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Senator Murkowski, Only Republican to Vote No on Kavanaugh, Speaks on Senate Floor; Kavanaugh on Verger of Confirmation as Senators Collins, Flake and Manchin Say They'll Vote Yes; Kavanaugh Fight Fallout And Its Possible Impact on Mid-Terms; Ford's Attorneys Speaks Out; Ford's Attorneys: She "Feels Like She Did The Right Thing". Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired October 5, 2018 - 20:00   ET


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: I'm looking at some of the comments, the statements being made against me, against my good friend, my dear friend from Maine.

[20:00:05] The hateful, the aggressive, the truly, truly awful manner which with so many are acting now. It has to end.

This is not who we are. This is not who we should be. This is not who we raise our children to be.

So I -- as we move forward again through a very difficult time, I think, for this body, and for this country, I want to urge us to a place where we are able to engage in that civil discourse, which is what the Senate is supposed to be all about. That we're able to show respect for one another's views and differences, and that when a hard vote is taken, that there is a level of respect for the decision that each of us makes.

And there is another thing that I do hope and again, I'll refer to my friend from Maine. And I will note, if there has been a silver lining in these bitter, bitter weeks, which quite honestly remains to be seen, I do think what we have seen is a recognition by both sides, a recognition by both sides that we must do more to protect and prevent sexual assault and to help the victims of these assaults.

There has been a national discussion. There has been an outpouring of discussion, conversation, fears, tears, frustration, rage. There is an emotion that really has been unleashed in these recent weeks. And these are discussions that we need to have as a country.

We need to have these as a country. We need to bring, we need to bring these, these survivors to a place where they feel that they can heal. But until you come out of the shadow and do so without shame, it is pretty hard to heal.

I have met with so many survivors and I know that every single one of us has. And I've heard from colleagues as they have shared with me that they have been truly surprised, many stunned by what they are learning is the prevalence of this, unfortunately, in our society today. In Alaska, the presiding officer knows in your state, the levels of sexual assault that we see within our Native-American and Alaska native communities, the rates are incredibly devastating.

It is not something that we say we'll get to tomorrow. We've heard those voices. We've heard those voices and I hope we have all learned something, that we owe it to the victims of sexual assault to do more and to do better and to do it now with them.

Mr. President, I'm going to close and thank you, but I truly hope that we can be at that place where we can move forward in a manner that shows greater respect, greater comity.

[20:05:11] We owe it to the people of America to return to a less rancorous confirmation process. In the spirit of that comity, and again, while I voted no on cloture today, and I will be a no tomorrow, I will in the final tally be asked to be recorded as present.

And I do this because a friend, a colleague of ours, is in Montana this evening, and tomorrow, at just about the same hour that we'll be voting, he's going to be walking his daughter down the aisle and he won't be present to vote. And so, I have extended this as a courtesy to my friend. It will not change the outcome of the vote.

But I do hope that it reminds us that we can take very small, very small steps to be gracious with one another, and maybe those small, gracious steps can lead to more. But I know that is hard as these matters are that we deal with.

We are humans. We have family that we love. We don't spend near enough time with them, and making sure that we can do one small thing to make that family a little bit better, better away for tomorrow.

With that, Mr. President, I yield the floor. And thank you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening.

That was Republican Lisa Murkowski on the Senate floor, giving her explanation of why she has reached the decision she has Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation.

She spoke at length about the divisiveness of the process. She spoke about what survivors of sexual abuse go through and she talked about court precedent and cases important to her own constituents. She talked about healing.

In case you missed it, here's the moment why she voted no today.


MURKOWSKI: So, it is high. And even in the face of the worst thing that could happen, a sexual assault allegation, even in the face of an overly and overtly, overtly political process, a politicized process, and even when one side of this chamber is absolutely dead set on defeating his nomination, from the very get-go, before he was even named, even in these situations, the standard is that a judge must act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid the impropriety and the appearance of impropriety. And after the hearing that we all watched last week, last Thursday, it

became clear to me, or was becoming clearer, that that appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable. And I've been deliberating, agonizing about what is fair? Is this too unfair a burden, to place on somebody that is dealing with the worst, the most horrific allegations that go to your integrity, they go to everything that you are.

And I think we all struggle with how we would respond. But I am reminded, there are only, there are only nine seats on the bench of the highest court in the land. We would respond. But I am reminded, there are only, there are only nine seats on the bench of the highest court in the land.


[20:10:07] COOPER: That was Republican Lisa Murkowski.

Joining us now, CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers, CNN political commentator and "National Review" editor, Rich Lowry, and CNN global affairs analyst Max Boot, author of the soon to be out new book, "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right".

Kirsten, I am interested to hear how Senator Murkowski got to no.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, the thing that she seemed to focus on the most was the judicial temperament issue and that this is a very rarified position in our society. Very few people ever get on the Supreme Court. Even the most qualified, most brilliant, most wonderfully temper -- you know, people with the most wonderful temperaments in the world typically don't get on the Supreme Court.

So there is a very, very high bar and that's the high bar that she was holding him to. And that she says even if she understands that he would be very upset, that this is an attack that he felt was on his integrity, and an unfair attack on his integrity that in the end, you can't behave in that manner and be on the Supreme Court.

COOPER: Max, I mean, I'm wondering what you make of that argument because that's certainly something that Judge Kavanaugh tried to refrain in the op-ed that he wrote to "The Wall Street Journal" last night.

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That's true. I mean, he realized I think that he made a serious mistake in his tone in the confirmation hearing, which was very partisan, very aggressive, not very judicious, and he tried to walk it back a little bit. But, you know, when a judge is saying, I am not a partisan, that's kind of like a president saying I am not a crook. The fact that he's saying it kind of defeats the message that he's trying to convey.

And I thought what Senator Murkowski said was very thoughtful and made a lot of sense to me. That's basically where I am, because I was somebody like her who was prepared to support his confirmation because I thought he was superbly qualified. But then seeing the way he acted, and I understand he got angry because he felt he was unjustifiably accused. But nevertheless, his over-the-top partisanship, and which casts into doubt his impartiality as a judge, I think, really made me realize, wait, this is not somebody we should have on the Supreme Court. And that's what Senator Murkowski I think was trying to get across.

But at the same time, I think, I have to admit, it was a close call because he was well-qualified and the charges were not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. And I think Senator Murkowski was also right to defend Senator Collins who I think in good faith reached a different judgment. And there's a lot of partisan anger on both sides.

And so, I love Senator Murkowski's tone, which was very calm, very civil, very rational and it is something she clearly agonized over and that's the right way to behave and unfortunately, not enough senators behaved that way.

COOPER: Rich, were you surprised that Senator Collins ending up voting yes?

RICH LOWRY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I thought it was a tremendous performance by her this afternoon. There's been so much emotion and people running around, personally confronting senators and yelling at them and seeming to believe just the sheer expression of emotion, it should be enough to move someone to your position.

And with Lisa Murkowski tonight and Susan Collins as well this afternoon, these were carefully thought out statements meant to persuade and explain their positions. And that's the appropriate way to go.

And I thought Collins was especially strong. The core allegations here against Brett Kavanaugh, it's not that he got angry in hearing when he was accused of all sorts of crime, is that he was guilty of a sexual assault. And she very persuasively explained how there is no independent corroboration of that and, the fact to the extent there is evidence, the evidence cuts the wrong way.

And she said, even outside the legal setting, very important norm in this country of fairness and the presumption of innocence and when you have that, you should vote to confirm him. And I don't think Murkowski makes really any sense to say he's good man but I'm going to vote against him. The process was too rancorous but then she's rewarding the rancor.

So, I'm Collins in this one. I was proud of her this afternoon. I'm very glad that Brett Kavanaugh will all in likelihood be on the Supreme Court.

COOPER: Kirsten, is this just the new normal? I mean, is this do you think going to be the way it is, moving forward?

POWERS: Well, I don't even know what that means. Unless we -- you know, unless another person comes up to the Supreme Court where there's a woman, or I think there are two very credible allegations against him who come forward, I mean, I think we've had quite a few men get to the Supreme Court without this happening to them. So, I don't know why this would be the new normal.

I also -- I take real issue with a lot of things Susan Collins said. I don't think she laid out a persuasive case that none of this happened. In fact, she brought up the fact that Christine Blasey Ford can't remember who drove her home and any trauma expert will tell you there's nothing remarkable about that, that usually you have tunnel vision. You remember the traumatic event but you often don't remember where you were or who drove you home. So, this didn't strike me as a super thoughtful exposition of what had happened.

[20:15:00] And then also, talk about how this was a circus -- if we look at the actual hearing, the actual questions that happen, there was nothing about it that was a circus-like atmosphere. The questions were difficult. It was hard. Judge Kavanaugh got angry. But there's nothing about it that's a circus.

When people say circus, they're talking about protesters. So, they're chasing, you know, protesting, coming and expressing your dissatisfaction with the way the process is being handled is a circus- like atmosphere and we don't want that. And I don't think that's a good message to be sending to people.


LOWRY: Chasing senators in the hallway is a circus like atmosphere.

POWERS: I'm sorry, why did senators not be confront in the hallway?

LOWRY: I'll express my opinion and then you can express yours. Personally confronting people and chasing them is circus-like. Having a senator ask what boof means in a Supreme Court hearing is absurd.

And what Collins pointed out is that not only does she not remember how she got home. No one has come forward to say she drove her home and the only solid thing to go on in this allegation is the two witnesses that she named. One of whom is a good friend of hers. And both of those witnesses said they have no memory of this event.

And in fact, a friend of hers says that she does not even know Brett Kavanaugh.

POWERS: And that she believes her. And that she believes her.


COOPER: OK, let Kirsten respond.

LOWRY: More important that she can't confirm her account.

POWERS: I mean, the talking points are just so old. It's like you just -- this is what you guys keep doing. You keep saying that and then you leave out the part that she says that she actually believes her.

You know, I wrote a come bum something that happened to me when I was 15 years old. I don't remember who drove me home or where I was. Was I lying, Rich? Just answer my question. Was I lying?

LOWRY: No. I believe you. I believe you very well.

POWERS: Why was I not lying but Christine Blasey Ford lying?

LOWRY: OK, do you want me to reply?

POWERS: Yes, what's the difference?

LOWRY: What we have is a 36-year-old memory with no independent confirmation. If you're interested in the topic of memory, I urge you to Google Elizabeth Loftus --

POWERS: I already know about her.

LOWRY: And others who have done a lot of research in this area. And when you're interrogating your memory over time, your memory doesn't get better. It gets less reliable.

And so, that's why contemporaneous notes --

BOOT: Rich --

LOWRY: -- any sort of evidence would tell on her side. But in fact, to the extent we can look at anything independent, it goes the other way.

BOOT: Rich, I mean, come on, let's be real here, because even that Republicans admitted that Dr. Ford was a very credible witness and then they said sort of incredibly that even though she remembers what she remembers, it may not be Brett Kavanaugh even though she was 100 percent certain.

I found her to be a credible witness. And, frankly, I found her to be a more credible witness than Brett Kavanaugh who I thought was fairly deceptive and evasive in his answers and not give straightforward answers.

But that said, I agree with you to the extent that her allegations are certainly not proven. I think they're credible. They're not proven.

LOWRY: It's not that they're not proven, there's no evidence --


BOOT: Let me finish. The reason why I ultimately could not support Brett Kavanaugh, even though I think he is well qualified by professional experience and intellectually for the Supreme Court is because of his over-the-top rancorous partisanship which I think will further degrade the Supreme Court and cause it to fall into even further partisan gridlock and disrepute. I mean, how on earth could he be fair that involve liberal causes on one side or the other after he's thrown in his lot with the hard right, the Trumpian right in these confirmation hearings?

LOWRY: He was seriously accused being a party to sexual rape --


BOOT: But he went over the top, Rich. He admitted that he went over the top in his "Wall Street Journal" op-ed.

COOPER: Quickly respond and then we have to go.

LOWRY: The reason why he was so angry and passionate is he was legitimately accused and people took this seriously. When people push back, they're accused of victim blaming. That was taken seriously and this is the guy who's --

POWERS: Really, that was the focus of the hearing, Rich?


POWERS: It was gang rape?

LOWRY: Do you believe Julie Swetnick?


POWERS: That's all you keep talking about was gang rape. Rather than talking about what the actual hearing was about. Christine Blasey Ford, all you want to talk about is gang rape. That's not -- that's not what the hearing was about and you keep latching on --


LOWRY: Schumer and Judiciary Committee Democrats --

POWERS: Rather than talking about what actually happened which was Christine Blasey Ford testifying.

LOWRY: Do you believe Julie Swetnick? Really quickly.

POWERS: I don't know. I believe Christine Blasey Ford and I find her much more credible.

LOWRY: So do you think Julie Swetnick was credible?

POWERS: I don't know enough about it. I think there were some questions raised about her.

LOWRY: You watched that NBC interview and you think she's not credible?


[20:20:01] POWERS: Stop interrupting me.

COOPER: Let Christine respond and then let's go.

POWERS: I just said I had questions about it. I mean, why are you twisting and just saying that I said she was credible? LOWRY: Because people took it seriously when it was as farcical on

the face of it.

POWERS: I had never said a word about it. So --

COOPER: Let's end it here. Appreciate the discussion.

Kristen, thank you very much. Rich Lowry and Max Boot as well.

LOWRY: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, more on where the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh could take the country politically. And when it comes to some of the most bitterly contested laws of the land, all the angles still ahead on that.

And later, what the attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford tell us their client has to say about the latest developments, including whether Justice Kavanaugh should be impeached. The answer might surprise, ahead.


COOPER: So the final vote is set for tomorrow. If all goes as expected, Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Now, as we've seen from Senator Lisa Murkowski's remarks tonight in the Senate floor, getting to this point. It has been neither been simple nor easy in the after effects, maybe unfolding at the pools in just a few weeks and perhaps even for years to come.

In a moment, more on the legal ramifications but first, how we got here and what happens tomorrow.

Phil Mattingly has that and joins us from the Capitol.

So, what are the next steps? Where do things go from here?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, at least on the technical side of things, right now, the Senate is in the middle of 30 hours of debate. They will have the final vote and it's obviously very clear they have the votes.

The broader question, though, of where the Senate goes from here, where the institutions go from here, where the Supreme Court goes from here, where the conversation goes from here is an open question.

Anderson, just a short while ago, I was asking this very question to a senior GOP aide who, quote, it's only going to get worse. That's the feeling right now, is that this wasn't rock bottom like what you heard Susan Collins say she hoped. This wasn't a moment where as you heard from Senator Lisa Murkowski, perhaps members take a step back and say perhaps there's a better way to go from here.

This will likely only escalate in the weeks and months ahead. Obviously, we're in the middle of the mid-term year right now, we're just a month away from the election, so expect the fights to continue. Expect nobody to cool off. In fact, expect things to heat up, is basically my understanding at this point, Anderson.

COOPER: And it had been reported that Senator Collins was undecided through this entire process. Do we know the details of sort of how she got to yes?

MATTINGLY: So, it's really interesting, Anderson. For the last couple of weeks before the sexual assault allegations came out, I was hearing from people that were in discussions with Senator Collins who kept telling me, she is solid on Brett Kavanaugh. She likes him very much. She is very confident and assuaged at the concerns regarding his record.

What Senator Collins on the floor today is lay out exactly why in detail as it related to his judicial record, on Roe versus Wade, on health care, on pre-existing conditions, almost in detail. That changed or at least stopped when the sexual assault allegations came out.

But the threshold based on how she felt about his record was so high that she basically laid out that she needed to see a lot to convince her otherwise. That threshold was not met. Now, behind the scenes, Anderson, over the course of the last 24 hours, she went through the FBI supplementary background check, the entire thing, read through it, talked to people, debated with staff, I'm told.

But in the end, she was not only comfortable with the record, but she was comfortable with the man, a man who she talked personally with one on one several times, Anderson.

COOPER: And Senator Joe Manchin was obliviously the lone Democrat who's going to vote in favor of Kavanaugh. What are you learning about his process?

MATTINGLY: You know, Anderson, everybody looks at the politics and it's very obvious. President Trump won West Virginia in 2016 by significant margins. Joe Manchin has been looking at that and eyeing that over the course of pretty much the entire term of Congress.

But I think the other element here is, Joe Manchin also has the constituents that are very supportive of Brett Kavanaugh based on the limited polling we have from that point, and he was hearing from them to a regular basis. Now, I will note, when he was on Capitol Hill, he was hearing from sexual assault survivors, from protesters, and those are the types of kind of moments often have an impact on senators. Just take a look at Senator Jeff Flake.

But in the end, particularly given that he wasn't going to end up being the deciding vote, and given that he has opened up a lead in his race, and this might actually lock up his re-election, it was a decision that he decided to go with yes, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Phil Mattingly, thanks.

More now on where Justice Kavanaugh might take the court. Susan Collins seemed to suggest today that when it comes to issues like abortion rights, nothing much will change. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: To my knowledge, Judge Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to express the view that precedent is not merely a practice and tradition but rooted in Article 3 of our Constitution itself. He believes that precedent is not just a judicial policy. It is constitutionally dictated to pay attention and pay lead to rules of precedent.

In other words, precedent isn't a goal or an aspiration. It is a constitutional tenet that has to be followed except in the most extraordinary circumstances.


COOPER: Senator Collins explained why she believes that Justice Kavanaugh would not revisit Roe v. Wade, the court's landmark ruling on abortion.

Two views on that now. Joining us, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who's written extensively about the court, and Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network which supports Judge Kavanaugh.

Jeff, when you hear Susan Collins saying, he doesn't just believe this precedent, that he believes this is rooted in Article 3 of the Constitution and therefore, Roe v. Wade essentially is safe. What do you think?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: She's in absolute dreamland. First of all, lots of justices have said that precedent is rooted in the Constitution as well as tradition, as well as in stare decisis. But even if that's true, they still overturn precedents. I mean, just this year, they overturned a precedent almost exactly as old as Roe v. Wade involving labor law. They overturn precedents.

You know, President Trump said he was going to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. What I think he meant when he said that was, I think he's going to overturn justices who are -- that are going to overturn Roe v. Wade. That's what he's done with Gorsuch. That's what he's done with Kavanaugh.

And I don't understand why conservatives can't take yes for an answer.

COOPER: Carrie, is Jeff right? I mean, do you expect Roe v. Wade will be undone under, you know, whether it's under states rights and not by a landmark case overturning precedent?

CARRIE SEVERINO, CHIEF COUNSELF AND POLICY DIRECTOR, JUDICIAL CRISIS NETWORK: Well, I think Jeff is certainly right on one thing, that all Supreme Court justices overturn precedents at one time or another. That's simply -- no justice thinks every precedent is there for eternity.

However, I think it is impossible to know at this point what Judge Kavanaugh would do. He was in the lower court before. You don't have his practice of precedent.

And really, I think the key vote to look at here and it's going to be for this coming term and going forward, is Chief Justice Roberts and his views on precedent I think do clearly show that he is not someone who wants to go around willy-nilly overturning things. So I think he's the person we need to looking at even closer.

TOOBIN: Wasn't Roberts part of the majority that overturned that labor law case this year?

SEVERINO: Oh, sure. Wouldn't you love to see them overturn Citizens United tomorrow? I mean, it's easy to say, well, as I was saying, everyone overturns precedent at one point or another. It's trying -- it's trying to figure out where are those balances struck in different cases? So, there's -- liberal justices overturned it sometimes too.

TOOBIN: The reason why the Federalist Society compiled this list from whom the president chose is because they want, they have an agenda. They have -- you know, Carrie mentioned Citizens United. Citizens United is going to be expanded. Citizens United and related cases are the reason why your organization can spend millions and millions of dollars to support Judge Kavanaugh and you never talk about where your money came from, right? Isn't that right?

SEVERINO: We have the same policy that groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the NAACP have. So, for the same reasons we protect our donor rights.

But, look, if you think the Federalist Society has a monolithic view on that, on abortion and any other issues, you have clearly not attended any of their meetings. It is a very broad based group.

TOOBIN: Oh, yes.

SEVERINO: Well, I would challenge to you come to some of their debates sometimes.

TOOBIN: But, look, it's about affirmative action. It's about Citizens United. It's about gay rights. It's about whether gay people can buy wedding cakes, can go to restaurants, can go to hotels.

This is a whole agenda that is now laid out before with five conservatives in the majority. Isn't that right, Carrie?

Come on. You've won. Why aren't you celebrating?

SEVERINO: Well, what we are looking for is a judge who's going to be faithful to the Constitution, the texts of the law, not specific policy goals. I know that's how a lot of people like to look at the court, particularly from the left. But judges aren't there to be a fairy godmother to give you the wishes you want.

So, that means if there is a law that is tasked by a Democratic Congress and signed by Democratic president, Judge Kavanaugh, I would be supporting him 100 percent, is going to apply that law as it is written. Not try to mess with it. Not try to make it -- massage it, to make it how he wants.

COOPER: Carrie --

SEVERINO: That puts it back where it should be, in the people and their representatives.

COOPER: Do you think President Trump then has been duped into getting Judge Kavanaugh with the belief that he's going to overturn Roe v. Wade?


SEVERINO: I don't know what -- if the President even thinks he knows that. Because he said he specifically didn't ask him about that. What we know it takes five votes to do anything with the Supreme Court. And as I said before, I think Chief Justice Roberts is the swing vote on this. This is -- you know, we're going back to the same scare mongering we saw with Justice Kennedy, with Justice Suter, with Justice O'Conner. They have been pinned saying, you know, if Suter is confirmed, women will die. He voted to uphold Roe versus Wade.

So the idea that we can predict going forward for better or worst, how someone can do it --

TOOBIN: It's amazing to me -- I'm sorry, I don't intend to interrupt.

SEVERINO: I don't think, I don't think -- I don't feel like I know any more than you do. You seem much (INAUDIBLE).

TOOBIN: It's a total mystery to you. I mean all these people like Carrie who have devoted their lives to overturning Roe v. Wade suddenly are shocked and just mystified about whether their candidate will do what they have devoted their lives to trying to accomplish.

Come on, Carrie, I mean, be realistic. This is why you and many other conservatives have been in the conservative movement, because you want to end legal abortion in America among other priorities. And now you've got the five justices you want. Why can't you just acknowledge that?

SEVERINO: I have no idea what will happen. If you look, a lot of people went into the Obamacare case thinking they knew how that was going to come out. I don't think you can predict to these things. And it -- depends --

COOPER: So why devote million of dollars to get this person on if you have no idea how he's going to --

SEVERINO: Look, we're not devoting millions of dollars with the goal of overturning Roe versus Wade. We're devoting the time and the effort to help, support nominees who are going to uphold the constitution and the rule of law. It's not about a laundry list, it's about trying to get people who are going to be faithful to the constitution. So, that doesn't always line up with my policy goals. There's a lot of cases where this law is like, I feel like the law should be a different way, but I -- COOPER: But your view of --


COOPER: -- abortion rights in the constitution are, are -- I mean are clear. And you believe that this Judges, but when you say you're looking for judges who uphold the constitution, you believe the right to abortion is not in privacy rights or it is not in the constitution.

SEVERINO: Well, that's frankly something that I think Lawrence tried Obama's --

COOPER: You can just say yes or no I mean to that. I mean --


SEVERINO: The idea that the legal grounding of Roe versus Wade isn't well constitutionally grounded to something shared by people including very liberal legal scholars. So that -- that is not unique to me, as I said Lawrence tried and many --

COOPER: So that would be a yes. Do you believe that? OK.


TOOBIN: So, I just think it's important not to focus on these abstractions like Carrie is talking about like, you know, rule of law and -- let's talk about issues that's going to -- that are going to be before the court. Let's talk about abortion, affirmative action, campaign finance, gay rights, all of those are going to go in a very different direction because Anthony Kennedy is gone and Brett Kavanaugh will be there. That's why you got involved in politics, Carrie, you're winning. I don't see why you shouldn't just straight out acknowledge it.

SEVERINO: I am very happy to have Kavanaugh on the court. I will acknowledge that all day long. I think he will be faithful to the constitution.

COOPER: Carrie Severino, thanks. Jeff Toobin, as well.

Up next, a lot more, just ahead, including a look at what may be President Trump's most successful week in office with record low on unemployment numbers today, a 49-year low. There's clear cut that (INAUDIBLE) appointing a Supreme Court nominees on the second president to get -- a second Supreme Court nominee confirmed in his two -- first two years. We'll look at what this week means for the mid-term elections next month. I'll talk to Dana Bash and David Axelrod.


[20:36:36] COOPER: Today was a big win for President Trump. Tomorrow is likely successful and then Judge Kavanaugh will mean his second conservative nominee elevate to the Supreme Court. On top of that, today's news unemployment numbers mean even more economic good news for the country. The unemployment levels at a 49-year low. So with the mid-terms looming is just about a month and in the wake of the Kavanaugh nomination battle, we wanted to look at what the political landscape looks like ahead.

Here now with us Dana Bash, and joined by former senior adviser to President Obama, David Axelrod.

So obviously David, a good day, you can argue a very good week for President Trump and Republicans. Do you think it will remain a flash point as the Senate House races heat up over this final few weeks, the Supreme Court battle?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, there is no doubt that -- there -- he is mounted up a series of wins here and that has to be -- that has to be good from their standpoint right now. The question is what the durability of this. In the short run you talk to Republicans and I've talked to Democrats as well who believe that the Kavanaugh fight has actually stoked up interest, particularly in these red states where they're trying to unseat Democratic senators and they're heartened by that. It may have the reverse effect and some this suburban districts where they're hoping to save Republican Congress and where the electors much less inclined to be supportive of Kavanaugh.

But the question is, where we going to be in four and a half weeks? You of all people Anderson know doing a nightly show that four and a half weeks in the world that Donald Trump is an eternity. And there'll be a lot -- there could be a lot of turns in the road between now and then. And it could be that after winning this despite over Kavanaugh, that the winners are satisfied and the losers who on the other side of this issue are more aroused to come out to the polls.

So I think in the short run, a big week for the President. In the long run, four and a half weeks is an eternity.

COOPER: Dana, I mean to David's point, it does seem like each side thinks their base Democrats their vote, thinks their base is going to be energized by the Kavanaugh battle.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And they're both right. The difference is that for the Democrats, they were already crazy energized. And so -- you know, this will take them up to an 11 but they were pretty close to 11 already. As for the Republicans, they've been complacent. That has been a worry in every conversation that I've had with Republican strategists and frankly even candidates going into the November elections. And, the -- although this is a win, a Republican win, there is still real anger that is being stoked by the President, by the Republican leadership at the process. At -- you know, and specific language targeting the same voters who came out for Donald Trump in 2016. What a men should be scared. They should be fearful. Those kinds of things --


BASH: -- specifically aimed at getting Republicans out the door and to the polls. Because of concern that they weren't going to do that. COOPER: David, I mean do you see this as a winning issue for Democrats? Particularly senators, I mean in the weeks ahead, retaking the Senate obviously still climb for them most the seat, you know, up to cycle lean Republican. Democrats have to be careful about how much they campaign on the Supreme Court issue?

AXELROD: Yes, I'm not sure that these Democratic senators will be campaigning on the Supreme Court issue in these -- in these -- in these red states. I think they were actually feeling pretty good about the way things were trending before this Kavanaugh fight. Because they were stressing issues like health care which were real -- which was really resonant with voters.

[20:40:15] I think they'd love to be able to go back to that and they would like this issue to recede and go back to those winning issues that had them in a relatively good position before all this started.

COOPER: Dana, I mean control the House, it's obviously different I remember the House is up for re-election. The House had nothing to do with the confirmation process. Do some of them want to make this part of their campaigns?

BASH: Yes, in that -- yes, you're right. The House has nothing to do with the confirmation process technically. But because the balance of power in the House is going to be won or lost in swing districts, in districts that aren't ruby red or, you know, super liberal, but swing districts where the independents and in particularly in suburban districts, the women in particular are going to be swayed by this Kavanaugh situation. And what Democrats are hoping is that those voters are going to be swayed in Democrat's favor, because they're going to be angry at what happened.

It's not that clear cut. But if you probably if you look at the ledger, its probably more likely than not to help the Democrats in those key districts.

COOPER: All right, Dana Bash, David Axelrod, thanks. Dana is going to stay with us, because Dana had been talking with Christine Blasey Ford's attorneys about their client's thoughts today, we'll talk about that, next.


[20:45:19] COOPER: So we began the hour with Senator Lisa Murkowski live explaining why she is alone among Republicans in opposing Brett Kavanaugh's nomination or confirmation. Now what his accuser Christine Blasey Ford is thinking, our Dana Bash has been talking to her attorney, she joins us now. What have you learned about how Professor Ford feels about this now in this certain confirmation?

BASH: Well, she's not happy, as you can imagine. But she is already, it appears to be, trying to get back some semblance of normalcy to her life. And I talked to her lawyers about that. And several other things pertaining to Kavanaugh.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BASH (on-camera): Have you heard any regrets from her about coming out the way she did?

LISA BANKS, CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD'S ATTORNEY: I don't think she has any regrets. I think she feels like she did the right thing and this was what she wanted to do which was provide this information to the committee so they could make the best decision possible. And I think she still feels that was the right thing to do. So I don't think she has any regrets.

BASH (on-camera): President Trump, I'm sure you saw, mocked yours testimony at a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night. The crowd who are obviously big Trump supporters applauded. Did you speak to Professor Ford? Did she see that and what was her reaction?

BANKS: She did. She was upset by it. It was very hurtful. As it would be to any woman, any survivor, who had the courage to come forward, only to be mocked and belittled by anyone, really. But certainly by the President of the United States. It was very upsetting, it was very hurtful.

BASH (on-camera): So one of the things that has gotten Republicans really enraged is that during her testimony, Professor Ford told the committee that she wasn't clear that there was an offer to you, her legal team, from the committee to have the committee fly out to California and have a private conversation with her, interview with her, as opposed to flying her for a public hearing. Is that true?

BANKS: No. We as her counsel informed her of all options made available to us by the committee. We showed her all the correspondence. And what they were offering was to send staffers to California to interview her. Dr. Ford wanted to speak to the committee members themselves. And I think what you saw in the hearing was that Dr. Ford got a little confused and thought that Senator Grassley was suggesting that he himself would have come to California, which was not what he had offered at all.

BASH (on-camera): The allegations they're making very blatantly, is that she has lawyers, you two, who are Democrats, who wanted to have a public spectacle.

DEBRA KATZ, CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD'S ATTORNEY: Dana, that is such a ludicrous accusation. And we have not wanted to respond because it's such a distraction, deflection. Our client was advised of every single option given to her by the committee. She saw every single communication. She is a smart woman. She wanted to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Not speak to members of his staff.

BASH (on-camera): If Judge Kavanaugh becomes Justice Kavanaugh or even if he stays on the federal bench he's on now. Would Professor Ford like impeachment proceedings to begin?

KATZ: Professor Ford has not asked for anything of the sort. What she did was to come forward and testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. And agreed to cooperate with any investigation by the FBI. And that's what she saw to do here. BASH (on-camera): She said no. She's not going there on impeachment.


BASH (on-camera): She does not want him to be impeached.



COOPER: It is interesting. I mean to her -- I mean you sort of you had to kind of pin her down on it. But that Ford said she would not want Kavanaugh to be impeached.

BASH: So what they're trying to get across is that she didn't come at this from the point of view of a Democrat or frankly, of somebody who was out to get Brett Kavanaugh. That's what I think what they were trying to explain by answering that it bluntly and saying she wouldn't want him to be impeached. She just wanted to do her civic duty which is what she said, they repeated again today and make sure that the senators knew that this is something that she said she experienced with Brett Kavanaugh and have that be a factor into their decision on whether he should on the Supreme Court.

COOPER: Also the -- the fact that she mocked by President Trump just days ago. Did you get any impression she wants to engage with him or his supporters or just she just want to go back to her former life?

[20:50:04] BASH: The latter. The definite impression that I got is that she wants to try to get her life back. In fact, her lawyer said to me separately, that that they -- that she is hoping at some point to be able to go back to her home which they believe is not yet safe to do that. Go back to teaching. She of course is a professor. Go back to her regular life with her kids and not engage on a political level. Obviously she could very easily be a political icon if she could lead a charge and that very much does not seem like what she wants to do. She appears to maybe take the -- at least in the short term after the Clarence Thomas situation, the road of Anita Hill and just kind of lay low.

COOPER: All right, Dana Bash, thank you very much. Appreciate the interview.

I want to check in with Chris --

BASH: Thank you.

COOPER: -- see what he's working on for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It's really important to get all sides of perspective on what happened today and what we assume will happen tomorrow. The women in those big elevator moments, you know, you're having them on. We're going to have on one of the women from the Flake one and one from the Hatch one. Because they were so different. They meant such different things. They confirmed such different things. They'll be on here. We have John Dean on of Nixon fame obviously. He testified about Kavanaugh, what he thought were concerns. How does he feel about those concerns now? We're going to debate the way forward and we're going to make the case tonight, Anderson, that we've seen one thing for sure, this is the bottom. Murkowski and Collins agree on that. The question is what makes a change for the better.

COOPER: That's a good question. About eight and a half minutes from now. Chris, we'll see you then.

When it came down to it, two senators went against their own parties today on the Kavanaugh vote. Joe Manchin one against Democrats, Lisa Murkowski one against the Republicans. The question is will they pay a price at the polls? Coming up, I'll talk with a former Republican politician who knows a great deal about going against the tide.


[20:55:06] COOPER: As we reported tonight, two senators have bucked their party on the Kavanaugh vote, Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, and Joe Manchin a Democrat in a raucous hallway interview with demonstrators against Kavanaugh shouting their disapproval, Manchin offered this about his votes and whether politics played a part.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're up for reelection a difficult race. Are you concerned the base will revolt?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D) VIRGINIA: I didn't look at this from a political standpoint.


COOPER: One person who knows a lot about bucking his political party is former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent, who's often in odds with the new Republican Party, he joins us now. Congressman, thanks for being with us.

When you're a lawmaker, do you vote more along the lines of what your constituents want or what you believe they want or what your conscience tells you to do? Because presumably there are plenty of times when those two things where in conflict.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well you tend to do both and it depends on the issue, you might follow your conscience, you might follow your constituents and there can be conflicts. But in the case of say Joe Manchin, you know, I think from a purely political perspective he probably did the right thing and I don't think he's going to suffer a big consequence as a result of this. You know, his primary is behind him but even, say, in six years from now if he seeks reelection, would they primary him over this issue? Who knows?

But even if they did he could simple change parties and run as a Republican and probably win. And Lisa Murkowski, it should be remembered, in 2010 was challenged by Joe Miller from the right tea party and Joe Miller defeated her in the primary and she turned around and won a write in, in the fall and beat Joe Miller and the Democrats.

So I don't think that Lisa Murkowski is going to face a heavy penalty, you know, from Republican voters in Alaska.

COOPER: So, I mean with Manchin who is obviously, you know, a Democratic conservative state, would there have been any political deal with him for that vote or was that mostly based on him wanting to lock up reelection in West Virginia? I mean, because obviously in some votes, you know, people reach out to you, deals are made.

DENT: Well, I think it's very tricky to make a deal in this case. I can't imagine that Joe Manchin wanted to be the one Democrat voting for Brett Kavanaugh. I don't think he liked being in that position at all. But I suspect with Joe Manchin's political calculation, is he needs to win voters who voted not only for Donald Trump but for him. There are a lot of Trump/Manchin voters in West Virginia. And I suspect that is a bigger political calculation, from the bigger piece to that calculation then perhaps antagonizing elements of his pace. You where are they going at this point? Are they going to support the Republican Morrissy?

So they really have nowhere to go. I mean they can stay home but I suspect that would be self-defeating. I mean at least with Joe Manchin they get somebody who supports Democratic values, you know, more often than Republican ones.

COOPER: Were you surprised by the way things fell into place today?

DENT: Not particularly. I thought that -- well by the way, I think Susan Collins is one of the finest senators, a great mentor to me and a very thoughtful member of the U.S. Senate and higher she's got for her, but I was not surprised by where Susan Collins came down or where Joe Manchin came down. I was a little surprised by Lisa Murkowski's reasoning for not voting for Kavanaugh. I thought she might have relied upon on -- you know, she had concerns about Kavanaugh's support for I guess Native Americans and federal land issues, but she -- I think she made it more about his temperament. So that maybe surprised me a little bit but I was not surprised by Flake, Manchin or Collins.

COOPER: Were you surprised by how nasty this was? I mean and what does it mean moving forward from here. I mean one can say well it's not everyday somebody is accused of sexual assault and certainly not a Supreme Court Justice, you know, in modern times. So it's not a template, but do you see this as kind of a new normal.

DENT: I'm afraid it is. You know, I guess I'm kind of old-fashioned about this. When I served in the U.S. House, I saw I think five Supreme Court Justices be confirmed, Roberts, Alito, Kagan, Sotomayor and Gorsuch. And when I was asked the House member, most people didn't care what I had to think about to say about this, because I was not in the Senate. But I said it each time that I thought each of them was qualified and deserved to be on the court even if I might not have agreed with them all philosophically. I think we've gotten away from this. I mean this has become so partisan and so ideological that that, you know, a Democrat can't acknowledge that maybe a Republican nominee is actually fit to serve as a judge based on his or her abilities and -- you know, and Republicans are saying --


DENT: -- the same thing about Democratic nominees. This a bad -- you're a bad place.

COOPER: Yes. Charlie Dent, Congressman, thank you very much, appreciate it.

Don't miss "Full Circle." It's our daily new interactive newscast on Facebook. You get to pick some of the stories we cover. You can see weeknights at 6:25 p.m. eastern. You can find it at

[21:00:06] The news continues of course. I want to hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris?

CUOMO: Thank you Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to "Prime Time".