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Senate Prepares to Vote to Confirm Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court; Melania Trump Visits Egypt; Chicago Police Officer Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder for Shooting Teen; Protestors Gather in Washington to Oppose Kavanaugh Confirmation to Supreme Court; Painting at Auction Self-Destructs after Sale Finalized. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired October 6, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:19] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. It's 10:00. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I am Victor Blackwell.
The votes have been pledged and the reasons all laid out. Now it seems all that's left is to vote Brett Kavanaugh onto the high court. Just a few hours now until that vote happens this afternoon.
PAUL: It doesn't mean that Democrats are done, though. Take a look at a live picture here at the Senate floor right now. Democrats pulled an all-nighter as they continued to speak against Kavanaugh's nomination.
PAUL: And now Kavanaugh is picking up an unexpected defender, the first lady. After arriving in Egypt she took questions from reporters, defended her husband's policies as well. Watch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How has your time in Africa been so far?
MELANIA TRUMP, U.S. FIRST LADY: Incredible, unforgettable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the message you want to send to the world on behalf of your husband's administration on this trip?
MELANIA TRUMP: That we care and we want to show the world that we care. And I am working with the U.S. aid and meeting some of them here as well. And that's all I want to show, that we care.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you plan to push for more funding for U.S. aid when you get back?
MELANIA TRUMP: Pardon me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you plan to ask for more funding for U.S. aid when you get back?
MELANIA TRUMP: We are having funding, so we are helping the countries, and we're working hard for helping them, and we will continue to do so.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mrs. Trump, given your husband's comments --
MELANIA TRUMP: I was so busy, I didn't have time, but I will when I come back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Given some of his derogatory comments reported about African countries, what will you tell him in response to that? And did that come up at all on your trip, did anybody discuss that with you?
MELANIA TRUMP: Nobody discuss that with me and I never heard him saying those comments, and that was anonymous source and I will leave it at that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back home, Me Too is a huge debate and your husband says it's a tough time for men. Given that you're centered on children and girls, do you agree with him?
MELANIA TRUMP: Well, what I will say that, if we are talking about the Supreme Court and Judge Kavanaugh, I think he is highly qualified for the Supreme Court. I'm glad that Dr. Ford was heard. I'm glad that Judge Kavanaugh was heard. And the FBI investigation was done, is completed, and Senate voted.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you believe Christine Ford?
MELANIA TRUMP: I think that all the victims, we need to have all the victims no matter what kind of abuse they had, but I am against any kind of abuse or violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mrs. Trump, can you describe your role advising your husband? Some people interpret some of the decisions you've made such as coming to Africa and some of your tweets as a way of not necessarily undermining but poking at him a little bit, trying to influence him. Can you describe that?
MELANIA TRUMP: Well, I don't always agree what he tweets, and I tell him that. I give him my honest opinion and honest advice. And sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn't. But I have my own voice and my opinions, and it's very important for me that I express what I feel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So sometimes you're trying to scare him to be a little more polite in public discourse and maybe be a little bit more sensitive --
MELANIA TRUMP: No, I tell my opinions, what I believe, and maybe in some of them we don't maybe agree. He will do. He is. I'm not elected. He is the president. But --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you ever --
MELANIA TRUMP: Yes.
(LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You had a discussion about your hat yesterday.
MELANIA TRUMP: You know what, we just completed an amazing trip. We went to Ghana. We went to Malawi. We went to Kenya here. We are in Egypt. I want to talk about my trip and not what I wear. And that's very important.
PAUL: All right, so because we're just getting that sound in, we wanted to bring in Areva Martin, CNN legal analyst and civil rights attorney, as well as Laura Barron-Lopez, congressional reporter for "The Washington Examiner." Ladies, thank you so much. Areva, first and foremost to you, we heard the first lady there say that she believes Brett Kavanaugh was highly qualified and she's glad that Dr. Ford was heard. What was your take away?
[10:05:04] AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'm glad she said that she was glad Dr. Ford was heard. What she didn't say is how the senators basically maligned Dr. Ford, how they said they believed her but yet they believed Brett Kavanaugh more. What she didn't talk about are the thousands of survivors that descended on the Senate over this last week to encourage senators to not vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. What she didn't talk about was the standard that Susan Collins is using, the so-called presumption of innocence that seemingly only applies to white male Republicans, because we haven't seen that standard used when it comes to minority men, when it comes to underprivileged individuals, when it comes to immigrants.
So I am glad to see Melania make that statement, but I wish she would go further. I wish she would really talk about what we are seeing happening with respect to the confirmation and how it is undermining thousands and thousands of survivors who have come forward and who are finding their voice but who are getting the message today with this confirmation that their voice and their issues don't matter to this Republican Senate.
PAUL: Laura, do you have a sense that if the first lady talked in more detail about this, about her feelings towards it, about these kind of issues, that it would further the conversation along, that she has a prominent voice here?
LAURA BARRON LOPEZ, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": I'm not sure that it would further the conversation that much. We have seen the first lady be at odds with her husband, President Trump, on a few issues, and their little battles have leaked out into the press. But what I will say is that Trump doesn't seem to listen to the first lady as well as his daughter, Ivanka Trump, as much as those family members like to say that he does.
Everything that we know about Trump so far in his administration, in his presidency, is the last person in the room is who he most likely will listen to. And so given that, I think that maybe American, some members of the American public want to hear more from the first lady, but I don't expect that she will be at odds that much with her husband. PAUL: There are a lot of questions this morning about how Brett
Kavanaugh will flow, how he will move into his new position as a justice, how he will be received by the justices that are already there. Let's listen to Justice Kagan and what she said later last night about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: 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)
PAUL: Areva, what is your reaction to what she's talking about there, about the legitimacy of the Supreme Court?
MARTIN: I think any chance that Brett Kavanaugh goes to the Supreme Court with there being a sense that he is there legitimately has disappeared, has dissipated by his own testimony. The last time he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and he gave that blistering commentary where he attacked the Clintons, where he talked about how what goes around comes around, making it very clear that he would be out for revenge if he was on the Supreme Court.
And I don't think we can dismiss what we saw happen with Brett Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh acted more as a partisan candidate rather than impartial judge. When he went on FOX News to talk about the potential appointment, when he wrote that op-ed piece, those are things that people, or candidates running for a particular office does. So I don't think he can go to the court without there being an asterisk next to his name. I think there will be an asterisk next to every opinion that he issues from that court because the integrity of the court is at stake. And when you have someone who has displayed the kind of partisanship that Brett Kavanaugh has displayed, I don't think we can expect there to be the kind of impartial, neutral court that Justice Elena has a vision for.
PAUL: Laura, I don't think there's any expectation that he is going to change his ideology, but at the end of the day, do you think there's a chance he will, say, be very cognizant of his writings and verbiage he uses in his opinion pieces, knowing that all of this that's led up to this is following him into the next journey of his.
LOPEZ: We already saw that he tried to walk back a bit his testimony, or he didn't exactly say he was sorry, but he said that he was aware his testimony went too far, appeared partisan to those who were watching.
[10:10:08] And this entire confirmation process has not been normal from the fact that he did an interview with FOX News to then, his testimony, to his op-ed to try to appease some of the senators that he thought were waffling. And the fact that Lisa Murkowski, the senator from Alaska, the one that was going to vote against him, this is why she is voting on his confirmation, because of the fact that she said his testimony and the way he appeared before the committee, his attacks on the Clintons, his entire demeanor, she felt was not appropriate for someone who should be on the Supreme Court.
PAUL: So we know that there are going to be other protests today in D.C. regarding his confirmation, and we also know that anger is a great motivator when it comes to getting to the polls. Areva, how potent for Democrats and for Republicans as we are just four weeks now from midterms.
MARTIN: Well, we know that Trump has weaponized this entire process and he's used it to rile up his base, this whole culture war suggesting that somehow white men now should be scared, they should be nervous, that boys and fathers and brothers somehow have something to fear, and that they have more to fear than sexual assault victims or women who may be the victims of sexual assault, which we know is just completely nonsensical when we think about the statistic that one in three women will be the subject of some kind of sexual assault, and that only two to seven percent of women make up stories about sexual assault. So this culture war pitting women against men, I think women, I hope women, in particular Democratic women will be inspired and we'll see a record number of women going to the polls for midterm in the same way we have seen a record number of women running for office.
I can't imagine that anyone, a mother, daughter, or anyone that's watched the process and the thought of a man that's been accused credibly by three women of sexual assault is ascending to the highest court of this land. I would have to think that that is going to motivate the Democratic base in a way, and we're going to see the House taken back by the Democrats and hopefully the Senate, because something has to change. When women are brave enough to come forward and tell their stories of sexual assault and yet for us to still be witnessing what is going to be the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, I think it's a wakeup call for this entire country.
PAUL: Laura, I just have a couple of seconds, but what about the potency of this for Republicans. Does it fire them up to get to the polls?
LOPEZ: I think there's some concern that already before the Kavanaugh nomination and now maybe with this impending victory for Republicans since we expect him to be confirmed, that it could mean that some Republicans stay home. That's already been a big concern for the GOP, and they've been trying to encourage their base to come out, and they've been telling their voters look, Democrats are fired up. They're upset. They have been upset since November, 2016. And it appears that they're going to be coming out in record numbers.
PAUL: Areva Martin and Laura Barron Lopez, we appreciate you both being here, thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you.
LOPEZ: Thank you. BLACKWELL: Guilty, a Chicago jury says a former police officer did murder a teenager there. Now the victim's family calls the conviction a victory for America. Coming up, how many years this former officer could spend in prison.
PAUL: And President Trump's preparing to cap what may be the biggest week of his presidency with a campaign rally going to Kansas. We'll talk about it
BLACKWELL: And a live look now at Capitol Hill where the Senate now is continuing overnight. Democrats holding the floor to deliver speeches about the Kavanaugh confirmation, also protests happening outside that building from people who think that Kavanaugh should not be a member of the court.
PAUL: Brett Kavanaugh's expected confirmation could shift the balance of the Supreme Court, that's what a lot of people are talking about, moving it in a reliably conservative direction really for the first time in decades.
BLACKWELL: Right now protesters are outside on the lawn right here. This is Capitol Hill, right outside the capitol building. Inside, Democratic senators continue their all-nighter into the early morning, speaking against the Kavanaugh nomination. Joining us live from the capitol is CNN's Manu Raju. Manu, we are still hours out from the official vote, but Democrats held the floor all night. What are we expecting throughout the day?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We expect more Democrats to rail against this nomination process, raise concerns about these allegations of sexual misconduct that have come out against Brett Kavanaugh which he has furiously denied. They have spent the night going to the floor, hour after hour, raising concerns. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, the Democratic senator, reading letters from sexual assault survivors in the early morning hours. But as you can see, a mostly empty chamber as one Democratic senator after another speaks. We are expecting when the vote actually takes place later this afternoon is that only two senators, one on each side, are going to break ranks, break from their party's leadership. One, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who went to the floor last night to explain why she is voting no.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI, (R) ALASKA: After the hearing that we all watched last week, last Thursday, it became clear to me or was becoming clearer that that that appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:20:09] RAJU: Now, on the Democratic side, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the one Democrat to break ranks, facing a difficult reelection back home, I asked him directly about the allegations of misconduct, whether he agreed or believed Christine Blasey Ford who of course testified that Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her when they were teenagers in high school. He said that he believed Ford but he also did not believe that it was Brett Kavanaugh who did it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Do you believe the allegations?
SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: I believe Dr. Ford, something happened to Dr. Ford. I don't believe the facts showed it was Brett Kavanaugh, but I believe something happened.
RAJU: Do you think it was someone else that did it?
MANCHIN: I think something happened to her. There's no way at all that we can see.
RAJU: Based on what you see, was that a thorough investigation by the FBI?
MANCHIN: It was thorough from what I saw. The people that I was concerned about, how they said, what they said, how they did it, I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: And as you can see some passionate protesters who were railing against that Kavanaugh nomination, they were shouting at Joe Manchin as he was answering our questions. We expect more of these protesters here on Capitol Hill just outside the corridors. But that is not going to affect the final vote later today. We expect him to be confirmed by a 50-48 margin, with actually Lisa Murkowski electing to vote present out of courtesy because one senator, Steve Daines of Montana, is at his daughter's wedding, and they want to maintain a two-vote margin, because that's how it would ultimately come down, and no senator wants to be labeled as the deciding vote. But nevertheless, this confirmation is going to get confirmed later today after a bruising and bitter confirmation battle. We hear Democrats will continue to raise their concerns over the course of the day, guys.
BLACKWELL: Manu Raju, there for us on Capitol Hill. Thanks so much.
PAUL: And listen, it has been a momentous week for President Trump.
BLACKWELL: Starting with the new trade deal replacing NAFTA, yesterday with the new jobless rate down to a 49 year low. You can expect to hear all of that when the president travels to Kansas today for a campaign rally. Let's go to CNN's Joe Johns at the White House. Joe, for a Saturday morning the president is unusually quiet. Typically we hear something from him on Twitter by this hour, and he has got a lot to talk about.
JOE JOHNS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Certainly seems that way, Victor. Quite frankly, this is one of the deals where we know how the senators are supposed to vote, but they haven't voted yet, and a lot of people like to wait until the final vote, because there's an old adage in Washington, never predict, never predict the United States Senate.
The president of course did tweet yesterday right after the Senate decided that they were going to go forward with the final vote later today, essentially to congratulate them. His press secretary did weigh in just a bit later on in the day, congratulating Senator Susan Collins of Maine for her decision to vote for the Kavanaugh nomination. So we have gotten that out of the White House. But the president himself has been very silent.
Now, the fact of the matter is -- there you see the president's tweet from yesterday. The fact of the matter is that the president is heading out to Topeka, Kansas, today for a big campaign rally. He is expected to leave before the vote on the Senate floor occurs, and he's expected to go before the crowd in Topeka after the vote occurs. So a couple of opportunities there for the president to weigh in. He has remained, as you said, relatively silent.
Important also to talk a little bit more about that Susan Collins decision yesterday where she went out in fairly dramatic fashion, a long speech, about 40, 45 minutes, on the Senate floor explaining her reasons, her justification, and the fact that she would in fact go ahead and vote for the Kavanaugh nomination.
At that time the president was over here in the Oval Office and he had a bunch of members of the House and the Senate with him. He was getting ready to sign the authorization bill for the Federal Aviation Administration, and stopped everything and asked if members of Congress actually wanted to watch her speech on the floor, and they did. The president described as in a good mood about what's been going on at the White House. Back to you.
PAUL: Joe Johns, thank you so much for the latest.
JOHNS: You bet.
BLACKWELL: A Chicago jury finds a police officer guilty of murder in the 2014 shooting of a teenager there. Coming up, the sentence this officer could face.
[10:29:14] BLACKWELL: A Chicago police officer is facing decades in prison after being convicted in one of the most closely watched trials in the city's history. Jason Van Dyke is the first Chicago officer to be convicted of murder in an on duty shooting in nearly 50 years. CNN's Ryan Young has details.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury find the defendant Jason Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nearly four years after the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, a jury found Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery on Friday. The verdict marking a culmination to the racially charged case that became emblematic of decades of tension between Chicago's urban communities and the city's police force.
[10:30:00] The shooting was captured on a grainy police dashcam video with no audio. Van Dyke told investigators he fired in self-defense after McDonald lunged at him with a knife. The video shows Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times. None of the other officers at the scene fired their weapons. It wasn't until 13 months after the incident that a judge ordered the city to release the video. The video ignited protests, a Justice Department civil rights investigation, criticism of the city's mayor, and eventually ouster of the police superintendent. In an unusual move Tuesday, Van Dyke took the witness stand in his own defense.
JASON VAN DYKE, FOUND GUILTY OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER: His face had no expression. His eyes were just bugging out of his head. He had just these huge white eyes staring right through me.
YOUNG: At times becoming visibly emotional as he alleged the 17-year- old ignored repeated commands to drop his knife before the officer opened fire.
VAN DYKE: He waved the knife from the lower right side upwards across his body, toward my left shoulder.
YOUNG: Prosecutors sparred with Van Dyke over discrepancies in his testimony, that he raised the knife toward officers, which cannot be seen in dashcam video.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you ever seen Laquan McDonald do that on one of those videos?
VAN DYKE: The video doesn't show my perspective.
YOUNG: Van Dyke's lawyer says he was not surprised by the verdict and plans to appeal.
DANIEL HERBERT, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If police officers think that they can never fire against somebody that is acting the way Laquan McDonald did when they're 12 feet away from them, I think what we are going to have is police officers are going to become security guards.
YOUNG: But for Laquan McDonald's family, they hope this verdict will finally help bring them some closure.
REV. MARVIN HUNTER, LAQUAN MCDONALD'S GREAT UNCLE: This trial today did two things again. It gave us justice of which we seek, and it also set a precedent across this country.
YOUNG: Van Dyke faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for second- degree murder, and six to 30 years for each of the 16 aggravated battery convictions. He is scheduled back in court October 31st.
Ryan Young, CNN, Chicago.
PAUL: So Adam Serwer, senior editor for "The Atlantic," is with us now. Adam, good to see you. Thank you for being here. This has been a case that so many people have watched. But I know you said in a recent piece that this should really be a moment of reflection. What do you mean by that? What do you think we need to focus on?
ADAM SERWER, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, I think the thing to focus on is that this kind of verdict is extraordinarily rare. As you said earlier in the segment, it has been 50 years since a police officer has been convicted for an on duty shooting, but it's not the first time in 50 years that a police officer has shot someone who is unarmed or is not threatening officers.
And I think in this case, the city tried to protect Van Dyke. He wasn't arrested until after the video was released, and the city tried to suppress the video. The law gives police officers a lot of leeway when it comes to using lethal force. The standard is simply that they have reasonable fear of physical harm, and I think you see that in that testimony that Van Dyke gave, he was trying very hard to persuade the jury that he was genuinely afraid of Laquan McDonald. I think if there hadn't been so much video of the actual incident, he might have been able to actually persuade them that was the case.
So this is a system that largely protects police officers even when they abuse their powers, and this is really an exception to the rule.
PAUL: Some jurors spoke afterwards saying that they believed Van Dyke's testimony seemed too rehearsed for them. Are you surprised that they actually had him take the witness stand?
SERWER: I am surprised. I think that -- I don't know, I'm not a lawyer, so I can't speak to whether it was a good strategy, but I think in terms of the testimony, what he said so directly contradicted the video that I think the jurors may have been particularly skeptical of his honesty as a result.
PAUL: I want to listen quickly to Reverend Marvin Hunter, he's McDonald's great uncle. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. MARVIN HUNTER, LAQUAN MCDONALD'S GREAT UNCLE: I called several African-American prominent lawyers and civil rights people, and those people thought it was impossible to have a police officer convicted in the County of Cook in the city of Chicago for doing anything to a black person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Basically saying that he had been advised by several people that you're not going to get a conviction. In two days they got a conviction. What does it mean for the city of Chicago, for the and people there?
[10:35:05] SERWER: I think obviously there are a lot of activists and journalists who work tirelessly to hold the police and the city accountable, who have a great deal of reason to feel proud of their efforts and work they put into this.
But I think the ongoing problem with the Chicago police force continues, which is that they have a history of violating the constitutional rights of residents, and that affects their legitimacy in the community and affects their ability to solve crimes because people are afraid of the police and don't want to talk to them. And when you look at Chicago, they have a high murder rate for a big city, but they have an extremely low clearance rate, and that's related to this feeling in the community that the police abuse their powers and are never held accountable for it.
So I think what really needs to happen now is that the police really need to be reformed in a way that allows them to have a nontoxic relationship with the communities that they're serving.
PAUL: Adam Serwer, we appreciate you being here. We know that Jason Van Dyke will be back in court October 31st. We will be watching. Thank you so much.
SERWER: Thank you for having me.
BLACKWELL: Still ahead this hour, focusing on D.C. protests against the soon to be Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh are mobilizing across the country.
[10:41:00] BLACKWELL: Its' 40 minutes after the hour. Protests are planned today from Maine to Arizona against the federal appeals court judge who is about to win a lifetime seat, or earn a lifetime seat on the highest court in the land. This follows days of protests in Washington aimed at senators who were considered swing votes until they made up their minds.
PAUL: CNN's Tom Foreman is on Capitol Hill. Tom, what are you seeing this morning?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we've seen here outside the Supreme Court is really the biggest gathering of protesters this morning. There are several scattered around the Hill, people figuring out what they're going to do. And you can see they're chanting and preparing to make one last desperate stand against this. What they're looking for if possible is some kind of a rogue vote that would actually change the result this afternoon.
But if they can't get that, at the least they want to send a very clear message that they're all going to be around this fall and wanting to vote out some of the senators who supported Kavanaugh in all this. That said, one of the real plans by one of the organizing groups over here is to get as many people as they can into the capitol and possibly into the gallery itself to see if they can disrupt the proceedings later today when the vote finally comes around. Let's see if they're successful at that. We see an awful lot of police around to make sure it doesn't get out of control. Victor and Christi? PAUL: Tom Foreman, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: Joining me now, Tharon Johnson, former south regional director from Obama 2012, and Brian Robinson, former spokesman for Georgia governor Nathan Deal. Welcome back to the show. So all that we are seeing here, does that help you in the midterm next month?
THARON JOHNSON, FORMER SOUTH REGIONAL DIRECTOR, OBAMA 2012: Absolutely. You look at this protest that we just saw on television, Victor, it is not only going on in D.C. It is going on all across our country. And especially when you have really about four to five true U.S. Senate seats that are considered quote-unquote toss ups. You look at this enthusiasm from these survivors and these victims of sexual assault, and you look at the diverse makeup of the crowds, this is definitely a movement that is here to stay.
Now, what Democrats have got to do is they've got to basically take this enthusiasm, take this momentum, and that's why you see these U.S. senators all night long going to the well, basically speaking out on behalf of these victims and these survivors, but we have got to show up at the polls. And this can't be the only issue that they vote on, but I guarantee you that if you had told me two weeks ago that you would have seen the thousands and thousands of protesters that we see across the country protesting against Judge Kavanaugh, I would never have expected that. So I think while at the same time I think it is also a victory for Donald Trump, if he is able to get Judge Kavanaugh confirmed, I think Republicans have to be worried about the women vote going into midterm elections.
BLACKWELL: Are you worried?
BRIAN ROBINSON, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR GEORGIA GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL: I'm excited. I know Tharon is trying to put a brave face on it, he's doing a great job at that. The fact is we are seeing what is being called the Brett bounce. Democrats were already super excited. They were at a 10. Republican were not. We were seeing that in special elections throughout the country for two years. Now we're at a 10. It is really erased the advantage that they had. And so if you looking at these toss up Senate seats that Tharon is talking about, Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, bye-bye.
BLACKWELL: Was that a toss up?
ROBINSON: Maybe not. But she's an incumbent, so it's also hard to say that an incumbent is not favored. She's probably gone. Ted Cruz in a tight race in Texas, this is a huge boost for him because there still are a huge base of Republican voters there in Texas, now they're energized in a way they weren't before.
BLACKWELL: But does the bounce it last for another 31, 32 days, or is it a bounce while the party's back was against the ropes.
ROBINSON: Both sides are going to try to make it last 30 days. Both of them see it as energizing their bases. And this is a base election. That's how people are seeing it. Midterms are going to be less than a presidential. So that base energized voters you need. And these protests that we were just watching, that is the Democrats trying to keep this alive. And I say keep it up, keep it up, because the professional protesting class fires up Republicans.
[10:45:02] BLACKWELL: Professional protesting class.
JOHNSON: That's a very I think disingenuous term to use against these people who, by the way, are peacefully protesting. So it is not this chaotic protest that the Republicans want their base to believe. These are men and women who are basically pushing back on a sense really from senators on the Republican side that some say ignore more allegations that were not reviewed in this FBI report. And I would take being on the side of sexual assault victims and survivors any day. And this is something that the Republicans are going to have to basically figure out how do they message to that particular group, because I think they're going to show up and vote and I think they're going to be very pivotal in these elections.
BLACKWELL: Let's listen to Justice Elena Kagan when she talked about the impartiality of the court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: 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)
BLACKWELL: So Brian, Judge, soon to be Justice Kavanaugh thought that he had to clean up remarks enough, the ones he made on the 27th of September that he had to come out with the op-ed. How does the soon to be justice who invoked revenge on behalf of the Clintons and bitterness over the Trump victory fit into that framework that Justice Kagan played out?
ROBINSON: I think that issue is way bigger than Brett Kavanaugh, it is way bigger than Justice Kagan. This is something that has been coming down the rails since the 1980s when Ted Kennedy up and Borked Judge Bork, kept him off the Supreme Court. That started all of this. That was on the beginning, and that was on the Democratic side. And it's happening on both. We have a toxic culture, but Brett Kavanaugh is not the reason.
BLACKWELL: He set the table with his comments that he wrote, had time to sleep on and think about the next day, and then deliver during the hearing. Did he not set himself up for the criticism that he is facing?
ROBINSON: Victor, what he said in the beginning of that speak was that no one has seen the comments but me and one person who edited behind me. I think we know that that was true.
BLACKWELL: Which means that exactly how he feels, that's exactly how he feels, that wasn't anybody else's language.
ROBINSON: The White House probably would have toned down some of the partisanship or looked at the bigger picture there. But I give him a little bit of leeway there. If you are wrongfully accused of something that egregious, that horrible, of course you're going to react with emotion and anger. Is it becoming of a justice? No. But I understand it in that moment because he's also a human.
JOHNSON: Brian just said something that was very key, Victor. It was a toxic process. And the other thing that it did, it really sort of compromised the integrity of the Justice Department, the U.S. Supreme Court justices to be neutral jurors in this whole thing.
And then if you look at Judge Kennedy who retired as a person who was known as sort of a neutral justice who would go back and forth with Judge Kavanaugh who may become Justice Kavanaugh, it's not going to become a very partisan Supreme Court. And so when you have got things like Roe versus Wade and all these different issues, Affirmative Action, that are going to come before the justices, now you've seen the injection of partisan politics by these U.S. senators who are all going to vote down party lines to look like you're going to confirm this justice.
BLACKWELL: Both sides have said that the process is toxic. The question is, will anybody do anything to change it? We have got to wrap it there, but that's something to think about. Tharon, Brian, thank you both.
Up next, a millionaire bids on an iconic piece of street art and he gets duped seconds later.
[10:53:18] PAUL: We just showed you live pictures, and there are some more from Washington, D.C. Many of the people who have gathered there at the capitol, we were told many of them, most of them protesters, protesting the Kavanaugh confirmation. But Donald Trump, the president, just tweeting, saying "Women for Kavanaugh and many others who support this very good man are gathering all over Capitol Hill in preparation for 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. vote. It is a beautiful thing to see, and they are not paid professional protesters who are handed expensive signs. Big day for America.
BLACKWELL: All right. He is the world's most famous anonymous street artist known for subversive work that appears really overnight. And now Banksy has pulled off his most audacious prank yet.
PAUL: Oh, my gosh, one of the more iconic works, known as girl with balloon, sold for $1.4 million at an auction house in London. Look at this. The moment the gavel hit, the piece self-destructed. It shed itself out of the frame.
BLACKWELL: Shredded all the way down.
PAUL: Afterward the art director said, quote, we just got Banksy-ed. It's unclear if the piece is actually worth more or less now. The auction house declined to reveal the identity of the buyer. That's a lot of money you might feel just being shredded.
BLACKWELL: I feel like it is going to be worth so much more now.
After being tortured as a child and coming to the U.S. nearly penniless, a woman is tackling the rampant homelessness problem in her backyard. Meet Betty Chinn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[10:55:00] BETTY CHINN, CNN HERO: In China, my family is target for the government. I separate from my family, and I live on the street by myself. This all happened at a young age. I had nothing to eat. Inside my heart I don't want anybody to suffer what I suffered. I don't sleep a lot. I get up at 2:07, not 2:08, not 2:06. I tell myself time to go. Somebody needs your help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Want to see Betty in action and all of the services she provides, go to CNNheroes.com.
PAUL: Thank you so much for keeping us company on this Saturday. Hope you make great memories today.
BLACKWELL: There is much more ahead in the next hours of CNN's Newsroom with our colleague Ryan Nobles. He's in Washington after a quick break.