Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: September 19, 2018 Guest: Zoe Tillman, Ian Bassin, Michelle Goldberg, Christina Greer, Samantha Guerry, Josh Barro, Vanita Gupta
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: The Republicans want to keep to the schedule, even if it means leaving her along the roadside. And that’s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hearing should be as a result of the investigation. It shouldn’t be a substitute.
HAYES: Kavanaugh’s accuser demands an investigation, and Republicans set their own deadline.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: very hard for me to imagine that anything happened.
HAYES: tonight, the stone walling continues.
TRUMP: Well, it would seem that the FBI really doesn’t do that.
HAYES: At the calls to slow down grow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My advice is to push the pause button on this hearing.
HAYES: Plus, my interview with the high school friend defending Dr. Blasey Ford.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think when you have someone’s hand over your mouth and you think that you might die by accident, you know who you’re dealing with.
HAYES: As the attacks on Kavanaugh’s accuser continue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoever she is, is mixed up.
HAYES: Just how credible is the Supreme Court nominee?
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: Are you certain you’ve not had a conversation with anyone at that law firm?
BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Kasowitz, Benson.
HAYES: "All In" starts right now.
Good evening from New York. I’m Chris Hayes. Tonight, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault has issued a new statement as the 11 Republican men of the Senate Judiciary Committee had issued her an ultimatum. Testify before the committee or its staff by Monday or we will move forward with our plan to place the man that you say sexually assaulted you on the Supreme Court for life. In fact, they’re not even giving Dr. Blasey Ford until Monday.
In a letter today, the top Republican of the committee Chuck Grassley said that her prepared testimony and biography are due to the committee by 10:00 a.m. on Friday, September 21st, just two days from now if she intends to testify on Monday. Last night, through her lawyer, Dr. Blasey Ford requested that the FBI investigate her allegation before she told her story to the committee. And tonight, she is refusing to back down.
In a new statement, her lawyer reiterated the call for a full investigation and said that at the very least, multiple witnesses should be included in any proceeding. Attorney Lisa Banks adding the committee is not conducting a fair or good faith investigation, and that the rush to a hearing is unnecessary and contrary to the committee discovering the truth. In their rush to confirm Kavanaugh, who categorically denies the allegation, Senate Republicans are ruling out either an outside investigation or testimony from anyone besides Kavanaugh and his accuser. And they are suggesting Dr. Blasey Ford’s requests aren’t fair.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I think it’s not fair to Judge Kavanaugh for her not to come forward and testify. Both of them need to testify under oath next Monday before the judiciary committee.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, at the moment, Dr. Blasey Ford is not refusing to testify. Her lawyer says she is willing to do so, despite the death threats she says have already come her way. But she seems reluctant to play by the rules of the 11 Republican men on the Judiciary committee who are refusing, for one, to seek testimony from Kavanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge who Dr. Blasey Ford says was an eyewitness to the assault, which she says took place when all three were in high school. Judge says he has no memory of the incident.
Anita Hill, who faced skepticism and outright hostility in many cases from Republicans when she accused Clarence Thomas of sexual misconduct in 1991, suggests today that she’s now seeing a similar script play out 27 years later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANITA HILL, ACCUSED CLARENCE THOMAS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: Moving forward on this, at this pace, with this kind of sort of black hole of a process, being foreseen by many of us, we are really under the impression that the Senate doesn’t take this seriously and doesn’t see this as part of the core responsibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Senate Democrats are making a similar case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DOUG JONES (D), ALABAMA: It’s unreasonable for the committee to force her hand without doing the appropriate investigation, in my opinion.
I’m just absolutely stunned at why we are so -- why the Republicans and the president is opposed to letting the FBI do what the FBI has done for decades. And that is background checks on nominees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For his part, the president again claimed today the FBI simply doesn’t do that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your reaction to Ford calling for an FBI investigation? Will you order one?
TRUMP: Well, it would seem that the FBI really doesn’t do that. They’ve investigated --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They would if you asked them to, Mr. President.
TRUMP: They’ve investigated about six times before and it seems that they don’t do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That isn’t true. In fact, as Senator Ed Markey notes in 1991, the White House directed the FBI to conduct a full, thorough and expeditious investigation into Anita Hill’s allegations against Clarence Thomas. The investigation was completed in three days.
With me now, Ken Dilanian, intelligence and national security reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit, with a new piece today with Pete Williams on whether the FBI can investigate the allegation. Also with me is Zoe Tillman, a reporter covering courts and justice for BuzzFeed news.
Ken, let me start with you, what is your -- what’s the answer to the question, can the FBI do this? And does the FBI do this?
KEN DILANIAN, INVESTIGATIVE UNIT, NBC NEWS: Yes on both counts, Chris, absolutely. To be clear, there’s no federal criminal allegation here. This alleged incident happened in the state of Maryland. It would not be a federal crime. So it wouldn’t be a criminal investigation. It would be part of the FBI’s role in backgrounding federal nominees, particularly Supreme Court nominees. And they’ve already done that with Judge Kavanaugh and they’ve also reported on this allegation. That was their mandate was to gather the information about this allegation and transmit it to the White House.
What they cannot do, unless the White House asks them to do it, is investigate further, seek to corroborate, and view witnesses. They are fully -- I’ve talked to people in the FBI and former officials, they’re fully prepared to do that, fully capable of doing that, expert, in fact, at doing that, they have people who do nothing but interview survivors of sex crimes. They have people who know how to get the truth. In instances like this, they would interview witnesses outside the glare of the national media spotlight. They would do it privately. It’s, of course, a crime to lie to the FBI. But none of that can happen unless Donald Trump lets it happen. And it’s clear that he’s not going to let it happen, Chris.
HAYES: So you’ve done some reporting about the timeline here, which has become a kind of key rhetorical cogwheel by Republicans and the president himself saying, why did everyone wait so long, why did they sit on this, what have you found about how and why this timeline developed in the way it did?
ZOE TILLMAN, LEGAL REPORTER, BUZZFEED: What we know is that at some point this summer, Senator Dianne Feinstein received a letter about Dr. Blasey Ford’s allegations. The letter was dated July 30th, but I’m not sure we’ve been clear on when exactly Senator Feinstein got it. But what we do know from the senator’s office is that Dr. Ford had requested confidentiality. She had asked that her identity, that the allegations she was raising remain secret.
So what we’ve heard from Senator Feinstein’s office is that they were respecting that. And that’s why they didn’t share it when they got it. That’s why they didn’t bring it to anyone’s attention. And it’s really not until last week when sort of rumors were circulating that this letter existed, and that Democrats on the committee knew that Senator Feinstein had it. There was some tension about wanting access to it. No one really knew what it said. And, you know, it was really a week ago that all of this started when the Intercept published a story saying a letter exists and there’s something going on. And from there, it all kind of broke open.
And it’s hard to imagine, but it really was just three days ago that we got, you know, the full story of who Dr. Ford was, and what her allegations were. This has all happened extraordinarily quickly. But I think there’s been some rhetoric accusing Democrats of sitting on this for weeks. And that’s not borne out by at least what we’ve gotten, what we’ve --
TILLMAN: -- reported from Senator Feinstein’s office.
HAYES: Yes. And now, there’s this question about the sort of timeline going forward. And I think that the Republican case is that the calls for an FBI investigation are a bad faith effort to stall. But I thought it was interesting, Ken, that in the case of Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, that was a fairly quick operation.
DILANIAN: Of course. And look, you know, it’s a 30 plus-year-old allegation. So, there may be some questions the FBI can’t answer. But, one question they could answer is, was anyone else told about this at the time? We have a piece today about a social media post by a woman named Christina King Miranda who claims -- who was a schoolmate at Holton-Arms Prep School with Blasey Ford and who claims that she learned about this at the time, that people were talking about it at school.
Now, that may or may not be true. But it’s somebody the FBI would want to go interview, she happens to be in Mexico City. And to find out the veracity of that and you’d want to interview all the Holton-Arms classmates, and Brett Kavanaugh’s classmates and determine whether this party happened and there are things -- absolutely things that the FBI could seek to corroborate in this case that would add to this hearing that may or may not transpire.
HAYES: Zoe, do you have a sense of there being a unified strategy on the Democratic side? The Republicans seem to have aligned on a strategy about going forward? Do you have a sense of what it is on the Democratic side?
TILLMAN: You know, a week ago, the story was that there was tension among Democrats on the Judiciary committee about access to that letter. You know, I think that tension, if it’s still there, is no longer on the surface, at least, and Democrats have gotten behind the idea that there should be some further investigation, whether it’s, you know, the FBI conducting further interviews, whether it’s some other fact-finding investigation as Anita Hill has --
TILLMAN: -- put forward, a suggestion for a neutral fact finder. Democrats have really united behind this idea that the hearing shouldn’t happen as quickly as it’s scheduled to happen and that Dr. Ford’s wishes should be respected, whether it’s to push it out or to have some kind of investigation before she goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HAYES: All right, Ken Dilanian and Zoe Tillman, thank you both for your time tonight.
DILANIAN: Thanks (ph), Chris.
HAYES: For more on this, I’m joined now by Ian Bassin who is associate White House counsel to President Obama and Michelle Goldberg, Op-Ed columnist of "The New York Times". What do you make of today’s developments?
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, NBC NEWS: I mean, basically, I think that the Republicans have sort of played this well, right, by going out in front of -- by -- they took the statement from her lawyer that she’s willing to testify. Announced this hearing. Make it seem as if the hearing has been agreed to by all parties so that then when the hearing seems like a fait accomplished (ph), they can go say, oh, and now she doesn’t want to do it when she had never heard about it in the first place, right? I mean, I feel like they’ve sort of -- they’ve trapped her, they’ve kind of sandbagged her.
And, now they’ve put the Democrats in a difficult position because when she doesn’t show up, it’s going to seem as if she, you know, is somehow afraid to face this sort of scrutiny. When what she’s really saying is, I want to be interviewed by the FBI and lying to the FBI is a crime.
HAYES: Right, she’s not saying that I want the other person who I named as being there to be -- to testify under oath, which should not be --
HAYES: -- lost in all this like --
GOLDBERG: Right. Well, and this is something that’s driving me crazy, is that it’s, why won’t she testify, you know, what is she afraid of. Mark Judge has said he does not want to testify under oath, right? She says she wants to show up before a panel. She just wants it to be done in sort of regular order. It’s Mark Judge is the one who’s saying, I do not want to testify publicly about what I’ve said -- about what I’ve said in this case.
IAN BASSIN, FORMER ASSOCIATE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: And I think Ken, your guest earlier, said something earlier today in his conversations with FBI agents in law enforcement, they said typically someone who’s making something up doesn’t really want the FBI to come in and conduct an investigation.
HAYES: Right. And this is what she’s affirmatively selecting. In terms of someone who worked in the White House and vetting procedures, I mean, what do you make of this and what do you make of the sort of process argument that’s happening?
BASSIN: Look, our task when we were vetting people for nominations in the White House was to make sure that someone we were putting forward, we felt, had the character and fitness to serve and hold the public trust of the United States. And also, that the American people had the confidence --
BASSIN: -- that they could serve. And I think one thing that’s being missed here is right now, there’s 31% of the public that supports the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, about 37% that oppose it. So, both the executive and the Senate haven’t done the job yet of proving to the American people that this person should be given a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. So let’s not put the burden on either Dr. Ford or on Judge Kavanaugh. The burden is on the Senate and the president to prove to the American people.
GOLDBERG: Let me ask you this. I mean, my recollection of people who have gone through this process is that right now, we’re having this discussion of how outrageous it is that somebody would have to be held accountable for something they did at 17. I think that isn’t it true that people are regularly, when they’re being vetted for these kind of positions, they regularly provide information about people they knew all the way back to high school and college and kind of the FBI goes and talks to people from way, way deep in your past? I mean, I believe that’s happened to people I know who’ve been vetted for some of these positions.
BASSIN: Yes. It depends on the role. The typical background investigation does not go back an entire lifetime. But, if someone were to raise something --
BASSIN: -- in an investigation that came up, and this is the important point about process is, even if we had completed an initial process and put forward a name, if something came up after that that caused us to think we should go back and sort of do our diligence in order to do what I said before which is confirm for us and the American people that someone is fit to hold the public trust, there’s no reason not to do that. The only reason you’re not to do that is some sort of not natural rush to push this through.
HAYES: Well -- and of course, this is the Lindsey Graham tweet, which I think kind of gets it away, right? The two simultaneous ideas have been put out (ph) by the Republicans which is, we want to hear from her, and we can’t slow down, right? So it’s, it is imperative that the judiciary committee move forward on the Kavanaugh nomination and the committee vote be taken ASAP. And it’s like, there’s almost just like Grassley, you know, committee view of being like, what -- tell me your story, I got 10 minutes before I catch a train.
GOLDBERG: Right, right. And it’s not imperative. It’s only imperative because they’re trying to create the illusion that it’s imperative, or perhaps it’s imperative because they’re desperate to do it before something else comes out. But, I mean, well, I think that, you know, they all want to vote for him, they all want to confirm him, and they want to jam this through and they wanted at least have the illusion that they have taken her charges seriously without actually having to dig into them.
BASSIN: And let’s take a step back about why that is, right, is because this process is fundamentally broken, right? We’re the only advanced democracy in the world that puts people in the Supreme Court for lifetime appointments. When the founders wrote the constitution, the average lifespan was 36 years old. Today, we could have someone appointed at 42, serve until they’re 102. That’s why the stakes are so high. That’s why the process is broken.
You know, our organization has called for a move to 18 years Supreme Court terms with David Leonhardt wrote about in the "Times" today, left and right agree on it. We’ve got to fix the stakes to fix the process.
HAYES: Well, and there’s also the fact that we’re having process arguments that are proxy for substantive arguments here. I mean, we’re having process arguments about whether you get FBI investigates whether she should testify in her one condition. Those are all stand-ins for arguments about who people believe, which themselves are stand-in for broader commitments people have in the world view they share.
GOLDBERG: Right. And I think it’s interesting, though, that Republicans and kind of defenders of Judge Kavanaugh don’t actually want to have that argument about are these issues -- are these accusations credible, right? They either want to have this process argument or an argument about whether things that you do in high school are relevant to your reputation in midlife. Because they really don’t want her sitting there before the -- you know, before the judiciary committee telling her story to the American people.
HAYES: The grand irony here, Jim Nuro (ph) wrote this in Slate (ph) today, they do not want her to show up on Monday and --
HAYES: -- they sort of have created conditions in which it doesn’t seem that’s likely to happen. I should note, the full letter that Grassley wrote, he did offer a private hearing or for staffers to fly out to her. I just want to sort of make clear that is on the record, that is in the offing, it has not just come out Monday or else. We will see how this continues to develop.
Ian Bassin and Michelle Goldberg, thanks to you both.
Ahead, a high school friend of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford on what she’s going through as the entire nation waits to see what happens next. And new evidence that Republicans are willing to do whatever it takes to solidify a conservative supreme court in two minutes.
HAYES: When it comes to getting Brett Kavanaugh confirmed, it appears that Senate Republicans have a clear course of action, despite a serious allegation of sexual assault against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Republicans are planning to have a hearing on Monday, come hell and high water, and then move forward with a committee vote to confirm Kavanaugh as soon as possible in the words of Lindsey Graham.
There’s a chance, however slim, Republicans lose the Senate in November, and that would hurt their chances of confirming a conservative justice to the Supreme Court. As we mentioned earlier, Senator Lindsey Graham gamed up the game this morning, tweeting, "It is imperative the judiciary committee move forward on the Kavanaugh nomination and a committee vote be taken ASAP."
To talk more about the Republican calculus here, I’m joined by Mickey Edwards, former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, and Christina Greer, fellow at NYU’s McSilver Institute and associate professor at Fordham University.
Mickey, I will start with you. This is what it’s all about that strikes me, I mean, all of it, all of the kind of eye rolling at Donald Trump behind his back by the conservative establishment, all of the deal with the devil and the anonymous op-eds and all that, it - this is what they get in exchange and they’re not going to just let it slip through their fingers.
MICKEY EDWARDS (R), OKLAHOMA, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Well, I think that’s true. I think they’ve been willing to swallow all kinds of terrible things that Trump has done because they have their agenda, whether it was taxes or now the Supreme Court appointments. But there’s a couple of issues here, Chris, that number one is, you’ve got to let the FBI look at this because otherwise you get he said, she said. The Democrats are going to believe she’s -- what she said. The Republicans are going to believe what he said. And we’re not going to get any ability to find out what really happened. You know, it’s just plain common sense, due process to get the information first instead of two people just arguing about what happened.
The second thing is, I really think that we should listen to Mitch McConnell. There is an election happening. He has made it very clear in the past that when an election is pending, we should not confirm anybody to the Supreme Court. We should wait until after the election. We have an election in less than two months. I think we should wait until after that’s over, just exactly as Mitch McConnell said we should.
HAYES: That, of course, is the absolute nightmare for Republicans and conservatives who --
HAYES: -- for whom this has been a priority. This is just a little bit of -- you know, the Republicans have confirmed one Supreme Court justice already. At this point in his presidency, Trump has nominated more appeals court judges than Obama and George W. Bush combined. This has been -- and if you talk to rank-and-file conservatives who aren’t crazy about Trump, judges, judges, judges is what they say.
CHRISTINA GREER, NYU MCSILVER INSTITUTE: Right, and if we remember, that was one of the issues that quite have kept Obama kept putting up qualified individuals and the Republicans kept shooting down. So, there was this stalemate that he had for six years of his presidency. And so many of the Republicans, we keep scratching our heads asking us why, why are they dealing with this man who doesn’t read the constitution, is pushing our institutions to the brink, really. And --
HAYES: He called the FBI a cancer today.
GREER: Yes. And -- but this is the key, though. He’s giving them what they want, this $1.50 in tax breaks that we’re supposed to get in a few months, and the -- not just Supreme Court justice but all these lower level judges. But the president right now, I think the most dangerous thing that he’s done, besides pushing our institutions to the limit, besides ignoring separation of powers is calling into doubt two things. One, the media, which in many ways is the fourth arm of the government, or of the institutional structure.
GREER: And the other thing is when he talks about the FBI, which he’s been talking about since day one, because of his own issues --
GREER: -- he’s made them the villain --
GREER: -- since day one. So now that we actually need them to come in and intervene in a very important situation that holds, I think, patriarchy in question, our full institutional norms, the history of this nation and why it is that we have the Supreme Court and why we would think about putting yet another man accused of sexual improprieties on the bench by a president who’s been accused by over 20 women of his own sexual improprieties. When he says, well, the FBI can’t be trusted, well, that also is just more fuel for the Republicans to say, yes, we agree and we can’t trust, you know, the media to report on this either.
So, all of these things are called into question --
HAYES: Right, but here’s the thing --
GREER: -- it only helps the president.
HAYES: -- the institutional assault, which is I think somewhat particular to Trump in the way he wages at the FBI stuff, has become sort of part in the broader conservative movement. But there’s also the fact, Mickey, that what I have seen in the -- in conservative writers and folks on Twitter, and in all sorts of places is support for Kavanaugh unifies the broad center-right coalition, right, the establishment of Republicans, I think (ph).
Here’s George W. Bush who very obviously does not like the president of the United States saying, "Laura and I have known and respected Brett Kavanaugh for decades, we stand by our comments the night Judge Kavanaugh was nominated. Fine husband, father and friend, man of highest integrity, he will make a superb justice of the Supreme Court of the United States." I mean, this guy is a made man in the conservative and Republican establishment.
EDWARDS: Right. You know, he came out on the federalist society. They did a really good, thorough job looking for who was going to support the agenda that we want in place, including when you have this president that the president is above the law, which is a strange thing that Kavanaugh seems to believe.
No, I think what’s happened here is Republicans have said these are the things that matter to us. And you go right down the line. You know, repealing Roe v. Wade, you know, getting our tax cuts, doing all kinds of things that they’ve been waiting for, for years, waiting for Obama to leave and to get a chance to do --
EDWARDS: -- these things. And they’re willing to pay any price at all, including giving up their own moral standards in order to make it happen.
HAYES: Including what’s striking to me the political price here. I mean, there is a --
GREER: Oh, yes.
HAYES: -- like here’s the polling. This polling is pretty crazy. This is the latest writer’s (ph) poll that Kavanaugh’s under water, 36% opposed, 31% support, don’t know, 33%. That’s not usually where -- usually, Supreme Court justices are fairly popular. There are unveiled people who haven’t heard about them. They’re introduced as like --
GREER: Right, and all of a sudden, we care.
HAYES: You know --
HAYES: -- in the case of the ACA and the case of tax cuts and now on Kavanaugh, three of the biggest things this Republican Congress has tried to do, all three they were fighting against public opinion.
GREER: That’s true. And now they’re fighting against the clock because whether it’s going to be a blue wave, a blue tsunami, a blue river, who knows, but some of them will be unemployed after November 6th. And so, they are very fearful of the possibility of a democratic house because that also brings in the question of possible impeachment, which will slow everything down, especially their agenda. And we know Americans tend to like divided government and we tend to have shifts during first midterm election of a president’s first full term.
HAYES: Although I will note this, they could basically confirm whoever they want in the lame-duck session. I mean, honestly, like if you thought that Kavanaugh was deadweight, it’s not like he’s the most -- I mean, you know, people say he’s bright and he’s got -- you know --
HAYES: -- there’s like a list of 15 of them floating around that’s on the internet.
GREER: It’s true.
HAYES: You know.
GREER: But -- you know, but we also know this president likes to double down, right? He’s already said --
GREER: -- he’s a good guy and, you know, I don’t know why she would say that. So he also doesn’t want to give the appearance that he’s been bullied into making a change --
HAYES: Yes, that’s a big part of this too that --
HAYES: -- you can see it from conservatives, if we let them get this one, we are showing weakness. Mickey Edwards and Christina Greer, thank you both for making time.
EDWARDS: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: After the break, how a woman coming forward to allege she is the survivor of a sexual assault turned into a national political fight. I’ll talk to someone that’s known Dr. Blasey Ford for 40 years about what she’s going through next.
HAYES: Amid speculation about whether Dr. Christine Blasey Ford will attend Monday’s judiciary committee hearing, an endless discussion of the political tactics at play, it’s important to remember the human being at the center of it all. A woman who tried desperately, from what we can tell, to avoid the exact situation she now finds herself in. A woman who now finds herself subjected to intense national scrutiny, intimidation. And as she put it, annihilation, all because she says she was sexually assaulted.
In a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley, her lawyer wrote, "She has 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."
But her attorney’s letter also mentioned that Dr. Blasey Ford has received messages of support. One such message, an open letter from the 1984 alumni of Holton-Arms, Blasey Ford’s alma mater on behalf of their friend and classmate. Those women wrote, "We stand with our friend, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and admire her honestyand resolve on behalf of our nation."
Here with me now, one of the alumnae who signed that letter, Samantha Guerry.
Mr. Guerry, describe your relationship to Dr. Blasey Ford.
SAMANTHA GUERRY, CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD’S HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATE: Christine and I met in Seventh Grade. We’ve known each other for 40 years. We were friends in -- you know, for the six years we were at Holton-Arms, and we’ve stayed in touch loosely since then.
Our class is a pretty tight class and we’ve stayed in communication for what is it, 35 years now.
HAYES: It strikes me that it’s a pretty tight knit school, it’s a small school, and people are pretty connected. Is that a fair characterization?
GUERRY: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think you can see that in the response that the school has had on a number of levels in the last few days.
HAYES: What was your reaction when she came forward this weekend and put her name to this accusation that has been floating out there anonymously?
GUERRY: Well, I’m not she did put her name to it. I think that it got leaked, and then she had to respond in order for it not to kind of completely spin out of her hands.
She didn’t ask to be in the situation she is in now. She asked for confidentiality. But apparently that wasn’t possible.
So we were all obviously shocked that it was somebody that we know and respect.
HAYES: Reading the account that she provided, both in the letter and in the interview she conducted with The Washington Post as someone who moved in the social circles that she did, who was friends with her in high school, how did it strike you?
GUERRY: Well, it struck me as true. It struck me as someone who had to make a really painful decision to essentially, at this point, forfeit her privacy and have to relive a traumatic event in a very public and traumatic way.
HAYES: Did you know either Brett Kavanaugh or Mark Judge when you were in high school at Holton-Arms?
GUERRY: They were acquaintances of mine. They were good friends of good friends of mine so you know how those circles kind of go out. But I don’t have any specific recall of either of them, and I’m not able to comment on their -- on them specifically from that time.
HAYES: But in terms of the social networks you were embedded in, they were around at the periphery. This is not implausible that they would be at a party together or something like that?
GUERRY: Oh, no, they were definitely at parties together. I think that -- and I say that because, you know, in talking with a lot of my classmates, you know, our sense is that between the summers that they were involved in a variety of different, you know, country club activities and sports and just the general Venvindiagram overlap of our schools and our dances and events and festivals and things, there was just quite a bit of overlap, and people have to remember that these are classes of just like 65 people. We’re not talking about thousands of people. So you really knew each other. You really did get to know each other.
HAYES: Have you spoken to your classmate Christine recently?
GUERRY: I have not spoken to her directly. She has been communicating with me and several other people through one of her best friends who’s a good friend of ours.
HAYES: Do you have a sense of how she’s doing?
GUERRY: She’s a strong woman, and she has a strong foundation with her family and her friends. And she’s tremendously grateful for the support that she’s gotten from everyone.
And I think that’s important to her so that she doesn’t feel that she’s just hanging out to try here by herself.
HAYES: I guess as someone that has known her for as long as you have, there are people out there who think that she is either making this up, she’s either fabricating it, or she is misremembering what happened, both of those things have been said by folks. And I would like you to say what would you like to say to those people?
GUERRY: Well, I think they should be ashamed of themselves. To suggest that someone who has been sexually assaulted isn’t remembering this correctly is -- just makes my head explode. I think it makes a lot of women feel that way. Sexual trauma is real and deep and lifelong, it’s something that Christy has spent her life trying to forget. This isn’t a mistake of identity or experience, and we need to stop suggesting that women who come forward with these experiences and tell their truth are somehow mistaken.
HAYES: As someone who went to school with her, and thinking about children -- there are folks in that school right now and many of the alumnae who are not from that year have signed a letter of support as well -- what kind of message do you think it sends? What do you think that folks moving in the social circles you did as a teenager at Georgetown Prep and Holton-Arms are going to learn about how they should conduct themselves based on what the congress does?
GUERRY: Well, it’s an interesting question, really. I think that to the extent that we still look to our public leaders for any kind of guidance, what congress does now is going to register in the debate about how these things are handled in our country, how women coming forward with these types of experiences are treated, and whether they can be dismissed out of hand, or whether they are going to be taken seriously.
And I think I stand with my classmates, and my schoolmates, and say we expect to be taken seriously. We have to be taken seriously. And we will find a way to be taken seriously.
HAYES: Samantha Guerry, thank you very, very much for making the time this evening.
GUERRY: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, the ongoing and large credibility issues facing Judge Brett Kavanaugh starting from the first words he spoke at his own nomination.
Plus, the return of Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One, tonight, Donald Trump has added a new feature to his Twitter feed lately: home made video addresses shot outside the White House in which Trump stares directly at the camera and just sort of wings it with heartfelt thoughts on the topic of the day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It’s September 11, and as I stand on the really beautiful lawn of the Rose Garden at the White House, I think of the 3,000 lives lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was the first one, September 11. The second one, posted the next day, this one was about Hurricane Florence, although it was obvious he recorded it at the same time as the first video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Bad things can happen when you’re talking about a storm this size. It’s called mother nature. It’s a big one, maybe as big as they’ve seen. And tremendous amounts of water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The third episode came last night. It was an update on that storm and on the tremendous amounts of water.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I just want to thank all of the incredible men and women who have done such a great job in helping with Florence. This is a tough hurricane, one of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just to reiterate, from the standpoint of water, it’s one of the wettest we’ve ever seen.
Today the president actually went to the Carolinas to see things from the standpoint of all that water, and it was no less awkward. That’s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: The worst of Hurricane Florence has passed, but flooding continues today in the Carolinas where the death toll from the storm has now reached 36. President Trump visited the region today to tour the destruction and meet with residents. But as we’ve seen before, when the situation calls for empathy, well, he certainly brings his singular touch.
Trump handed out free meals to storm victims in New Bern, North Carolina this afternoon, telling one of them, quote, have a good time.
He then toured a nearby neighborhood stopping behind a house where a large yacht washed into a man’s yard. Reading from the pool report, Trump asked the homeowner, quote, is this your boat? The man replied no. And the president said with a smile, at least you got a nice boat out of the deal.
After asking about the man’s insurance, Trump turned to the cameras, quote, I think it’s incredible we’re seeing the boat just came here. They don’t know whose boat that is, he said. What’s the law? Maybe it becomes theirs.
The president also met with officials for a briefing on the damage where he seemed especially interested in how one particular location fared.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: How is Lake Norman that area, how is that doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good, but still 10 or 12 inches of rain.
TRUMP: I love that area. I can’t tell you why, but I love that area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Why would the president have special reasons for asking about Lake Norman? Well, why do you think?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I’m going to submit a list of justices, potential justices of the United States Supreme Court that I will appoint from the list. I won’t go beyond that list. We’re working on it already. Heritage Foundation and others are working on it already.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president made a very explicit deal with Republican voters in 2016, vote for me and I’ll only nominate Supreme Court justices pre- selected from the list, the one put together by two conservative groups, the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. And that’s what he did. Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were both on that list of preapproved candidates. Everyone knew they were on the list. Kavanaugh knew he was on the list. So, it was really strange when the very first words Brett Kavanaugh chose to speak when he was introduced to the nation were blatantly and obviously untrue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: No president has ever consulted more widely or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: More people from more backgrounds, really? In that moment we all learned the man seeking to be his Supreme Court Justice was capable of telling untruths, or maybe it’s mostly harmless to tell little white lies to the nation when you’re flattering Donald Trump.
But then, documents were released by the Senate Judiciary Committee that show at best Kavanaugh was less than forthcoming during his first confirmation process back in 2006, and at worst he lied under oath.
Kavanaugh testified that during his time in the Bush White House he was not involved in handling several controversial judicial nominations. But newly released emails show that, in fact, he was.
He testified he never received briefing materials stolen from Democrats back in the mid-aughts, but the email showed that, in fact, he did.
And then there was the moment under questioning from Kamala Harris that Kavanaugh rather dramatically appeared to not be familiar with the law firm that represented the president of the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D) CALIFORNIA: Have you discussed Mueller or his investigation with anyone at Kasowitz, Benson and Torres, the firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal lawyer?
HARRIS: Be sure about your answer, sir.
KAVANAUGH: Well, I’m not remembering, but if you have something you want to...
HARRIS: Are you certain you have not had a conversation with anyone at that law firm?
KAVANAUGH: Kasowitz, Benson...
HARRIS: Kasowitz, Benson, and Torres, which is the law firm founded Mac Kasowitz who is President Trump’s personal lawyer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Kaso who now?
Not only is Kasowitz, Benson, and Torres is it a pretty high profile law firm, it turns out Kavanaugh has a personal connection. According to The Washington Post’s Carol Lineg (ph), he acknowledged a close friendship with Kasowitz attorney Ed McNally with whom he worked with in the Bush administration.
So, now as Republicans question the credibility of the woman who says that Kavanaugh tried to rape her in high school, it’s worth asking what about the credibility of Brett Kavanaugh himself? That’s right after this.
HAYES: When the sexual assault allegation of Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh was thrust into the national consciousness, it seemed like the initial knee jerk reaction for many was to determine as soon as humanly possible the credibility of the accuser, but what about the credibility of the man accused?
Let’s bring in MSNBC contributor Josh Barro, a business columnist at New York Magazine; and Vanita Gupta, a former head of the civil rights division of the Justice Department during the Obama administration and the president and CEO of the leadership conference and civil and human rights.
Vanita, you watched -- you covered and watched the hearings very closely. What’s your assessment of how trustworthy or credible Kavanaugh is?
VANITA GUPTA, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: During the course of the hearing I was in the room every day. And it was clear, media documented it after, that Kavanaugh had been misleading in his testimony, had been misleading about stolen emails that had -- where Senator Leahy actually got pretty angry about the fact that he had lied even in his 2006 confirmation hearing.
Through numerous other instances where he misled, he deflected, he prevaricated, and you showed some of those instances. His credibility was already pretty shot. And the reality is now as we’re going into this, we have got to ask ourselves what’s happening here because Dr. Blasey Ford is asking for what is standard procedure of having the FBI do an investigation. She’s actually asking for more scrutiny on her story, not less.
And the Republicans, who have insisted throughout this entire process that they are going to take unprecedented action to conceal documents, to conceal three years of Kavanaugh’s record as staff secretary, they’re now pushing just to jam this confirmation through on a totally created artificial deadline.
There’s no reason why Dr. Blasey Ford should be getting less due process than Anita Hill got, and we all know how terribly Anita Hill was treated. But that’s essentially where we are right now.
HAYES: Josh one thing that struck me when allegations first surfaced is that a lot of people rushed to defend Kavanaugh not in the way he did. He said this is not true and denied it, and a bunch of people want to make the argument, well, if you do something when you’re 17 -- this is Ari Fleischer making a version of that argument. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There’s a bigger ethical issue I want to get to here, too. And I want to say it with a lot of sensitivity because these are sensitive issues. But high school behavior - - how much in our society should any of us be liable today when we have lived a good life, an upstanding life by all accounts, and then something that maybe is an arguable issue took place in high school. Should that deny us chances later in life, even as for a Supreme Court job, a presidency of the United States, or you name it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It was interesting to me, josh, that that was an argument that so many rushed to.
JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER: Yeah, and I think we should note that that’s not the argument that Kavanaugh has made, possibly because it’s not a very good argument, but also possibly because he didn’t do this. And if he didn’t do this, why would he need to defend his theoretical actions in high school?
But I think you know we’re likely to end up in a position here, regardless of whether there is further FBI investigation here, Senator Susan Collins has today has raised the possibility that they could go back to the FBI after there was a hearing on Monday, if Dr. Ford testifies Monday.
But because of the nature of this allegation, 35 years in the past, I think it’s unlikely that the FBI is likely to produce information that is conclusive in either direction. And so back to your point about Kavanaugh’s credibility, I think it is basically going to be on this committee to make an evaluation of the relative credibility of these two people and then to make an evaluation of what to do in a situation where you’re unsure whether Brett Kavanaugh has done this or not.
There’s not a -- this is not like a criminal proceeding where you have an evidentiary standard set out in law where you have to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt. It is up to the senators’ discretion how sure they have to feel about whether or not Kavanaugh did this. And I think they need to do some soul searching on that, because it’s very unlikely, I think, that we’re going to have conclusive proof either way.
HAYES: I think that point, Vanita -- I mean, it does seem to me that there is no escaping through process coming to a determination about who you believe.
GUPTA: Look, I think that’s right if we had faith that the Republican senators were actually acting in good faith and trying to take seriously their role of advise and consent.
But when you have a whole process where only 10 percent of the documents were made available, where there has been concealment throughout this entire process, where they’re invoking executive privilege in an unprecedented way on materials and documents that have no business being hidden from the public and from senators.
I mean, throughout this process, there has been -- it’s been -- nothing has been given reason to have any credibility in this process to think that senators are taking that role seriously.
HAYES: But wouldn’t they just say to you, Vanita, you would oppose Kavanaugh no matter what the process is?
GUPTA: Look, we were -- there’s no question that we were opposing Kavanaugh on his record and on -- and I will say the process just made it all that much worse for the American public to actually not be able to fully consider the fullness of his background.
But I will say the senators themselves have a very particular -- but the senators themselves have a very particular role, they have a constitutional duty to meet. And I think throughout this process and now is being thoroughly highlighted by the way that they’re just trying to jam this through and ignore standard procedure.
You know, it is -- it doesn’t give one much faith.
HAYES: Josh, they seem to want to find a way to get to yes, all the Republicans.
BARRO: Yeah, well, you know, honestly I really hope that Dr. Ford chooses to testify on Monday. Obviously, that is here decision and her decision alone, but I think if she doesn’t testify what Republicans will say basically is we tried. How are we supposed to consider this allegation when there’s no testimony under oath about it and it will sort of go on. Brett Kavanaugh will be on the Supreme Court and everyone will believe what they wanted to believe about this.
I think if she testifies, I think we still may end up in an unsatisfactory position like that, but frankly I think if she testifies it’s very likely that this nomination will get pulled. I don’t think Republicans have a plan. I don’t think that they believe that they’ll be able to make her look non-credible before the committee. And I think that after testimony it’s not going to be like they’ll be able to turn around and say great, OK, we heard from her. We don’t believe her. Let’s vote on Wednesday. It’s likely they’ll need to delay more, investigate more, and that that’s likely lead to the White House pulling this, putting up someone who doesn’t have this issue.
HAYES: I agree that it is ultimately her decision entirely what she chooses to do, but I also agree that if she shows up on Monday, it’s very hard for me to see them just holding a committee vote a day or two later.
Josh Barro and Vanita Gupta, thank you both.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
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 content.