Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: October 5, 2018 Guest: Maya Wiley, Jill Wine-Banks, Jennifer Palmieri; Lisa Graves; Kerri Willoughby; Minoo Minaei
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel. I had exactly the same reaction to that tweet. I couldn`t -- it`s one of those things you hold it and you look at it and wonder how many times do I have to read this before I see that it`s fake or something, but yes. Really striking.
MADDOW: I just immediately started googling Susan Rice connections to Maine, Susan Rice Maine.
O`DONNELL: That was the most economical sticking a toe in the water of politics in history, exactly two letters, M-E, that`s all she had to present.
MADDOW: And her clarification after every body is like, dude, you should, you totally should. After all that reaction her clarification clearly laying a predicate that maybe this is not a terrible idea and maybe you should keep an eye on here. So, that`s a whole new political idea.
O`DONNELL: It was one of those days. Thank you, Rachel. Well, exactly one Republican senator voted against Brett Kavanaugh`s nomination to the Supreme Court today. Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski said that she decided how to vote when she was on her way to the Senate chamber to cast her vote.
Now, Senator Murkowski had women fly down from Alaska to try to influence her vote, and it seems as though they succeeded. We will be talking to two of those women later in this hour. Senate rules allow the video camera shots of individual senators only when those senators are on their feet speaking.
And so there is no video of Senator Murkowski as she entered the Senate chamber having just made her decision on the way, as she was sitting there waiting on the Senate floor and as that vote was approaching. We have no video of Senator Murkowski after she voted.
Steven Dennis of Bloomberg was able to keep an eye on Senator Murkowski from the press gallery above the Senate floor in the Senate chamber looking down on Senator Murkowski when she was on the floor. And here`s what he described in a tweet at 11:18 a.m. "Watched Murkowski entire time. Her demeanor changed a bit after Collins and flake voted aye. Her vote no longer the deciding vote. She looks down for a while, closed her eyes, blinked a bunch and then looked up with resolve. When her name was called she stood and said, no softly."
Senator Murkowski did not fully explain her vote until tonight on the Senate floor. Senator Murkowski`s explanation was an echo of what we heard yesterday from former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens who said he changed his mind personally about the suitability of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.
Because of the way Brett Kavanaugh behaved in last week`s judiciary committee hearing in which Brett Kavanaugh claimed through tears and rage that he was facing an attempted rape allegation by Dr. Christine Blasey ford because of a Democratic Party conspiracy that included what Brett Kavanaugh called revenge on behalf of the Clintons.
Justice Stevens was horrified by what Brett Kavanaugh had to say, not in Brett Kavanaugh`s denial in the accusations against him, but in the accusations Brett Kavanaugh made about so many people who were out to get him.
And Justice Stevens said that that meant that Brett Kavanaugh could not be trusted to be an impartial Supreme Court justice on cases that might involve the large range of people in organizations that Brett Kavanaugh attacked in his own confirmation hearing.
Senator Murkowski did not mention John Paul Stevens in what she had to say tonight, but surely ever member of the Senate knows exactly what Justice Stevens said yesterday because it is the first time a retired Supreme Court justice has ever publicly opposed the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice. Here is some of what Senator Murkowski had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: I have a very high bar for any nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States. The code of judicial conduct rule 1.2 -- this is one that many, many people in this body know. But it states that, quote, "A judge act at all-times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety."
And after -- after the hearing that we all watched last week, last Thursday, it became clear to me or was becoming clearer that that appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable. And I`ve been deliberating, agonizing about what is fair.
Is this too unfair a burden to place on somebody that is dealing with the worst, the most horrific allegations that go to your integrity, that go to everything you are? And I think we all struggle with how we would respond. But I am reminded there are only -- there are only nine seats on the bench of the highest court in the land.
And these seats are occupied by these men and women for their lifetime. And so those who seek one of these seats must meet the highest standard in all respects at all-times, and that is hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: When Republican Senator Susan Collins announced her decision to vote for Brett Kavanaugh today, she became in effect the deciding vote in favor of Brett Kavanaugh`s confirmation. Susan Collins spent 45 minutes to get to the point of announcing that she would vote for Brett Kavanaugh.
But it was obvious from the start when she began praising Brett Kavanaugh`s judicial record and most importantly when she announced the standard that she used for evaluating Dr. Ford`s accusation against Brett Kavanaugh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: In evaluating any given claim of misconduct, we will be ill-served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNEL: Senator Collins claim that we should always presume that someone is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which we all know is true in a criminal trial, but has never been true in the United States Senate. And Susan Collins herself does not believe in that standard in the United States Senate.
Susan Collins is one of the senators who said that Al Franken should resign from the Senate, even though sexual harassment accusations against him had not been investigated at all by the Senate. And Al Franken himself immediately asked for a senate ethics committee investigation of the charges against him before any other senator even suggested such an investigation.
He asked for a Senate ethics committee investigation, in which if we are to believe Susan Collins today, Susan Collins would have given him the presumption of innocence. But Susan Collins did not give him the presumption of innocence. Said he should resign. Without one minute of investigation Susan Collins threw that presumption away and said senator franken should resign.
The senate has never used the presumption of innocence standard with nominees, never for any position. Many nominees have been forced to withdraw for much less than what Brett Kavanaugh was accused of. And so Senator Collins attempts to attach her vote to a sacred principle of presumption of innocence in the United States was not really what she was doing today.
Presumption of innocence was a convenient tool for her to cite today. But don`t expect Susan Collins to use the presumption of innocence tomorrow if a Democratic senator faces accusations. Senator Collins reviewed Brett Kavanaugh`s denial of Dr. Ford`s accusation as if the denial was a fact because Brett Kavanaugh said it under oath.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Judge Kavanaugh forcefully denied the allegations under penalty of felony. Mark Judge denied under penalty of felony that he had witnessed an assault.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So Dr. Ford accused two people of committing a crime, two people of attempting to rape her, Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge. And Susan Collins is very impressed by the two accused criminals denying the crime under oath. That`s what accused criminals do every day. Susan Collins did not just give Brett Kavanaugh the presumption of innocence. She also gave him the presumption of honesty.
She presumed Brett Kavanaugh was telling the truth. And possibly even worse, she presumed that Mark Judge was telling the truth, a man who has said that he was a blackout alcoholic in high school at the time of this accusation and therefore obviously was involved in and participated in all sorts of events in his life that he does not remember.
Republicans always knew that in order to confirm Brett Kavanaugh they were going to have to keep Mark Judge invisible. They were going to have to make sure that the other person who was in the room during the attack, according to Dr. Ford, was not brought into the room where Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh testified.
Republicans feared that no one would be able to believe Mark Judge about anything that he claims to remember or not remember. And so the suppression of evidence, the refusal to call witnesses was an important part of the Republican plan, so that a senator like Susan Collins in casting the deciding vote in this nomination could stand up in the United States Senate today and treat the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh as a closed case.
But it could someday be a reopened case if Democrats win the House of Representatives and decide to investigate the FBI investigation of Brett Kavanaugh that was never a real investigation.
Leading off our discussion now Maya Wiley, former federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst, Jill Wine-Banks, former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and an MSNBC legal contributor, and Lisa Graves, former chief counsel for nominations for Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the former deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice.
And Lisa, you know more about senate confirmations of Supreme Court justices than any of us. And you`ve been with us in our coverage of this every night that we`ve been on it. And I just want to give you the floor tonight. I don`t presume to even ask you a question or guide you in any direction. I just want to know what you`re feeling, what you`re thinking tonight.
LISA GRAVES, FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL FOR NOMINATIONS FOR DEMOCRATS ON THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, thank you Lawrence so much for having me on and have the opportunity to be part of this dialogue with you, with our country over the past couple of weeks that`s been a real roller coaster ride. There have been moments of tremendous hope and tremendous disappointment in terms of the way the process has been so railroaded by Republicans.
And I think right now I have tremendous sorrow for the court and for the nation for this man being put on the court when he is so manifestly unfit for that role. He fails every high standard that sets for that court in terms of impartiality, fairness, trustworthiness, and also temperament. And temperament counts the most when you`re under pressure.
And I also think it`s quite clear that he held his temperament when he was talking to Fox News. He wasn`t screaming. He was screaming at Democratic members of that judiciary committee putting on a performance and a performance that was most unbecoming for a judge.
But I have great hope that the American people have witnessed this sham that the Republicans have put together to install him on the court. And that they will hold him to account, they will hold the politicians to account that has tried to sweep the testimony of eyewitness testimony of Dr. Ford under the table.
And I think that there`s going to be a great surge in activity by women and men across the country at this tremendous injustice. And I also think there`s going to be an asterisk beside every decision that Justice Kavanaugh issues in favor of the people who helped install him on that court and against the interest of the American people.
O`DONNELLL: I want to listen to President Trump when he announced what he thought the standard of proof should be in this situation -- this case, if we want to call it that, in the judiciary committee because we always knew, one of the first things I discussed in this program was it was going to come down to a standard of proof in evaluating the evidence presented to the committee by Dr. Ford. Let`s listen to what Donald Trump said. Let`s listen to how much doubt Donald Trump said was tolerable in this case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel that the Republicans -- and I can speak for myself -- we should go through a process because there shouldn`t even be a little doubt. There shouldn`t be a doubt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jill Wine-Banks, no one on the Republican side agreed with that. None of them applied the standard of no doubt. They went with reasonable doubt and gave the benefit of the reasonable doubt to Brett Kavanaugh.
JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTION: Actually, I don`t think they even used a standard of reasonable doubt. That`s what you would use in a criminal trial. This was a job interview. This was for a promotion from the circuit court to the highest court in our land, a lifetime appointment. And the standard is not that of a criminal case.
The standard is was he at all believable? Did he display judicial temperament? And as Lisa just said, his performance in front of the Senate last Thursday showed that he is temperamentally unsuited for any court. He attacked the judges -- I`m sorry -- he attacked the senators who were questioning him. He acted in a way that was completely not appropriate for any candidate for the Supreme Court or for any candidate.
Who would hire anybody who behaved that way if it was a corporate position? No one would. It was not the right standard. And Susan Collins today said it wasn`t a beyond a reasonable doubt standard. She used a much lower standard and then gave him a pass on it. But no one would have believed them. People believe that men who come forward saying they were attacked in a sexual manner by a priest, they come forward 30 years later and no one questions whether they`re telling the truth.
So why is it when a woman comes forward and has a very credible case to make and says things, they won`t even investigate? Anita Hill had more of a sympathetic hearing in a sense that at least the FBI did more of an investigation, not adequate, and the senate didn`t allow corroborating witnesses who were there to testify. Here they didn`t even look for them. Of course you can`t find evidence if you are told not to interview the people who have the evidence. That was wrong.
O`DONNELL: And the Senate brought in 22 witnesses to testify about Anita Hill`s accusations. And of course we saw they didn`t bring in any witnesses beyond Dr. Ford. And here is -- this brings us to James Roche`s tweet tonight. James Roche is a former Yale roommate of Brett Kavanaugh.
And he tweeted tonight -- he`s been tweeting about this kind of thing regularly and he said, "I just heard about another classmate at Yale who reached out to the local FBI field office to describe Kavanaugh drinking, a nasty drunk, definitely blackout and gambling, no reply." And Maya, that`s one of what now is several people from Yale who had information and wanted to bring it to the FBI.
MAYA WILEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes, and I think Lisa and Jill are absolutely right. And I would say it`s even worse than we`re talking about it right now because they didn`t even apply a presumption of innocence to Kavanaugh. They applied a presumption that they were going to approve him no matter what because -- and that point, Lawrence, is the most important, as if they intentionally ignored evidence that someone who is being considered for the highest court of the land may have actually lied to them under oath.
They refused to look at it. When they said they would reopen the FBI background check, they tied the hands. They literally -- not they, the White House, let`s be clear. They handcuffed the FBI. They handcuffed the FBI. So we`re talking about a Democratic process that lacked all democracy.
But it didn`t even apply any standard, because its standard would have said that we will actually -- even if we were presuming innocence, we will look at the evidence to ensure hat that presumption actually applies. They did not do it.
O`DONNELL: And Lisa, Senator Murkowski seemed to accept Justice John Paul Steven`s standard of evaluating this and who would be better at evaluating that. No one knows more about the Supreme Court than he does. But Susan Collins did -- it`s like she didn`t hear a word that Justice Stevens said.
GRAVES: That`s right. And I think she in essence didn`t want to hear a word from him and from others. For her to basically credit as you pointed out, credit Brett Kavanaugh as truthful because he testified under oath ignores the amount of evidence that he repeatedly testified falsely under oath, in 2004, 2006, the beginning of September 2018 and at the end of September.
And so he was not entirely in (inaudible) presumption, in fact, under the rules of evidence if they were applicable, he`d be entitled to presumption of everything he says is presumed to be false and falsely exonerating.
O`DONNELL: Maya Wiley, Lisa Graves, Jill Wine-Banks. thank you for starting our discussion tonight.
When we come back from this break, if you think that the United States Senate did not serve the majority of the people today, you are right. And that is what he Senate does all too frequently.
And later, two women who traveled all the way from Alaska to try to be heard by Senator Lisa Murkowski, they were definitely heard by Senator Murkowski
O`DONNELL: Sickening. That is the word I kept hearing this week from sexual assault survivors who felt they were being ignored by the majority in the United States Senate. That is the word I kept hearing from women who have never experienced sexual assault but felt that the majority in the United States Senate does not believe that the word of a woman is of equal value to the word of a man.
Sickening is the word I kept hearing from the people who opposed Brett Kavanaugh`s confirmation, which is according to polls, a much larger group of people than supporters of Brett Kavanaugh`s confirmation. Brett Kavanaugh is the least popular Supreme Court nominee in history and is on his way to becoming the least popular nominee ever actually confirmed. He`s the least popular nominee to actually get confirmed.
The last nominee with Brett Kavanaugh`s polling numbers where I report was defeated in the Senate vote. In that case the United States Senate followed the express will of the people. Not today. And that adds something profoundly disturbing to the sickening feeling that opponents of the Kavanaugh nomination have tonight. There is an unfortunate truth at the base of what the most people are feeling tonight, and that truth is that the Senate is not a Democratic institution.
That is the sickening core of what we feel deep down when we watch the Senate work. The senate destroys the American illusion of democracy as it was designed to do. We are allowed to ignore that uncomfortable truth most of the time, but not now. The founders deliberately created an anti- Democratic institution and called it the United States Senate. That was not the founder`s only anti-Democratic design.
The founders did not believe in democracy. They experimented with it. They did not allow most people to be voters. Their experiment in democracy was to only allow voting among men, white men. That group of white Republican men you saw sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee was the founding fathers` idea of what democracy is supposed to look like.
That`s what senators were supposed to look like and that`s what voters were supposed to look like. Most adults would not be allowed to vote in the founders design, most of them. No women were ever supposed to be allowed to vote according to the founding fathers. That`s why there were no founding mothers. No black people were ever supposed to be allowed to vote because slaves were never supposed to be allowed to vote.
No uneducated people, no poor people, different states instituted different rules about how much land you had to own or how much wealth you had to have or how much you literally had to pay in a poll tax so you could cast a ballot. But even that favored white male minority that was allowed to vote was not allowed to vote for president. And they were not allowed to vote for United States senators.
They were only allowed to vote for electors who would then meet in an electoral college and those electors would then decide who the president would be and those electors were free to vote for anyone they wanted to be president.
The founding fathers didn`t think mere citizens would ever be wise enough to vote for a United States Senator. So that was left to the state legislatures to decide who the United States senators would be. The founding fathers did not believed in democracy. They never believed in one man, man vote. And they certainly never believed in one person, one vote.
And so when it came time to design the United States Senate, since they were not believers in one man, one vote, each state would get two senators. The big states would get two and the tiny states would get two. I can understand how that seem kind of fair at the time. But they never dreamed that there would one day be a state called California with a population almost the size of England and that Delaware would become even smaller in relative size to what it was then compared to the big states when it was a founding member of the United States of America.
The population gap between the big states and the small states is bigger than ever and keeps getting bigger all the time. So the votes of New Yorkers and Californians become worth less every day in the United States Senate compared to the votes of people in the Dakotas and Wyoming and most of the confederate states.
And so the Senate is now deeply undemocratic and getting worse every single day. People who live in countries that have never really pretended to be fully democratic don`t feel the disappointment and sickness that Americans feel when democracy so obviously fails. People in most countries are realists about the limits of they`re so-called democracies.
An American realist knows that the federal government has never even tried democracy, not for one day. And so today in the United States Senate the senators who represent 55 percent of the American people lost an important Senate vote, again. I love the Senate when I worked there, just loved it. Everyone did. And everyone was proud to work there.
Like everyone else in the Senate I looked down on the unruly and unsophisticated housing representatives its gerrymandering districts. But after my first few years working in the Senate, it was slowly dawning on me that the senate was an unfixable crime against democracy, and that is truly sickening.
That is at the base of what people are feeling today. You live in a country where the founders believed you would never be smart enough to vote directly for a United States senator. And they were wrong about that. They were wrong about a lot. But it does mean that you have to work much harder in this country if you really do believe in democracy.
If you want to elect a United States Senate with a majority that actually represents a majority of the people, then you and everyone you know who feels that way has to work much harder than the founding fathers ever believed that you could or you would.
And that means that every election matters whether it`s a mid-term election or a presidential election year. And it means most importantly in every state that every vote matters. The vote for United States Senate that the founding fathers never wanted you to have.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you think history will judge the U.S. Senate?
DEBRA KATZ, LAWYER OF CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD: Poorly.
LISA BANKS, LAWYER OF CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD: I think that remains to be seen and we`ll know a lot more in November. But I don`t think that the millions of women who have been protesting and calling their Senators` offices are going to be particularly happy if we see a confirmation vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now Jennifer Palmieri, former White House Communications Director for President Obama and former Communications Director for Hillary Clinton`s campaign. And Lisa Graves is back with us.
And Jennifer, I want to give you an open floor to simply react to what you saw today.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: You know, it`s very distressing because, on the one hand, we see that someone who`s proven himself unworthy to be on the United States Supreme Court in many ways is likely to get confirmed tomorrow. But I think what we have seen watching happening in the country today is history.
The segment that you just did sort of set up this question that we`re wrestling with, which is we`re having to come to terms with the fact that power has been held in this country by men, by white men. And while we had a great idea about the country being created -- of all people being equal, we enfranchise a small number of people and disenfranchised a much larger number, because that only applied if you were white, a man and owned lands. And that bill is due.
And it`s distressing as it is to know that Brett Kavanaugh is likely to be on the court. I look at the progress that we`ve made in just the last 30 years. You look at the Anita Hill hearing and what she underwent. And despite that and despite seeing how the president of the United States treats women who have accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford had the courage to come forward and say, "This man assaulted me, I`m sure of it. I`m sure it was this man. Here`s some things I don`t remember about it, but I`m sure of that. I`m sure I was assaulted by him and it was he who did it. and I`m willing to say it in front of the United States Senate and all the world."
And in turn, you have seen an outpouring of thousands and thousands of women come forward to say the same. And you see these women in the Capitol who confront senators with rage and fear, and I am happy to say with pride about talking about their assault and expecting that they`re going to be heard, believed and respected. And no matter what the outcome is tomorrow, that`s not going to change.
A year ago today "The New York Times" wrote the first story about Harvey Weinstein and start and really ignited Me Too. Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Matt Halperin, Al Franken. You know, the list goes on. And the United States Senate, that may be one place where people in that chamber on the Republican side, and I`m sorry to say, one Democrat, don`t get it but the voters do. And that`s what I think you`ll see the reaction coming in November.
O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at the polling that Jennifer just mentioned, the difference between the Clarence Thomas situation and the Brett Kavanaugh situation. I think we have it up on the screen. But more people actually believed Clarence Thomas over Anita Hill. Anita Hill was only believed by 24 percent, Clarence Thomas was believed by 40 percent 27 years ago.
Now, Christine Blasey Ford is believed by 45 percent. She is, of all the four people we`re talking about here, the person who`s been believed the most in real time when it was happening, 45 percent. Brett Kavanaugh, fewer people believed Brett Kavanaugh than believed Clarence Thomas, down to 33 percent.
And so, Lisa, that is a kind of grim appalling picture of a very slow progress.
LISA GRAVES, FORMER STAFFER, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I think what you point out before is that we have a counter Democratic institution in the Senate that now is installing someone who is disliked by most American people to an institution of the Supreme Court that is not subject to real democratic check by the people. And in the face of what we`ve seen, even with the fears I think many people had after the election in 2016 of Donald Trump and the potential vacancy of the Supreme Court, I don`t think anyone thought that he would somehow find a man so close to his image in terms of the lying, in terms of being accused so credibly of sexual assault, in terms of the partisanship, and putting forth basis conspiracy theories but here we stand.
And I think the American women in this country and men are not going to stand for that. I think we`re seeing a rising, a surge. And I think that in 2018 and 2020, women and men are going to unite to repel, repudiate what`s happening today, this weekend in Washington and what`s happening to deny our democracy -- the full measure of our democracy through many of these senators in that United States Senate and the injustice that they`re doing right now.
O`DONNELL: As the accident of timing would have it, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan both appeared at Princeton at a panel discussion there. They`re both graduates of Princeton. They did that today. I want to listen to Justice Sotomayor talking about the institutional reputation now for the Supreme Court and how the court holds onto legitimacy in this atmosphere and what a challenge that is. Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I think we have a chance of holding on to our legitimacy. As Elena says, though, we`re each going to have to think about how to do that and how to implement and support our institutional reputation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And Jennifer, that institutional reputation seems like more of a challenge than ever.
PALMIERI: Yes. I mean/ it`s so sobering to hear her say we have a chance of holding onto the institutional reputation.
O`DONNELL: Yes, just a chance.
PALMIERI: Just a chance. And one thing that I have not been able to move beyond is understanding that when Brett Kavanaugh walked into the hearing room last week, he thought he was done. He spoke of his nomination in the past tense. He talked about, "When I still believe there`s a chance, I would be confirmed." So, you know, one piece he left out of his op-ed that he gave to "The Journal" was the truth which was that the airing I gave in the judiciary committee was when I thought I was going to lose.
Even he thought that the Republicans would not confirm him after what they heard. But despite what they heard from Christine Blasey Ford and despite the very partisan and what I found truly shocking testimony that he gave on last week, the Republicans continued on and gave him their approval. And, you know, now you`re in a situation where you have a United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor saying we have a chance of holding onto that integrity of the court.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer Palmieri and Lisa Graves, thank you both for joining our discussion tonight. Really appreciate it.
GRAVES: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, the women who helped Senator Lisa Murkowski make up her mind. Two women from Alaska who traveled all the way to Washington to be heard will join us.
O`DONNELL: Here`s more of what Senator Lisa Murkowski said tonight when she explained why she`s opposed to Brett Kavanaugh`s nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: There is an emotion that really has been unleashed in these recent weeks. And these are discussions that we need to have as a country. We need to have these as a country. We need to bring survivors to a place where they feel that they can heal. But until you come out of the shadow and know and do so without shame, it`s pretty hard to heal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Murkowski`s office was flooded with women trying to talk to her including at least 130 women who traveled from Alaska in the hope of being heard by their Senator. And here is some of what Lisa Murkowski heard from them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MURKOWSKI: I have met with so many survivors, and I know that every single one of us has. We`ve heard those voices. We`ve heard those voices, and I hope that we have all learned something, that we owe it to the victims of sexual assault to do more and to do better and to do it now with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Two women who traveled the 4,000 miles from Alaska to Washington, D.C. to speak to Lisa Murkowski and help change her mind about Brett Kavanaugh will join us next.
O`DONNELL: If you live in Virginia or Maryland, then you want to make your voices heard in the United State Senate, you can take an Uber to get there. If you live in Alaska, it is a lot harder. Alaska is further from Washington than Paris is. That did not stop women from Alaska from making the trip in the hope of being heard by their Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Two of those women are joining us now. Kerri Willoughby and Minoo Minaei.
Kerri, tell me when you decided to go to Washington and how long did you plan to be there. This is a kind of trip where you can`t quite be sure how long you`re going to be needed there.
KERRI WILLOUGHBY, MET WITH SENATOR MURKOWSKI: Hi, Lawrence. Thank you for having me. I just decided on Tuesday night when I heard that there were over a hundred women coming to D.C. and I jumped at the opportunity to be able to talk to Senator Murkowski, even if there was a glimmer of hope that we could influence her decision on the vote.
O`DONNELL: And Minoo, what has it been like for you in the Senate? Is this your first time visiting the United States Senate and trying to have a new point set?
MINOO MINAEI, MET WITH SENATOR MURKOWSKI: Thank you so much, Lawrence for inviting us first. And actually, this is my first time in the Senate and trying to go through this procedure. It has been very, very uplifting and also it has been very, very hard to see what is happening in our judicial system.
O`DONNELL: And Kerri, what did you tell Senator Murkowski when you had your chance?
WILLOUGHBY: I told Senator Murkowski that I believe Dr. Christine Ford and that I watched Brett Kavanaugh demonstrate that he doesn`t have the temperament to serve as a Supreme Court justice. And I asked Senator Murkowski to please be brave and devote her conscience and not just for the women in the room that day or the women in Alaska but for all the women in the whole United States, I asked her to please vote no.
O`DONNELL: And Minoo, what did you tell Senator Murkowski when you got your chance?
MINAEI: Lawrence, I came to Washington, D.C. as a teacher, as a mother, as a grandmother, and to plea Senator Murkowski. And I had to thank her immensely for being so kind to accept our visit and invite us to her office and to listen to each one of us individually and take her time to listen to such a story that`s heart-wrenching.
And as a teacher, I have to say a vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, it tells our survivors of physical and sexual abuse victims that they have absolutely no right in our judicial system. And I have to tell you, Senator Murkowski was so kind to listen to us but I was appalled today in the Senate, what I witnessed.
O`DONNELL: And Kerri, did you have a feeling that Lisa Murkowski was going to vote against the nomination? Did you, at any point, get the feeling that you knew what she was going to do?
WILLOUGHBY: When we were in the meeting with her, you could tell that she definitely cared about what we had to say. It was obvious that she was willing to listen to us and was willing to have meetings with so many of us who traveled from Alaska. And you could tell that those stories that people shared in the office with her really meant something to her.
And, I have been hopeful all along but I did have hope after that meeting that she would vote no. And I told her during that meeting that she had a chance to truly be a hero for women if she would vote no.
O`DONNELL: Kerri Willoughby and Minoo Minaei, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it. Thank you.
MINAEI: Thank you.
WILLOUGHBY: Thanks so much.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s last word is next.
O`DONNELL: For tonight`s last word, we turn to two members of the United States Supreme Court who spoke today at Princeton University.
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SOTOMAYOR: I don`t believe that you can be part of the working world without having a moment of story, if not more than one, about being treated differently because you are a woman.
ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: This is a really divided time and part of the court`s strength and part of the court`s legitimacy depends on people not seeing the court in the way that people see the rest of the governing structures of this country now. People thinking of the court as not politically divided in the same way, it`s not an extension of politics but instead somehow above the fray.
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O`DONNELL: Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan get tonight`s last word.
"THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.