Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: September 28, 2018 Guest: Lisa Graves, Maria Teresa Kumar, Adam Jentleson, Mimi Rocah, Liz Swisher, Lynne Brookes
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JOY REID, HOST, MSNBC: I`ll be hosting our coverage co-hosting along with Chris Hayes and Ari Melber. You do not want to miss it. And now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, THE LAST WORD HOST, MSNBC: Good evening, Joy. It was a -- it was a done deal until it was undone, which we`re now --
O`DONNELL: -- going to spend an hour discussing how that all came apart today. REID: Cannot wait to hear your take on it because you know how that works in the Senate. It was pretty stunning. It was quite the theater today.
O`DONNELL: Edge of my seat all day.
REID: I`m sure.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Joy.
REID: Thank you. Bye.
O`DONNELL: As I say, it was a done deal. Five minutes before the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting began this morning, it was a done deal. But that deal was undone by the Senate`s unique power of one. The power that Senate rules instill in each senator individually.
That deal was undone by friendship and trust. And that deal was undone by citizenship. Citizenship lived to its fullest today by the people who took their demands to the halls of the Senate and made their voices heard and moved the unmovable mountain that is the United States Senate. They forced the president of the United States to do something he was never going to do, order a new FBI investigation of Brett Kavanaugh.
The deal on the Kavanaugh nomination was done, all done this morning, when Jeff Flake became the final Republican on the Judiciary Committee to publicly announce his decision to vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.
Senator Flake`s office announced that decision in a press release at 9:25 a.m. That announcement ended all hope that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh could be stopped or even slowed down for an FBI investigation. That announcement came as an emotional blow to Jeff Flake`s closest Democratic friend on the Judiciary Committee who learned the news from a reporter.
Elizabeth Landers of CNN captured the moment on Twitter, saying that reporters broke the news to Senator Chris Coons about Jeff Flake`s vote in the hallway as Senator Coons walked into the hearing. Coons said, oh, "F", then choked up. "We each make choices for our own reason. I`m struggling. Sorry." He was choked up. So Delaware Senator Chris Coons entered the hearing room choked up and struggling and sorry that his friend`s decision made the confirmation a done deal.
But Chris Coons did not know, and the reporters in the hearing room did not know that five minutes after Jeff Flake announced his decision, he left his office and he got onto a senator`s-only elevator, headed to the hearing room, and after a CNN reporter squeezed in a question about this vote on the elevator, two women who had just learned of Jeff Flake`s decision to vote for Brett Kavanaugh kept that elevator door open and they made sure that their voices were heard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On Monday, I stood in front of your office. I told the story of my sexual assault. I told it because I recognized --
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I need to go to the hearing. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- Dr. Ford`s story that she`s telling the truth. What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit in the Supreme Court. This is not tolerable. You have children in your family. Think about them. I have two children. I cannot imagine that for the next 50 years, they will have to have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl. What are you doing, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody believes me. I didn`t tell anyone, and you`re telling all women that they don`t matter, that they should just stay quiet because if they tell you what happened to them, you`re going to ignore them.
That`s what happened to me, and that`s what you`re telling all women in America, that they don`t matter, they should just keep it to themselves because if they had told the truth, they`re going to help that man to power anyway.
That`s what you`re telling all these women. That`s what you`re telling me right now. Look at me when I`m talking to you. You`re telling that my assault doesn`t matter. That what happened to me doesn`t matter. And that you`re going to let people who do these things into power.
That`s what you`re telling me when you vote for him. Don`t look away from me. Look at me and tell me that it doesn`t matter what happened to me. That you`ll let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do to their bodies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The first voice you heard there is Ana Maria Archila. She said tonight that she believed Jeff Flake wanted those elevator doors to close and wanted to get away from them, and I am sure that he did as every senator would want those elevator doors to close so that the senator could escape. But she also said that she could see that they were getting through to Jeff Flake, that Jeff Flake was moved. And not every senator would be moved by what you just saw.
The second voice you heard is Maria Gallagher. Maris is 23 years old. She never discuss her sexual assault before yelling directly to Jeff Flake about it this morning. Her mother learned about it watching Maria Gallagher say that on live TV.
That encounter at the elevator was as hard as it looked for everyone involved, for Jeff Flake, for the two women, on Jeff Flake`s staff in that elevator with him, and most especially for the two women who were pleading with the United States senator to change his mind. They knew that he had already decided to vote for Brett Kavanaugh, but they did not give up. And in that moment they became the two most important lobbyists in Washington today.
Maria Gallagher and Ana Maria Archila put their bodies in front of the moving train that was the Kavanaugh nomination this morning, and the miracle happened. The train stopped. Jeff Flake took his seat in the hearing room and we now know that he did something that senators in the middle of a partisan battle almost never do.
You could work for years and years in the United States Senate and never see this happen, but we saw Jeff Flake do it this morning. He listened. You never know when a senator is really listening because they`re almost always pretending to listen. We didn`t know Jeff Flake was really listening in that elevator, but the women looking into his eyes knew. And we didn`t know Jeff Flake was listening in that hearing room, but we do now.
And thanks to the experienced camera operators in that Senate hearing room today who knew that Jeff Flake was the key vote. One camera stayed isolated on Jeff Flake when he was not speaking, and they never do that with the cameras, but they did today. When we were watching this play out live on television, that wasn`t the camera that you saw. That`s not what we were watching. We were watching the normal shot of the camera on the person who is speaking.
But we have the video now of Jeff Flake listening when Senator Chris Coons was speaking, and so we can now watch something that we know was real. We can watch Senator Jeff Flake listening. And now we know that Jeff Flake listening was the most important thing that happened in that room today.
When Senator Chris Coons made his final plea to the committee, he actually felt that it was hopeless when he was saying it. But in the Senate, you never know when someone is really listening. The professionals in the Senate always keep an eye or both eyes on the reaction of the undecided senators or an undecided senator, if there is one, a wavering senator.
So let`s now watch what happened in the committee this morning, the way the professionals do. This is not the way you`ve ever watched this before. Let`s watch today`s history in the Senate being made in Jeff Flake`s mind as he listens and thinks about and is moved by what his friend, Chris Coons, is actually saying.
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: I know since the day that my Democratic colleagues and I learned of these allegations, we`ve had one consistent request, to allow the FBI to investigate them, in a nonpartisan, professional, even-handed manner and deliver their findings to us so that we could reach a conclusion.
To my colleagues across the aisle, you know me. You know I try to be fair to nominees that come before us, and I respect this process and the humanity of those, even those with whom I passionately disagree. If I were convinced this were nothing more than a partisan hit job designed to take down a good man and hold a position vacant past the election, I would not stand for it.
An investigation would be helpful because Dr. Ford`s recollection shared with us so powerfully yesterday of her assault were searing but incomplete. Dr. Ford testified credibly about painful memories she`s carried with her to this day. The feeling of hand clasped over her mouth and her not being able to breathe, the sound of laughter while she was pinned on a bed, the weight of a body on top of hers groping her and the feeling of relief fleeing the house.
Dr. Ford testified with 100 percent certainty that the person who assaulted her was Brett Kavanaugh whom she knew through multiple acquaintances and had socialized with in multiple occasions. I have conveyed to my friends and colleagues that I have wished we would take a one week pause. One week only. Not to spread this out past the next election, not to pursue some partisan goal, but to allow professional FBI interview with everyone who may have relevant information.
I think to ask for a week is not to ask for too much. When Professor Anita Hill came forward, the White House corresponded, and in four days -- in four days, a hearing was put together with 22 witnesses. I think that`s what Dr. Ford deserves. I think that`s what her bravery deserves. And I think that`s what our nation deserves.
Dr. Ford, when she came forward yesterday, had nothing to gain and a lot to lose. She came forward to testify about her experience of assault and I`m going to use her words. She said, I`m here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I`m here because I believe it is my civic duty.
It is my hope that my colleagues, those who have not yet decided or declare their decision will still join in a request to allow the FBI to do it`s important work and for this committee to allow itself the time to get to the bottom of the remaining allegations. Given the vote this morning, I know that is highly unlikely.
O`DONNELL: No one in that room knew what Jeff Flake had just been through on that elevator. And Chris Coons is not the most dynamic speaker in the United States Senate. It`s easy for most senators to ignore him. But that`s not what happened today. Moments after Chris Coons finished speaking, Senator Flake was offered his turn to speak. And he declined to say a word right there, that moment. That was very surprising. He declined to say a word.
Everyone expected to hear Jeff Flake announce his reasoning for his vote in favor of confirmation, but instead he passed his speaking opportunity on to the next Republican senator and then got up and walked across the room in what appeared to be an oddly timed, maybe trip to the rest room, just that`s what they do usually when they`re walking across the room. That`s usually what`s happening.
But that walk across the room today became the most dramatic physical movement in the Senate since Jeff Flake`s former Arizona colleague, John McCain, walked onto the Senate floor and voted against his party`s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. There was nothing dramatic about Jeff Flake`s movement across the room until he signaled Chris Coons that it was time to talk.
And then they went into the that conference room that adjoins the hearing room. It`s a large conference room big enough for more than one private conversation. Every Republican on the committee was instantly worried when they saw Jeff Flake disappear with Chris Coons. For 15 minutes, we watched while Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch and Lindsey Graham looked increasingly grim after sounding overwhelmingly confident just minutes ago.
Fifteen minutes went by after -- after Chuck Grassley said they were going to vote. And there was no vote. Jeff Flake needed someone to talk to on the Democratic side of the committee this morning, and luckily Chris Coons is very, very good at the Senate`s oldest and sometimes most important skill - - bipartisan friendship. Chris Coons and Jeff Flake have spent time together on Senate trips that allows them to see each other as human beings and builds trust.
That`s what they needed in that room together today, trust. That`s what Senate promises are based on. Chuck Grassley scheduled to vote for 1:30 p.m. today and as soon as we got to 1:31 p.m. today, it was clear that the vote was in trouble because all of the senators were present either in the hearing room or in the conference room adjacent to the room and Chuck Grassley was not calling the vote, because Chuck Grassley did not know what Jeff Flake was going to do.
When a strong tough senator wants something in a committee and has the deciding vote in that committee, that senator usually withholds his or her vote until he or she gets exactly what they want. But that`s not Jeff Flake. And so Jeff Flake decided to do this his way. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLAKE: I have been speaking with a number of people on the other side. We had conversations ongoing for a while with regard to making sure that we do due diligence here. And I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI continue to do an investigation, limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there. And limit in time to no more than one week. And I will vote to advance the bill to the floor with that understanding.
(END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And so tonight the train has stopped and the FBI is investigating Brett Kavanaugh again. After Jeff Flake and the rest of the Republicans on the committee voted to send Brett Kavanaugh`s nomination to the Senate floor, Jeff Flake created a mini Republican stampede for an FBI investigation.
Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski quickly tweeted that they too wanted an FBI investigation. And then Mitch McConnell knew the deal was completely undone. And not long after that, the president who has the unique power to do so, ordered the FBI investigation. When Chris Coons left the hearing room today, he got a bit emotional talking about what his friend, Jeff Flake, did today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COONS: He and I do not share a lot of political views, but we share a deep concern -- sorry -- Senator Flake and I share a deep concern for the health of this institution and what it means to the rest of the world and to our country if we are unable to conduct ourselves respectfully and in a way that hears each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: They heard each other. A Republican senator heard what a Democratic senator was asking for and the Republican senator decided that the Democratic senator was right. And so in a place that disappoints everyone much more than it pleases someone, the United States Senate in that place, we saw something that we rarely see. We saw a victory for decency today.
It might be a small victory, it might be a temporary victory, but the professionals in the United States Senate take their victories when and where they can get them. They take any size victory they can and when it happens, they say thank you. Jeff Flake is a true conservative. So he is going to disappointment liberals again, but not today.
Jeff flake didn`t do everything that Kavanaugh opponents wanted today. He didn`t vote against the nomination in the committee, but he did something, something important. And every Democratic senator who got within a handshake of Jeff Flake after what he did today in the Judiciary Committee said thank you to Jeff Flake.
And what we heard Jeff Flake say to those women who stopped him on that elevator and forced him to think about what he was doing, what we heard Jeff Flake say to them after being forced to look them in the eye, was thank you.
After a break, we`ll be joined by Maria Teresa Kumar and our Senate staff experts, Lisa Graves and Adam Jentleson.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Senator Lindsey Graham, speaking this morning, when everyone thought that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh was a done deal in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, what he said when everybody thought it was going to be voted on in the committee today and final passage on the Senate floor would happen on Monday or Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Every woman who actually knows Brett Kavanaugh has come forward to say he is not that kind of guy. He has been at the highest level of public service under tremendous scrutiny, six FBI investigations, and we missed the sophomore junior gang rapist. We didn`t miss it. It`s a bunch of garbage.
(END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: There`s Lindsey Graham talking about every woman who actually knows Brett Kavanaugh has come forward to say he`s not that kind of guy. He forgot about the woman who came before him yesterday in that hearing room and said that Brett Kavanaugh and his friend tried to rape her, the two of them together. A bunch of garbage, says Lindsey Graham.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford said that Brett Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, tried to rape her. It was an attempted rape, according to Dr. Ford, by two guys against a 15-year-old girl. There are other gang rape accusations against Brett Kavanaugh that were made this week by someone else primarily of him witnessing two or more boys taking advantage of a girl at a party. But Lindsey Graham lumped all of that together today as garbage.
Joining us now, Maria Teresa Kumar, MSNBC contributor and president of Voto Latino, and our Senate staffers, Lisa Graves, the former chief counsel for nominations for the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and former deputy assistant attorney general, and Adam Jentleson, former deputy chief of staff to Senator Harry Reid.
And Lisa, I want to get your reaction to what you saw take place in your committee, your old committee today.
LISA GRAVES, FORMER STAFF, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I had two observations. One was that, you know, to see the words -- the brave words of the women at the elevator and to see the compelling dialogue of Senator Coons affect -- Senator Flake was just so moving. And for a long time, I`ve embraced a philosophy that changing -- having a revolution in someone`s heart can change their destiny, can change our country. And I think we witnessed the power of dialogue and the power of changing someone`s heart today.
And the second thing is that I have been holding out hope that Senator Flake would do the right thing. I worked with him some when I was lobbying the House side on the ACLU, and he took brave action then, not just words, but brave action. He was punished by his party for doing so. And I believe in my heart that he still have in his heart the ability to take courageous action. I think he`s wrong on the standard of proof for Brett Kavanaugh, but today he took the right action, and I applaud that with every fiber of my being. O`DONNELL: And Maria Teresa, the turn clearly began on that elevator. That was five minutes after Jeff Flake made the announcement how he`s voting. And as all the Senate staffers know, the announcement of how you`re going to vote in a highly contentious atmosphere is actually supposed to relieve pressure. It is supposed to make people stop trying to push you one way or another, but it did relieve the pressure on Jeff Flake.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR, PRESIDENT, VOTO LATINO: It had the opposite effect. I have to share with you, those two women in the elevator, that`s what democracy looks like. It`s this notion that as Americans, as citizens, that we continue to fight and hold our elected accountable. The fact they not only heard Dr. Ford yesterday, but that these two very brave women coming out and saying forward, saying, I too, have to be reckoned with right now because what you are doing is wrong, and she said it so visibly.
And the fact that the media was there to capture it, he knew that he had no other option but to reflect. And so I applaud the bravery of Ana Maria Achila and Maria Gallagher because they basically came forward and they were allies and they were supporters and they were survivors with Dr. Ford, and they represented millions of American women across the country.
So while Flake did the right thing, it was because of the pressure of the protest and recognizing that these were individuals that voted. So when folks basically say that, you know, that each individual does not matter, collectively we can make a difference. And I think that`s what the Republicans are afraid of come November.
O`DONNELL: Adam, Senate staff veterans like Lisa and you and me, are never quite as cynical as people might think we are, because we all know about the power of one, and we all know that at any moment a senator might stand up and stop the moving train, and every once in a decade or so we see something like that happen.
ADAM JENTLESON, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO SENATOR HARRY REID: Yeah, and it`s been an amazing week, because it was exactly one week ago that Mitch McConnell went to a conservative gathering in Kentucky and declared that Brett Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed in the near future, declaring that he had the votes.
And so it`s been a week of diagnosing that as a bluff, and, you know, trying to talk to people and having a lot of conversations where people would say it seems like it`s locked in, it seems like it`s done, and it just never felt right. It always felt like there was much more uncertainty there than Mitch McConnell was letting on.
His comments were an attempt to deflate the energy and activism of people like the two young women who confronted Senator Flake today, and he didn`t succeed. He tried to make everybody depress, make everybody thinks this was a done deal, but democracy had its way today.
O`DONNELL: And Lisa, we have reporting tonight that at a certain point the senators in the backroom there which included John Cornyn at one point and Senator Tillis, because as we know, those situations only involve the senators who think they can influence the particular senator which was fascinating to watch Chairman Grassley just completely give up, and Orrin Hatch and Lindsey Graham just give up and had nothing to do with it.
But in that negotiation, there was a certain point at which they decided to call FBI Director Wray to ask him how much could the FBI accomplish in a week. They couldn`t get FBI Director Wray, and they settled for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who told them that an FBI investigation within a week could be helpful.
GRAVES: I think that was an remarkable development. And I think that what you saw there was a tremendous effort to try to have some justice in this case.
After Dr. Ford`s compelling testimony yesterday, to see the mood change after Lindsey Graham`s extremely partisan attack, after the extraordinary partisanship of Brett Kavanaugh himself and the baseless accusations he labeled a Democratic senator has disrespect, to see the mood shift as if this was just a done deal, they were going to install this man on the court despite the testimony, the evidence against him of attempting to rape Dr. Ford, to see that and hear what was happening in that room, in the anteroom was so profound.
To see the devotion to actually having what we`ve been calling for, what has always happened before which was an FBI supplemental investigation was just an amazing turn of events. That`s what should have happened. I`m glad it`s happening. We`ll see what happens next.
O`DONNELL: I want to go back to Lindsey Graham`s attitude because he exemplified the rest of the Republicans before they knew there was a problem, before they knew Jeff Flake was wavering. Lindsey Graham made (INAUDIBLE) him compared to yesterday calm statement.
But it was filled with Lindsey Graham bitterness, and he threatened the Democrats on the committee about how he would treat them when he eventually becomes chairman of that committee. That is something I`ve never seen anyone do in the Senate Committee. But he talked about Dr. Ford. And let`s listen to what he says when he actually uses her name and speaks about her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: All I can say about Ms. Ford, I feel sorry for her, and I do believe something happened to her, and I don`t know when and where, but I don`t believe it was Brett Kavanaugh.
(END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And he`s lying when he says that`s all I can say about Dr. Ford, because in the very same discussion when he`s not using her name very deliberately, he calls all of the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh garbage. And he`s also saying that, you know, I feel sorry for her, but he`s saying I believe she perjured herself in this committee when she said she was 100 percent certain that it was Brett Kavanaugh.
KUMAR: I think the challenges that Lindsey Graham faces right now is that all of Americans were watching, across generations, and everybody saw her testimony, and everybody`s heart and literally stomach went into a knot. And he`s not betting on that backlash.
I`ve had the opportunity to speak with Republicans, with independents, with Democrats and everybody felt her pain and they felt her sincerity. And for him not to have that basic respect is going to really tarnish the Republican brand more than it already is.
But the fact Brett Kavanaugh went in and he opened up in such a partisan way, we have to remind ourselves that the purpose of serving in the highest court is that you are walking into that seat making sure that you have equal opportunity for every single American. And what he was able to demonstrate was that he was not fit because he was not going to provide people with actual due process that is necessary to make sure that we are doing right by the laws that govern our nation.
O`DONNELL: And Adam, all of the Republicans, other than Jeff Flake anyway, were echoing this Lindsey Graham line which is that "I believe that Dr. Ford was definitely assaulted," period. And then the next line, "I believe she`s a complete outright liar and perjurer about Brett Kavanaugh." But they don`t quite say it that way.
JENTLESON: Yes. I mean those two things are contradictory. Either you believe her or you don`t. But Republicans spent all day yesterday trying to have it both ways. But another thing that I saw them echoing was not just Graham`s words but his tone.
Yesterday, Republicans thought they had the day won by yelling. They thought -- basically, a room full of old white guys yelled at each other into a frenzy and they thought they`d won the day. And today, it was a quiet conversation between two friends that caused democracy to succeed and for us to have at least a semblance of a fair process here where we might get some justice.
O`DONNELL: Yes, it`s so strange -
KUMAR: And Lawrence, can I just jump in? I think the biggest difference right here is when Lindsey Graham was trying to basically allude to the fact that Dr. Ford may be perjuring herself. In fact, she was the one who said I took a polygraph, I welcome an FBI investigation. And the person seeking the highest court actually said that he did neither and he did not want either of those things to happen.
GRAVES: That`s exactly right.
O`DONNELL: Lisa Graves, Adam Jentleson, Maria Theresa Kumar, thank you for starting our discussion tonight. Really appreciate it.
KUMAR: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, what can FBI investigators actually do now in the week that they have for this new investigation of sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh?
And later, we will talk to two women who were in college with Brett Kavanaugh at Yale who say that Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath yesterday in his testimony about his drinking history.
O`DONNELL: Here`s what Senator Jeff Flake says he expects from the new FBI investigation of Brett Kavanaugh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Obviously, that includes the four allegations and so to interview people there, and I`m also sure "The New Yorker" piece with numerous allegations. But they all have to decide, the FBI, what that is, you know, how far that goes. This is limited in time and scope but I think that it`s appropriate. When it`s a lifetime appointment and allegations this serious, then we ought to let people know that we`re serious about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: A lawyer for Brett Kavanaugh`s high school friend Mark Judge, who Dr. Ford says joined in the alleged sexual assaults, said today if the FBI or any law enforcement agency requests Mr. Judge`s cooperation, he will answer any and all questions posed to him. A lawyer for P.J. Smith who Dr. Ford named as being at the party, the gathering that is when this happened said his client is "Happy to cooperate fully with this FBI investigation."
The new investigation will not be able to get search warrants for example or issue subpoenas like a criminal investigation but "The Washington Post" reports if investigators uncover evidence that Kavanaugh lied to lawmakers during hearings or on his background check forms, that could spark a criminal investigation in which law enforcement could use the full extent of its legal powers.
Joining our discussion now, Mimi Rocah, former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York and an MSNBC legal analyst. Mimi, the FBI has a week. What are they going to do?
MIMI ROCAH, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: So Lawrence, I think there is about four categories just right off the bat that the FBI should and probably will focus on with respect to the Ford allegations. The first is obviously Mark Judge. A probing interview needs to be conducted of Mark Judge. These statements through lawyers are obviously not enough.
I think Kavanaugh said during the hearing, FBI agents don`t draw conclusions. Yes, but they interview people every single day and do draw conclusions about their credibility and whether people are telling the truth. And there are many ways to do that with Mark Judge, to figure out what he means exactly when he says he doesn`t remember.
Does that mean it didn`t happen or does that mean he can`t remember? He needs to be asked probing questions about his and Judge Kavanaugh`s drinking habits. He needs to be asked about the book and whether those are references to Kavanaugh in his book.
Then the other category are the other people who might have been not participants or witnesses to the actual act but present that evening. And I would use the July 1 calendar entry that we`ve heard so much about and the list of names there and ask all of those participants there. And that may have been the night in question that she`s talking about, it may not but it certainly sounds like a similar type of gathering.
And then I would put in the category of sort of the prior consistent statements, the corroborating witnesses who Dr. Ford spoke to. And those are so important because, remember, the people that she claims to have told this about previously, this was before Judge Kavanaugh was ever even on the shortlist for the Supreme Court. And so it goes to her motive.
If she really did tell them about this by name or in general description back then, it really would show that she`s not lying now because she has no motive. She isn`t trying to take him down from the Supreme Court. This isn`t a political motive as some have said.
And then the last category I would say would be just generally talking to Kavanaugh`s friends from high school, from college about his drinking habits. The drinking is central. And I know to some it may sound petty, but it`s central for two reasons.
One is it goes to whether there`s an explanation for why he doesn`t remember this event. Did he drink to excess and blackout? He never answered that question and he got belligerent and dodged it. And then the second reason it`s important is because he`s made so many statements about the fact that he didn`t drink to excess. And both in interviews and even in the hearing, as much as he tried to dodge it.
And so if we show that that is just patently false, if that`s what comes out of these interviews, then we`re going to see, you know, possible, I think, referral for perjury.
O`DONNELL: And anyone who thinks that drinking too much or questions about drinking too much in a Senate confirmation don`t matter, it`s one of the reasons why Republican Senator John Tower when he was on his way to confirmation as defense secretary was defeated, was the problems with his answers to the drinking questions and just how much of a drinking problem he actually had.
Mimi Rocah, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
ROCAH: Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: There has never been as much testimony about beer in a confirmation hearing as there was yesterday. But even that apparently was not enough to describe how much Brett Kavanaugh really drank in his high school and college years. Two college friends of Brett Kavanaugh`s will join us.
O`DONNELL: Yesterday, we heard Brett Kavanaugh deal with questions about just how drunk he got when he was in high school and in college.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MITCHELL, PROSECUTOR: Have you ever passed out from drinking?
KAVANAUGH: Passed out would be no but I`ve gone to sleep but I`ve never blacked out.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: You`ve said you`ve never had gaps in memories, never had any losses, whatsoever, never had foggy recollection about what happened. Is that correct, sir? Yes or no?
KAVANAUGH: That`s what I said.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: So you`re saying there`s never been a case where you drank so much that you didn`t remember what happened the night before or part of what happened?
KAVANAUGH: You`re asking blackout, I don`t know. Have you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: But some people who knew Brett Kavanaugh during his college years at Yale are coming forward to say that his testimony was not true. Kit Winter moved into Kavanaugh`s dorm room at Yale during his freshmen year.
"The Cut" reports that Kavanaugh and his crowd, whom Winter characterizes as loud, obnoxious, frat boy-like drunks were the hardest drinkers on campus. There was a lot of vomit in the bathroom. No one ever cleaned it up. It was disgusting. It wasn`t incidental. It wasn`t, "Oh, this weekend someone puked in the bathroom." People were constantly puking in the bathroom constantly.
Kavanaugh`s other roommate was James Roche who earlier this week publicly released a statement in support of Deborah Ramirez who alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself to her very aggressively while he was drunk at a Yale party and thrust himself so close to her face that when she pushed him away, she had to touch him in a way that horrified her. Roche did not witness that incident but says Kavanaugh, "Was a notably heavy drinker even by the standards of the time, and that he became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk."
Liz Swisher, a friend of Kavanaugh`s from Yale told "The Washington Post" that Brett was a sloppy drunk and I know because I drank with him. I watched him drink more than a lot of people. He`d end up slurring his words, stumbling. It`s not credible for him to say that he has had no memory lapses in the nights that he drank to excess.
Another friend from Yale, Lynne Brookes recalls seeing Kavanaugh drunk at a party for his fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon. After watching Kavanaugh`s interview on "Fox News "on Monday, she told "The Post," "He`s trying to paint himself as some kind of choir boy. You can`t lie your way onto the Supreme Court. And with that statement out, he`s gone too far."
Brett Kavanaugh`s college friends Lynne Brookes and Liz Swisher who were both Yale roommates of Deborah Ramirez will join us after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAVANAUGH: We drank beer. We liked beer.
MITCHELL: What do you consider to be too many beers?
KAVANAUGH: I don`t know. You know, we -- whatever the chart says on blood alcohol chart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: You know who doesn`t know what too many beers is? Someone who drinks too many beers. Joining our discussion now, Liz Swisher and Lynne Brookes. Both were friends of Kavanaugh`s in college and roommates with Deborah Ramirez who has accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual aggressiveness, I guess we could call it.
Liz Swisher, your reaction to what you heard Brett Kavanaugh say under oath about his drinking?
LIZ SWISHER, ROOMED WITH DEBORAH RAMIREZ IN COLLEGE: I was appalled. He was clearly lying and it was incredibly disturbing to see somebody perjuring themselves who is in line to be a Supreme Court Justice.
O`DONNELL: And Lynne Brookes, your reaction to what you heard?
LYNNE BROOKES, ROOMED WITH DEBORAH RAMIREZ IN COLLEGE: I agree. The reason that I decided to speak out was when he gave the "Fox News" interview. And as I said in "The Washington Post", tried to paint himself as a choir boy where all he did was study and play sports and every once in a while he would have a beer. And that`s simply not consistent with the Brett Kavanaugh that I knew in college.
O`DONNELL: I mean, Liz he could have testified that "Yes, you know, I drank. I got drunk a lot. I don`t do anything like that now. That was my, you know, teenage years and my college years." And then gone back to his, I think good talking point that "Look, I did all of my homework. I got all of my work done. So how bad could it be." But he seemed to try to do everything he could to minimize the drinking.
SWISHER: Right. That`s what was surprising to me is that I drank too much in college, I think a lot of kids drink too much in college. But if you are able to get, you know, get your work done and you move on with your life and you don`t drink as much but we all drink a fair amount and we made some stupid choices. That would have been totally fine. If he had said that, I wouldn`t be here today.
O`DONNELL: And, Lynne let`s talk about Deborah Ramirez. You both were roommates and friendly with Deborah Ramirez and her story of Brett Kavanaugh being really incoherently drunk and dropping his pants and aggressively thrusting himself in her face and she had to push him away and touch him in a way that disgusted her. What was your reaction to that story?
BROOKES: Well, I did not witness any of that kind of behavior. I didn`t witness that specific incident and nor did I witness Brett doing that at any of the parties that I was with him. I do believe Deborah Ramirez`s account. She is not someone that would come forward and lie, but that`s not behavior that I witnessed from Brett Kavanaugh.
O`DONNELL: And, Liz what was your reaction to Debbie Ramirez`s story.
SWISHER: Yes. Well, that was very upsetting because I do believe Debbie. She is very honest. She was an innocent person, but I was not able to corroborate that because, again, I wasn`t there. But men rarely do those types of things when other girls are around.
O`DONNELL: And, Lynne, the Debbie Ramirez`s accusation is something that presumably the FBI will take a look at this week. Do you suppose they`ll be able to find anyone who might be a witness to that?
BROOKES: Well, she does recall people in the room and there were certainly people that were referenced in "The New Yorker" article. Although their names weren`t given, I could certainly determine who they were and hopefully, they will speak truthfully to the FBI.
O`DONNELL: And Liz, you see a college friend of yours on his way to possibly a big job, as big a job you can get really, and he starts tapping to talk about his drinking publicly and he understates it. Why wasn`t that something you could just let slide?
SWISHER: Because that was blurring the difference between truth and falsehood. And for somebody who is a federal judge and in line potentially to be in the highest court in our country, there can be no blurring of truth and falsehood. There can be no alternative facts. We need somebody who stands by truth and justice.
O`DONNELL: And, Lynne certainly there Are dozens of other Yale people who certainly saw the same thing you did at the same parties. They`re not coming forward. What made you decide that you couldn`t just sit back when you heard Brett Kavanaugh say these things?
BROOKES: Well, I tend to agree with Liz, that it is really important for people that feel that there`s a need for truth in today`s dialogue to come forward and speak out. Our judicial system is based on the foundation of truth. And if you can`t believe a federal judge or a Supreme Court justice in what they say, then where really is our judicial system?
And that`s why I got angry when I saw how Brett characterized himself in the "Fox News" interview because it is not consistent. It is not truthful, and there is not a separate reality of alternative facts. People need to speak truth to power.
O`DONNELL: And the FBI is going to be investigating now, and because his testimony about how much he drank is now relevant, the FBI might and probably will want to talk to you. Liz, are you prepared to talk to the FBI knowing that anything that you say that`s not true to the FBI could be considered a federal crime?
SWISHER: Of course. I will speak truth.
O`DONNELL: And Lynne?
BROOKES: Absolutely, 100 percent. I`m very confident in what I`ve been saying publicly.
O`DONNELL: Lynne Brookes, Liz Swisher, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
SWISHER: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s LAST WORD.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: Oh, Lindsey, Lindsey was serious about what he was seeing and he had this message for his fellow lawmakers.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: To my Republican colleagues, if you can ignore everything in this record, look at an allegation that`s 35- years-old, that`s uncertain in time, place, date and no corroboration, if that`s enough for you, God help us all as Republicans because this happens to us, it never happens to them. But let me tell you, my Democratic friends. If this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.
COLBERT: Yes, Democrats. If you`re not careful, if you`re not careful, pretty soon there will be no accused sex offenders in government.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
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