhetoric or is there policy action to follow?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, on the military side, it does look like the U.S. military wants to at this point ramp up its presence off the coast of China, sending more of a national security message to the Chinese, in addition to the economic and diplomatic message of the tariffs and election security.
What we do know now is that the Pentagon is looking at a proposal from the U.S. navy for some kind of global response against China. In other words, picking several days -- maybe as soon as November -- in a concentrated fashion sailing U.S. navy ships, flying aircraft off China to make the statement that this is international air space, international waters and the increased Chinese militarization presence in the region that they cannot take it over. That the U.S. military will still operate in that region.
One of the reasons, Ana, it's so significant. There's some really fascinating photos, just a few days ago, a Chinese and an American warship came within 45 yards of each other when the U.S. warship was sailing in that region in what the U.S. very much considers international waters. And the Chinese claim belong to them. These kind of operations can become very dangerous when the two sides get so close together in a military sense, as you can see, in those photos.
So, you know, look, indeed, for more of a military message, absolutely, to be sent to Beijing that the U.S. military is not pulling back -- Ana.
NAVARRO: Barbara Starr, thank you for that reporting.
I want to head back inside the Senate office building. Our Joe Johns is there now among the protesters. Joe, fill us in.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Well this is the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. If you take a look. These are people who came over from the United States Supreme Court where they held a rally, and they sat down, started chanting. Eventually the United States capitol police started picking them up and putting them in lines. I don't see them, at least at this point, being essentially handcuffed as has occurred in other cases. I suppose that depends on what they do.
Nonetheless the way this works is -- at least so far -- is the authorities have essentially given them a citation. It's sort of like a ticket. They have to pay bail. It's about $50 and then they're released. And I'm told by the lawyers for the protesters that those charges do not remain on their criminal records. This is a political action protest, as you can see. Continues. It's much larger than a week ago when those one-on-one hearings were going on. And it is filled with much more energy as these protesters come to Capitol Hill to say no to the Kavanaugh nomination. Back to you -- Ana.
NAVARRO: Joe, do you know who these people are? Are they part of a group? Are they just individuals who have gathered? Any idea?
JOHNS: They are brought here by an umbrella group or a number of umbrella groups and come from all sorts of different progressive and liberal causes. I spent some time today talking with people, for example, from Greenpeace. There are a number of gay/lesbian activist groups that are here, abortion groups that are here. So, a variety of different organizations. People coming from just about everywhere.
This afternoon I talked to someone who came from St. John, Virgin Islands. So just almost any place you can imagine within the United States. I don't know how many are here from outside the United States, but all stripes. A lot of women. These people have been arrested outnumber -- the women outnumber the men fairly substantially -- Ana.
NAVARRO: We can see that from our live pictures that are overhead as well, Joe Johns, although we've seen a few men in that crowd as well. We appreciate it. We're seeing protests in Phoenix, outside Senator Jeff Flake's office. We'll monitor those. Quick break. Back in just a moment.
[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
NAVARRO: Nearly four years after a deadly police shooting of a 17- year-old Chicago teen, a jury is now deliberating the fate of the officer who killed him. Jason Van Dyke faces multiple counts including first-degree murder, as well as aggravated battery and official misconduct. Now this all goes back to October of 2014. Van Dyke shot Laquan McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke said he fired in self- defense claiming McDonald lunged at him with a knife. But Police dash cam video shows McDonald walking away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL HERBERT, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: [16:00:00] This is a tragedy, there is no question, but it's not a murder. It's a tragedy, but not a murder. And it's a tragedy that could have been prevented with one simple step.
JODY GLEASON, ASSISTANT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Laquan McDonald was never going to walk home that night. The defendant decided that on the way to the scene. You heard what it was that he said. I guess we'll have to shoot him. It wasn't the knife in Laquan's hand that made the defendant kill him that night. It was his indifference to the value of Laquan's life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NAVARRO: Now the jury has also been instructed to consider second- degree murder. Majority white panel includes eight women and four men.
Let me take you back live to D.C. now where we continue to monitor the protests happening inside and outside the capitol building. This is inside the Senate office building. Again, these protesters gathering after that FBI report was released but not made public. The Senators who are going to be considering the vote are looking at it now.
"THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" is next.