Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 1, 2018 Guest: Richard Blumenthal, Carol Moseley Braun, Lisa Lerer, Mara Gay, Eugene Robinson, Julie Swetnick, David Corn
KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more MTP DAILY. "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now. Hi, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Katy. Thank you so much.
We begin with Donald Trump essentially backing down in this Kavanaugh fight and this has really been the second time in less than a week. It was just days ago that Trump first relented agreeing to reopen the FBI`s Kavanaugh probe after claiming, well, that`s maybe not what the FBI does. Tonight`s news is Trump has agreed, through critics` calls, to an expanded FBI probe of Brett Kavanaugh. That means FBI agents can speak to anyone necessary as long as it all ends by Friday.
So basically, the White House is no longer micromanaging the director of the probe of who they can talk to but they`re insisting on a tight and, let`s admit it, arbitrary deadline. "The New York Times" reporting the FBI has already interviewed the four people that it was authorized to. And as Trump alluded to today, those people, that list does not include Julie Swetnick, a third Kavanaugh accuser.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So just to be clear, should the FBI interview all three of Brett Kavanaugh`s accusers?
TRUMP: It wouldn`t bother me at all. Now, it depends. I don`t know all three of the accusers. Certainly, I imagine they`re going to interview two. The third one, I don`t know much about but it wouldn`t bother me at all. I mean I`ve heard that the third one has, I have no idea if this is true, has very little credibility. If there is any credibility, interview the third one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should Brett Kavanaugh be interviewed by the FBI?
TRUMP: I think so. I think it`s fine that they do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Swetnick`s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has spoken about her case but she has not, until tonight. You will hear from Ms. Swetnick for the first time, an NBC News exclusive, in a few moments right here on THE BEAT.
The other big issue though tonight is testimony from Kavanaugh`s friends like Mark Judge, who has now spoken to the FBI, as well as their credibility. New reports that his former girlfriend says she wants to speak with the FBI but hasn`t gotten much of a substantive response. So the FBI can talk to these people around the main parties as well. NBC reporting Kavanaugh`s team tried to talk to some of them, encouraging accounts that would back him up. Another college classmate of Kavanaugh alleges that he would get belligerent and aggressive while drinking. So a lot of different accounts swirling around.
We begin tonight with Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut who`s on the Judiciary Committee. He signed a letter today listing about two dozen witnesses that they believe the FBI should interview. I`m also joined by Former Democratic Senator Carol Moseley Braun. She won her seat in 1992, often referred to as The Year of Women. She was also the third woman ever to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Thanks to both of you.
Senator Blumenthal, when you look at the direction we`re going in here, what the president said, the FBI expanding aspects of the probe, do you feel this is the right direction?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D) CONNECTICUT, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It certainly is the right direction, but whether they really go far enough and quickly enough remains to be seen. My mantra is distrust but verified. Those 25 witnesses, potential interviewees, that I sent to the White House and to the FBI along with almost all my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, Democratic side, are the minimum that ought to be interviewed.
And as you well know, from your own experience, witnesses can lead to other witnesses that have to be pursued. So I believe that Jeff Flake truly wants a real investigation, not a check the box sham. And that`s what the FBI ought to be doing. Difficult, though, because as you said very well, this deadline is tight and arbitrary. In fact, too accelerated and too artificial to really get the job done.
MELBER: One of the things that`s come through in the process is increased scrutiny on whether Brett Kavanaugh, who is a sitting federal judge, who testified under oath, has been wholly truthful throughout. And you got at that point in your exchange with him. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLUMENTHAL: You`re aware of the jury instruction falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, are you not? You`re aware of that jury instruction?
BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Yes, I am.
BLUMENTHAL: You know what it means?
KAVANAUGH: You can translate it for me, Senator. You can do it better than I can.
BLUMENTHAL: False in one thing, false in everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: What were you getting at there? Are you at a junction after a few days here where you can say that you think he did make materially false statements to the Senate or are you not there yet?
BLUMENTHAL: I think he definitely was evasive and seemingly misleading. He made statements that were directly contradicted by facts and now have been impugned by other potential witnesses who have come forward, who should be interviewed under oath. I would never judge right now that a sitting judge would be prosecuted for perjury based on what we know. But there is certainly reason for the FBI to be investigating that issue. And that investigation, by the way, Ari, is going to go on, whether it occurs before the vote or afterwards. It`s not like the wrongdoing goes away just because of the vote.
MELBER: Senator, stay with me, as I turn to another former Senator. And Senator Braun, I want to play for you a little sound from two other senators. I`m sure you know the expression ain`t no party like a senator party because a senator party is full of filibustering. Do you know that one? It`s an oldie but a goody.
CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN, FORMER SENATOR (D) ILLINOIS: It`s been said but not everybody said it.
MELBER: Exactly. But this is relatively short for a senator-on-senator analysis. A Republican and Democrat in a much-watched or much-intrigued "60 Minutes" appearance last night about potential false statements by Kavanaugh. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT PELLEY, HOST, 60 MINUTES: If Judge Kavanaugh is shown to have lied to the committee, the nomination is over?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Oh, yes.
SEN.CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: I would think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: You saw the Republican there Jeff Flake nodding his head vigorously. The Democrats who seem more critical here have certainly held that view. Do you hold that view? Do you think that he was evasive, as Senator Blumenthal has just said, or something more directly false?
MOSELEY BRAUN: Well, the United States Constitution calls on the Senate to advise and consent. So this is supposed to be a search for truth and not just a matter of a pure power play and patronage politics, which frankly it may come down to be. It may be that the majority leader in the Senate will try to just ram this thing through without regard to the outcome of the FBI investigation or any other evidence.
So the question is whether or not the Senators will discharge their constitutional duty, and I think they will, and actually examine the -- all of the facts of this case. It`s not a criminal case, it`s an advice and consent so there`s a different standard. But it should not be allowed to become patronage politics and be a straight up power play over whether or not this is the spoil system and the Supreme Court can go to whatever party is in power. It shouldn`t be that. It should be a search for the truth and a search to get to the bottom of what all has occurred here.
MELBER: And Senator Moseley Braun, the other issue is not only how Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford conducted themselves, much has been made all the way out to "SNL" on how it was the accuser who seemed so measured and calm, and the person being accused who seemed so, at times, emotional and upset.
MOSELEY BRAUN: Right.
MELBER: But even if you wanted to be charitable and say people may respond differently to different things, he`s also a sitting judge who has to return to the bench no matter what happens. And so I wonder for your analysis if we could compare that to what we might call the Kavanaugh standard, what he had said a judge is ought to do and how they ought to act. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAVANAUGH: To be a good judge and a good umpire, it`s important to have the proper demeanor. Really important, I think. And to keep our emotions in check, to be calm amidst the storm. On the bench, to put it in the vernacular, don`t be a jerk. I think that`s important. There`s a danger of arrogance as for umpires, referees but also for judges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Do you think he followed his own advice last week?
MOSELEY BRAUN: He clearly did not. I mean that`s the reality there. He just lost it and attacked the Senators who were on the panel, which was just I thought inappropriate and did not show judicial temperament. But having said that, what concerns me is why Republican women are not more outraged, because the Republican side of the committee, they couldn`t even have -- they didn`t have a female member of the Republican side of the aisle on that committee. They had to go and rent a person to come and to be the stand-in female to do the questioning.
And I just think that that ought to energize Republican women to say why aren`t there more Republican women sitting on that other side of the Senate Judiciary Committee, or in the Senate, period? So I think that is a very important issue here.
MELBER: Senator Moseley Braun and Blumenthal, thanks to both of you.
I want to turn now to Mara Gay for "The New York Times" editorial board and an MSNBC analyst. She has a new article writing about her own experience as a sexual assault survivor. And also here, Lisa Lerer, a political reporter for "The New York Times", as well as Eugene Robinson, a Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist for "The Washington Post." My thanks to all of you.
Lisa, starting with you. What do you think is important now? We are long ways, as I mentioned in the open, from Donald Trump claiming either this isn`t what the FBI does or they should do it only with a narrow account of who they can talk to.
LISA LERER, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Look, what`s important is what has always been important which are the votes of Senator Flake, Collins, Murkowski, maybe Manchin or Heitkamp. In the end, you know, it`s hard to believe that a time-limited investigation can close every door and every eye, especially as more issues seem to come out every day. But in the end, that may not matter. If Mitch McConnell feels he has the vote to push this thing through, he will push it through.
So the deciding voices on this will be that said of three or five Senators, if they feel satisfied with what has happened in the past week, then he`ll bring it to a vote. If Jeff Flake does not feel satisfied, then it`s hard to see how -- then Republicans are in a pretty tough spot.
MELBER: Right. And Eugene Robinson, I want to play a little more from Donald Trump today because what Lisa is referring to is the fact that this is a somewhat public, messy process. No one is claiming it`s all that logical and rational. Although, as I was pushing the Senator on it, if you want more time and more witnesses, this would seem to be going in that direction. Take a look at the president today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I want them to do a very comprehensive investigation. With that being said, I would like it to go quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just for clarity, will you instruct the White House Counsel, Don McGahn, to give the FBI free reign to interview whomever they feel is necessary?
TRUMP: Well, I have so instructed him, but I did also say within the bounds of what the Senate wants. We don`t want to go on a -- to use an expression often used by me, we don`t want to go on a witch hunt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Eugene, he had to get that in there. Please don`t feel any need to respond at that particular phraseology. But what do you think about that direction the president -- look, you could say low bar, you can say low expectations but something has moved the president, maybe just the raw political pressure of needing a couple of votes.
EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, at the very least, we have a good cop, bad cop routine going on in here, where the president, for a change, is the good cop who is saying, "Have an investigation. Look into everything. Talk to anybody you need to talk to. This is what I want the FBI to do." And on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, you have Mitch McConnell saying, "We`re going to vote this week. I`m going to call a vote and we are going to put it up."
Now that is, I think, in part a bluff because he certainly will not bring it up for a vote if he doesn`t think he has the votes to pass, to get Judge Kavanaugh confirmed, but it`s the kind of routine going on. And I`m as confused as everybody else about how thorough this investigation will be, how quickly it can be done, and what the standard is, what`s the cutoff?
You find out he lied to Congress, but you can`t substantiate the sexual assault charges, what do you do? Is that enough for Jeff Flake or is that not enough for Jeff Flake?
MARA GAY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes. You know I don`t want to get too caught up in the FBI investigation, because I do think it`s important because it means that Dr. Blasey Ford`s claims are being taken seriously and that`s good. But we already have a lot of information before us even without the FBI investigation, that suggests that Brett Kavanaugh is unfit for this role. One of those pieces of evidence is Dr. Blasey Ford herself. Her testimony is credible. Brett Kavanaugh`s testimony is not credible.
And there are reasons for that. And one of those reasons is because he`s been misleading and injudicious and temperamental and had a hissy fit on national television. You know that is not what we want in a Supreme Court Justice. And I think that, you know, we should kind of remember that, because rather than fall into the trap of, let`s see whether it`s possible to prove that Dr. Blasey Ford is telling the truth -- I mean it may be that there`s no evidence 36 years later that can prove all of the claims that she has brought up but yet there are lots of reasons to find her testimony credible. And frankly, Brett Kavanaugh`s not credible.
MELBER: And Lisa, doesn`t that go to the very peculiar maleness or male privilege that he would seem to inhabit, which has been, of course, a part of the discussion for many days now, which is it is hard to imagine a female judge, candidate, nominee, or Senator, necessarily being given the same dispensation if they comported themselves over several hours like that?
LERER: I`m smiling because it`s not hard to imagine. It`s completely inconceivably impossible to imagine.
MELBER: I do a little bit of understatement on the show.
LERER: Right. You`re a little understanding. We`d be talking about temperament. We`d be talking about all kinds of things. So clearly, there is a double standard at play. That seems fairly obvious for Anyone who has watched these testimonies, who has watched Washington, who has watched Politics.
I also think there`s another thing going on that`s important to remember, which is that -- let`s say this all works for Mitch McConnell and he gets confirmed and he gets put on the court, what does it do to the institution of the court? You have this highly controversial nominee. You have a broad swath, a growing swath based on the polling of the American public, who are not comfortable with him, and then you have future potential Justice Kavanaugh who is going to be on the court ruling potentially on issues of women`s rights, on sexual harassment.
I think it could be very -- and then there`s the temperament issues, there`s this -- the openly partisan statements he made in his testimony that could be something that`s really damaging for the court as an institution.
MELBER: Right. And that also goes to Eugene, something I want to read to you that really cuts into, I think, another heart of this debate, which is what is the right ratio? And I don`t think anyone has the perfect answer but what is the right ratio between the age of an allegation and the seriousness of an allegation?
Because the older and less serious at some extreme, you say, "Oh, jaywalking, and it was 60 years ago, you know. And it was in a horse and buggy jaywalking situation. People will say, "You know what, never mind the horse,`" versus something super serious or super recent.
I want to read to you from some of the new accounts that are coming out. "The Washington Post" quoting on the record Charles Ludington, a declared friend of Kavanaugh`s from Yale says, "Look, when Brett got drunk, he was belligerent, aggressive, started a fight that ended up with one of our mutual friends in jail."
Any time you have the intersection of criminal law or the alcohol mixed with allegations of violent or criminal conduct, right, you`re in a little bit of a different space than just what some people like to say. Oh, 40 years ago these were "Wild parties." How do you see these accounts affecting it?
ROBINSON: Well, you know, that definitely gets your attention, but I want to go back to the point that Mara was making which is that Dr. Blasey Ford`s testimony, first of all, what she alleges is serious. And serious enough that there`s not a statute of limitations on that, both literally and I think in terms of consideration for the Supreme Court.
And second, her testimony is evidence. It is powerful. I mean she is an incredibly credible witness. I don`t know anyone who listened to her last Thursday and said she was anything less than believable. So if you`re going to say she`s believable, then we should believe her. We should certainly give her more of a presumption of truthfulness than is being given her now. And when we say in the Me Too era believe the woman, that doesn`t mean believe the woman for, you know, half a day and then tell her to go away and shut up.
MELBER: Right. And it also goes to the procedural point that`s in the news tonight which is she came out, spoke under oath in public. Mark Judge speaking in private and only speaking under oath because of what Jeff Flake and others pushed for. I mean that wasn`t at all guaranteed.
Eugene Robinson, Lisa Lerer and Mara Gay, as always, appreciate your expertise.
Coming up, as I mentioned, something quite new. The NBC`s Kate Snow has an exclusive interview with Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick who we broadcast for the first time ever tonight on THE BEAT.
Later, a deep dive into what FBI agents might be looking at as they review the record of Mark Judge. And later, Bob Mueller in court defending his authority and talking about Rod Rosenstein. We`re also going to tell you later why there are right now more immigrant children than ever in a Tent City in Texas, an important story we`ll be covering later.
I`m Ari Melber. You`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: Today, the White House authorized the FBI to expand its investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Two accusers, Dr. Christine Ford, and Deborah Ramirez have talked to the FBI as part of this probe. Now, a third who came forward recently, Julie Swetnick, was not on the original list of FBI interviews and she has not spoken in public since releasing a written statement, until now.
NBC News` Kate Snow is reporting this story and just interviewed Ms. Swetnick, an interview that will air now for the first time -- Kate.
KATE SNOW, JOURNALIST, NBC NEWS: Ari, thanks. What we want to do here is lay out all that she said, her story, our reporting. We want to be very transparent because these are very serious allegations. Kavanaugh has called Julie Swetnick`s story nonsense and a farce. The president today questioned her credibility. And NBC News, for the record, has not been able to independently verify her claims.
There are things that she told us on camera that differ from her written statement last week. We`ve been trying independently to reach out to anyone who remembers attending parties with Julie Swetnick and Brett Kavanaugh, and we`ve been asking her attorney for names. So far, we`ve not found anyone who remembers that. She`s also unclear about when she first decided to come forward.
SNOW: Why are you sitting here today?
JULIE SWETNICK, ACCUSER OF BRETT KAVANAUGH: Well, I`m quite a shy person and quite a private person. And I wouldn`t be here today except for about six weeks ago, I happened to learn about Brett Kavanaugh becoming one of the people who was shortlisted to go to the Supreme Court.
SNOW: This is in July, summer?
SWETNICK: I don`t remember exactly but it was about six weeks ago. And then I became aware of Dr. Ford and her description of what had happened to her at a party one time, that also had Brett Kavanaugh involved. And I started to think back to my days when I was in the early `80s in Montgomery County in Maryland and I thought that I might have some information that might corroborate some of the things that she had stated.
SNOW: So you only thought about coming forward when you learned about Dr. Ford?
SWETNICK: Yes. Because I did not know how close Brett Kavanaugh was to possibly becoming the next Supreme Court Justice.
SNOW: I just want to get the timeline right about this because he was nominated in July. Christine Ford, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, came forward in "The Washington Post" more recently in September. So was it in September that you --
SWETNICK: It`s been several weeks. But I`m not somebody who follows the news. I`m not political at all.
SNOW: Julie Swetnick says she was in Community College when she started attending house parties that included high schoolers.
SNOW: You graduated in 1980 -
SNOW: -- from high school, from Gaithersburg High School. So you would have been out of high school. So a lot of people wondered what are you doing at a high school party if you`re already --
SWETNICK: It wasn`t a high school party. These parties had everybody between about an age range of 15, 16 to 25, maybe even more.
SNOW: How did you meet Brett Kavanaugh? Did you actually meet him?
SWETNICK: I did actually meet him. I remember meeting him because I remember -- he`s got a very distinctive face, very distinctive face and as does Mark Judge. And I remember specifically meeting him, being introduced to him.
SNOW: Did you know anything about Brett Kavanaugh?
SWETNICK: No. I believe he might have been wearing a Georgetown Prep uniform, which a lot of the boys used to wear at least a uniform or parts of their uniform.
SNOW: At the party?
SWETNICK: Sometimes. I think they were very proud.
SNOW: In your statement to the Judiciary Committee, you described a range of behavior.
SNOW: And you say you saw --
SWETNICK: Oh, yes.
SNOW: -- Brett Kavanaugh do these things. Can you describe to me what you saw him do?
SWETNICK: He was very aggressive, very sloppy drunk, mean drunk. I saw him go up to girls and paw on them, try to, you know, get a little too handsy, touching them in private parts. I saw him try to shift clothing.
SNOW: Later in the interview, she went further.
SWETNICK: I saw him push girls against walls. He would pretend to stumble and stumble into them and knock them into a wall. He would push his body against theirs. He would grope them.
SNOW: There are some differences between Swetnick`s sworn statement last week and what she told us. In that statement, Swetnick said she became aware of efforts by Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge to spike punch at parties. In our interview, she said she saw them near the punch but did not specifically say she saw either man spike it.
SNOW: Did you see Brett Kavanaugh, you know, spiking the punch--
SWETNICK: Well, I saw him giving red solo cups to quite a few girls during that time frame. And there was grain punch at those parties. And I would not take one of those glasses from Mark Kavanaugh -- Brett Kavanaugh, excuse me. I saw him around the punch, I won`t say bowls or the punch containers. I don`t know what he did but I saw him by them, yes.
SNOW: In her declaration, Swetnick wrote, "I also witnessed efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh, and others, to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be gang-raped in a side room or bedroom by a train of numerous boys. I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties, waiting for their turn with a girl inside the room. These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh."
SNOW: What did you see?
SWETNICK: Well, until what happened to me happened to me, I didn`t put two and two together. But I would see boys standing outside of rooms, congregated together, sort of like a gauntlet. And I didn`t know what was occurring but I would see them laughing, a lot of laughing.
SNOW: Standing in lines outside of rooms?
SWETNICK: Not line but definitely huddled by doors and I didn`t understand what it could possibly be.
SNOW: And in your declaration, you described Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge, standing outside, see them standing outside a door?
SWETNICK: Yes, with other boys.
SNOW: So you`re suggesting that in hindsight --
SNOW: -- you think he was involved in this behavior?
SWETNICK: I would say yes. It`s just too coincidental.
SNOW: She says she had no idea exactly what that behavior was until she herself was attacked.
SNOW: Can you tell me what happened? As much as you`re comfortable telling us?
SWETNICK: What happened to me is probably the most horrendous, awful thing that could happen to any human being. My body was violated. My soul was broken. I was not able to have somebody stop when I said, "No, stop." I felt like somebody took me and basically said, "You`re worthless. You are nothing to us. You are disposable."
I was at a party and I remember I started not to feel very well. And next thing I know, I was shoved into a room, and I`m having my clothes torn in different directions. I was touched everywhere. I was physically assaulted in every way you can physically assault a woman. It was horrible. I had no way to fend them off.
SNOW: You know what I`m going to ask. Everyone is wondering if one of those people was Brett Kavanaugh.
SWETNICK: I cannot specifically say that he was one of the ones who assaulted me. But before this happened to me, at that party, I saw Brett Kavanaugh there. I saw Mark Judge there. And they were hanging about the area where I started to feel disoriented and where the room was, and where the other boys were hanging out and laughing. I could hear them laughing and laughing.
It`s very hard for me to talk about this but it`s important that somebody says something because if Brett Kavanaugh was one of those people that did this to me, there is no way in the world that he should go scot-free on this and that he should be on the Supreme Court. He just -- it`s just unthinkable to me. If he does, there`s no justice in the world.
SNOW: After you`re -- what you describe is this attack on you and a rape, did you tell anyone?
SWETNICK: Oh yes I contacted the Montgomery County Police.
SNOW: You did?
SWETNICK: And I also I told my mother and she cried with me. She held me the next day. I was so distraught I would -- she wanted me to go to the police immediately. She was just outraged. She was so hurt for me.
SNOW: Do you remember who you spoke to?
SWETNICK: They -- I vaguely remember people but I`m not quite sure, not 100 percent.
SNOW: Swetnick`s mother has since passed away. Swetnick also named one of the officers she said she spoke with. That officer is now deceased. NBC News verified he worked for the Montgomery County Police at that time. We have requested copies of any records but Montgomery County Police officials said today it could take up to a month for them to respond.
BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: It`s not true. It`s not true.
SNOW: Judge Kavanaugh has said he doesn`t know who Swetnick is and her allegations are from the twilight zone.
I want to play you a little bit of what he said on Thursday.
KAVANAUGH: The Swetnick thing is a joke. That is a farce. I`ve never met her, don`t know who she is. There was a letter released within two hours of that breaking yesterday from like 60 people who knew me in high school men and women and said, it was their words, nonsense. Totally you know, the whole thing. That`s totally ridiculous.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: None of these allegations are true?
KENNEDY: No doubt in your mind?
KAVANAUGH: Zero. I`m 100 percent certain.
KENNEDY: Not even a scintilla.
KAVANAUGH: Not a scintilla. 100 percent certain, Senator.
KENNEDY: You swear to God?
KAVANAUGH: I swear to God.
SWETNICK: You know what I said to that? He`s a liar.
SNOW: Mark Judge put out a statement. He said -- he said under oath that your allegations are bizarre and that he would remember actions so outlandish even when suffering from an addiction, he`s talked about how he has an addiction to alcohol, he categorically said he denies your allegations. He says he doesn`t know you. What do you say to that?
SWETNICK: What I say about that is he`s an admitted blackout drunk and drug addict. What does he know -- how would you know what you`ve forgotten if you blacked out?
SNOW: On Sunday Senate Republicans questioned Swetnick`s credibility and cited a lawsuit that was filed against her in 2000 by a former employer.
The company said you lied about graduating from Johns Hopkins University and about your work experience.
SWETNICK: That`s total (INAUDIBLE) and that never -- I mean I remember when this happened and it was just ridiculous and that`s why they dismissed it and it didn`t ever go anywhere.
SNOW: You didn`t -- you didn`t lie.
SWETNICK: No. It didn`t go anywhere.
SNOW: Education or your work experience.
SWETNICK: No, it was just total fabricated.
SNOW: What was it about? What the lawsuits says, let me just -- the lawsuit by your former employer said that you engaged in "unwelcome sexual innuendo and inappropriate conduct after three weeks on the job toward other employees."
SWETNICK: It never happened, that`s why it didn`t go anywhere and that`s why it was dismissed.
SNOW: Senate Republicans and other critics have also noted a restraining order filed against Swetnick by an ex-boyfriend in 2001.
They filed a restraining order against you which we did find some evidence of. It was effective for I think 12 days.
SWETNICK: That is absolutely preposterous and honestly I never received a restraining order.
SNOW: Court records show the petition for the restraining order was dismissed 12 days after it was filed. Swetnick is represented by Michael Avenatti who also represents Stormy Daniels and is an outspoken critic of the President. She says she reached out to him after a friend who went to law school with Avenatti recommended him.
SWETNICK: My best friend went to George Washington Law School with him, and Michael knows Washington. I wanted an attorney who knew Washington and who was recommended.
SNOW: But as you know, some people, actually probably a lot of Americans have expressed doubt about your stories simply because of how it came out and who represents you.
SWETNICK: I cannot speak for other people and why they would form certain opinions. I just know that I wanted to have good representation and I think I found it.
SNOW: I asked Swetnick if any of her friends from the 80s remember going to these parties with her.
Are their friends who remember these parties too and remember you go --
SWETNICK: Oh, I think everybody in the county remembers these parties.
SNOW: Because we haven`t -- we haven`t heard from those friends so I`m asking you know, are there people alive today who would say yes, I went to those parties with Julie.
SWETNICK: Yes, I have -- yes there are people that know about those parties.
SNOW: This morning Swetnick provided four names of friends she says went to the parties with her. One of them said he does not recall a Julie Swetnick. Another of the friends she named his deceased. We`ve reached out to the other two and haven`t heard back. Swetnick says after the alleged attack on her when she was 19, she never returned to those big house parties.
You said it was the last party you remember going to?
SWETNICK: That was the last party I consciously remember going to. It was definitely the last party I ever went to in Montgomery County. The next year I remember being at beach week in Ocean City during beach week. I wasn`t there for beach week, I just happened to be there vacationing and I bumped into some friends and somehow we ended up going to a get together in Ocean City. And at that party I did see Brett Kavanaugh there again and it crushed me. I was -- I fell apart and I had to get out of there.
SNOW: Swetnick told me that if she had known what had -- what was happening to her had possibly happened to other women or men, she would have absolutely tried to break into that room, this is a quote, and save whoever the person was at those parties. She would contact authorities as well she said. Again, Judge Kavanaugh has said that he does not know Julie Swetnick and has called her claims, Ari, nonsense. Apologies for my voice.
MELBER: Well, even working hard, Kate Snow. It`s a -- it`s a big story that touches a lot of things. I want to ask you some questions about it. What we`re going to do is fit in a very short break, 30 seconds, and when I`m back I`ll be back with Kate Snow.
MELBER: Welcome back to THE BEAT. I am here with NBC News` Kate Snow. We just aired her exclusive interview with a Kavanaugh accuser who is speaking out for the first time, Julie Swetnick. Thank you for your reporting. There`s a lot for people to see there.
SNOW: There`s a lot in there.
MELBER: And there are things that go in different directions as often happens when you report out a story like this. You press her on the timeline of when she decided to come forward.
SNOW: Right. Well, you saw that at the top of the piece and frankly we found it a little bit confusing because first, she said that in July -- first she said that she had heard about Brett Kavanaugh being on a short list and that happened in July. You heard me ask her, that wasn`t that in July and she said yes and I think she said that was six weeks ago but actually July is about three months ago.
And then she mentioned Dr. Ford and being inspired by her and wanting to support her and corroborate some of what she was hearing Dr. Ford`s say, but just for the record that was in September. So there`s a little haziness around why she decided and when she decided to come forward.
MELBER: How does your reporting effort to account for her secondhand sources or validators compare to other stories like this that you`ve covered?
SNOW: Well, that`s a good question. Here`s what I can tell you. We found out about -- I`m going to be fully you know, disclose everything here. We found out about this, I found out about this interview on Friday night. On Saturday morning I had my first conversation with her attorney Michael Avenatti. We asked him -- I asked him at that point, can you provide us with any names of people who went to the parties with her just because we couldn`t place her -- NBC News has not since last week been able to place her in that time period at those house parties in that group of friends. There aren`t other people coming forward as happens in many other stories we cover who say yes I was there too.
And we`re not you know, discounting what she said in any way. We`re just trying to do our reporting and make sure that there were people who said she was there. And to date, as of today, we haven`t been able to find anyone who says yes I saw her in the same room with Brett Kavanaugh. And of course, Judge Kavanaugh says he was not in the same room with her. He doesn`t even know who she is.
MELBER: And while some of her allegations overlap with things we`ve heard from other multiple sources that has been part of the vetting of Judge Kavanaugh, it seems that both in her sworn statement and now in this interview, she is not alleging individual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh attacking her.
SNOW: Well, she`s not sure about that. Yes, that`s right she`s not sure whether -- she said he she thought she saw him in the vicinity and then her description is that she got pushed into a room and was sort of out of it and there were a number of men in that room and I won`t get into details but you know, she says she`s not sure who was there.
SNOW: I think we should just also say that you know we`ve been trying to verify everything she said you know, as much as we possibly can. The resources of NBC News are way beyond me, Ari. As you know, there are a lot of people in this newsroom working on this. And again, you know, we`re interested in talking to anyone else who may have seen what she says she saw. I should also note that she did describe not direct behavior against her but you heard her in the interview described behavior against other women she says she observed. She says she observed Judge Kavanaugh behaving inappropriately pushing women against walls, you know, talking to them in a demeaning way. So she`s making some very serious allegations here and I think it`s up to the viewers to decide what they make of this.
MELBER: Right. About what she said she saw and within this process as more information and more accounts come out those will be weighed through the process. NBC News Kate Snow, thank you for sharing your reporting with us. We want to turn to another development in this story right now. A key friend of Brett Kavanaugh who has been effectively laying low Mark Judge, now, he has been interviewed by the FBI. Mark Judge is important because Dr. Ford essentially identifies him as part witness but also potentially part accomplice in her original allegation.
Now, he had responded by saying that "he doesn`t recall the events described by Dr. Ford in her testimony and he never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes" Now, until today that written statement was basically all anyone had directly from Mark Judge, meaning he was facing far less scrutiny or questions than Kavanaugh or Ford. She of course had detailed her memories about Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh that night.
Brett and Mark were visibly drunk early in the evening. I went up a very narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the restroom. When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom across from the bathroom. I couldn`t see who pushed me. Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. There was music playing in the bedroom. It was turned up louder by either Brett or Mark once we were in the room. I was pushed on to the bed and Brett got on top of me he began running his hands over my body and grinding into me.
I yelled hoping that someone downstairs might hear me. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They seemed to be having a very good time. Mark seemed ambivalent at times urging Brett on and at times telling him to stop. A couple of times I made eye contact with Mark and thought he might try to help me but he did not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That is what everyone watching heard last week. Now, Mark Judge would presumably have strong views about that allegation as it ricocheted effectively across the country. And even if he genuinely does not recall that night one way or the other, the FBI would potentially want his view on many of these wider questions that Kavanaugh already faced under oath about their alleged drinking together in their parties. And for Judge specifically whether he remembers knowing forward or seeing her after the incident she details, and Judge could also have plenty to say about excessive drinking in blackouts because he did later write about his own battles with alcoholism and recovery.
RACHEL MITCHELL, HEAD, SPECIAL VICTIMS DIVISION, MARICOPA COUNTY ATTORNEY`S OFFICE: Have you ever passed out from drinking?
KAVANAUGH: Passed out would be no but I`ve gone to sleep.
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D), RHODE ISLAND: They relate to alcohol.
KAVANAUGH: I like beer -- I like beer. I don`t know if you like beer, Senator, or not? What do you like to drink?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: So you`re saying there`s never been a case where you drink so much that you didn`t remember what happened the night before or a part of what happened?
KAVANAUGH: It`s -- you`re asking about you know, blackout. I don`t know, have you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: In Mark Judge`s book God and Man at Georgetown Prep, he writes about a pledge that he and his friends made in high school to drink a hundred kegs of beer before graduation. On their way to that goal, there was a "disastrous party at his house. The place was trashed. And Kavanaugh listed himself in the class yearbook as treasurer of the hundred kegs or bust club." There`s also a 1997 memoir Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk where Judge writes about a "beach week" and has this passage "Do you know Bart O`Kavanaugh "yes, he`s around here somewhere." "I heard he puked in someone`s car the other night." "Yes, he passed out on his way back from a party as the exchange."
So many would ask well, is that Bart O`Kavanaugh name or character a reference to Brett Kavanaugh?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAVANAUGH: Mark Judge was a friend of ours in high school who developed a very serious drinking problem, an addiction problem that lasted decades and was very difficult for him to escape from.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: I`m trying to get a straight answer from you under oath, are you Bart Kavanaugh that he`s referring to, yes or no.
KAVANAUGH: You`d have to ask him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: You`d have to ask him. Now that`s Judge Kavanaugh docking so another Judge, if you will, would take the question. One can now imagine the FBI doing exactly that asking him in its new questioning as well as of course his recollection of the account about running in to doctor Ford.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORD: Yes, I was going to the Potomac Village Safeway, this is the one on the corner of Falls and River Road, and I was with my mother and I was a teenager so I wanted her to go in one door and me go in the other. So I chose the wrong door because the door I chose was the one where Mark Judge was -- looked like he was working there and arranging the shopping carts. And I said hello to him and his face was white and very uncomfortable saying hello back, and we had previously been friendly at the times that we saw each other over the previous two years, albeit not very many times we had always been friendly with one another. I wouldn`t characterize him as not friendly, he was just nervous and not really wanting to speak with me. He looked a little pale.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: How long did this occur after the incident. I would estimate six to eight weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The FBI may want to ask about that non-drunk alleged encounter. Mark Judge`s book does validate parts of Ford`s timeline saying it was the summer before senior year and even though I wasn`t drinking every day, I was completely hooked going a week without getting drunk was unthinkable. I was spending between four and seven nights with the gang either at a party or at O`Rourke`s. And a former girlfriend of Mark Judge is telling the New Yorker the Judge had told her ashamedly of an incident that involved him and other boys taking turns having sex with a drunk woman.
Also the kind of question the FBI might want to explore in the context of this vetting. Now, Dr. Ford was asked a simple question that many remember in her hearing last week.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Would you like Mark Judge to be interviewed in connection with the background investigation and the serious credible allegations that you made?
FORD: That would be my preference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That would be my preference. Simply stated, measured, modest even the way she was throughout much of the hearing. What`s easy to forget because a lot is happening at once these days is when she gave that answer under oath and then when Kavanaugh came in after and then the next day, no one knew whether this would ever happen. In the space from her answer to today, a span of a few days political pressure and activism have changed. So now Mark Judge has been interviewed by the FBI. That wasn`t the original plan. And Mark Judge now because of all that, his testimony true or false, the FBI will make its determination, could be key to unlocking so many open questions right now.
MELBER: Some other big news today. Trump`s former campaign chair Paul Manafort in the hot seat today. Bob Mueller`s people sat him down for a meeting all part of his ongoing cooperation with the Special Counsel probe. I`m joined by David Corn, Mother Jones` Washington Bureau Chief and specialist in the Special Counsel probe. What do you make of this development and also the push coming from the Republican side to meet with Rod Rosenstein?
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Well, one is a true matter, the other is a distraction. Finally, Mark -- excuse me -- Paul Manafort is sitting down with Mueller. Remember, we haven`t heard a lot from Mueller in the last couple of weeks. It might be because we`re nearing an election and he doesn`t want to do too much before that and be accused of playing partisan politics. But what Manafort knows, well he know about the Trump campaign but also about lobbying for the Ukraine but Russian oligarchs.
I mean this could be hours, and hours, and hours, of debriefing for Mueller`s investigators who then go out and dig and look and come back to Manafort and say what about this, what about that. It`s a very long process. At the same time, they`re also doing this with a guy named Michael Cohen. So you know, they have a lot more work to be done on these two fronts and it`s serious it`s -- you know, we`ve seen Mueller and his team they are painstakingly thorough and that sometimes takes a while. So there may be weeks months before we see any signs of what these debriefings with Cohen and Manafort are bringing forth from an investigative point of view.
MELBER: Do you think -- do you think with the White House saying well, maybe this famed Rod Rosenstein, Donald Trump meeting will get delayed even further, do you think that New York Times report has not aged well as we say in the business?
CORN: Well, let me look at it from Trump`s perspective here. He shows --
MELBER: As you always do.
CORN: He has shown amazing self-restraint on this front and has not tweeted that much about it, you know, calmly noted last week that he would not bring this up on the day of the testimony of Christine Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, and not create even more chaos. We know he likes to create chaos. And --
MELBER: Are you -- are you low key complimenting Donald Trump right now?
CORN: Well, listen if you ever just called Donald Trump a sane, reasonable, human being it`s not necessary a compliment.
MELBER: I just -- this is Mike Pence, Kanye West side of you I didn`t know about.
CORN: You know, putting those two together kind of blows my mind especially --
MELBER: They`re both saga, they`re both saga, baby.
CORN: I know, I know. I`d like to see Mike Pence dancing around in a Perrier bottle. But putting that aside, Ari, your distraction here, it could -- it could well be that Trump doesn`t want to make a move on Rosenstein or Sessions until after the election. He`s been convinced that be bad politics for the Midterm.
MELBER: So you`re saying it could be a rational thing and that doesn`t give him a ton of credit but that would be rationally reasonable or it could be a bait and switch to then do something attacking the rule of law after election day.
CORN: I know the odds are low on this but yes it could be a rational decision.
MELBER: Great. And thank you for the SNL Perrier reference. Do you know who the artist was performing in the Fiji Water bottle adjacent to West?
CORN: Coochi -- what -- something named like that. That`s all I know.
MELBER: Lil Pump, David.
CORN: Lil Pump, OK, I was --
MELBER: Come on, man.
MELBER: You were so close.
CORN: OK, I was -- next time I`ll the would be a lifeline, you know. Kanye --
MELBER: We`re out of time. David Corn --
CORN: Kanye is not on my playlist.
MELBER: Thank you as always. We`ll be right back.
MELBER: Turning to a significant story that the government may not want you to see. The Trump administration right now secretly moving hundreds of migrant children to tent cities. This is all happening in the middle of the night. They force the kids on buses for relocation to a tent city in South Texas often without warning. 1,600 children moved under darkness because they are less likely to try to run away, that`s according to a new account in "The New York Times." And these facilities appear worse for children than where they were staying because they have no school, they have less access to legal services to protect their rights. And while some potential caretakers are arrested by ICE, they have less caretakers.
The Trump administration had set regulations for the new tent camp but let`s be clear, that means fewer protections than where the children were previously housed, places regulated by state child welfare authorities. We wanted you to see that story and we`ll have more on it in the days ahead. That does it for us though, "HARDBALL" starts now.
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