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2020 Democrats Call for Justice Brett Kavanaugh Impeachment; Trump Says Justice Department Should "Rescue" Brett Kavanaugh; Oxycontin Make Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy; Source: Antonio Brown's Accuser Sitting Down with NFL Today. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired September 16, 2019 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, a handful of Democratic presidential candidates are calling for his impeachment and they're not talking about President Trump but Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
This comes after a new book is releasing this week that takes a deep look into the confirmation hearings that divided a nation. An excerpt was posted in the "New York Times" this weekend, calling into question the FBI investigation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.
It also includes a new allegation, one that CNN has not been able to independently confirm and so we will not be detailing it at this point.
But it does now plunge -- does it plunge the 2020 race into another debate about Justice Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court?
CNN's Kyung Lah has more on this.
Kyung, what are you picking up?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate.
We are seeing is the number of 2020 candidates, presidential candidates on the Democratic side, jumping in on this. Generally, on social media. And look at the divide we are seeing. Those calling for impeachment and those calling for investigation. You see the pictures there.
Supporting impeachment of Judge Kavanaugh, Warren, Harris, Castro, O'Rourke, Buttigieg and Booker. They support an investigation saying they want it relitigated, reexamined.
But not outright calling for impeachment is Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar. And we heard from Bernie Sanders on social media saying he supports, quote, "any appropriate constitutional mechanism to hold him accountable," him being Judge Kavanaugh. We're also hearing more from Senator Harris this morning who spoke to
NPR saying that she understands that critics are going to view this as political opportunism but she is willing to take the hit. Here's what she says.
(BEGIN AUDIO FEED)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) : Someone should investigate this because the fact that something has not been proven it doesn't mean it didn't occur. Right?
UNIDENTIFIED NPR HOST: OK.
HARRIS: But if you don't investigate, hasn't been investigated, then there's not been a full airing of the issue.
And my point from the beginning about all of these allegations against Brett Kavanaugh is that there's not been a robust, a meaningful investigation. There's not been an investigation with the level of attention that normally would occur around these kinds of allegations.
(END AUDIO FEED)
LAH: In that interview, Harris did acknowledge that impeachment is an unlikely outcome but that she still supports it in relation to Judge Kavanagh because she believes that this needs to be supported as far as checks and balances.
One thing, Kate, take a look at the statement from Joe Biden. It shows the divide here. He is the front-runner. He said, quote, "We must follow the evidence to wherever it leads. Doing this the right way is critically important in getting the truth and restoring the American people's faith in their government."
But the speed in which everyone responded to this, Kate, really tells us how important this still remains with the Democratic base.
Great to see you, Kyung. Thank you.
President Trump, on this very issue, is jumping at the chance to make this front and center, once again, defending Kavanaugh, of course, on Twitter with this, in part: "Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for libel or the Justice Department should come to his rescue."
Are you wondering what that means, as I was this morning?
Joining me now former assistant attorney for the Southern District of New York, CNN legal analyst, Elie Honig.
Elie, is there a role for the Justice Department in this at all?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There should be if we want real answers and full answers. I think it's becoming apparent now that the investigation that was done the first time during confirmation was insufficient, was partitioned off and that the FBI was not truly allowed to get answers.
Now what the Department of Justice should not do is rescue anybody because that is absolutely the opposite of what DOJ does. It's not clear what the president means by rescue.
BOLDUAN: I venture to guess he doesn't know either.
HONIG: Right. What are the realistic possibilities here? Go after the media that reported this, go after the victims and witnesses coming forward, jump into this partisan fray and knock out my political opponents? All of those are the opposite of what DOJ does.
BOLDUAN: There's an impeachment process, though, that exists. Correct? There's what? Safe to say there's zero percent to say they're close to doing that with the Congress is right now?
HONIG: Yes and yes. Federal judges can be impeached. They have been impeached. In 2010, a federal judge was impeached and removed. That is possible.
But, yes, you would need a majority of the House, which if Democrats wanted it they could have it.
HONIG: Same process. We all know that. Two-thirds of the Senate. And you do the math. That ain't happening.
BOLDUAN: Exactly right.
One of the things to come out, as you already mentioned, in the new book, is a deep dive into the investigation that was launched. In the middle of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, a supplement background check because of the allegations coming forward. This book really calls into question how serious that supplemental investigation was, especially with one of the women who came forward, Deborah Ramirez.
Let me read this. It comes from excerpts released in the "New York Times." "Ms. Ramirez's legal team gave the FBI a list of at least 25 individuals who may have had corroborating evidence but the bureau in the background investigation interviewed none of them. Though we learned many of the potential witnesses tried in vain to reach the FBI on their own."
They also write in this new book, "Two FBI agents interviewed Ms. Ramirez telling her that they found her credible. But the Republican- controlled Senate imposed strict limits on the investigation." Quote, "We have to wait to get authorization to do anything else."
One of her attorneys recalled the agent saying, "It was almost a little apologetic."
What does this mean to you? HONIG: Here's something I learned in my time as a prosecutor. If
you're specifically not looking for evidence in corroboration, you will not find evidence and corroboration.
This tells me that the investigation that was done was for show. It was for political cover. It was not the way that any prosecutor or the FBI would ever run a real investigation where what you do is you follow every lead. Whenever it takes you often unexpected directions.
I have cases that started here and ended up way different. But you follow your evidence. You follow your leads. It's becoming apparent and clear that was not done with Justice Kavanaugh's original supplemental investigation.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Elie.
HONIG: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
A quick note to all of you. I'm going to be sitting down with the authors of this new book we're discussing about Justice Kavanaugh, his confirmation hearings, and the debate erupted since the excerpts were released. And they're joining me here Wednesday.
Coming up, still today, the maker of oxycontin files for bankruptcy in its role in the opioid crisis. What does this mean now for the thousands of communities suing the company? And what does this mean for the drug we're talking about?
Be right back.
BOLDUAN: The maker of the opioid oxycontin filed for bankruptcy. Purdue Pharma said the filing is part of the deal to settle lawsuits coming from thousands of communities across the country.
In a new statement this morning, the company's owners, the Sackler family, says that it hopes the bankruptcy process will ensure Purdue's assets are dedicated to helping the public.
We are talking about billions of dollars here. But the fight also seems far from over.
CNN's Jean Casarez is here with much more on this.
You are following this from the beginning, Jean. What does the bankruptcy filing mean for the communities who are actually looking for money and need the cash?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It changes a lot because everything is going to be within the bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy judge will determine so much.
But as far as allocation to the communities across the nation that need these moneys, that will be per the judge of the bankruptcy court. He will make the decisions of the allocations.
And as far as the settlement itself, that was not in vain because for weeks now the plaintiffs have been negotiating with Purdue Pharma.
Ad here's what I understand is the result of that, to go to the bankruptcy judge and conceivably be the plan of reorganization. The Sacklers will be personally responsible for $3 billion. Purdue Pharma and 30 to 40 of their international companies will all be sold, 90 percent of those proceeds of those companies will go to communities across this country and 10 percent will go to the Sacklers family.
As far as whether the Sacklers will be able to continue to manufacture oxycontin, that's questionable. Possibly they will be able to. It's all up to the judge because the judge legally has to look at will this benefit the creditors. Because they would get moneys from this. If so, he may say, yes. But there are many communities that believe morally that just is not right and should not happen.
As far as whether the Sacklers will continue to be pursued individually because there are so many suits in this country, they're going after the owners of Purdue Pharma, and that will be up to the judge, too.
It is very important I understand from my source close to negotiations that there be a channel injunction, is what it's called, and it is where that if they confirm they will be giving $3 billion of their own money, they can't be personally sued and will go into bankruptcy court and become part of the bankruptcy proceeding but not individually.
BOLDUAN: That is really interesting because while there are 24 states that are kind of involved in this case, there are almost just as many states trying to now pursue legislation against the Sacklers at the very same time. There's a big divide on how that works.
CASAREZ: That's right.
BOLDUAN: But I think you're getting at an important question here. What does this mean for this drug, the source of this epidemic that is hitting every class, every city in the nation? What does it mean for the drug oxycontin?
CASAREZ: As I learned in Oklahoma with the first opioid trial several months ago, there are people with chronic pain that wake up in the morning and go to bed at night with this pain. They need an opioid. They can legitimately sell it. And it is a drug that's on the market.
So whether they will be able to continue to sell oxycontin I think that's questionable. They are producing right now a drug that will go across the country for people that actually are addicted to opioids.
The Sacklers family said it's worth about $4 billion and they're not taking a dime. They're just going to supply it to those that need it. BOLDUAN: Because making money on the front and back end. That would
be a true travesty of justice if that's what would happen.
Good to see you, Jean. Thank you so much.
CASAREZ: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Really appreciate.
Coming up for us, the woman who filed a lawsuit against Patriots wide receiver, Antonio Brown, saying he assaulted and raped her, she is sitting down with the NFL today, one day after Brown played the first game with the team. That's next.
BOLDUAN: He's one of the biggest stars in the NFL, now playing for one of the world's most successful teams, but now Antonio Brown's future on and off the field faces a decisive moment today.
Sources tell CNN the woman who accused Brown of rape will be meeting with NFL officials today. Britney Taylor filed a lawsuit in federal court last week saying Brown sexually assaulted her twice in June of 2017 and then raped her last year.
The timing of today's meeting is even more interesting as it comes after Brown made his season debut just yesterday.
CNN's Nick Valencia has more joins me now.
Nick, what are learning about this meeting.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Kate.
A source with knowledge of this case tells me that Britney Taylor is expected to meet with the NFL today. That source didn't tell me where this meeting would take place or who else might be interviewed, only to say that Britney Taylor looks forward to, quote, "sharing her story with the NFL."
This meeting with the NFL comes after her wedding this weekend. According to the source, the timing of this meeting was so she could be at her wedding that was previously been scheduled this last weekend.
And for those questioning the timing of the civil lawsuit up against her wedding, the source tells me there was pre-suit conversations for an extended period of time between representatives for Britney Taylor as well as representatives for Antonio Brown.
Those conversations did not end in a settlement, therefore, we saw that civil lawsuit filed last week -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Thank you very much, Nick. I appreciate it. VALENCIA: Sure.
BOLDUAN: See what comes out of that meeting, if we anything.
Coming up for us still, though, oil prices and fears of war on the rise after an attack on a massive oil facility in Saudi Arabia. So massive you could see the smoke from space. Was it Iran? New evidence coming in from the Saudis.