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Kavanaugh Vote This Weekend, Expected to Pass; Partisan Political Fights Explored; Discussion of Police Shootings. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 5, 2018 - 21:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thank you, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Judge Kavanaugh has the votes. He'll likely be confirmed this weekend barring any surprises.

So, how did it all come to this? Well, we know that. The real question is how do we make sure this process never happens this way again?

President Trump's delivered on his pledge to reshape the court, moving it to the right maybe for a generation. But will he lose for winning? Meaning, will his base stay home satisfied that they got what they want? Or will all this generate more fire from the other side to turn out in the midterms?

Also, how did today's votes hit those women who put themselves in senator's faces. Remember the critical confrontation with Flake and be senator shoo-shoo, Orrin Hatch. Survivors of assault demanding they be seen and heard. Have they once again been silenced?

And how will the laws of the land now change with Brett Kavanaugh on the high court as is expected? He can say he'll be impartial and independent but like his testimony, some of his key rulings tell a different story.

Remember his threat -- what goes around comes around. Will he deliver?

What do you say? It's Friday night, let's get after it.


CUOMO: So it would seem that Brett Kavanaugh's seat on the high court is all but certain after one of the biggest political battles in modern history. It was a tough day for the women who went all out confronting lawmakers in person.

Do you remember this moment?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have children in your family. Think about them. I have two children. I cannot imagine that for the next 50 years, they will have to have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl. What are you doing, sir?


CUOMO: It's hard to believe that was just last Friday and it did seem to push Senator Flake to ask for the FBI's supplemental background check. That was the ray of sunshine, but then came the shade.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't you wave your hand at me. I wave my hand at you.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: When you grow up I'll talk to you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we grow up? How dare you talk to women that way? How dare you? How dare you?



CUOMO: These are survivors of crimes. Shoo-shoo.

The president harping on the moment with a fresh conspiracy theory also known as B.S., tweeting, very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals funded by billionaire George Soros and others to make senators look bad. This from the man who had paid supporters there the night he announced his intention to run for the office.

Well, both of the women he alleges are paid professionals are here with us now, Kathy Beynette, you heard her voice as she addressed Senator Hatch, and Ana Maria Archila, who confronted Senator Flake last week.

Ladies, I'm sorry that I'm with you under these circumstances because I know what today meant to both of you. But thank you for taking the opportunity.



CUOMO: So, Ana, when you look back at what happened a week ago, did you think that there was hope for a different outcome or did you always expect that we would wind up here?

ARCHILA: I always thought there was hope. That's why I was fighting. I was fighting for my children and I continue to do that everyday because it is -- if we don't believe that people have a role in shaping the most important debate in our country, then we will not have the country that we deserve. So, everyday I show up thinking there is hope for us to build a

country where all of us are respected. When I spoke with Senator Flake, you know, I did not think he was going to change his vote but -- in the Judiciary Committee at this moment but I did think he heard the rage and the pain and the frustration of women and that it was going to -- that he had heard it and that other people were hearing it, too.

CUOMO: Right.

ARCHILA: So I'm profoundly disappointed. I think that Flake and Collins and Manchin and all the Republicans failed to step to the challenge that women are presenting them by saying listen to our stories and use them as a mirror for our country --

CUOMO: Right.

ARCHILA: -- allow yourself to imagine that we can be different and be the one that helps repair this.

CUOMO: So, the message is real and resonant and we're living it as a country right now, how to negotiate, what's right, what's wrong, what's the standard, what do we do about it, outside a court and a trial.

So, Susan Collins struggled with this, she says and came up with what she saw as a standard. I want your take on what she explained today.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: This is not a criminal trial and I do not believe that the claims such as these need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The allegations fail to meet the more likely than not standard.


CUOMO: Now, more likely than not is a lower standard obviously than beyond a reasonable doubt or even people would argue preponderance of the evidence that we use in civil trials.

What you make of that, Kathy, the idea that we're going to do these in these settings, non-legal settings, more likely than not? Do you agree with that standard and do you think it was met here?

BEYNETTE: Well, as I understand this, it was a job interview and not a legal proceeding.

CUOMO: Right.

BEYNETTE: I believe that Christine Blasey Ford was credible because she was willing to do the FBI process and the lie detector test, and I would have thought he would have welcomed that for himself. So I don't agree with Mrs. Collins.

CUOMO: Ana, how do you feel about that more likely than not? Some could articulate that, no pun intended and irony aside, as a 51/49 kind of proposition. Now, I know those are the numbers of the membership in the Senate but that if you get over that threshold, that's all Collins was looking for and that wasn't met here. What do you think?

ARCHILA: I mean, I think Senator Collins is missing the point. This was a tremendous opportunity for her and for other people in power to say this is a moment that requires a different kind of leadership. What -- the experience of sexual assault is both -- it's very personal but it's a collective experience. That's why all of us were saying look at us, look at me.

And by looking at me see all of us as the country and do something which you have within your power today to signal to the country that you will help change the culture that doesn't believe us, that forces us to provide all the evidence, that starts out by assuming that our stories are not real and that fundamentally fails to understand the nature of sexual violence and the nature of trauma that lasts for decades.

CUOMO: The problem was, we had what is a generational issue was balanced against a generation of jurisprudence. Essentially, four got in the way of what the GOP wanted here and that is not the right setting to assess what is already complex and sensitive, and what we're already struggling to understand and deal with.

Just to get something out of the way, who was paid to get in the face of the senator? Either of you?

BEYNETTE: Nobody was paid.

CUOMO: Ana, were you paid? Just say yes or no?

ARCHILA: No, of course not.

CUOMO: Did anybody have their signs made for them, and made in a professional way?

ARCHILA: Yes, we made signs. Listen, we are -- I am an organizer.

CUOMO: Right.

ARCHILA: I've spent the last 17 years building community organizations where people who are regular people find community, find power. We mass our resources together. We pull our money. We make signs together. We want to make sure that our government listens to us.

That does not mean that we are paid or that we are pawns. That means that we are ready to fight for our lives and by fighting for our lives, we're fighting for our country. That's what it is.

CUOMO: Well, Ana, Kathy, thank you very much. This is a moment that demands action. We all have to deal with what we want to be our cultural reality and we are not there yet. The best to both of you. Thank you for taking this opportunity. I

look forward to talking to both of you. We've got a long way to go. So, we'll talk again.

BEYNETTE: Thank you.

ARCHILA: Thank you, Chris. Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. And, look, they were asked, they say we're not professional. Nobody made their signs for us. So, Mr. President, put up your proof.

So, what else did we see here? The politics of this confirmation process, it was all ugly. So what will Kavanaugh's rulings look like if he is indeed confirmed as we expect? We have a reminder of what struck fear in all but staunch conservatives about Judge Kavanaugh, not the man, the jurist, next.


CUOMO: A generation of conservative jurisprudence. That's what Kavanaugh may well mean on the court. It is a great deliverable for Trump. But what could this mean for you?

Now, I keep telling you, you have to keep your eye on the robust number of appointments done by this administration, consistently young conservative male judges. And they have strikingly similar points of view on the bench.

So, as a result right now cases are percolating in the lower courts on everything from abortion to LGBT rights, from Obamacare to the future of Dreamers. And if Kavanaugh joins the bench, he's going to move the ideological needle to the right, right?

That raises the question if anyone on the bench will now qualify as a swing, something current Justice Elena Kagan laid bare.


ELENA KAGAN, ASSOCIATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Starting with Justice O'Connor and continuing with Justice Kennedy, there has been a person who -- people who found the center or people couldn't predict in that sort of way. It's not so clear that, you know, I think going forward that sort of middle position -- you know, it's not so clear whether we'll have it.


CUOMO: And then Sotomayor, who is sitting next to her, another justice said, you know, the thing about Tony Kennedy was he was always able to see the good in his other colleagues and find a personal connection that led him to go one way or the other. And you have to wonder if she was keying on the bombastic nature of what we saw with Kavanaugh and whether she sees that trait will be gone.

So, let's start with the big-ticket items, OK? Reproductive right, Roe v. Wade. Will it be overturned? Kavanaugh called it settled law. Now, that means nothing at the SCOTUS level or next to nothing because that's what they do on the high court, they assess and overturn precedent when they see fit. That's why they're the highest court in the land.

Now, one of the things that helped with Senator Collins and her mindset and getting to a yes is that the judge did go as far to say that Roe has been tested and affirmed more than once and that bolsters its legitimacy. But the problem is, it's too simple to see overturning Roe as the only real risk.

Erosion -- now, that is much more in Kavanaugh's wheel house. He has writings in the past suggesting he would allow stricter government regulation of things like terminating pregnancies and putting curtailments on potential access. Now, that could practically mean the same thing.

Another key issue, executive power. Judge Kavanaugh believes a sitting president cannot be indicted. OK? Why?

Well, in this 2009 law review article he writes, we should not burden a sitting president with civil suits, criminal investigations, or prosecutions or processes like those. He goes on to say if the president does something dastardly, OK, that's his word, the impeachment process is always available. So why does this matter? The Russia investigation.

Now, the caveat here is it's not as simple as saying Trump is going to come before him and he's going to say, you should get a pass. He said in his writings that Congress should pass laws exempting the president from such processes, meaning maybe he would see it as a matter for Congress to decide, not the bench. We will see.

And on other potential controversies, you got to keep your eye on these -- gun control, government surveillance, net neutrality. Kavanaugh has fought in favor of limiting handgun restrictions, allowing the government to collect what's called metadata, you know, that's where you get the times and the numbers of calls but not the content of the same communication. And he is apparently okay with getting rid of net neutrality, meaning he would allow your Internet provider to decide what content gets a preference.

Now, there is no arguing that the president scored a huge victory. In fact, he's had quite a week a month out from the midterms. Can he keep the momentum going and keep his party in control of congress? Have the odds now gotten better or worse?

Great starting points for a great debate, and that's next.


CUOMO: All right. To be fair, great day for President Trump, all but delivering -- we'll see what happens tomorrow -- on a key promise with his second conservative justice.

Now, all, if it all goes the way we think it will be, it will also be a great day for staunch conservatives who can now justify aligning themselves with a man who flouts so many of their coveted moral standings. Now, some whipped cream and a cherry on the top of the sundae of success, NAFTA replaced with the USMCA that provides marginal improvements for the U.S., good job numbers, another dip in unemployment putting it at the lowest level since 1969.

So, this is the premise for a great debate. We have Angela Rye and Michael Caputo.

Angela, the premise is this: Is Donald Trump making America great again?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So I take issue with the question, frankly, Chris, because for me, for my community, this country, frankly, has struggled to be great for some time. So when you say "again" it's an emotional trigger for many of us because I'm trying to harken back to when that again was, right?

During the election, Donald Trump's supporters were asked when America was at its greatest and his supporters more often than not replied with some time around the 1950s. Well, the problem with that era for me and people who look like me is that that was before integration existed in this country, right? That was the era of Jim Crow laws and segregation that resulted in economic depression that to this day we struggle to climb out of.

And so, I would just ask when that again is.

CUOMO: All right.

RYE: That doesn't mean at all that I don't believe in the promise of the American dream, but I don't see it happening right now for us and I didn't see it happen before.

CUOMO: So on a social justice standpoint, you don't like the qualification of "again" because you believe it means less progress not more. However, on the parameters that I just gave you, that he got two justices for his side, right? Elections have consequences. That he redid NAFTA and there does seem to be incremental improvements, that job numbers were good once again, that the unemployment rate is at the lowest level since 1969.

Aren't those things that you have to give the president credit for?

RYE: I give credit to him for succeeding on appointing justices that his side will approve of. I, however, would on from upon what they stand for. I don't believe that that's taking America towards greatness. I actually believe that it's setting us back.

If you look at the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights report that they put out about Judge Kavanaugh's record, it's clear they would be setting us back. If you look at the unemployment numbers, sure, on paper these same numbers he claims were fake when he ran for office. If you look at them I would say that we have an issue with the number of people who are reporting unemployment, right? There are a number of people who have given up. And I think that overall, we have to look at the substantial economic

depression that exists in black and brown communities, the fact that they are getting rid of people who are undocumented in this country in astronomical numbers and separating families from their children. I think we have to look at this not just in the context of what conservatives would like to see, but in the whole of America, what is right and what makes us great as a whole. And I would say we're substantially missing that mark.

CUOMO: All right. So, this is going to be a matter of perspective, because when you talk to people on the right, Brother Caputo, I don't need to juice you on this, people are really happy not just with Kavanaugh, not just with Gorsuch but across the board, until you get to the tweets and a lot of stuff that comes out of the president's mouth. In terms of the deliverables, they're looking at this week as a dream come true.

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: We are. I think we have a lot of heroes -- surprising heroes in the United States Senate as well. I didn't expect to see Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins and, you know, Chuck Grassley is the real hero here.

We saw a lot of people stand up and stands strong I think in a lot of ways because they see President Trump standing strong. He didn't waver on his nominee like past Republican presidents might have. And I think strength of this president, whether you like his tweets or his rally comments or not inspired the United States Senate to stand up for Brett Kavanaugh.

And I think there's ironies in what's happening right now. Chief among them is that the Democrats are trying to Bork Kavanaugh in order to, you know, perhaps juice up their enthusiasm, maybe even increase their numbers, you know, the margin in the midterms. But right now the enthusiasm gap has evaporated if you believe the NPR poll and the generic ballot has gone to almost the neck in neck, so we're going to have a good midterms as well.

And the other irony, I think --

CUOMO: Well, that's an interesting point. Go ahead, give me your other irony and then I bounce back to --

CAPUTO: The other irony is, you know, this was -- you know, this is Kennedy's seat but if you look back at it, this was Robert Bork's seat. And he got -- as we say, he's now a verb, he got borked?

CUOMO: Right, well, they took care of that problem.

CAPUTO: You know, if they had actually --


CUOMO: They took care of that problem, Michael, because nobody has to answer a real question anymore. And on another day we'll talk about how what we all saw here was -- CAPUTO: That's not the irony I was talking about, Chris. The irony

I'm talking about is if they had let Robert --

CUOMO: That they gotten borked? Yes?

CAPUTO: No, if they had gotten Bork, he passed away, God rest his soul, in 2012 and this would have been an Obama appointment. But it's not. They messed up when they borked Bork and they messed up again when they tried to do it with Kavanaugh.

CUOMO: They didn't mess up and I'll tell you why. But this isn't my point for you, Angela, this is why they didn't mess up. You should have to talk about how you feel about jurisprudence as a nominee. You should have to go there. You should have to talk about how decisions were argued and what it means to you.

That's not going to compromise you on the next case. That's not going to make you not independent or not impartial. It's a farce and it's allowed on both sides because of the fear you getting borked, as you put it. I like it as a verb.

So they showed thus process is an abject failure even if it produces the result you like. And that becomes the question for you, Angela, is tat --

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: -- Susan Collins said today --

CAPUTO: But real quick, Chris, I think we're going to end up making Kavanaugh a verb and it's one against the Democrats, I think.

CUOMO: Well, I think Kavanaugh created his own problems also. Nobody told him to lie about his yearbook.

CAPUTO: But the Democrats got kavanaughed.

CUOMO: Well, I don't -- look, they didn't have the numbers. They came into it 51-49. As long as you guys held ranks, you were going to be fine, right? So --

CAPUTO: We're always going to be 51-49 from here forward.

RYE: Chris, I'd love to hear the question you have for me.

CUOMO: That's because you use the nuclear option. I know it started with Harry Reid but then it was upped as an ante in we see as this toxic tit for tat. And if they don't go back to 60 votes, Angela, that's all this is ever going to be, is an ugly power play and other one playing for desperation.

Do you think we have bottomed and that there will be some moves to make improvement?

RYE: I think the real challenge we have this particular process, right, is that sexual assault and sexual harassment should not be a partisan issue.

CUOMO: Right.

RYE: But somehow it became one, right? You can look back on Susan Collins comments about -- I almost said Senator Frank, why can't I think of his name? The senator from Minnesota.

CUOMO: Franken.

RYE: Franken. I was thinking about Barney Frank. I'm sorry, Congressman Frank, former Congressman Frank, but I couldn't get him out of my mind.

What's interesting now is that she had one set of standards she played by for Senator Franken and a whole different set she played by for Kavanaugh, and I think my real question is we're talking about her today. We have a tweet from Susan Rice saying she would offer to run against her in 2020.

CUOMO: She backed off that. Susan Rice backed off.

RYE: Well, I would like her to reconsider.

CUOMO: She said she's not making announcements.

RYE: OK, well, I would love for her to reconsider. I appreciate the tweet because it spurred up the base and this is the main thing that I want to say. That Susan Collins is no hero of ours and she can not be considered an ally, but we also should not forget the women in the Senate like Capito, Ernst, Fischer, Hyde-Smith who we have a special election coming up. Hopefully, people will do the right thing and vote for Mike Espy because we should no longer count on women on their gender to understand this issue.

Thank god for Lisa Murkowski's compassion, unfortunately, because of her own experience. But this is a situation that says to me if we're really going to be looking for leaders in jurisprudence, as you put it, to really ensure that they are protecting what case law says, that they are going forward and making sure that we are great again, we need to ensure that this process is one that puts partisanship aside and they're getting the best possible person on the bench.

He had issues before this #metoo situation. He was lying before senators before then. That's the problem.

CUOMO: But the process is a sham that happened long before Kavanaugh, he's only playing by the rules that are allowed in this farce.

Look, you had problems with the left and the right on this one, and you had Murkowski and Collins who came to opposite determinations but with the same basic understanding of the process which is that it stinks. So, the question is going to be: who is going to change it because if nothing else comes out of this, we know it can not happen this way again. This was completely unacceptable.

But what was acceptable are the arguments made by Caputo and Rye. Thank you very much for keeping it decent even within disagreement.

Thank you.

Now, my next guest testified at Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings. He warned senators not to confirm him. Why? Because John Dean was worried about weakening the judiciary's check on powers to provide protection for President Trump.

What's the rationale? What's the reality now? The former Nixon aide and counselor extraordinaire, next.


CUOMO: All right. Now, I have to qualify it because you never know what can happen, especially in our current political reality, but it looks right now like the votes are there. Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed. We believe it will be a vote of 50-48. Wait a minute, that's not 100. That's because Senator Murkowski, Republican from Alaska, plans to vote present, OK? Not for or against, so that Republican Steve Daines from Montana can stay at his daughter's wedding.

So the 50-50 dream of Mike Pence, the vice president, because then he would get to come in and be the deciding vote that would hand the conservative this is generation of jurisprudence, that is unlikely -- sorry, Veep.

So, let's turn where we go from here. Here to help with us that is a man who knows a thing or two about divisive political fights, Richard Nixon's former counsel John Dean.

Counselor Dean, good to have you, sir.


CUOMO: So, I am not surprised we have arrived at this occasion. I would not have thought it would have been 50-48 but this shouldn't come as that much of a surprise. We always seemed headed here. What is your concern of the reality going forward now that the process is behind us?

DEAN: Well, as I testified before the committee, one of my concerns is a process issue and that is the fact that the committee is not being very effective in vetting and that's not a new phenomena, where people have slipped through the process and the examples I used were Bill Rehnquist who was caught dissembling twice, once to be an associate and once to be the chief, and Clarence Thomas.

And I was warning the committee, don't let that happen again because it tarnishes not only the justice but the court and hurts the American people.

CUOMO: You know, one of the points that came out of today was that Senators Collins and Murkowski, they came to opposite conclusions on Kavanaugh but they had the same reality about the process which is that it can't be like this anymore. But here's my question about that, John. They made it this way. Not

Collins and Murkowski per se, but the senators made it this way.

Harry Reid blowing up the filibuster when it came to some appointments. McConnell then upping the ante with the nuclear option and making it a simple majority for SCOTUS. I think that was huge in terms of decay within the process.

And then you had the Bork factor which is where now it is recognized by both sides that you get your side a pass. That there are now these farces about impartiality and independence that they can't talk about anything, they can't tell you where they are until they get on the bench. And then they have these freakishly consistent penchants such that if you are a move away from your certain direction, one every nine decisions you're called a swing.

How do they fix it?

DEAN: Well, I think you have to start with the whole process in the selection. In this instance, we, of course, watch the White House farm it out to the Federalist Society. Mr. Trump not being a lawyer was not particularly interested in the substance and this is true of other presidents who aren't lawyers. The presidents who are lawyers get much deeper into the weeds of their selections in this instance.

But I think what has to happen, I understand why Harry Reid blew up the old rule. None of the Obama appointees were getting on the court. There was just a total stalemate because they had to get -- couldn't get around the cloture vote. So that's why that happened, and Mitch McConnell, of course, did it because he faced the same problem with Supreme Court nominees.

CUOMO: Right. But now that they don't have to be at 60, there is no incentive to accommodate.

DEAN: It used to be --

CUOMO: It is just zero-sum game. They will do whatever they can to keep the other side, because that's all they have, they're usually down on the numbers, the out party.

DEAN: It would be nice if they could agree to go back to the original cloture number which was 67 back in the day.

CUOMO: Right, two-thirds vote.

DEAN: Two-thirds.

CUOMO: Forget it now.

DEAN: Right. That's when you really knew you had some bipartisan support for the people who are going on the court to get over that cloture vote so that would be an ideal. But it's not -- it's going to take a long time to get back there.

CUOMO: Who do you think the swing vote is on the court now? Or is it no one.

DEAN: I think Roberts, you know, looking at his health care vote, he's somebody who is worried about the reputation of his court. He's somebody who could very easily become a swing vote on some key issues, too. So, you know, I haven't given up yet that they can actually do justice there.

CUOMO: You know, look, you know, I lean on you very heavily for obvious reasons of intellectual advantage and experience that you have.

I don't see the aspiration of Roberts to be a swing. I don't see the doubt. I don't see the determinations and discerning in different directions, but he also hasn't been in that position and he is the chief, so maybe he will be incentivized to have some semblance of balance within his courts, so it's not so putative.

Now, one of the main issues that you wanted to testify to was where Kavanaugh is on executive power and privilege. Here's the check on your concern. He was arguing, at least in the law review article, that Congress should free the president of these types of processes.

Now, why doesn't that give you faith that he sees it as a legislative matter not to be decided by the bench and if he were a judge he could say, yes, Congress could pass these laws but they haven't so the president is exposed to process?

DEAN: Well, he seemed to recognize or at the time he wrote to piece at least that it was not a constitutional level issue.

CUOMO: Right.

DEAN: That it would take the Congress to get the president with this kind of immunity.

CUOMO: Right.

DEAN: And that's consistent with other immunities that exist in the federal system where the president is immune, for example, in certain civil lawsuits.

CUOMO: Right.

DEAN: That came out of court discussion but really was codified by the Congress and I think the same is going to have to happen here and I -- you know, my worry about Kavanaugh is that he is joining a lot of other justices who've had a lot of executive and pro-presidential feelings over a long period of time.

And when that happens, we have a very pro-president court. And this will be the most pro-president court we've ever had.

CUOMO: And we've never had anybody enter the court with a threat that what comes around goes around and I'll remember what you did to me. And that's how Kavanaugh is getting in.

John Dean, thank you so much for your perspective. You're always a welcome addition here on CUOMO PRIME TIME.

DEAN: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Look, the news is not all Kavanaugh. There is another big story that you have to hear about. A verdict that is finally reached in the Laquan McDonald case.

You have heard what happened in Chicago, right? The case with the shocking video that proved politicians, even lefties, better get these investigations right? Well, if you haven't, you're going to want to hear what this was about and how it ended, next.


CUOMO: Shockwaves through the streets of Chicago after police officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second degree murder in the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Now, I want to give you some context about why this conviction looms large. A Bowling Green State University found that between 2005 and April, 2017, so 12 years, 80 on-duty officers were arrested for murder or manslaughter charges. That was 12-year span. Thirty-five percent were convicted, 39 percent were not convicted, 26 percent were left pending.

And yet the issue remains -- I can't really give you any good data on this subject, because we don't really study it. It's like we're afraid of what might be the reality. I can't tell you how many questionable shootings are there in a year. I can tell you that there was a study that said on-duty officers shoot about a thousand people a year fatally. But that doesn't mean they're wrongful shootings, God forbid.

So what's the breakdown? We don't know because we don't study it.

So, ultimately, you have to remember what the case and life of Laquan McDonald represents, especially to the African-American community. While there is a process in place to determine whether an officer is guilty or not, we always have to remember there could be more to a story.

Now, more in this case was a video. And this is why we push for video and body cameras if you want truth to be a commodity. Authorities initially claimed McDonald lunged at officers with a knife but the footage that you're watching showed McDonald walking away from police.

Now this tape was hard to get into this discussion and in this investigation. There's been a ton of fallout because of that. Protests, a department of justice civil rights investigation, condemnation of the city's Democrat mayor and the ouster of the police superintendent.

No matter what side you fall on this case, this tape, this life that was unjustly cut short should be one more reason why officers should want cameras to exonerate them, to show them and everyone else the truth of a situation. That is true transparency. Let's bring in Don Lemon.

This was a big case. I don't know what it will mean, but it certainly meant something to this family and to people who are watching for a sense of justice.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": And it was suspense, suspenseful all of it. It was coming down the same time Susan Collins was about to give her speech on the Senate floor.

But this is the reason, Chris, that folks are out on the streets pushing for criminal justice reform. This is the reason that Colin Kaepernick is kneeling during the national anthem or did kneel during the national anthem and other professional athletes followed suit. It's because of situations like this, to bring light to situations like this.

Remember, Chicago is a big city. There's lots of crime there every year. Lots of police-involved shootings.

This is the first one to be convicted, let's see, I just want to make sure I get this right. The first officer to be charged with first degree murder since 1980. So when you think about all the stats and how big the city is and how long ago that is, I'm sure there are some -- listen, most officers are good officers but I'm sure there's some officers in the interim who have done -- who have made some mistakes but never been charged before.

CUOMO: Right, but I'll tell you what --

LEMON: That's why people are taking to the streets.

CUOMO: For all this talk about, you know, blue pride and all that, officers, when you talk to cops, they want transparency.


CUOMO: They want people to know that they're doing their job the right way.

LEMON: Some of them.

CUOMO: And they want people who are not doing their job the right way --

LEMON: Not all of them. Not all of them.

CUOMO: -- to be exposed.

Not all of them, but most of the ones that I deal with, Don, they'll say, I wear a camera. I want everything recorded, though. I want everything recorded, not just which starts -- once I'm in a confrontation. I want to show what started that confrontation because then the truth will set you free.

You'll see exactly what the instigation was, why there was a use of force, and at least we have transparency. Right now, it's too often too hard to make a case either way.

LEMON: Well, I spoke to some folks today who said -- and they were talking about this, and they were also weighing in on what happened today in Washington. They said, well, this in a way gives us hope that there is some change. I don't know what consolation it is to the McDaniel family, but at least now someone is facing justice for what was wrong -- how the family was wronged by losing their loved one.

CUOMO: And, look, it will never be enough for them, but at least it's something that shows the system respected the loss.

LEMON: When do you vote your conscience? How tough or how easy should that be? That's the subject of -- that we're tackling tonight on the show.

CUOMO: A good subject. Me? Every time.

LEMON: All right. Every time.

CUOMO: All right. Back to the supreme showdown. There are lots of hard lessons to be learned from this decidedly ugly process. Our elected leaders, they have a challenge coming their way.

A closing argument for you, next.


CUOMO: All right. So if you are looking for validation that you were right to be pro or con-Kavanaugh, there are other shows that will provide that echo of your own thoughts. And as you saw tonight, I'm not having heads and boxes fight over which side is worse. I really believe it's worth the time, just a few minutes, to focus on a much more important point that no one seems to have the answer to.

How do we make sure that what we all just witnessed never happens again? This confirmation process, not the outcome or the assumed outcome of tomorrow -- all of it, soup to nuts, right and left, it was all an insult to democracy. Proof positive of all that is negative.

The once fraternal Senate has fallen. So regardless of how you feel, two Republican senators -- one a yes on Kavanaugh, one a no -- they both came to the same conclusion on the process.

Senator Collins summed it up like this.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Our Supreme Court confirmation process has been in steady decline for more than 30 years. One can only hope that the Kavanaugh nomination is where the process has finally hit rock bottom.


CUOMO: I hope so because that means that we can't go any lower. But the question is how did we get here? She says 30 years ago. She's referring to Bork.

I think you have to look at the nuclear option. McConnell making this a simple majority. No more 60 votes. That was a nuclear device. It radiated negative energy through everything so that the structure seemed the same, but everything that was alive within it died.

Now, fair point, McConnell was just one-upping the Democrats, who did the GOP dirty on votes on lower court judges. But look at what the toxic tit for tat has gotten us. You may like that Kavanaugh got through, but you can't like how. It's all about avarice and revenge.

The low point of the process actually came outside of the actual process, from a president who has become like the Mr. Hyde of this period in history. Things still get done, but when they're not done the way he wants, he goes ugly early, like he did even on Christine Ford.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How did you get home? I don't remember. How did 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.


CUOMO: All of those people there should know they were having fun with a complete fiction. The president seems to see #metoo as a suggestion that everyone should get a chance to mock a victim. Unhelpful, too far. Please stop. That's the most his GOP brothers and sisters could muster in response.

Ford was ravaged because she got in the way of what matters most to them, political ambition. Kavanaugh in one hand or careful consideration of Ford's allegation in the other one. It was never a contest. We are so starved of civility that that little moment of left and right coming together just to make a gesture towards fairness, just one week for the FBI to review, a process that would never be satisfying on the merits.

At least that Flake and Coons gave us hope that common ground existed, even if it's only a desert island in an ocean of avarice and playing to advantage.

So, Madam and Mr. Senator, you seemed aware of what is obvious to the rest of us. You have made a mess of an essential operation, and congratulations. You made it look easy. But you don't get to merely complain about something you are the cause of.

Your challenge, your oath, is to fix it. Return to 60 votes for SCOTUS. Get real review of nominees instead of this dance of nondisclosure. How can you people show us that you honor your oath to serve our interests?

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a call to duty, and it has never been more serious. Do your job.

That's all for us tonight. Thank you for watching.

"CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON" starts right now.