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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Kavanaugh Confirmation Near Certain As Collins, Flake & Manchin Say They'll Vote Yes; Justice Kagan: SCOTUS May No Longer Have A Swing Vote; Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Only Republican to Vote No on Kavanaugh, Speaks on Senate Floor. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 5, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:08] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Out front next, Brett Kavanaugh all but certain to be the country's next Supreme Court justice. Christine Blasey Ford's family responds on out front.
Plus, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, just moments ago, weighing in on the court's disappearing middle and concerns about staying above the fray.
And some Democrats already saying there could be grounds for impeaching Kavanaugh. One of those Democrats is my guest. Let's go out front.
Good evening, everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. Out front tonight, profile in courage or cowardice? Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine in a dramatic Senate speech announced she will vote yes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court her decision all but insuring Kavanaugh's confirmation to the highest court in the land. The protests started almost as soon as she begins speaking today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Thank you Mr. President.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Collins, please vote no. I have been voter from --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator will suspend --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Then in a nearly 45-minute address, the Maine Republican laid out a lengthy defense of Kavanaugh's judicial record and finally then turning to the heart of the bitter fight that has been playing out over the judge allegations of sexual assault. And Collins then revealed her vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: The facts presented do not mean that President -- that Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time. But they do lead me to conclude that the allegations fail to meet the more likely than not standard. Therefore, I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court.
Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Minutes later, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia said that he too would vote yes on Kavanaugh, the only Democrat in the Senate to do so. Incensed protesters descended on Manchin then in the halls of Congress shouting, shame, as he defended his decision. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIDIED MALE: You can listen to the people here. Are you concerned about --
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I'm very much concerned basically with the sexual abuse that people have to endure. I'm very much concerned that we have to do something as a country. But I had to deal with the facts I had in front of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: But it's Collins whose announcement sparked some of the strongest reaction, Senator Lindsey Graham saying this, "Simply put, Senator Collins has shown great courage under fire." Former President George H.W. Bush tweeting, "Senator Collins political courage and class."
But the criticism was just as swift and cut just as deep. Planned Parenthood's political arm out of Maine tweeted during Collins' speech the following, "You don't get to say you believe Doctor Christine Blasey Ford and then vote to put her assailant on the Supreme Court". And made the Democratic Party adding this, "Collins had her chance and she chose not to stand with women".
The Senate will vote in less than 24 hours from now and barring the unexpected. And, yes, we have seen a lot, Judge Kavanaugh will become Justice Kavanaugh very soon.
Jeff Zeleny is out front for us tonight at the White House. Jeff, what is the President's reaction tonight?
JEFF ZELENEY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, for as loud as the protests were on Capitol Hill, you could hear them echoing through the halls there. The silence here at the White House all day long was interesting as well. The president did not speak publicly, but behind the scenes, I'm told he was watching every minute of that 45-minute speech on the Senate floor from Senator Susan Collins. They were not sure how this was going to work out or evolve.
But now, they know they are likely to almost certainly get this confirmation and this is a major deal, and the first two years of this administration. The president will now put two conservatives on the Supreme Court and fill the seat of Justice Anthony Kennedy. This is something that this White House has been waiting for. It's coming four before the midterm elections.
Yes, it has fired up Democrats as you just saw there in Maine. But it's also unified Republicans. And there was a sense here over the last several weeks and certainly several days that the Republicans were wondering around the country, can this party govern? Can this White House govern? This is something that they are now going to use as an achievement with the unemployment rate as well, the lowest since 1969 they take it to the midterm voters. So now we will see which side actually is, you know, the strongest in their view.
But Kate, an interesting note. The President was a mere bystander today, not calling Senators. One President was much more involved. I am told by people close to the process President George W. Bush was calling Susan Collins and other Senators in recent days and weeks, but particularly Senator Collins, telling her that Judge Kavanaugh has the temperament to be on the bench. You know, that he has the character to be on the bench.
[19:05:01] Of course, Judge Kavanaugh worked in the Bush White House as the president's staff secretary, as his associate counsel here, so this is a major win for the Republican establishment, no question. We'll see now what voters have to say as they chew this over, over the next 32 days before the midterm elections. Kate?
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Such a short period of time and also a lifetime in what we've been looking at recently, Jeff.
ZELENY: No doubt.
BOLDUAN: Thanks so much.
Out front with me tonight, David Gergen, who served as an adviser to four presidents, Joan Walsh is a national affairs correspondent for "The Nation", and Marc Short he's a former White House director of legislative affairs for President Trump. Thanks for being here you guys.
David, if this vote count holds, like we saw today, the final tally, 51-49. That's exactly what was expected before kind of the latest round of twists and turns. If that's the case, what was this exercise for then?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER FOR FOUR PRESIDENTS: I'm not sure what it was for but I know what it has created. And that is it has left women, you know, to very discouraged millions of women very discouraged and disgusted, angry has left both parties about as poisonously divided as any time in our -- in memory. And it's left the Supreme Court in the hands of conservatives, the clear majority, for at least to generation. So it's a momentous night, a sad night in many ways.
That, you know, I think whether you're on the right or the left, this is a time to be sad about what's happened to the country because this should have been a much smoother process. It was not. And I think both sides feel the other one really cheated on them. They bullied them. They acted improperly, and they're really, really angry with each other.
BOLDUAN: Yes. You know, Joan, Susan Collins said that she believes Christine Blasey Ford. She believes she's a survivor of sexual assault. She believes some trauma happened to her in her youth, but she also -- she read the FBI report, and she says that there's no corroboration. And I'm going to play a little bit more of what she said today. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: The four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred. None of the individuals Professor Ford says were at the party has any recollection at all of that night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Collins went into that secure room to look at the report three, maybe four times, Joan, and she says the allegation doesn't, in her view, meet the more than like -- more likely than not standard that she was looking at.
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Sure. You can't say you believe Doctor Blasey Ford but that Judge Kavanaugh didn't do it because Doctor Blasey Ford says he did. I'm not saying that's proof. I'm just saying that's inconsistent.
I think I'm somebody who a week ago was very happy when the Senate paused and agreed to do this FBI investigation.
WALSH: But I think it was a complete sham. I think it was actually worse than doing nothing at all. Doctor Ford had several people that she wanted interviewed, they were not. Debbie Ramirez, the other credible accuser, had 20 people she wanted interviewed they were not.
I think the most telling fact is that Judge Kavanaugh himself was not interviewed. Because he was treated -- he was given foot rubs by the Republicans last week, and it would have been really useful to have FBI agents asking him the same questions that the Democrats were. He would not have been able to come back with the -- them and say, oh, do you have a drinking problem? Do you black out?
And I think that also, it did -- it did -- Susan Collins and the other folks who went for him today, a real favor by distancing us a full week from the outrageous and kind of disgraceful performance of Judge Kavanaugh showing himself to be an incredible partisan hack, saying that Democrats were going to reap the wind or reap what they sowed and talking about the revenge of the Clintons. He gave such a disgraceful performance, what happened actually gave Donald Trump a big favor by sort of -- having that fade in people's minds --
WALSH: -- except he'll always be Matt Damon to me. BOLDUAN: Marc, worse than doing nothing at all, the outcome today, Joan says.
MARC SHORT, FORMER W.H. DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, look, I've shared on your show, Kate, that I think this process, as David said, has been a terrible process. It reflects poorly on Congress, but at the same time, I think it's something that this President promised the American people, and he was very transparent in putting out a list of 21 judges from which he would choose from and now two of them have been confirmed.
This is what the American people voted for and elected Donald Trump to help do exactly what he's done with the Supreme Court and it's not just the Supreme Court. As you mentioned it's also the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, it's also promises delivered on the regulatory front removing, the indecency the Jerusalem as promised, getting out of the Iran deal. You can like him or dislike him but you can't argue that the first two years haven't been incredibly successful on the President delivering on his promises, including two Supreme Court justices.
BOLDUAN: Marc, can I ask you? When it comes to kind of what we're seeing play out on Capitol Hill, is this a situation where folks called Susan Collins undecided but she was really just undeclared publicly, was she a yes until proven otherwise?
[19:10:06] SHORT: No. My closest friends on the Hills said they were unsure as of this morning. I think that whatever you say about Susan Collins decision today, I've had my own frustrations on Susan Collins when she didn't help us to overturn Obamacare. She's a very independent voice. She's very thorough. She's very conscientious, and I think that you saw that today. She was very thorough and laying out why she came to the decision she did and the things that she said.
And I think rebutting the testimony of Dr. Ford with things that other Republican Senators would have had a very difficult time doing. She was able to do it very effectively and very artfully and I think that she benefited not just herself but many Republicans today in the way she handled herself.
WALSH: Well, with all due respect, Marc, I understand why you appreciate that. But a lot of American women don't appreciate that it was a woman who chose to use her time and her 45 minutes to impeach Dr. Ford.
So she -- what she has done today, you say she's been independent and she has a lot of times, but she has undone her legacy of being a feminist, a pro-choice feminist, as well as a really, truly bipartisan person. Her breaks with Judge Kavanaugh was --
SHORT: That's incredibly sexist thing to say, Joan. To say that woman can say the same.
WALSH: -- insanely partisan. She actually mentioned the name Merrick Garland. She had the nerve to cite Merrick Garland as an example of how bipartisan Judge Kavanaugh is when we all know Republicans really hurt the legitimacy of this court by not even giving that man a hearing, not even meeting with that man.
So she showed her she really gave up her bipartisan bona fides and her feminist bona fides. She will be remembered every time he votes the abortion rights, voting rights, women's rights, reproductive rights.
SHORT: I guess you get to determine who's feminist and who's not, Joan. But the way I looked at it it's pretty hard to suggest that Susan Collins is not a bipartisan Senator.
WALSH: I think the vast majority of American women will determine that.
BOLDUAN: We'll see. This is a big vote. That's -- We all know that for every Senator who sat there and voted today. They know they took these votes very seriously. You can see she took it -- she knew the moment was going to be dramatic. She laid out that she was going to announce and then she spoke for 45 minutes about it.
And one thing she said, David, and I also heard it from others, is that they hope that they've hit rock bottom here. After the battle -- this battle as nasty as this one, do you see any evidence, quite honestly, of any lessons learned on either side tonight?
GERGEN: No, no. And I think what -- I think the Democrats are going to seek revenge just as the Republicans thought they were seeking revenge. I think this is going to be a continuing around. I think the trust levels have gone down deeper than, distrust levels have gone higher, let's say, between the parties than I can remember.
And I think this is a bitter, bitter pill for the country. I have to emphasize, Joan is right that the left is going to be -- is livid with Susan Collins, and the left is going to be energized going into the midterms. But it's also exciting them and --
BOLDUAN: Isn't it -- do you think it is something --
GERGEN: Yes, please?
BOLDUAN: -- I don't mean misplaced but is it a lot to be putting on Susan Collins? Because there were 50 other Republican Senators who could be --
GERGEN: That's true.
BOLDUAN: -- who could and should be facing the same criticism from the left.
GERGEN: Well, that's true. But it came down today to -- and as it looked like it might.
GERGEN: It came down to Susan Collins because Joe Manchin was basically going to vote the same way she did. WALSH: Exactly. She has never have voted, yes
GERGEN: She, in effect, had two -- Yes, she, in effect had two votes right at the end of this process. And she gave a talk that a large part of it about the judicial background --
GERGEN: -- and the legal cases and so forth the very mainstream and thoughtful. But her comments with regard to the personality, the temperament, and the drinking problems that we've all been talking about for the few days, she basically just brushed those aside and she concluded that she believed Doctor Ford but obviously it was somebody else. That theory has been discredited, that there was somebody else.
SHORT: Kate, I think it's pretty incredible we're on this show now trying to proclaim that Susan Collins is a partisan. I think there's a lot that you can say about Susan Collins but that's not one of them. The reality is --
WALSH: She is a politician, Marc.
GERGEN: I didn't intentionally --
SHORT: Let me finish my comments. The reality is that we talk about this energizing the left base.
SHORT: Every poll I've seen in the last ten days has shown Republican surge in Indiana, north Dakota, Florida, west Virginia, because they know what a sham is, and they've seen Democrats railroad this, they've seen the character assassination, and Republicans are rallying.
BOLDUAN: And there is a point to it. As angry as the left may be, there is anger on the right of how the process went down.
GERGEN: That's exaggerating.
BOLDUAN: I guess now it comes down to, unfortunately whose more angry? Which I think is maybe the saddest statement of where we are right now.
Guys, I really appreciate it.
BOLDUAN: Thanks for coming up here.
GERGEN: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Out front next, Justice Elena Kagan says the court's legitimacy depends on staying above the political fray. Is she sending a message to Brett Kavanaugh tonight? And Christine Blasey Ford, how is she reacting? I'll ask Doctor Ford's sister-in-law.
And an international mystery, the president of Interpol has vanished. Imagine if the head of the FBI just went missing.
[19:18:42] BOLDUAN: Breaking news. As it becomes clear that Judge Kavanaugh is likely headed to the Supreme Court, Justice Elena Kagan is warning tonight this key swing vote on the court could be no more. Speaking just moments ago at Princeton University, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELENA KAGAN, ASSOCIATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Starting with Justice O'Connor and continuing with Justice Kennedy, there has been a person who people -- who's 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Fascinating. What is the justice really trying to say right now, especially on this day?
Out front now, former Prosecutor Wendy Murphy, former Republican Congressman and Co-founder of the Federalist Society, David MacIntosh and CNN Legal Analyst, Joan Biskupic. It's great to see you guys. Thanks for coming in. Joan, the middle may be gone on the high court, is what Kagan is suggesting tonight. What do you make of what the justice is -- with the justice speaking like that on tonight of all nights?
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: She knows the middle is gone right now, as it used to exist. You know, she went back, Kate, you know, 30 years to Justices O'Connor and Kennedy --
[19:20:01] BISKUPIC: -- even before that, there was Lewis Powell, so we always had this sort of steadying influence at the center so the court didn't swing too far to the left or too far to the right. And without Anthony Kennedy, we don't have that kind of middle as we know it. And Justice Kagan knows that that spot has essentially disappeared.
In terms of a median justice, it's now Chief Justice John Roberts, just based on ideology, Kate. He's still a pretty consistent conservative, but he probably would be the one conservative who had -- would be most likely, again, out of this current group to inch a little bit to the left. And when I say inch, I mean inch and I don't mean anything like the fluid flexible justice that Anthony Kennedy was.
So, what I think was happening there is that Elena Kagan was voicing what all of the justices feel about, you know, the integrity of the court and wanting it to not look so polarized but to make it not look polarized, you really do need someone or two to sort of find some common ground there. And so far, in his tenure, Chief Justice John Roberts, who came on in 2005, hasn't really done that except for in the health care case of 2012. But going forward, Kate, it would fall to him.
BOLDUAN: Wendy, she's not saying his name, but she sure doesn't seem to think that if you kind of read between -- read through her words that she thinks the Judge Kavanaugh potentially likely soon to be Justice Kavanaugh is the contender for that middle swing vote.
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER CHILD ABUSE AND SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Yes. And she's not reading tea leaves to come to that conclusion, is she? We all saw what Judge Kavanaugh did, and it was really the most shocking -- one of the most shocking moments of my career, because I practice in federal court, and I watched him and thought, what are you doing? I mean, that is so the opposite of what a judge is supposed to say, how he's supposed to treat people. I would have been thrown in contempt if I had behaved the way he behaved, thrown in jail for contempt by him if it had been his court.
But, you know, my concern is about the integrity of the Supreme Court, because they are supposed to be above the fray. That's why they have lifetime appointments. It's meant to give them the freedom to not be ideological, to not vote predictably partisan. And my concern is, you know, we had a tough time after Bush versus Gore, I think we're somewhat still recovering from that in terms of the public going, whoa, the Supreme Court of the United States is left-right body and not, you know, an independent body? It would be nice if all nine justices could perceive themselves as independent.
We've been -- we've not been anywhere near that in a long time, but my concern is that walking in, this -- Judge Kavanaugh is declaring himself a partisan, even though, remember at the beginning of his nomination process, he's the one who said, and I'll quote you what exactly he said, the Supreme Court must never, never be viewed as a partisan institution. So not only is he going in as a partisan because he told us, basically, that he is, he has no credibility because he lied when he said it should never be partisan.
BOLDUAN: David, do you think he goes in -- can you make a case that he doesn't go in with a cloud over his head.
DAVID MCINTOSH, CO-FOUNDER, THE FEDERALIST SOCIETY: No, not all. And he never told us he would do that. In fact, he told us he'd do the opposite. Let me mention two things about Justice Kagan's comments.
MCINTOSH: One, I think she now has an opportunity to be that swing justice in a way. She can start joining on legal opinions that she agrees with, the conservative vote and perhaps change the texture of that opinion and what comes out. She's been known at Harvard when she was the dean, to work with conservatives, to bring conservatives on to the faculty, so there's an opportunity for her to fill that role.
I also think she was warning Senator Whitehouse and others, don't attack the court. And that's what you see the left starting to do. We didn't win the Kavanaugh decision, so they're saying to themselves, now we have to destroy the Supreme Court. That's the last thing that Americans want to see happen out of all of these.
BOLDUAN: Let me play one more kind of exactly to the point we're talking about right now, one more thing that -- from Elena Kagan today. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: Part of the court's legitimacy depends on people not seeing the court in the way that people see the rest of the governing structures of this country now. In other words, people thinking of the court as not politically divided in the same way, as not an extension of politics, but instead somehow above the fray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Joan, I have to -- I mean, this conversation happening on this day, is this some sort of a warning or maybe a plea to Judge Kavanaugh?
BISKUPIC: It's -- I don't think you're wrong at all to point out the timing. This is something that Justice Kagan has talked about before, but especially today, coming out of such a polarized confirmation process, and we're not quite out of it yet. We have one final day.
[19:25:04] But I think what she was saying is we don't want -- we, the Supreme Court, the Federal Judiciary, we don't want to send the same kind of signal that the public's getting from the other two branches, but she's well aware that the five conservative justices, and let's presume Brett Kavanaugh gets on, the five conservative justices were all appointed by Republican presidents. But the four liberal justices have all been appointed by Democratic presidents, and that's something that's new in our modern time. It wasn't always that way. So, they're automatically fighting that kind of image and now is the time that they want to start sending the message out that they have some integrity and we'll see what happens with their rulings this fall.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. David, how to you make the case that Judge Kavanaugh just soon to be Justice Kavanaugh, if he does, is what he says he was in the Wall Street Journal, that he will be an independent justice? How do you make that case after the wounds that are so deep right now, or how this confirmation played out?
MCINTOSH: Yes. And I know Judge Kavanaugh. What he will need to do, and I think he has the capacity to do that, is set aside those personal attacks and return to the role of being an impartial judge. And that's what he said he will do, that's what his aspiration is, and I believe he can now accomplish that on the Supreme Court.
Part of it is to realize what I just went through was politics at its worst. Let's keep politics out of the court, and that is a good call from Justice Kagan as well. The way they do that is to not make political and policy decisions but to make legal decisions, what does the law say.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for being here tonight, guys, I really appreciate it. Out front next, with Kavanaugh's confirmation now all but certain, really, what is the reaction from Christine Blasey Ford's family? I'll ask her sister-in-law.
Plus, Joe Manchin, the only Democrat to vote yes on Kavanaugh today, what do the voters back home say in?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If Joe Manchin votes no tomorrow, he has my vote in November. If he votes yes, I will never vote for him for elected office again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Tonight, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is on the verge of being confirmed. But with all of the twists and turns and high drama that we've seen with this process, is it all but certain or is there possibly more drama to come?
Manu Raju is OUTFRONT from Capitol Hill tonight.
Manu, what do we expect to see tomorrow?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we expect that Brett Kavanaugh will get confirmed but we expect a lot of drama lead leading up to it.
Tonight, the Democrats plan to keep the Senate in session overnight and rail against this nomination, this nominee, this process, and their concerns all through the night, through the course of this morning, but their time is limited. Eventually, they'll run out. Tomorrow afternoon, when that confirmation vote will happen, the Republicans need a simple majority of senators to advance this -- to confirm this nominee, and they have that at the moment.
But there's also a question about whether or not the vote will have to be kept open all night tomorrow night because of one Republican senator, Steve Daines of Montana, a supporter of Kavanaugh's who is away at his daughter's wedding in Montana on Saturday. Now, I'm told by his office that he's prepared to come back tomorrow afterwards to cast his own vote. So, the Senate could be open potentially overnight tomorrow night too until that vote finally comes to a close.
But at the moment, Kate, we're not expecting anyone to change their votes from today to tomorrow, but this has been a -- such an unusual confirmation process with twists and turns, so who knows what's next but at the moment, Republicans are confident they're going to get Kavanaugh on the bench, Kate.
BOLDUAN: All right. Manu, thank you so much. Really appreciate it. It was an amazing day to see all of your reporting today. OUTFRONT now, Deborah Ford Peters, Christine Blasey Ford's sister-in-
law. Her brother is Ford's husband.
Deborah, thank you so much for coming in again.
DEBORAH FORD PETERS, CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD'S SISTER-IN-LAW: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: How's your sister-in-law and how's your brother doing?
PETERS: They're remaining very private and laying low in terms of communication, but I have to imagine that they're very, very upset. I have to imagine that this is re-traumatizing to be laughed at and then not listened to and considered that it's unlikely and all these terrible things that are being said. So, I'm worried about them.
BOLDUAN: You're worried about them. You were -- you were watching as Senator Susan Collins endorsed Judge Kavanaugh today, very likely as we've been laying out, securing a seat on the Supreme Court. What was going through your mind when your -- during that speech?
PETERS: I thought she put together a lot of persuasive ideas about why she liked him, basically. She liked meeting with him, she liked prior decisions that he's made, and she liked the way her ideas fit together. I think she did not consider -- she did not include, really, in her talk, the inadequate FBI investigation.
She just said, you know, with what's been presented in front of me, I think it's less likely -- more unlikely rather than likely. And that just doesn't seem like a very serious consideration.
BOLDUAN: You know, two of the senators who said that they were undecided as of last night were Senator Collins and Senator Manchin was another, and both of them today had said that they believed something happened to your sister-in-law. And they had more to say. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life. Nevertheless, the four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I believe Dr. Ford. Something happened to Dr. Ford. I don't believe that the facts show that it was Brett Kavanaugh. But I believe something happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So, they believe her but not entirely. What's your reaction to that?
PETERS: Yes, I just think you can't have it both ways. If you know anything about trauma survivors, you know that they don't misremember who did it, and really, she has no reason to do that, to come forward with some falsehood. I think it's their way to sort of get out of this difficult bind that she is believable and that this type of behavior is completely unacceptable. There would be no way to make it acceptable.
So, I think they are diverting away from the main issue and trying to create an alternative reality, really.
BOLDUAN: So you don't really think that they really believe her?
PETERS: No, I think that's what they're saying. I think they're saying -- I think they're saying, gee, she looks credible, but we can't really believe that the man we like would do this.
[19:35:01] So, therefore, it's not valid, you know, it's not valid that it was him, even though that type of memory does not get mistaken, does not go away.
BOLDUAN: You know, Deborah, I remember last week, when you were on the show, just after your sister-in-law testified, I asked you then if Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed, would it all have been worth it. And you said yes. Do you still feel that way today?
PETERS: You know, I do, but maybe for different reasons. I think that women speaking out is extremely important, and I think we're finally finding our voices to speak out about terrible things that happened to us. But I think that Chrissy is probably feeling retraumatized by not being taken more seriously, and I know many other survivors are being retraumatized, and I think that it more than ever, we just have to keep speaking out.
So, yes, I think it's definitely worth it.
BOLDUAN: And, Deborah, you said you were worried about them. What are you -- what are you worried about?
PETERS: I think when a -- when her sexual trauma, you know, involved being laughed at and being helpless and both of those things have happened, she's been laughed at by the president of the United States with people applauding and laughing.
So, I can only imagine from what I know about trauma that she is probably feeling a whole host of intolerable, terrible feelings right now.
BOLDUAN: Well, thanks for coming on and speaking with me. I can imagine I can hear it in your voice that it's such a difficult time for you and the family. Thanks for coming out.
PETERS: It is. Thank you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
OUTFRONT for us next, Senator Joe Manchin, he's under attack as the only Democrat voting yes on Kavanaugh. But with that, did he just save his Senate seat? And some Democrats are already talking about impeaching Brett
Kavanaugh once he's confirmed. Is that playing right into Republicans' hands?
We'll be right back.
[19:40:34] BOLDUAN: Tonight, Senator Joe Manchin breaking from his party, saying he'll vote yes to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Some Democrats view this as a betrayal. Others see it as survival.
Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to let --
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protests in Washington. And at the Charleston, West Virginia, headquarters of Senator Joe Manchin, the only Democrat to announce he will vote for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.
As Manchin tried to explain his decision, he was shouted down.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Well, I think everyone -- everyone labored with this. Everybody labored with this decision.
MARQUEZ: West Virginia's senior senator in one of the country's most hotly contested Senate races. His vote, angering the left here.
(on camera): How critical to you is this vote by Joe Manchin on Brett Kavanaugh?
JAMIE LYNN CROFTS, KAVANAUGH PROTESTER: It's everything. If Joe Manchin votes no tomorrow, he has my vote in November. If he votes yes, I will never vote for him for elected office again.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): But in this deeply conservative state --
MANCHIN: I'm Joe Manchin and I approve this message.
MARQUEZ: -- will Manchin's "yes" vote help keep a crucial Senate seat in Democratic hands?
(on camera): So, even if he votes yes on Kavanaugh and Kavanaugh is -- moves to the Supreme Court with his "yes" vote, you'll still vote for Joe Manchin?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was my thinking as of yesterday.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Charleston Mayor Danny Jones is an independent, was a Republican, and is a long-time friend of Joe Manchin.
DANNY JONES, MAYOR OF CHARLESTON, FORMER REPUBLICAN AND FRIEND OF MANCHIN'S: With Joe, I think that it's an easy vote for him to vote for Kavanaugh.
MARQUEZ: Manchin has voted with the president more than any other Democrat.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love West Virginia. West Virginia. I love West Virginia.
MARQUEZ: President Trump won West Virginia by 42 points. Since taking office, he's been here seven times.
AD NARRATOR: Senator Joe Manchin voted to allow federal funding --
MARQUEZ: The race here, intense, ad spending by the candidates and outside groups now reaching over $30 million.
And some abortion rights opponents here say Manchin's support for Kavanaugh comes too late.
SIERRA HESS, SUSAN B ANTHONY LIST: I think the people of West Virginia are really awake. They know the kind of guy that he is, and I think we're ready to get him out.
MARQUEZ: Now, all this becoming very, very political very quickly. Donald Trump Jr. tweeting shortly after Senator Manchin made his announcement, saying, a real profile in courage from lying liberal Joe Manchin west Virginia, you waited until Kavanaugh had enough votes secured before he announced his support. He had another press release ready to go if Collins was no vote and then quickly endorsed his opponent, Patrick Morrissey, here in West Virginia. This race is going to be one for the ages.
Kate, back to you.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely, Miguel. Thanks so much.
I want to take us, though, quickly over to Capitol Hill where Senator Lisa Murkowski, the only Republican to break from her party to vote against Brett Kavanaugh today, she's now speaking on the Senate floor. Let's listen.
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: That I have with any of the previous nominations to the United States Supreme Court that I have been privileged to review. I've had the opportunity to vote on five justices prior to this.
And I took my time. I was deliberate. I was thoughtful. Some accused me of being too deliberate, too thoughtful, taking too much time. This is important to me. It should be important to all of us, and I know that it is important to all of us.
And so, I studied the record. I sat with Judge Kavanaugh for a lengthy period of time. About an hour and a half and asked the questions that I had and did more due diligence, reviewed the cases. And did my homework, listened to the concerns that were raised by many in my state on issues that were all over the board, whether it was a woman's right to choose, whether it was the affordable care act, whether it was executive authority, deference to the agencies, native issues.
[19:45:06] I took considerable time.
And when the hearings came, not being on the Judiciary Committee, I paid attention. I followed the testimony of the judge, the very critical questioning from many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and then, when the end of the process or so seemingly what we believed to be the end of the process, there were more questions. I went back to Judge Kavanaugh. I had a good conversation with him.
And then, the allegations that we have been discussing and trying to understand more about came forward and we all moved from focusing on the issues to truly a discussion that none of us ever thought that we would be having when it came to confirmation process for someone to the highest court in the land. And so, there was more work to be done. I was one who wanted to make sure that there was a process going forward, and when there were more questions that were raised after the initial process was won, we joined in asking that the FBI step in and do further reviews.
So, I have been engaged in this lengthy and deliberative process for months now. And I was truly leaning towards supporting judge Kavanaugh in his nomination as I looked to that record. But we know that in our role of advice and consent, it is not just the record itself. There is more that is attached to it. It is why, when, in the state of Alaska, a nomination for a judge goes forward, you rate them not only on their professional competence, what they have demonstrated through their record, but also matters of temperament and just demeanor, which are very, very important.
So, we moved -- we shifted that conversation from so many of the issues that I had been focused on to other areas that are also important in evaluating a nominee for the courts. But I listened very carefully to the remarks, the strong, well articulated remarks on my colleague and my friend, who sits next to me here, Senator Collins, and I found that I agreed with many of the points that she raised on the floor earlier. I do not think that Judge Kavanaugh will be a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, and I also join with her in saying that I do not think that protections for those with preexisting conditions will be at risk.
And I also do not think that he will be a threat to Alaska natives. This was an issue that certainly had been raised, but I had extended conversation with the judge on just these issues. And I believe that he recognizes, as he told me, that Alaska natives are not in that identical place as native Hawaiians. Alaskan tribes are included on the list of federally recognized tribes and the fact remains that Native Hawaiians are not.
[19:50:04] This is a -- this is a distinction. This is a difference.
I am one who, in this body, have said I would like to see Native Hawaiians there and I worked with my friend, Senator Akaka, when he was in this body to help advance that. I supported those.
But the fact remains that the constitutional status of Alaska natives and the Indian commerce clause are simply not at play with this nomination. I don't believe that. So, the question fairly asked, you say that you think he'll be there on issues that matter to Alaskans, that you have taken strong positions on.
The reason I could not support Judge Kavanaugh in this cloture motion this afternoon is that my role, my responsibility as one senator on this floor, I take this obligation that we have in the role of advice and consent as seriously as anything that I am obligated or privileged to be able to vote on. And so, I have a very high standard. I have a very high bar for any nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The code of judicial conduct rule 1.2, this is one that many, many people in this body know. It states that, quote, a judge act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.
And I go back and I look to that. It is pretty high. It is really high, that a judge shall act at all times, not just sometimes when you're wearing your robe, but a judge should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence. Public confidence. Where's the public confidence?
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, 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 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 g to your integrity, they go to everything that you are.
[19:55:08] And I think we all struggle with how we would respond, but I am reminded, there are only nine seats on the bench of the highest court in the land. And these seats occupied by these men and women for their lifetime. And so, those who seek one of these seats must meet the highest standard in all respects at all times and that is hard.
Mr. President, we are at a time when many in this country have lost faith in the executive branch. And it's not -- it is not just with this administration. We saw, we saw much of that in the last as well. And here in Congress, many around the country have given up on us. They've completely said we've had enough. I maintain that the public still views, I still view, that there is
some small shred of hope that remains with our judiciary. This judiciary that must be perceived as independent, as nonpartisan, as fair and balanced in order for our form of government to function. And it's that hope -- it's that hope that I seek to maintain.
And I think that's why I have demanded such a high standard to maintain or regain that public confidence, because it is so critical that we have that public confidence in at least one of our three branches of government.
Mr. President, I think we saw from the vote earlier today, we've seen from statements for several of our colleagues that it does appear that Judge Kavanaugh will be seated on the Supreme Court without my vote. It is my hope, it is truly my hope that Judge Kavanaugh will share that same hope in rebuilding, maintaining a level of public confidence that he will strive for that ideal every day. It's my hope that he will be that neutral arbiter, the umpire who only calls the balls and the strikes. That he will be that force for stability.
I believe Judge Kavanaugh is a good man. He is a good man. He is clearly a learned judge. But in my conscience, because that's how I have to vote at the end of the day, is with my conscience, I could not conclude that he is the right person for the court at this time.
And this has been agonizing for me with this decision. It is a -- it is as hard a choice, probably as close a call as any that I can ever remember. And I hope, I hope and I pray that we don't find ourselves in this situation again.
But I'm worried. I am really worried that this becomes the new normal where we find new and even more creative ways to tear one another down. That good people are just going to say, forget it. It's not worth it.
I'm looking at some of the comments, the statements being made against me, against my good friend, my dear friend from Maine.