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U.S. Senators Looking At Secret FBI Report On Kavanaugh; Protesters Demonstrate In Front Of The Supreme Court; Dutch Catch Russians In Wifi Spy Operation; Hundreds of Nigerian Women Being Trafficked As Sex Workers; Republicans Believe Democrats Frustrated By FBI Report; Republican Leaders Comment on FBI's Kavanaugh Report; Pence Slams Beijing Over Alleged Election Meddling; A Taste Of Laotian Cuisine. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired October 4, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Hi, everyone. I'm Robyn Curnow, Hala Gorani is out.

So tonight, Capitol Hill is a hive of activity right now as U.S. Senators read the much anticipated FBI review of Brett Kavanaugh. Protestors we

know are marching to the Supreme Court where the judge could sit for life.

Also tonight, multiple countries point the finger at Russia accusing them of worldwide state sponsored espionage. We are live in Moscow.

We begin with an extraordinary day in the U.S. Senate as the battle over Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee comes down to the wire. Republicans

and Democrats are taking turns going into the secure room to review an FBI report on sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. It's taking

awhile because only one copy was made available for 100 Senators. The vast majority had already made up their minds about Kavanaugh's confirmation so

it's these few undecided Senators that will determine his fate. We already heard from two that say the investigation of Kavanaugh was thorough. Other

Senators are pretty much split down party lines with Republicans saying the report helps Kavanaugh while Democrats are blasting the investigation as



SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D), NEW YORK: We have many fears that this was a very limited process that would constrain the FBI from getting all the facts.

Having received a thorough briefing on the documents, those fears have been realized.

SEN. DIANE FEINSTEIN, (D), CALIFORNIA: The most notable part of this report is what is not in it as we noted by the White House the FBI did not

interview Brett Kavanaugh nor did the FBI interview Dr. Blasey Ford. What we heard over the last few days seeking to provide information to the FBI,

we have seen press reports of witnesses that wanted to speak with the FBI but were not interviewed.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: They followed leads from interviews that made sense to me it's a complete report. It's a background

check. I'm confident the FBI did a good job. They were not hindered in any way.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, MAJORITY LEADER: So, what did we learn? What are the facts and the evidence tell us after seven FBI investigations? The

fact is these allegations have not been corroborated. None of them. By the 7th FBI investigation. Not in the new FBI investigation. Not



CURNOW: So, we're still waiting for the undecided Senators to take their turn before the cameras but for now Kavanaugh supporters have reason for

hope. Let's bring our senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju. Why do they have reason to hope?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Those three Republican Senators have all been briefed behind closed doors. And we have caught up

with all three of them and two of them have given very positive indications about what they have seen so far. Susan Collins saying this has been a

thorough investigation breaking from the Democrats who said this is an incomplete report and siding with her Republican colleagues believing that

it has been done adequately and for his part Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican said that there's nothing to corroborate the claims made by these two

accusers now we just caught up also with Lisa Murkowski that was more noncommittal and still reviewing the report but given the fact that the two key Republican Senators seem OK with the way the

investigation has been conducted it's a sign that they could be moving in the yes direction and as you noted if they cannot lose more than one

Senator. If they lose two, the nomination goes down and those two are leaning yes. However, all of them plan to read more of this report behind

closed doors. We'll see if their minds are changed at any point here.

[14:05:00] CURNOW: But this is still going pretty fast isn't? Since there isn't really a plan B or plan A if this goes ahead.

RAJU: Already the clock is ticking toward a vote tomorrow that would advance nomination and they would need a simple majority of Senators to do

just that. At the moment they are right on the edge and may have the votes but expect that to happen tomorrow morning and he would be confirmed as

soon as Saturday and the Republicans are very confident at this hour.

CURNOW: Give us insight into these rotating secret shifts into this vault where they're going in one by one and alternating every hour. This is

unique or at least unusual.

RAJU: It is. Especially with the stakes so high in an investigation like this. There's one hard copy of that report. They're trying to prevent any

leaks and they're not allowed to publicly characterize it but they cannot get into the detail of the contents. They're being briefed by their staff

about the contents and you're hearing them giving their own narratives about what's going on. Democrats saying it was just not done adequately


CURNOW: So, what you're saying, at least for the American people quickly, there's not going to be a final grand conclusion is there? They don't even

know what's going to be in the report.

RAJU: No, each side is going to pick what they want out of this. They're the ones going to make the decision about whether Kavanaugh is going to get

the seat.

CURNOW: Thanks for bringing us up to date on that.

Protests are also playing out in Washington. Survivors of sexual assault and their supporters are among those that have been rallying and in the

thick of it all, we find Joe Johns. Joe, hi, where exactly are you and what have people been telling you?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm in front of the United States Supreme Court which is where Kavanaugh would end up if he is confirmed. There's

probably several hundred for sure, perhaps 1,000 or 2,000 people here who have made their way up capitol hill from the U.S. District Court where

Brett Kavanaugh currently works. He works on the U.S. Circuit Court. There's been many arrests of many demonstrators over the last several days

and now this afternoon we have seen very direct appeals to those Senators who are publicly stated to be on the fence and that would include Senator

Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona and we did see some survivors stepping forward and saying, look, do you believe survivors

Senator? And calling those Senators out and saying you should believe me. So direct appeals from the microphone here as we approach the day.

CURNOW: And Joe --

JOHNS: Back to you, Robyn.

CURNOW: Give us a sense, hopefully you can hear me, of the energy. There's been so much anger just exhibited by these hearings. So, I don't

know, if you can explain to us the kind of anger and perhaps the political momentum.

JOHNS: Absolutely. There's been a great deal of anger. Very visceral anger. Confrontational anger and you can feel it in talking to people out

here in the demonstrations over the last seven days. It's also important to point out that the organizers made it very clear that just because

there's a demonstration doesn't mean the Kavanaugh or judgeship will be derailed. It doesn't mean he won't go on to the Supreme Court. They're

trying to channel the anger and energy and encourage them to keep their eyes focused on the November midterms when it's up for grabs in the

election. They're keeping focused on that as well and trying to channel some of that anger.

[14:10:00] CURNOW: OK. The political consequences. Thank you so much. Now a White House spokesperson said this morning that the administration is

very confident Kavanaugh will be confirmed. Good to see you. So, is the White House very bullish about this report? And the President? What about

him? Administration is very confident Kavanaugh will be confirmed.

Let's bring in CNN reporter Sarah Westwood. Good to see you. So, is the White House very bullish about this report? And the President? What about


SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, the White House is projecting optimism that they have gotten their nominee close to the finish

line with the completion of the FBI report. They're trying to avoid criticism that White House officials unnecessarily limited the scope of the

FBI investigation by saying they simply communicated to the FBI what Senators said they needed to know from this background investigation and

the challenge right now from President Trump is he is actually of limited utility at this point in the process in terms of votes on Capitol Hill

because those few remaining undecided Republicans and Democrats, all moderate, the five of those, they're not people that necessarily want to

hear from President Trump. They're not people that would benefit in their home states from the perception that they caved to Trump on this

nomination. So even though the White House says they remained engaged with lawmakers in the senate as the FBI report was delivered late last night to

the capitol, they're also saying that they are confident that the White House is getting their nominee closer to the confirmation even though the

President himself has done more harm than good this week by mocking the first accuser to come off Brett Kavanaugh and they're not able to whip

those remaining Senators, Robyn.

CURNOW: When we talk about whipping up and revving up there's been a lot of anger whipped up by the President's comments on the liberal Democratic

side but in some ways this is also the whole trauma of the last week or so has also in many ways perhaps revved up Republicans and the President and

at least energized them ahead of the midterms. Is there any sense of that from where you are?

WESTWOOD: That's right. Republicans are now banking on this to drum up enthusiasm ahead of the midterms. One major problem for the GOP heading

into November was that all of the excitement was concentrated on the left. Republicans controlled all three branches of government and implemented a

lot of the things, tax cuts, deregulations that they had set out to do so there's a lot of complacency among the base and now a lot of strategists,

the White House included, is hoping that this excitement, the negativity, the positivity surrounding the Brett Kavanaugh fight will rev up the voters

and get them to go to the polls. Either way, if the Republicans get a victory by confirming him or if Republicans can portray themselves as a

victim of a Democratic plot, they're hoping that this injects some excitement on the right ahead of November.

CURNOW: Thank you so much. Good to see you. Thanks, Sarah.

So still to come tonight, calling out Russia over global state sponsored espionage. Dutch officials say these men, this is them, are the key

players. We'll have all the details next. And also, the U.S. is getting in on the act. The latest in this west versus Russia drama when we come



CURNOW: Hala is out and I'm bringing you all the latest news here on CNN. I want to talk about an unprecedented and coordinated fight back. Banding

together and now the U.K. and Canada and Australia and New Zealand are also involved in this collectively blaming Moscow of waging a worldwide campaign

of cyberattacks and Washington is also ratcheting up the pressure. Announcing indictments against seven Russians they say engaged in hacking,

wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering and that's over athletic doping. Now four of the names given in the U.S. indictment matched those

given by Dutch authorities in connection with an alleged plot against the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons. The Dutch say these

are images of those four men. Well, Russia labeled these accusations as crude disinformation and we'll get more on that when we cross to Moscow

shortly but we want to walk you through exactly what we heard from the Dutch today. Here's Nick Payton Walsh with all of the details.

NICK PAYTON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It begins here, April 10th, Schiphol Airport and what follows is as brazen as it is, frankly, clumsy. Four men,

all Russian GRU intelligence operatives all arrive on Russian diplomatic passports according to an extremely rare and detailed Dutch briefing.

Picked up by a Russian embassy staffer they weren't taking pictures. Their target, OPCW, the international chemical weapons monitoring organization.

At that time, investigating the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal. Testing the rare Russian-made nerve agent that nearly

killed him in Salisbury but also testing the substances used by the Syrian regime forces in suspected chemical attacks in 2017. They stayed at the

Marriott nearby and bought a huge battery on April 11th and the next day parked their car here. Meters away from the OPCW. In the back of the car

was a huge antenna smuggled in and designed to hack into the WiFi of the OPCW nearby. It was then the Dutch intelligence pounced before the hack

could work.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The MIVD stopped a cyber operation and four involved Russian intelligence officers that same day were expelled from our country.


WALSH: The four leaving behind stunningly clumsy evidence. First, a cell phone, one they tried to destroy when caught, that had been activated in

Moscow near the Russian GRU building just three days earlier. There was even a taxi receipt from that building to a Moscow airport and a long, long

list of WiFi connections on a laptop showing global travel to Malaysia near government buildings investigating the downing of flight MH-17 allegedly by

Russian backed separatists and to sites near Olympic and sports drug testing facilities in Switzerland. Moscow immediately denied it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know that among western countries, she said, it has become common courtesy to systematically accuse Russia in all possible

crimes. Especially in the field of cyber security.


WALSH: But hours later the U.S. indicted 7 GRU officers were hacking among others Olympic sports agencies.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our indictment today charges some of the same Russian operatives caught in the Hague along with their colleagues in Moscow.


WALSH: A day when global clamor about Russian hacking was joined by granular compelling evidence. Nick Payton Walsh, CNN, London.

[14:20:00] CURNOW: Stunning detail there isn't there? Let's get more on this Dutch intelligence in particular. He is an investigative reporter and

former Moscow correspondent. He joins us in the Netherlands via Skype. Good to see you. So, I mean, there is so much detail. How unique is it

for the Dutch to get such a window into foreign spying operations?

GERT-JAN DENNEKAMP, DUTCH INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: It's very unique. Sometimes you hear people are expelled or put on planes but you never, ever

hear the details and today we heard everything and when they left and what they were planning to do here in the Netherlands. So, it was very unique

and a clear message to Russia, we know what you're doing and it's also and today we heard everything and when they left and what they were planning to

do here in the Netherlands. So, it was very unique and a clear message to Russia, we know what you're doing and it's also actually a message to the

Dutch public that was maybe skeptic about all of the accusations about Russia interfering and they gave it to everybody to investigate it and it's


CURNOW: What do the Dutch feel it tells them about tactics? How organic and the hybrid nature of these operations?

DENNEKAMP: What you see, all details we now got also from America is it didn't only happen in the Netherlands. They try to get access from afar.

If that doesn't work they visit the country and get close to the organizations and try to get on the WiFi network and if that doesn't work,

they try to get access to individuals. They try to get through the WiFi hotel access to their computer and you don't see that only here in the

Netherlands. But they went to Rio to get access to antidoping investigators on the spot to see what's going on there. It's part of a new

approach in Russia that this is -- that if there's a conflict, you don't only fight it with weapons. You also fight it with cyber technology and

this intelligence.

CURNOW: And is there any backlash to the fact that it expelled these operatives?

DENNEKAMP: There were some questions of why didn't you arrest them? And the approach here or the explanation that we got from the military secret

service is that they approached it as an espionage situation. They wanted to act quickly and they put them on the plane and they had to leave all of

their equipment and only after America put out the request for information, the justice department is now looking into it.

CURNOW: And those are diplomatic passports that they were traveling on. This is not the first time they have gone toe to toe against the Kremlin.

DENNEKAMP: That's correct. A colleague of mine had a report earlier about the Dutch intelligence services looking into a room and getting information

about the secret service which is an organization for foreign intelligence operations of the FSB and this information was kept in America as part of

the investigation of the hacking into the Democratic political party and now they have another success in today. They were presenting it today. It

was in April but they were able to stop this operation of the GRU in the Netherlands.

[14:25:00] CURNOW: Thank you for joining us. Really good to get your perspective there. Appreciate it. So, as we were hearing here, this is

all been very coordinated. I want to talk about the US role in these pretty choreographed moves against Russia.

Prosecutors have announced indictments there against seven Russians were hacking and other crimes and they were part of a Russian effort to

discredit the people investigating Russia's athletic doping program. Take a listen to this.


JOHN DEMERS, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE NATIONAL SECURITY DIVISION: This began with the disclosure of Russian state-sponsored doping program

for its athletes. In other words, Russia cheated. They cheated, they got caught. They were banned from the Olympics. They were mad and they

retaliated and in retaliating they broke the laws. So, they are criminals.


CURNOW: That's a pretty tough statement. So, we also got denials from the Kremlin. Let's go straight to Moscow. Matthew Chance is standing by with

the Russian side of the story. Good to see you. Have we had a denial on everything but a blanket denial.

MATHEW CHANCE, CNN MOSCOW CORRESPONDENT: Let's go with the blanket ones because within the past few minutes the Russian foreign ministry issued a

rambling statement in which it said all of these allegations and I'm slightly paraphrasing it here, all of these allegations are yet another

propaganda campaign against their country and that, you know fits in with what we heard time and again from the Russian Russians. They always

confronted it with the same type of categorical denial. But the truth is that those denials and those claims of innocence are falling on

increasingly deaf ears and one of the stunning features of this Dutch investigation is the level of evidence. The passport photos, the car.

What they had to hack into the chemical weapons watchdog and a taxi receipt that they took from the pocket of one of the suspects from a street near

the GRU headquarters here in Moscow to the airport before they actually arrived in the Netherlands. So, a high level of detail that you wouldn't

normally expect from this operation and we saw when the British disclosed the suspects, they also gave a very high level of detail and it's done

particularly to avoid this kind of blanket Russian denial.

CURNOW: So, you mentioned the example as well. We talk about pretty shoddy trade craft when it comes down to spying. Is this because this is

brazen or is it bungling?

CHANCE: Frankly, I think that opinion is divided about whether this is bungling or whether these people are just totally incompetent or whether

they're doing it on purpose with the express desire to be sort of identified. But even though the Kremlin could continue to shake his head

and know very well who is behind it. I think what is interesting though is that much of the focus has been on this military intelligence agency, the

GRU, but as your last guests were saying there are other organizations as well which are also controlled by the highest levels of the Russian state

by the Kremlin effectively. By the foreign intelligence agency and the domestic intelligence agency and they are also carrying out these very

similar activities. The GRU is taking a more reckless approach toward these foreign operations.

CURNOW: What we have seen is a coordinated and swift approach by western governments in response to it. Let's see what happens next. As always,

Matthew Chance, there in Moscow, thank you so much. So still to come tonight, new accusations of election meddling coming from U.S. Vice

President Mike Pence, but this time, this time, fingers are pointed at China. Also ahead, Nigerian women are forced to sell their bodies in a

Paris park.

We'll have a freedom project for you after the break. It's an important one. Stick around.


[14:30:00] ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: So you might know it, by day, it's a popular Paris park with people walk their dogs and happily

spend time with friends, but after dark, it has an ugly harrowing secret. At night, this park is commandeered by human traffickers and their

customers, men-seeking prostitutes.

Now, hundreds of young vulnerable Nigerian women have been forced into sex slavery in France and across Europe and they face a vicious cycle of fear,

death and exploitation. Well, Melissa Bell has this really important story from our Freedom Project.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A night time exchange in Paris' largest park, Bois de Vincennes, with just a nod, a prostitute is

led into the bushes. In France, it is buying sex, rather than selling it, that is illegal.

But the police say that most of the women, who work here, are slaves. Nadege, not her real name, used to be one of them.

NADEGE, FORMER NIGERIAN PROSTITUTE: If you go to Vincennes, you ask questions, 90 percent are slaves, 90 percent.

BELL: Parisian police agree, for every woman dancing freely here, they say, nine, are not. By day, the park is a beautiful spot, popular with dog

walkers and ball players. By night, it becomes a place where men can buy sex, for very little.

The police believe that 150 slaves work in this park. Like the others, Nadej was in the hands of a network to which she gave all of her earnings.

And unlike the others, she took an oath before leaving Nigeria, binding her to a Madame through juju, a traditional West African belief system.

NADEGE: Imagine you taking an oath. You lie down inside a casket, a coffin, which means if you break the rules, you're going to come back to

this coffin. It's so powerful.

BELL: So powerful, that during the ceremony, the women are physically branded with scars that identify them back in Nigeria as cursed women. In

2017, the U.N. International Organization for Migration said that there had been a nearly 600 percent increase in potential sex trafficking victims

arriving in Europe through Italy, since 2014, 80 percent of them were Nigerian.

Our cameraman wore hidden device to get a sense of how these conversations take place and where the women come from.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm from Nigeria. That's 30 Euros.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old am I? You tell me how old am I.

BELL: Local charities say that the women who walk these streets are getting younger and that their apparent freedom is an illusion.

AURELIE JEANNEROD, NGO, LIBERATION FOR THE CAPTIVES: They have no access to their documents. They've lost their identity. They've lost their age.

And they have no freeness. The only freeness they have is to go to prostitutes and to give back money.

BELL: It is so shocking to see these women lined up on the streets of this park. We ask Parisian police how this could be allowed to continue. They

said there simply isn't very much they can do. The women are afraid to talk to them because of the networks, and they say they move around Europe

very often.

And then, explain the police, there's the problem that there is an apparently never-ending supply of Nigerian women desperate to come to


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as you dismember the group it only lasts at most (INAUDIBLE) because we create a vacuum for another network to set up.

BELL: A slave amongst so many others in this park, that's what Nadege says that she was for eight months. It was the birth of her son that gave her

the strength to go into hiding. But she says, no one ever really escapes.

[14:35:10] NADEGE: No matter what I am tomorrow, I'm still going to be useless, because I can't proudly say my story. I can't proudly tell the

world who I am. I will always be in the dark. It's not easy to be transported to Europe just like a bag of fruit, and sold for men to eat for

money. But I just thank God I'm a survivor.

BELL: Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


CURNOW: Thanks Melissa, for that report. Now, momentum seems to be building for U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, after the FBI

delivered the results of an additional investigation.

Many Republican senators say it clears Kavanaugh of sexual assault accusations while Democrats say it was rushed and incomplete. Even after

the Senate vote, the fight over Kavanaugh's nomination to the High Court is not likely to be over, politically, or perhaps even legally.

So, let's talk about all of this with CNN's Legal Analyst, Joey Jackson. Joey, fabulous to see you, but I might have to interrupt you because we are

expecting some, sort of, press conference from the Republicans on Capitol Hill and we will go to that.

So, we begin with three minute warning. So let's quickly get your sense of how this has all played out from a legal point of view, what struck you?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, Robyn, what strikes me is the whole politicalization, right, of the entirety of the process. And so, just

taking a step back, right, we want this investigation. That is the Democrats wanted the investigation to find out information, right?

And concluding the investigation from the FBI, there is no such information to be found. As I know, Mitch McConnell is about to speak, and I will

yield my time. But the reality is, we know little more than we knew then, and each side --

CURNOW: Joey, and I am going to have to interrupt you, Joey Jackson.

JACKSON: All good.

CURNOW: You're going to have to listen in. We might speak to you on the other end, stand by.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: any of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. And the second thing we know for sure

is that, there's no way anything we did would satisfy the Democrats. They've always got a reason why the goal post need to be moved further down

the field, further down the field.

And nothing we could do would satisfy them. They're dug in. You have seen it from the beginning. And with that, I want to turn it over to Chairman

Grassley and the members of the committee who I think have done a really outstanding job. Thank you.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Before I say a few words, so I won't have to announce each person after me, in this

order will be Hatch, Cornan, Lee (INAUDIBLE) please come to the podium and say whatever you want to say and then we'll take questions.

This is the 87th day. That's three weeks longer than the average of the last three or four nominees to the Supreme Court. So don't tell me we

haven't spent enough time. Also, I feel very good about where this nomination is, right now.

Now, I don't say that from the standpoint of counting votes. I say that from the standpoint of the qualifications of this candidate and the fact

that those qualifications, to be a Supreme Court Justice, based upon his 12 years on the D.C. Circuit, without anybody finding any fault with his

qualifications to serve there. But that hasn't been talked about much, everything else.

This person is very well qualified, a person that believes in the principles of due process, the presumption of innocence and readiness to

serve or recognize.

So, Judge Kavanaugh should be confirmed on Saturday. Now, this started downhill very quickly. On about July the 10th, when Schumer said that

we're going to do everything we can to stop this nomination.

And you can look back 87 days, and you can see that everything, but whether he's qualified to serve, has been brought up, brought up. I've tried to

commit, and I think I've carried out what I promise immediately, that we are going to have a fair and thorough process.

We had a fair and thorough process, and I think that's best demonstrated by the fact that we -- the minute I read about who the person was, in the

Feinstein letter, Dr. Ford, I read about her name in the paper. We got on it right away to provide the forum she wanted, and in-turn, we provided the

same forum for Kavanaugh.

[14:40:12] But what I've been dealing with since July the 10th, the downhill slope that Schumer has put us on, is really dealing with a

demolition derby. And they just about destroyed a good person to be on the Supreme Court.

So, hopefully we're 48 hours away from having a new person on the Supreme Court.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I certainly endorse everything that the Chairman of the Committee has said. Look, I'm disappointed in my

Democratic colleagues for what they're doing. There's no excuse for it, but they're doing it. I'm grateful to the FBI for their efforts in doing a

thorough, very important investigation.

Many of us had said that if Judge Kavanaugh did what he has been accused of doing, by some of the Democrats and outside people, some outside people, he

should be disqualified. But after investigations from both the committee and the FBI, we have found nothing, absolutely nothing to corroborate

accusations against him.

And we need to confirm him right away. His confirmation will be a victory for the senators and institution, a reminder that the politics of baseless

personal destruction, has no place here.

I think he's one of the best nominees I've seen in my 42 years in the United States Senate. And I apologize to him for the way he has been

treated. Yes, this is an important position, yes, and Democrats have a right to feel very worried and upset about a Republican getting this seat,

because they thought they had won the election.

But that isn't the case. And our side just handled this, I think, with discretion, handling every problem that has come up and frankly, I hope we

can just move forward and get this done. It's the right thing to do. Judge Kavanaugh is a great judge. He'll make a great Justice on the United

States Supreme Court, and I intend to do everything I possibly can to make sure that he gets there as quickly as we can.


CURNOW: Listening there two Republicans on Capitol Hill, Joey Jackson, this is -- this is unsurprising. It's familiar territory.


CURNOW: Democrats would be saying all of this legal process is essentially providing these men and other senators, political cover.

JACKSON: A hundred percent. So, you know, what has been embarrassing about this whole process is just the sheer politics of it. And so,

starting with, of course, the hearing, so last week, there's hearing. And, of course, Robyn, at any hearing, you want to get to the facts. The

problem, with regard to those facts, is that you only have two participants.

You have, of course, Dr. Ford who testifies as to what she says happened to her, right, when she was 15 years old and Kavanaugh was 17, back in high

school. And then, after she testifies, giving very compelling, riveting, complete testimony, you have Judge Kavanaugh who comes, in the afternoon,

and refutes what she says and swears it didn't happen.

So, the problem there, is that at any hearing, right, a hearing, you want to get to the truth. You want to get to the heart of the matter. You want

to learn what happened. The fact that only two witnesses are there, it's problematic. That's number one. That was my first issue.

And then, you have an investigation, right? So the Democrats say, look, we need an FBI investigation to really get to the heart of the matter. And

then, you have this investigation that's limited in scope. The FBI doesn't speak to Dr. Blasey-Ford. They don't speak to Judge Kavanaugh.

CURNOW: And a lot of Yale classmates.

JACKSON: Exactly. Robyn, they don't speak to multiple classmates, so now, you have an investigation. It's a sham.

CURNOW: So, that's my question, is this what we have seen the last few -- the last week with the FBI? It's not who they interviewed, it's who they

didn't interview. And what does that tell you?

JACKSON: It tells me a number of things. Number one, now Democrats are very careful not to attack the FBI. They feel that the President has done

enough of that over the years. What they're looking at attacking is the scope of the investigation for which they were tasked to complete. And

what they're saying is that the White House tied their hands by ensuring that they would not follow leads.

[14:45:01] And so, what you have here is the epitome of hypocrisy and outrageousness. Why? Because now you have the Republicans saying there's

no corroboration. Well, you didn't allow the FBI to interview the witnesses that would have corroborated what was being said. So, how can

you make the claim that there's no corroboration? And so, you have what was supposed to be an investigation to satisfy everybody's concern as to

what really occurred which was an incomplete non-thorough investigation. So, why investigate in the first instance? And so, it just begs the

question that this is all smacks of politics. Republicans looking for political cover to get their person in office. And the Democrats saying,

not so fast, you got to go back to the drawing board and do an investigation, do it properly, do it thoroughly, and do it right. And so,

here we are.

CURNOW: And so, here we are, and as they say, it seems likely within the next 48 hours, at least according to the Republicans, that there will be a

new Supreme Court Justice sitting on that bench.

JACKSON: You know, that's certainly possible. But that's a function of mathematics, Robyn, plain and simple. Because as we know, it's going to

take the 50 votes, right, that they need. And the question becomes, are they going to have the requisite amount of votes? Is Flake -- remember,

he's a Republican from Arizona, he's the one who said, look, let's pause, let's get this investigation. Is he satisfied enough so that he would vote

for this nominee? Are they going to get other Democrats who are in Republican states that have tough races to vote for this nominee? So, the

only way McConnell puts that vote on the floor is if they know they have the votes to back it up. If they don't, then it's going to be problematic

for the nominee to pass.

CURNOW: And to go back to what you said at the beginning, this has been more political than legal in many ways. Joey Jackson, always great to

speak to you. Thanks so much, my friend.

JACKSON: Pleasure is mine. Thank you.

CURNOW: Cheers. OK. So, this is CNN, I'm Robyn Curnow. Much more news after the break. Stay with us.


CURNOW: U.S. intelligence agencies said Russia was the culprit in election interference two years ago, but the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence now says

China is taking that to a whole new level. He's accusing Beijing of running a divisive influence campaign ahead of the upcoming midterm

elections. And the main target according to Pence is Trump voters.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The tariffs imposed by China to date specifically targeted industries and states that would play

an important role in the 2018 elections. 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.


CURNOW: But Pence didn't stop there. He also slammed China for a near collision between U.S. and Chinese warships. So, Security Analyst Samantha

Vinograd joins me now to talk about all of that. Sam, good to see you. You used to work in the Obama White House. What did you make of that


[14:49:57] SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: What I make of it is that this is not a speech about election interference. If this

was about election interference, Vice President Pence would have talked about the other state-sponsored election interference attempts that had

been referenced by the National Security Adviser and by the Secretary of State. We have both of those officials citing Russia, of course, China,

Iran, and North Korea as having both the intent and the capability to interfere in the U.S. elections. Instead, Vice President Pence chose just

to focus on China which really signals to me, Robyn, that this was a political speech. This was not about security. And it's actually really

dangerous, because now, we have the Vice President of the United States telling the world that the number one election interference risk is coming

from Chinese propaganda. That's ridiculous. And can lead to a gross misallocation of resources that should be spent, for example, looking at

Russian covert activity, Iranian covert activity, North Korean fiber hacks, and that sort of election interference.

CURNOW: OK. And also, I just want to talk about the -- him conflating security issues around election security, and then the trade war and

tariffs. Because if China -- it wasn't only just China who targeted Trump country, essentially. I mean, I know the Europeans were also in terms of

this trade war, focussing, say, on Jack Daniels and a variety of, you know, other Trump-country-type targets, because that was the point of the trade

war. So, that's again, a weird way to perhaps conflate the two. What do you think was also key, though, from a political point of view about this


VINOGRAD: Well, that's an excellent point, Robyn, and what's key to me, is that the Vice President is trying to use politics and play politics, again,

under the guise of national security. As you pointed out, the Europeans were choosing to focus on products that were really made in states and

areas that were pro-Trump in the past, and it's nothing new for the Chinese to use propaganda in the United States. The South Koreans several -- a

decade or so ago or two decades ago, put factories in certain states because they had political implications. This is not a new practice by

countries. What is new is, again, waving the flag of election interference when in fact this is a political issue that the Vice President and the

President are sensitive about.

CURNOW: OK. We're going to have to leave it at that. Thanks so much for joining us, Sam Vinograd.


CURNOW: I appreciate it. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.


CURNOW: -- cuisine is enormously popular around the globe, but many people aren't too familiar with the food from Laos, the Southeast Asian country's

cuisine has been overshadowed by its more famous neighbors. So, is the world missing out? And I say yes, because it is fabulous. Amara Walker

takes us to one of the top restaurants in the country's capital. Take a look.


AMARA WALKER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Situated between culinary juggernauts, Vietnam and Thailand, the landlocked country of Laos is ready

to debut its relatively unknown cuisine.

In the early morning hours, the sleepy Laotian capital, Vientiane, comes to life at the open air market. An abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables

as well as rows upon rows of meat. This is where Ponpailin Kaewduangdy, known to most as Noi, comes every morning to shop for seasonal ingredients.

But the repertoire of Lao dishes in her head, Noy inspects the day's offerings to decide what she'll cook.

PONPAILIN KAEWDUANGDY, CHEF & OWNER, DOI KA NOI (through translator): My food is not easily recognized. Sometimes my customers think it's similar

to Thai food, but actually, Lao food uses more vegetables and herbs.

WALKER: Noi is the chef and owner of local restaurant Doi Ka Noi, with a menu that changes daily based on available ingredients. Noi says she

doesn't compromise when it comes to cooking authentic Lao food.

KAEWDUANGDY (through translator): We only serve Lao food with no modifications. Customers should know that Lao food uses a lot of flavorful

ingredients like chili, herbs, and fermented fish sauce.

WALKER: The 39-year-old started cooking with her grandmother when she was 10 years old. Today, she's making laab, a meat-based salad, considered the

national dish of Laos. For her laab (INAUDIBLE) Noi uses duck confit.

KAEWDUANGDY (through translator): I add salt, garlic, and black pepper in the duck fat, and I soak it for one night to make the duck meat softer and

tastier. When I make the laab, I'll add fish sauce and herbs.

WALKER: Bountiful heaps of banana blossoms and mint, chili and lime, lend the dish its striking, bold flavor.

KAEWDUANGDY (through translator): And this is the crispy duck skin. I'll slice it into small pieces and add it to the top of the laab.

WALKER: The cuisine of Laos is fiery and fresh, simple and savory, drawing heavily on fresh greens and pungent fish sauce, and often paired with

sticky rice.

KAEWDUANGDY (through translator): We want to preserve the culture of Lao food. It's in danger of disappearing because young people are less

interested in it.

WALKER: From sticky rice reddened with pulp of jak fruit, to grilled black tilapia dressed with sauce and vermicelli, and wrapped in lettuce. Noi

says she hopes that at least in this corner of Vientiane, tourists and locals alike can savor the distinct home-cooked taste from her childhood in



CURNOW: Yum! Well, thanks so much for watching. I've enjoyed being with you. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.