Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation. TRANSCRIPT: 9/18/2018, All In w Chris Hayes.
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: September 18, 2018
Guest: Linda Chavez, Jim Manley, Zerlina Maxwell, David Brock
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for being with us. All In with Chris
Hayes starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on All In.
BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: What happens at Georgetown
Prep stays at Georgetown Prep.
HAYES: The Kavanaugh controversy continues.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel so badly for him that
he’s going through this.
HAYES: As an embattled Supreme Court nominee gains a character witness.
TRUMP: This is not a man that deserves this.
HAYES: Tonight, will there be a real investigation?
TRUMP: I don’t think the FBI really should be involved.
HAYES: Democrats raise alarm bells.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should not be rushing to judgment with a sham
hearing on Monday.
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D), HAWAII: I just want to say to the men in this
country, just shut up and step up.
HAYES: New reporting that the all male Republican Judiciary Committee may
use female staffers to question Kavanaugh’s accuser. And my interview with
the man who helped lead the attack on Anita Hill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The battle of credibility is settled, hands down, in
favor of Clarence Thomas.
HAYES: On the Republican strategy this time around.
ANITA HILL, AMERICAN ATTORNEY: Their claims of sexual harassment were just
not even worthy of the Senate.
HAYES: And All In starts right now. Good evening from New York. I’m
Chris Hayes. We are now just six days from what could be the most
explosive congressional hearing in a generation, the Senate Judiciary
Committee hearing to assess Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that she was
sexually assaulted by Trump Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, when
both were in High School.
But what that hearing will look like, and whether it will even happen
remains very much up in the air up to this very moment. Both, the top
Republican on the committee, Senator Chuck Grassley, and the top Democrat
Dianne Feinstein, say that Dr. Blasey Ford, whose lawyer says - whose
lawyer says is willing to testify, has not responded to a request to appear
at the hearing Monday, which was scheduled without her consent.
The New York Times reports that she has been emendated with vulgar email,
and social media messages, and even death threats, and has moved out of her
house, is arranging for private security for herself and her family, and
is, affectively, in hiding with her teenage children.
Kavanaugh, who denies the allegation, does plan to testify Monday, but
amazing, Senate Republicans say they don’t want to hear from anyone else,
not even the alleged eye witness to the alleged crime.
Kavanaugh’s high school friend, Mark Judge, who Dr. Blasey Ford says was
present for the alleged assault. And alternated, she says, between
encouraging Kavanaugh and telling him to stop.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: We’ve got two people involved and two
people ought to be able to present their stories. And then, we’ll have to
be the jury.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, according to newspaper accounts, Dr. Ford has said
Mr. Mark Judge was in the room at the time of the assault. Mr. Judge has
denied remembering anything like that. Should Mr. Judge testify?
GRASSLEY: At this point, we have two people testifying. That’s all I can
HAYES: In a letter today, Mark Judge himself, writing I have no memory of
the alleged incident. Brett Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school,
but I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford’s letter. More to the
point, I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.
Judge goes on to say he does not wish to speak, publically, on the matter
any further. There’s a lot for a Senator to ask him about under oath,
including his memoir about his schoolboy days of blackout drunk, and his
assertion that when my high school buddy and I got together and exchanged
memories of that time, we found ourselves, genuinely, shocked at the stuff
we got away with.
In an op-ed today, Anita Hill laid out how the committee could do a better
job in assessing Dr. Blasey Ford’s allegation than it did when she
testified against Clarence Thomas 27 years ago, including have a, quote,
neutral investigative body with experience in sexual misconduct cases,
investigate the incident in question and then present its findings to the
committee. But Senate Republicans have refused to allow for such an
investigation. And the President, today, dismissed calls for the FBI to
examine the allegation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you ask the FBI to open up the file?
TRUMP: I don’t think the FBI really should be involved because they don’t
want to be involved. If they wanted to be I would, certainly, do that.
But as you know, they say this not really their thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It’s not really their thing. In fact, it could be their thing, but
according to Bloomberg, the White House hasn’t asked the FBI to investigate
the allegation. A request required for the bureau to take further action.
And while Senate Democrats, today, express support for Dr. Blasey Ford who,
reportedly, first discussed the alleged assault with their therapist back
in 2012. Trump, today, made clear that his deep and profound sympathies
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I feel so badly for him that he’s going through this to be honest
with you. I feel so badly for him. This is not a man that deserves this.
This should’ve been brought to floor - it should’ve been brought up long
I just think he is at a level that we rarely see, not only in government,
anywhere in life. And, honestly, I feel terribly for him, for his wife who
is an incredible, lovely woman, and for his beautiful young daughters. I
feel terribly for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now for her perspective on the allegation, the plans for
the hearing, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York. Senator,
first, do you understand what the goal of the hearing that Republicans have
set for this Monday is?
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: No. I think it’s intended to be a
sham hearing because they only want a he said, she said scenario. In fact,
they should be allowing the FBI to do a complete background check now that
they have this allegation, which has not been done, which is the normal
course for any Supreme Court nominee.
HAYES: Is that the normal course, the FBI conducts a background
GILLIBRAND: Yes, for all nominees, for judges, and for Supreme Court
justices. And they need to do a complete investigation. And they haven’t
been able to do it because this is a new allegation. And so, we shouldn’t
even have the hearing until the FBI completes their background check.
HAYES: So, we just got word that Dr. Blasey Ford’s lawyer has announced
that she has written a letter - her client has written a letter to the
committee asking for, precisely, that, asking that an FBI investigation be
conducted before a hearing. What do you think happens next?
GILLIBRAND: Well, I think she - we should have that investigation because
as you mentioned Dr. Anita Hill’s editorial, she wrote that you really need
to have a nonpartisan review of facts so that the senators can then use
those facts as a basis to form their questions.
If you have the sham hearing that is intended for Monday, it’s just going
to be setup to be just one word against the other. Where as, there are
cooperating witnesses, why isn’t his former colleague being questioned?
Why isn’t her therapist being questioned? There’s corroborating evidence
that should be brought to bear in this hearing.
HAYES: Yes, what do you make of the fact that Senator Grassley, and
others, seem to have no interest in Mark Judge who is named as the other
person present in the room during the alleged assault. They have no
interest in hearing from him, and he has no interest in talking.
GILLIBRAND: So, Mark Judge, first, should be questioned by the FBI. And
that investigation should take place under oath. And then, second, when
they do have a hearing, he should have to answer questions by senators
under oath as well.
HAYES: There’s also talk - Susan Collins floated the following scenario
for the hearing that I want to get your reaction to which was - I had not
heard of this idea, but take a listen and tell me what you think.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: It might be effective to have the two
attorneys who are representing Judge Kavanaugh and fetch (ph) a report, do
the questioning for the first round.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What do you think of that?
GILLIBRAND: I think that would turn the hearing into a circus. It is not
the job of outside lawyers to cross-examine witnesses in front of the
Judiciary Committee. That is the job of the senators on the Judiciary
Committee. And if the Republican senators are unwilling to do that, they
shouldn’t be on the committee.
HAYES: What do you think about the idea that, apparently, has been floated
that Republicans are considering using women that work for them on their
staff? It’s an all male group (INAUDIBLE) - Republican side of the
Judiciary Committee using women staffers to ask the questions in the
GILLIBRAND: I think that’s an absurd idea. If they, literally, can’t do
their jobs as senators on the Judiciary Committee and need to ask female
staffers to do it for them then they should step down from the committee.
It’s their job.
HAYES: So, let me ask you this, what - I mean, one thing, I think, that’s
unclear to a lot of people as they watch this unfold is, what are we trying
to - like, what’s the thing that gets determined, and what’s the standard
of evidence that you’re looking for?
I mean, what - as someone who’s going to vote, and I suspect I know how you
would vote, even before this allegation. But as someone who will vote if
this nomination goes forward, like, what are - what is your understanding
of the - the benchmark, or the standard you’re looking for?
GILLIBRAND: Yes. Well, the question is, is Judge Kavanaugh fit to be a
Supreme Court justice? Does he have the character and the integrity that
is necessary to be a justice?
And if he has this violent background where has assaulted a woman and
covered her mouth when she’s trying to scream, then why should he be a
justice on the Supreme Court with a lifetime appoint, who’s going to make
fundamental decisions about women’s lives? I don’t think he’s qualified
because of his record on women’s issues, specifically.
He doesn’t believe that women should have the ability to make decisions
about their reproductive freedom. He believes that their boss should
decide whether or not you have access to birth control. And if he has this
history, then he is unfit for the court. And he doesn’t have the character
And you add to that, Chris, a lot of things that have been actually
documented during these hearings that - that, perhaps, he wasn’t straight
in the last set of hearings when he received his confirmation for his last
HAYES: There has been a lot of controversy around - there’s been a lot of
questions about, sort of, Me Too and accusations, and the standards that we
use for them, particularly, in the political sphere. And the ways
different parties have reacted to them, and Senator Franken’s departure
from the Senate which was something you and other colleagues called for,
although for some reason you get singled out for it which I’m not clear
But has - has been a, sort of, source of controversy ongoing. There are
donors who have said they’re happy with it, et cetera. I wonder what you
think of that moment for the Democratic caucus, the Democratic party in
this era at this particular moment when Judge Kavanaugh faces allegations.
GILLIBRAND: Well the question is do we value women. And that’s the
fundamental question. Do we believe women, do we give them an ability to
tell their story, to be heard, to have some measure of accountability? And
you know, sometimes it’s very hard. And you have to do what’s right, even
when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
And so I think that this is a moment when there’s a reckoning for the U.S.
Senate. We need to have a proper hearing where this witness can tell her
story and that the corroborating witnesses can also be questioned and so
that they can tell their story. And it’s really important that we have
transparency and accountability. We should not relive the hearings that
Anita Hill had to go through.
That was a – that was a dark moment for the United States Senate. It was
one of the lowest moments of the U.S. Senate. And if we can’t do better
than we did then, that’s shocking. And so we need to have a transparent
and accountable hearing and it starts with an investigation by the FBI to
develop the facts, and then you can have an appropriate questioning of the
HAYES: Final question. Do you believe that Dr. Blasey Ford is telling the
truth about what happened?
GILLIBRAND: I believe her. Her – her story is credible. If – if you
listen to everything about it, the fact that she told her therapist about
it five years ago, a friend most recently, she told a reporter before
Kavanaugh was even named to be a nominee. This is a woman who has endured
And experts have said, this is what trauma looks like. These – these –
it gets relived much later in time.
GILLIBRAND: A lot of – you don’t remember everything, you remember the
most poignant moments, you remember the things that are seared into your
memory and have effected you your whole life. I believe her. She is
credible. She should be heard and this Senate should treat her with the
respect and dignity that she deserves.
HAYES: All right. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, thank you so much for being
with me tonight.
GILLIBRAND: You’re welcome.
HAYES: All right. Joining me now with more on how this is playing out in
the White House and on Capitol Hill, Seung Min Kim. She’s a White House
reporter at the Washington Post and Lachlan Markay, who’s White House
correspondent at the Daily Beast. Seung, let me start with you. Things
seem to be moving around a lot in terms of what’s happening. Let’s start
with the Republican side and then let’s talk about the – the – the
The Republicans seem to have scheduled this on Monday with the idea of
we’re having a hearing Monday no matter what, it’s going to be two
witnesses and that’s it. Is that basically their approach?
SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTED, THE WASHINGTON POST: That’s –
essentially yes. I mean, the Judiciary Committee had reached out to Dr.
Ford through her attorneys at least twice so far, one to schedule kind of a
follow-up to the background check call. This is a version of call that
they already had with Judge Kavanaugh on Monday evening, and then a second
time to tell them that – to notice them of the hearing that had been
scheduled for Monday.
And that’s been the protest coming from Democrats, saying this hearing was
held, first of all, without consultation from Senator Dianne Feinstein, who
is the top Democrat on the committee, which they usually coordinate to set
hearings and to – to kind of set all these dates up, with no – with no
invitation or no consultation with Dr. Ford herself. And when we kept
asking questions of Republican senators, such as are you going to ask Mark
Judge, this friend who was allegedly there when this alleged incident
happened, is he going to come?
And Republicans started making clear earlier today there would only be two
witnesses, Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford and then obviously release a letter from
Mark Judge himself later – earlier this afternoon saying, I don’t have a
recollection of this incident and also I am not going to testify before
HAYES: Lachlan, do you have a sense of what the White House is thinking
right now? The – the – the judge spent the second day there for a better
part of the day. There are sort of swirling stories coming out about them
making the decision about whether to plunge ahead or not. What – what’s
your reporting indicate?
LACHLAN MARKAY, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, the White
House spent the day yesterday really making the rounds, hitting the phones,
talking to allies to get their sense of where things stood and make sure
they were on board with Kavanaugh. Because the White House as of right now
has no plans to pull the nomination and they see backing away from this as
absolutely politically disastrous heading into the midterms.
Donald Trump, of course, two planks of his political appeal are that he
will take the fight to the Democrats, and he won’t back down and that he
will stack the judiciary with conservative-leaning justices. So to – to
back away from Kavanaugh would not necessarily alienate Trump’s base from
Trump, but would severely depress enthusiasm for Republicans heading into
midterms. That’s at least how pro-Trump political folks see it.
So they’re absolutely determined to stick by him and I think this sort of
rushed hearing was – was – was planned in anticipation of it being almost
infeasible from Dr. Ford’s part at least, in the hope that they could
continue moving on this and saying (ph) the process play out normally.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, look, if – if you really want to hear from her, if
she had surgery scheduled on Monday, like is (ph) clearly – like, you have
to schedule it with her. Right? I mean, it just seems to give away the
game a little bit. And – and Seung, I also just wonder – the Republicans
– I get the sense the Republicans in the committee think that she’s not
going to show up. Like it almost feels a little bit like a bluff, that
they don’t actually want to go through with it.
KIM: We sensed some growing impatience from some Republican senators when
we – when we just continued to not hear from Dr. Ford and all her
attorneys throughout the day. Even Senator Jeff Flake, who was one of the
first Republican senators to say look, let’s put this on pause, we need to
hear from this woman, kind of expressed a little bit of frustration to us
earlier today, saying, like, well, like, we’re – we’re – you know, she –
we are happy to hear from her if she wants to appear and whatnot.
And I think a lot of that – and – and everything that’s going on kind of
all adds to this changing sentiment that I have noticed through my
reporting over the last couple days. I think, on Sunday and Monday there
was a sense that his nomination really was in trouble. You had a lot of
Republican senators saying we needed to hear from her, expressing a lot of
discomfort about going ahead with this key committee vote on Thursday.
And in my conversation with Republican senators throughout the day today,
as we continued to have no word on whether Dr. Ford was doing to come to
the committee on Monday, they seemed increasingly defiant and ready to
HAYES: To ho ahead (ph).
KIM: The judge had been making private calls to senators and telling them
I did not do this and I am ready to fight. Dr. Blasey Ford through her
lawyer released a letter that she wrote to the committee, Lachlan. I don’t
know if you’ve seen this because it just broke in the last few minutes,
essentially endorsing the position that Anita Hill basically called for and
Senate Democrats had called for, which is there should be an FBI background
check that looks specifically into her allegation and should present those
You – the president was asked about that today and it – that – the White
House and Republicans seem to want to have nothing to do with that. Is
MARKAY: Yes, and the FBI kind of punted on it a little bit early this
morning, saying that as far as they’re aware, no one’s alleged a federal
crime. But I will tell you that if – you know, this puts not just Trump
in a – a more difficult position, but look at Jeff Sessions. If the FBI
were to open an investigation that the president perceived as imperiling
his Supreme Court nominee, there would be absolute hell to pay for the
attorney general, who of course is already on thin ice with the president.
So I think the odds of that FBI investigation are relatively slim and I
expect that certainly the White House is going to push forward with – with
a committee vote and a floor vote. The question, of course, is whether
there can be that – at least a facade of thoroughness to – to the degree
that can keep Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and even someone like Jeff
Flake on board.
HAYES: Yes. Fa‡ade of thoroughness is a good term. I should – I should
note here, my understanding of this here is that the call for the
investigation on the FBI is not to open a criminal inquiry, but rather to
use the people inside the FBI to do background checks that have already
done background checks for all sorts of federal positions. This is for
security clearance purposes, this is all for (ph) federal judges, this is
the background check that revealed that Rob Porter, for instance, had been
accused of spousal abuse by two previous wives.
That unit already exists within the FBI. Those folks do this kind of thing
all the time. They go talk to people. I think my understanding of what’s
being called for here, Seung is – is not the opening of a criminal
inquiry, but rather that that process be used or that facility or capacity
of the FBI be used.
KIM: That’s absolutely correct. I mean, the FBI essentially said last
week it was in no way opening a criminal matter into this.
KIM: Obviously there’s a statute of limitations issue with this. And
again, generally crimes of this nature are not federal crimes anyway.
KIM: But – and what Democrats have been calling for specifically was to
reopen that background check investigation, the version of the probe that
Judge Kavanaugh has gone through about six times in his 25 year public
career, to add this information, to talk to the woman (ph) to try to verify
this and add this to the file. But there are procedures in place. And so
the FBI, what they did when they received this letter late – late last
Wednesday night from Senator Feinstein, they referred it – they referred
it and added it, basically, to Kavanaugh’s check – check file, sent it to
the White House counsel’s office and the White House counsel’s office then
subsequently quickly sent that back to the Senate Judiciary Committee. But
in terms of reopening a background check investigation, there are no
indications that the FBI is going to do that at this point.
HAYES: Right. Absence, I think, a directive. Seung Min Kim, and Lachlan
Markay, thank you for your time tonight. We have – we’re trying to get
Peter Baker, who – who – who wrote the New York Times article about the
latest development in the case, the lawyer from Dr. Blasey Ford and her
lawyer – the letter from Dr. Blasey Ford and her lawyer. Stick around,
we’re going to get to that next.
HAYES: All right, so breaking news, just in the last few minutes, after a
day and a half in which the committee members of the Judiciary Committee
said they had not heard from Dr. Blasey Ford or her attorney, we have now a
letter that the attorney sent to Senator Grassley, who’s the chair,
basically asking that the Judiciary Committee has recognized and done
before, and as the Judiciary Committee has recognized and done before, an
FBI investigation into the incident should be the first step in addressing
A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure the crucial
facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner
and that the committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or
making any decisions. I have Peter Baker now who is the Chief White House
Correspondent for the “New York Times.” Peter, what’s the background on
PETER BAKER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE “NEW YORK TIMES”:
Well, it’s a letter that is basically intended to say slow down, that the
committee shouldn’t have this public hearing or even a private hearing on
Monday as Senator Grassley has scheduled. And in fact, that it’s basically
saying their client, Dr. Blasey - Dr. Ford, does not plan to be there.
There has to be first an investigation of her charge before she goes before
It describes her already feeling aggrieved by this. She says – the lawyer
says in the letter the hearing was scheduled in six short days, an
interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds, that she
is quote, “mistaken and mixed up,” unquote. And she obviously is looking
ahead to the prospect of, you know, an Anita Hill type scenario. She
doesn’t want to feel like she’s under the gun without some sort of non-
partisan assessment by the FBI or something else to back her up.
HAYES: It also seemed crucial here that they ask that this line here,
which has been a theme in some of the conversation today, a full
investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that crucial facts
and witnesses, plural, in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan
matter. This seems crucial from the perspective of Dr. Blasey Ford that
it is more than just she and the judge who talk about what happened given
the fact she says, alleges there was a third individual present in that
BAKER: That’s right, the third individual is Mark Judge (ph); he’s a
friend of Brett Kavanaugh’s from school. But he says that nothing like this
happened, or he doesn’t remember anything like this happening and that he
never saw Judge Kavanaugh ever behave in the manner that Dr. Blasey Ford
has described. He sent a letter of his own to the committee today saying he
didn’t want to testify, that he didn’t have anything more than to share
with them than these two, you know, assertions.
So, you know, obviously he doesn’t have the ability to resist a subpoena,
presumably, if one were to be issued and the committee, you might imagine,
might want to hear it. But for the moment that’s not what Senator Grassley
has said. He said he wanted to hear from Judge Kavanaugh and hear from Dr.
Blasey Ford, but just the two of them; Democrats think that’s not enough.
HAYES: We should also note in this letter that Dr. Blasey Ford’s lawyer
says the following. “In the 36 hours since her name became public Dr. Ford
has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from
fellow citizens across the country. At the same time, however, her worst
fears have materialized. She’s been the target of vicious harassment and
even death threats. As a result of these kinds of threats her family was
forced to relocate out of their home, her e-mail has been hacked and she
has been impersonated online.”
It seems that Dr. Blasey Ford is well aware that however much notoriety and
attention she has now, a live televised hearing before the nation is going
to be an absolute irreversible step in her life trajectory.
BAKER: Well, that’s certainly right. And, you know, of course, it’s hard
to know what she expected when she first wrote that letter back in July to
Senator Feinstein on the committee. But you have to understand, in today’s
political world, this is where it was likely to head. If you’re going to
make allegations like this, that it can’t remain, won’t remain secret if
you want it to be, to have any impact on the deliberation involving the
So it was almost inevitable that it would end up in a public hearing. But
she, understandably, perhaps, is not, you know, excited about the idea, and
probably nobody would be. Probably Judge Kavanaugh’s not either. But that
seems to be where the Senate wants to go at this point. Republicans for the
moment are saying we’re not planning to reschedule because she wants to do
it on a different timetable.
HAYES: Have they responded already to this letter?
BAKER: Before the letter even came out Senator Lindsey Graham who’s on
the committee appeared on “Fox News” and he said that, in fact, we’re not
going to reschedule it. If she doesn’t appear on Monday, we will go ahead
and schedule a vote on Wednesday and move the nomination out of committee.
HAYES: All right. Peter Baker of the “New York Times” with that breaking
news. Thanks so much for joining me. I want to bring in Melissa Murray,
Professor at New York University School of Law who testified earlier this
month at Kavanaugh’s Senate hearing against his nomination. And MSNBC legal
analyst Jill Wine-Banks, former assistant special Watergate prosecutor, co-
author of this “NBC News” Think Piece today explaining why the allegation
against Brett Kavanaugh is not simply a he said/she said situation. Your
reaction to where we stand now and the letter to the committee?
MELISSA MURRAY, PROFESSOR AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW: I think
this is exactly right. An FBI investigation slowing this down, I have
always said that this entire nomination process has been like a juggernaut
and there’s been so many unprecedented efforts to force this through, when
some more thoughtful and contemplative deliberation would have been in
order. The documents and now this, I think it’s appropriate to slow down
and think about what’s happening.
HAYES: What do you say who people that - who will say – who support
Kavanaugh, who say Democrats and liberals and others who oppose his
nomination want to slow it down anyway because they think it will give them
a chance to kill it. This is just their latest excuse for that.
MURRAY: I mean I understand the partisan griping here, but these are
serious allegations. Regardless of whether they are true or not, they
warrant an investigation. They warrant some discussion in a contemplative
way about what’s been said here and I don’t think you can do that on
Monday. I don’t think you can push this through and vote on Thursday.
HAYES: Jill, what is your thought about this development?
JILL WINE-BANKS, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR FOR THE WATERGATE INVESTIGATION: I
think the entire rush to judgment is unwarranted and unnecessary; there is
absolutely no reason for this. And now it looks like the Senate wants to
repeat all the errors of the hearing for Clarence Thomas, which has left
him with a permanent cloud over his sitting as a Supreme Court justice. It
is wrong and they need to take the time. I think the letter is 100 percent
correct. That is exactly what we wrote on nbc.com today was that the FBI
should investigate before there’s a hearing, not after, not during, but
first you need some facts on which to question witnesses.
So they’re proceeding in all the wrong way. It is not a he said/she said.
Prosecutors deal with this all the time in sex offense cases where it isn’t
he said/she said. There is also some corroboration for one party or the
other, something that will make a jury, which in this case would be the
senate or the American people, believe one over the other.
We have at least one witness to the actual assault. But in addition, I
don’t know who she might have mentioned it to or someone who might have
seen how upset she was after the fact. And so there’s a lot of other
potential witnesses; there’s her therapist, her husband, and there are a
lot of classmates who should be asked about both Georgetown Prep.
I think not only has she been corroborated by her therapist, but he has
made himself look bad by his comment about what happens at Georgetown Prep
stays at Georgetown Prep and that’s a good thing for all of us who were
there. That really does show something that says what did he do there that
he was saying that about? So I think there’s a lot.
HAYES: His defender I think would say that that was a joke about high
school high jinks as opposed to what is happening. Here, obviously it
takes on a very different cast in light of what’s been alleged.
The hometown paper – there’s another corroboration – the hometown paper
talked a friend of hers who said amidst the kind of #metoo moment that
we’ve had over the last year-and-a-half that she spoke to the friend back
before Kavanaugh was even nominated to the Supreme Court, when he was a
federal judge and said that she had been subject to a violent attack by a
federal judge. That’s a woman who is on the record in the newspaper today.
Again, doesn’t corroborate at the time, but there is corroborating evidence
WINE-BANKS: I think we cannot let what happened at the Anita Hill hearing
where there were three witnesses waiting to testify.
WINE-BANKS: And they were cut off, they wouldn’t give them the time. We
have the time. We need the time. And it must proceed with all possible
MURRAY: I think this is right. We have an eyewitness who should be
brought forward and his
account discussed, although he may have issues with remembering some of
HAYES: Yeah, he wrote a book abgbout being blackout drunk through most of
high school. I mean, literally, that’s his memoir.
MURRAY: But I mean, that’s relevant to the situation given everything she
HYAES: Brian Boiler (ph) of Crooked Media made this point, which I thought
was a good one. He said if a friend of mine from high school was falsely
accused of rape in the national spotlight a few votes away from a Supreme
Court nomination, I would rush to any venue anywhere under oath to say
that it was not true, right?
MURRAY: One would expect.
HAYES: There’s a certain logic there that so far has not manifested itself
in this phase.
MURRAY: But then there are other things to corroborate her story, like
she’s provided so many detailed aspects of this night, of the house, the
staircase, finding people who could corroborate these aspects of her story
I think would be really important. An investigation seems appropriate.
HAYES: Well, let me ask you this, and I’ll ask both of you this question,
which I’ve seen is like – and I asked Senator Gillibrand, what’s the
standard, right? I mean, you testified in opposition to his nomination
before this, right, so put that aside. There are other reasons that you
don’t think he should be on the Supreme Court.
But were this, say, a nominee who you did think should be on the Supreme
Court and then this
happened, this exact same fact pattern, like what’s the standard to you
that makes someone fit or unfit, confirmable, unconfirmable?
MURRAY: So, this not a criminal case. The standard is not beyond a
reasonable doubt. But IU think here where someone is about to take on the
mantle of Supreme Court justice, have the power to interpret the
constitution, to interpret former precedents, you need to have a person of
sterling and impeccable integrity. If there is any doubt that this person
doesn’t meet that standard, and I think it’s a lower standard than proof
beyond a reasonable doubt, then I think you ought not confirm.
I mean, it’s not as though there aren’t other people who might be able to
meet the standard. I mean, if you think this is a person whose account you
don’t find credible, and in that situation may have abused what power he
had as a 17-year-old, I don’t think it’s appropriate to give that person
the kind of power that a Supreme Court justice would have.
HAYES: What do you think, Jill?
WINE-BANKS: I agree with Melissa completely. I think in this case there
are so many indicators of red flags for Judge Kavanaugh. There are the
standards here which would not be the criminal standards, but which would
be something that we would look at as part of a pattern of his behavior.
He clerked for a judge who was forced off the bench because of sexual
misconduct in his chambers, but he claims he knew nothing about it. That
strikes me as really hard to believe. And I think that if you would talk
to and investigate that and talk to the people he clerked alongside who
were in the office I think we might find that to be unbelievable, as I
would find his saying I didn’t know anything about those stolen Democratic
documents when it’s clear from the emails that he did know about it. That
makes his earlier testimony a lie.
So when you put multiple things together it accumulates into a pretty
compelling case that he
is not qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. And that’s not have anything
to do with politics or his views on issues that probably Melissa and I
would not agree with, but that isn’t what I’m judging it on. I’m judging
this on his character. And I think it’s something that we should all be
looking very closely at.
HAYES: Just some more news here, I should say that the attorney for Dr.
Ford says that she will not appear on Monday, absent an FBI investigation.
Of course, that can’t happen by Monday, which is part of the point. And
the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein, says that
she agrees with the course of action that is being advocated by Dr. Blasey
The decision to come forward or not come forward has always been a
difficult one. And she says that she should – that everyone should
proceed with some kind of FBI investigation, that’s the
statement there from Dianne Feinstein, just a few minutes ago.
Melissa Murray and Jill Wine-Banks, thank you both very much.
HAYES: Ahead, a man on the inside of the operation to smear Anita Hill is
here with a warning for Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser. David Brock joins me
HAYES: Here’s what the editorial page of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street
Journal looks like today from the paper’s editorial board, the #metoo
Kavanaugh ambush, a story this old and unprovable
can’t be allowed to delay a Supreme Court confirmation vote. And just for
good measure, in case you
didn’t get the idea, two more op-eds, one of them comparing the accuser to
women from the Salem
That should not be surprising. The last time Republicans faced a nominee
accusations of sexual misconduct, the conservative media did everything it
could to destroy her, a rising star in conservative circles, David Brock
wrote a piece in the American Spectator, and later an entire book,
viciously attacking Anita Hill, a stance he has long since renounced and
repeatedly expressed regret for, most recently writing, “I lifted the
Republican playbook against Hill, the same playbook Ford should now expect
to be used against her, but I went further than Republicans were then
willing to go in public.”
Joining me now is David Brock, founder of Media Matters for America and
American Bridge 21st Century, who now has an ABC News think piece
predicting that Kavanaugh’s accuser should unfortunately expect the Anita
Hill treatment from Republicans. And that is a perfect segue to the
fact that she seems intent on avoiding precisely that.
DAVID BROCK, FOUNDER, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA: Yes.
Well, that’s what she’s learned a lesson, clearly. And there have been
warnings, and I issued a warning myself, because what she will face is a
full scale smear campaign.
What people have to understand is the mind-set of these people. I mean, I
knew Brett Kavanaugh. I knew Orrin Hatch. Orrin Hatch helped me with the
“Real Anita Hill.”
HAYES: Did he really?
BROCK: Yes. Yes, he did. Including his staff leaking FBI documents.
This is a voluminous FBI file on Anita Hill, by the way. They did do an
investigation, and they should do one now.
But here’s the point about the mind-set. The mind-set is, one, win at all
costs, because they have to cement this conservative majority for a
generation. And two, it’s OK to lie to outsiders.
So let me tell you what their playbook is, what’s going on in this nine
hours in the White House with the White House counsel’s office and Brett
Kavanaugh, OK, they have a problem, Republicans have a problem and
Kavanaugh has a problem. They need a theory of the case. OK. And there
are basically two options, because he’s categorically said it didn’t
HAYES: Right, so they can’t say…
BROCK: It can’t be high school. It can’t be, you know, something else.
HAYES: This should not be disqualifying.
BROCK: I lost control. I blacked out. It can’t be any of it.
HAYES: They’re pot committed to denial.
So here are the possibilities. One, she’s lying. But for that, you need a
motive. And what they did, and I did to Anita Hill, was try to impute a
political motive. But it wasn’t so much Anita Hill, it was the people
around Anita Hill who tried to create a conspiracy that there was a shadow
Senate behind her, that sort of thing.
I don’t see that happening here, because I don’t see much evidence for
So where they’re going to go, and it’s funny you quoted the Wall Street
Journal, because my favorite quote from The Wall Street Journal editorial
page in these last couple days is, they said she
misremebered in a cauldron of a therapy session trying to save her
So, option two is what – you know, I wrote that Anita Hill was a little
bit nutty and a little bit slutty, which is something that I deeply regret.
And the only reason I’m revisiting it now is actually painful to revisit
it, is this is where they’re going.
And you saw it with Orrin Hatch.
HAYES: Mixed up.
BROCK: Mixed up.
So, she’s confused. It’s a case of mistaken identity. There’s something a
little off with her.
HAYES: That is absolutely, clearly – and we should note that Dr. Blasey
Ford’s lawyer’s letter to Chuck Grassley says the hearing was scheduled for
six short days from today and will interrogation by senators who appear to
have made up their minds that she is, quote, mistaken and mixed up. So,
they understand that that is the argument they will make as well.
It does seem to me that we’re in a very different political context then
during. I mean, there were two women in the United States Senate during
the Anita Hill period.
HAYES: It was not in the crux of this seismic social reckoning with story
after story after
story after story of men engaging in sexual assault, sexual harassment and
sexual misconduct. Going after the victim seems to me a far dicier
proposition politically in the year 2018 than it did back in 1991.
BROCK: Yeah. I don’t think you’re going to see any nutty/slutty this
time, I mean, which is sort self-evidently monstrous.
HAYES: It was gross and monstrous then.
Here’s what you’re going to see. The change is tonal. And you can see
it. They’re going to respect the accuser. The accuser should have her
fair say. And I imagine that Kavanaugh’s demeanor will be that, and I
imagine to the extent they can control themselves, the Republican senators
will not be as – the role of interrogator the way they went after Anita
Hill, and people remember they really went after her.
HAYES: They have also set up a situation, I think, in which because we now
– she’s saying
I’m not going to come to your hearing where there’s only two people and
which is going to be set up essentially precisely like the Anita Hill
HAYES: They are now going to say, I think, OK, well, we gave her a shot.
BROCK: That’s what it seems like.
HAYES: I mean, this has been the gamble all along. Like basically it was
a bluff to be
like OK, fine, come in, create conditions that were wildly unfavorable to
her in many ways. And then when she didn’t come, say…
BROCK: The mind-set is to brazen this out.
BROCK: People have a hard time understanding this mind-set, because people
decent. But they want to win this. And that’s what they’re going to do.
HAYES: What do you know – Brett Kavanaugh was in the circle. He was with
Alex Azar who is now running HHS, Ann Coulter, who people probably know
BROCK: Right. Laura Ingram.
HAYES: Laura Ingram. This is the crew of people around the sort of Starr
investigation who were determined to bring down the Clinton…
BROCK: That’s right.
BROCK: That’s right.
And, you know, I mean, there was unethical behavior by Brett Kavanaugh then
in my view. I mean, I witnessed it. His – he took a starring role in the
Starr investigation in leaking to the press, and some of that was clearly
unethical, it may have even been illegal. He pursued obsessively the Vince
Foster case even after it had been closed once, spent millions of dollars,
You know, and there’s one anecdote in my book “Blinded by the Right,” where
I remember very clearly Kavanaugh making a kind of – losing a little bit
of control and making an obscene comment about Hillary Clinton when she
came on the air, and maybe that says something about – certainly the
attitude to Hillary, I don’t know and women.
HAYES: It also seems to me that this is someone who in some ways has been
in kind of conservative knife – I mean, this is someone who has been a
federal judge for awhile, but before that he was working on the Starr
investigation, went down to Florida to work on the recount there. Been in
high stakes conservative knife fights before.
BROCK: Yes. We were all partisan warriors. And we were being groomed for
the next level of media, politics, and government. And he was in that.
But we were all a very hard core group. And it was raw politics. He
wasn’t involved back in the day with Thomas. He’s a little younger than I
am. But it’s the same kind of thing.
HAYES: All right, David Brock, it’s great to have you here. Thank you
BROCK: Thank you.
HAYES: We’ll have much more on the breaking news tonight, right after
HAYES: All right, breaking news again tonight, the woman who says she was
sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is now saying
through her lawyer that she will not appear before the Senate Judiciary
Committee until an FBI background investigation into the allegations is
Here to help me understand what this hearing could mean, MSNBC political
analyst Zerlina Maxwell, senior director for progressive programming for
Sirius/XM and co-host of the show Signal Boost; Jim Manley, former chief
spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; and former Reagan
administration official Linda Chavez.
And Linda, let me start with you, this entire thing has struck me as people
kind of flying by the
seat of their pants. And the Republican members of the judiciary basically
trying to check a box when it became clear they didn’t have the votes.
What do you think the position they’re in now in response to this letter?
LINDA CHAVEZ, FORMER REAGAN ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, I think
everybody is in a very tough position now.
And by the way, I should mention that Brett Kavanaugh once co-authored an
amicus brief for my organization The Center for Equal Opportunity, so I
know him and respect him, and I had been an advocate for his appointment.
But in terms of what we’re seeing now, I was, as you may remember, a
nominee for Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush. And when allegations
were made that I had taken in a woman into my house who is illegally in the
country, I can tell you by the time I got home, after I’d received the call
that that news had broken, the FBI was on its way to reinterview me.
So I think it is absolutely normal that the FBI should, in fact,
reinterview Brett Kavanaugh. They should interview Mark Judge, and they
should interview the accuser, and perhaps also the therapist if she is
willing to talk and if it does not violate ethics, and if the accuser
allows her to do that. So I think that is accurate and true that that’s
the way it should proceed.
But I also think that Dr. Ford has to come forward. And she does have to
make these accusations in public. And I think not doing so and not doing
so quickly is very unfair to Judge Kavanaugh.
HAYES: What do you think, Zerlina?
ZERLINA MAXWELL, SIRIUS/XM RADIO: I think with Anita Hill and her history,
what Dr. Ford is trying to avoid is Anita Hill 2.0.
I was really young at the time, but that was one of my first examples of
what sexism looks
like, because it was very clear that a panel of white men were berating and
shaming this very poised and articulate African-American woman who really
dressed up like she was going to Sunday school to make the point that, you
know, I have credibility. I’m just coming in to tell the truth. I have no
agenda here. And they still shamed her and smeared her.
And so I think Dr. Ford is doing the right thing here, asking for an
investigation, because at the heart of this is something very serious.
I think when you see Orrin Hatch say she is a little mixed up, that makes
it seem like this is
a misunderstanding and not a crime, that if he had been caught at the time
it happened, he would have been investigated by the police. We’re talking
about something that’s a crime.
So while it’s way back in high school, it’s still relevant because he is
denying that any of it ever happened.
MAXWELL: And so if that is a lie, it goes to his present integrity.
HAYES: Jim, what do you think the next move is here?
JIM MANLEY, FORMER SPOKESPERSON FOR SENATOR HARRY REID: Well, it’s another
interesting plot twist, but I think the fact is that his nomination is
still taking on water. So what we’re looking at right now is a hearing
next Monday with 11 white guys on the Republican dais questioning
Kavanaugh, I assume with kid gloves, and we’ll see how folks react.
But, you know, the reality is the outside groups are beginning to throw
their smear and fear stuff out. You know, I think this has still got the
potential to be really, really, really ugly.
HAYES: The thing that’s strange about this whole thing to me is that it
was very clear that, Linda, I just felt like the Republicans of the
committee don’t really want to have the hearing with her there. I mean,
there is almost this kind of pretextualism to it. I mean, the president
today saying, you know, we’ll do it and then we’ll have the vote. And
Lindsey Graham saying, we’ll come out do it and then we’ll go on and move
on to the vote.
And it’s like, well, if you’re saying we’re going to move on to the vote,
maybe that says you’ve already made up your mind, right?
CHAVEZ: Well, first, the best thing that Donald Trump could do as a favor
to Brett Kavanaugh is to keep his mouth shut. I would not want Donald
Trump as my character witness on this kind of an issue.
HAYES: You could see alarm bells going off today as the president edged
further and further into his real opinions about the matter.
CHAVEZ: But I do think it’s unfair to assume that Brett Kavanaugh is
guilty because an accusation has been made. I mean, we do live in a
country in which there is a presumption of innocence when you’re accused of
essentially a crime.
And so, yes, I think the FBI ought to reinvestigate, go back and question
witnesses. I think Mark Judge should come before the committee and have to
testify under oath as well. But I don’t think it’s fair to assume that
Brett Kavanaugh did these things. And everybody seems to be jumping to
that conclusion on the other side.
MAXWELL: I don’t think that’s what’s happening. What we are taking
seriously is her account, which was detailed and documented by a therapist.
That’s not assuming that he is guilty. Because, again, Chris, we’re not in
a court. We’re actually just in the public. He is trying to essentially
apply future a job.
And so is the bar to entry that job which is a permanent position that, I
mean, essentially is forever until he dies, right? That’s going to impact
policy for women’s bodily autonomy for the rest of my life. And so is the
bar to entry that there should be no suspicion that he may have attempted
to rape someone in high school? I think that’s a reasonable bar to have.
HAYES: Well, the question to me then, right, is like is the accusation
enough, right? I think you can have the position that say look, the
accusation is enough to be disqualifying.
HAYES: There is some small risks that this is true, and that small risk is
enough to disqualify.
HAYES: Or Linda, it sounds like you’re saying like what’s important here
is to make a determination as best as possible to the veracity of whether
this happened. And I think you and I agree, and everyone agrees that the
Senate Judiciary Committee asking the two of them in open session is not
the way to do that.
CHAVEZ: Well, it is and it isn’t. I mean, David Brock, at the risk of
falling right into his
conspiracy theory, one of the question I had is it took 32 years or however
many for the woman to remember this incident and to bring it out in
You know, there was a whole scandal back in the 1980s involving therapy and
so-called recovered memories. I would want the make sure that this is not
a so-called recovered memory, because we went through that. We had a lot
of people go to jail on the basis of recovered memories.
So, I do think that it needs to be questioned, and that we don’t
automatically assume that the
party who is making an accusation – I’m sure that Dr. Ford believes, you
know, what happened is what happened, but I’d like to know how she got
there. I’d like to know more. She does have an awfully lot of gaps in the
memory, so I don’t think we can just automatically assume that because a
woman makes an accusation that that is going to ruin someone’s career.
HAYES: We should note that as far as I can tell, he is under no threat of
anything other than
not getting the Supreme Court job.
CHAVEZ: Well, I think if – no, I think he might actually be forced out of
his current judgeship if…
HAYES: Well, right. I mean, again, I think it depends on what the
evidence says. I think we all agree at that level.
HAYES: I would like to…
MAXWELL: I want a full accounting. I want to know what happened. I want
to hear from everybody.
HAYES: And also, Jim, just to harp on something that I’ve harped on before
all day, but like, you know, people use the cliche he said/she said to
describe incidents in which men and women are in a private setting and when
an allegation is made.
HAYES: That’s not what’s true here. There is a third person, which
basically almost never happens. I mean, mostly it is the cliche, he
said/she said. In this case, Jim, you have this third person.
The Senate does have the power to compel his testimony, right?
MANLEY: They sure do. And I really doubt they’re going to go for it, in
part because his credibility has already been seriously questioned. This
is a guy who bragged about being a blackout drunk and also denied knowing
anything about the situation, despite the fact that he was drunk. So this
is really treacherous territory for Republicans.
And to harp on something you said earlier, I got a sneaking suspicion a
whole bunch of Senate Republicans, despite all the tough talk from the
usual suspects – Lindsey Graham, et cetera, there is a whole bunch of
Republicans that don’t want this nomination to go forward.
HAYES: Linda, let me ask you this. You are someone – you said you know
Brett Kavanaugh. I know that among conservatives in Washington, and I know
even on the D.C. Circuit among people
across partisan backgrounds, has a good sort of personal reputation as a
genial guy and all of those things.
All of that said, and whatever your sort of personal feelings about him,
from the sort of political logic, it does strike me that he is not
irreplaceable from the perspective of the kind of general world view of the
court for conservatives, right?
CHAVEZ: Well, that’s true. There are other people – Amy Barrett keeps
her name keeps coming up. A lot of conservatives would actually have
preferred her. She’s actually more hard right
on some issues and would be less to the liking of your – my fellow
But, you know, – and yes, there is a political consideration. And I
certainly didn’t have to step down and step aside when my nomination went
into trouble, but I did because I thought it was in the best interests of
President George W. Bush.
So, you know, there are political considerations. But I think it’s just a
terrible precedent that something like this can happen at the last-minute.
And if Brett Kavanaugh really is the man described by Dr. Ford, I would
think that we would have heard other people come forward. Even in the
Clarence Thomas case there were other women who came forward with
CHAVEZ: …of his bawdy talk and stuff. And we haven’t seen anybody else
HAYES: Who we should note for history’s – posterity’s sake – were not
allowed to testify, were kept out of testimony, much to the chagrin of many
people, including Anita Hill. Joe Biden has subsequently apologized for
And of course Clarence Thomas is now a Supreme Court justice.
It does matter ultimately, Linda – I’ve heard what you’re saying echoed by
others sympathetic to
Judge Kavanaugh, and ultimately that sympathy I think does turn on whether
it’s true or not. That’s really what it comes down to, right. I mean, if
it is the case that he has been falsely accused at this point in his life
and that’s the thing that derails him, I think anyone would think if he is
being falsely accused, it is unfair.
CHAVEZ: But if it is true, but if it is true I think it is disqualifying.
HAYES: It’s interesting you say that, too…
CHAVEZ: You know, we need to have – I do think the FBI should go back and
re-question all the witnesses involved – all those involved.
HAYES: We have achieved consensus for America here moving forward.
Zerlina Maxwell, Jim Manley, and Linda Chavez, thank you all.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2018 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2018 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the