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Commentary on the Hearing So Far; Continuation of Hearing Following Lunch Break. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired September 27, 2018 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: She said 100 percent it happened. He will say 100 percent it didn't happen. Then people decide based on their guide and their eyes. And so far, that's just not good for us.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: That's going to be a tough road ahead for Judge Kavanaugh when he testifies.
There's more testimony coming up from Professor Ford. The committee is still in recess. They're about to resume this hearing.
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: The Senate Judiciary Committee will resume its hearing momentarily. We are awaiting the resumption of this hearing.
Let's first listen to a key vote. Republican Senator Jeff Flake, of Arizona, emerged from part one of the hearing and said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why would someone go through this, which is an excruciating experience, if they weren't telling the truth?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R), ARIZONA: No. I want to hear the whole hearing before commenting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I want to hear the whole hearing before commenting.
RICK SANTORUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's ridiculous. Give him a chance.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: That's just wrong.
TAPPER: Can I say something else. I just heard from another Senator on the Judiciary Committee, Senator Amy Klobuchar told me, quote, "If they had allowed the FBI investigation" -- speaking of the Republicans on the committee. "If they had allowed the FBI investigation and not outsourced their constitutional duties, they wouldn't have been surprised by things like the reason for why she took the polygraph where she did, was because she was at her grandmother's funeral."
[13:35:06] BLITZER: If they decide the votes aren't there, how does the president, how does the majority leader pull this nomination?
BLITZER: They are not going to allow a vote that will --
SANTORUM: No. They want this seat filled and they want it filled before January of next year. I have no doubt that if the calculus is that this is done, this can't happen -- and I don't think we are there yet -- but if it does come to that, they'll appoint someone within minutes. They may even do it --
TOOBIN: They will nominate, not appoint.
SANTORUM: Nominate. Excuse me. They will nominate someone. And I wouldn't be surprised if they nominate in the same press release. That's how quick -- it probably won't be, but it will be very quick. It will be very quick so the clock can start running, so that there will be more than 90 days. You've got more than three months. There have been votes on Christmas Eve and there have been votes on New Year's Eve. They will be a vote before the end of the year.
BLITZER: They've had their lunch. I'm not sure what they had for lunch, but there you see Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is seated. This hearing is about to resume. Let's listen in.
FORD: I'm just organizing my papers. I'll be ready in...
GRASSLEY: Take as long as you need.
FORD: ... 20 seconds. Thank you.
HIRONO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, is it your intent to cede all Republican senators' time to your prosecutor, rather than they themselves ceding their time to her?
HIRONO: We all know that the prosecutor, even though this clearly is not a criminal proceeding, is asking Dr. Ford all kinds of questions about what happened before and after, but basically not during the attack. The prosecutor should know that sexual assault survivors often do not remember peripheral information such as what happened before or after the traumatic event, and yet, she will persist in asking these questions all to undermine the memory and basically, the credibility of Dr. Ford. But we all know Dr. Ford's memory of the assault is very clear.
Dr. Ford, the Republican's prosecutor has asked you all kinds of questions about who you called and when, asking details that would be asked in a cross-examination of a witness in a criminal trial. But this is not a criminal proceeding. This is a confirmation proceeding. I think I know what she's trying to get at, so I'll just ask you very plainly, Dr. Ford, is there a political motivation for your coming forward with your account of the assault by Brett Kavanaugh?
FORD: No, and I'd like to reiterate that again, I was trying to get the information to you while there was still a list of other...
HIRONO: Thank you.
FORD: ... what looked like equally-qualified candidates.
HIRONO: And yet, they're not here to testify.
Dr. Ford, I'd like to join my colleagues who have thanked you for coming forward today. And I, and we all admire you for what you're doing, and I understand why you have come forward. You wanted us and the American people to know what you knew about the character, the character of a man we are considering for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
I want to take a moment, also, to note the significant personal sacrifices you've made to come forward to share your traumatic experience with us and the American people. You've had to move. You've had death threats, all manner of -- of basically re-victimization experiences have come your ways. But by coming forward, you have inserted the question of character into this nomination, and hopefully, back into American life, and rightly so. We should be made to face the question of who it is we are putting in positions of power and decision-making in this country. We should look the question square in the face: does character matter? Do our values, our real values about what is right and what is wrong, and about whether we treat our fellow human beings with dignity and respect, do they matter anymore? I believe they do, and I believe the reaction we have seen to this coverage right now, and your courage all over this country shows us that we're not alone, you're not alone; that women and men all across America are disgusted and sick and tired of the way basic human decency has been driven from our public life.
[13:40:00] The president admits on tape to assaulting women. He -- he separates children from their parents. He takes basic healthcare protections from those who need them most. He nominates and stands behind a man who stands credibly accused of a horrible act. I, again, want to thank you for coming forward.
Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that six items consisting of various statements, letters, fact sheet, posts are inserted into the record.
GRASSLEY: Is that one request, or you want me to wait for six?
HIRONO: Well, I have six separate items.
HIRONO: Because as -- I can go over them for you.
GRASSLEY: OK, no.
HIRONO: I would like to...
GRASSLEY: Let me not interrupt you.
GRASSLEY: Your -- your request is accepted without objection.
HIRONO: Thank you. And I would like to read from a -- an item that has already been entered into the record. But this is from a letter from the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. The letter states, and I quote this letter, "This moment has become a crucible. It's a test of our progress. Do we start by believing victims of sexual assault and treating them with dignity, or don't we? So far, Senate leaders are failing that test, prejudging the outcome of a hearing, sympathizing with her perpetrator, attacking her credibility. They send a message to every victim of sexual violence that their pain doesn't matter, that they do not deserve justice, and that for them, fair treatment is out of reach. This will only serve to drive victims into the shadows, and further emboldening abusers."
Once again, Dr. Ford, thank you very much. This is a moment for our country. Mahalo.
GRASSLEY: Senator -- Ms. Mitchell for Senator Crapo.
MITCHELL: Good afternoon.
MITCHELL: When we left off, we were still talking about the polygraph, and I believe you said it hasn't been paid for yet. Is that correct?
(UNKNOWN): Let me put an end to this misery. Her lawyers have paid for her polygraph.
(UNKNOWN): As is routine.
(UNKNOWN): As is routine.
MITCHELL: Dr. Ford, do you expect the price of that polygraph to be passed on to you?
FORD: I'm not sure yet. I haven't taken a look at all of the costs involved in this. We've relocated now twice, so I haven't kept track of all of that paperwork, but I'm sure I have a lot of work to do to catch up on all of that later.
MITCHELL: I -- I -- I get you have a lot going on, and you've had that for several months, but is it your understanding that someone else is going to assist you with some of these fees, including the cost for your polygraph?
FORD: I'm aware that there's been several GoFundMe sites that I haven't had a chance to figure out how to manage those, because I've never had one done for me.
MITCHELL: And I'm sorry, several what?
FORD: GoFundMe sites that have raised money, primarily for our security detail. So I'm not even quite sure how to collect that money or -- and (ph) how to distribute it yet. I haven't been able to focus on that.
MITCHELL: OK. In your testimony this morning, you stated that Senator Feinstein sent you a letter on August 31st of this year, is that right?
FORD: August 31st let me see.
GRASSLEY: Stop the clock (ph).
FORD: I sent her a letter on July 30th. And I don't have the date. I'd have to pull up my e-mail to find out the date of her e-mail to me saying that -- it was right before the hearings that she was going to maintain the confidentiality of the -- of the letter.
MITCHELL: Say that again, it was right before the hearings, then what?
FORD: That's my memory, but I could look it up for you. If you would like the exact date, I could pull it up on my e-mail.
MITCHELL: Yes, I just -- I want to make sure...
(UNKNOWN): (inaudible) the date, counsel?
MITCHELL: I want to make sure I understood what she -- you said.
(UNKNOWN): That document's been turned over to -- in response to a request for documents. You have it.
MITCHELL: Thank you, counsel. I want to make sure I understood what you said. Was it your understanding, it was going to be kept confidential up until right before the hearing?
FORD: It was my understanding that it was going to be kept confidential period.
MITCHELL: Period? OK. Between your polygraph on August the 7th and your receipt of the letter from Senator Feinstein, did you or anyone on your behalf speak to any member of Congress or congressional staff about these allegations?
FORD: I personally did not.
MITCHELL: So my question was, did you or anybody on your behalf.
FORD: I don't -- what do you mean, did someone speak for me?
MITCHELL: Somebody that worked -- is working with you or helping you. Did somebody at your behest on your behalf speak to somebody in Congress or staff?
FORD: I'm not sure.
FORD: I'm not sure how those exchanges went, but I didn't speak to anyone.
MITCHELL: OK. Is it possible that somebody did?
FORD: I -- I -- I think so, it would be possible. I -- I'm guessing it would be possible (ph), but I don't know.
(UNKNOWN): Excuse me. You've all asked her not to guess, and now you're asking her what's possible. So I think if you want to ask her what she knows, you should ask her what she knows.
MITCHELL: Is that an objection (ph), counsel?
(UNKNOWN): It is an objection (ph)...
MITCHELL: I'll have the chair rule on that.
FORD: I don't know what the -- I don't understand.
GRASSLEY: (OFF-MIKE) (inaudible) you should -- you should answer the question, unless there's a legal reason for not answering it on advice of your counsel.
FORD: So I don't totally understand the question, but I didn't speak with anyone during that timeframe other than my counsel. MITCHELL: OK. You've said repeatedly that you did not think that that letter that you wrote on July 30th was going to be released to the public, is that correct?
MITCHELL: OK. And is it true that you did not authorize it to be released at any time?
MITCHELL: OK. Besides your attorneys, did you provide -- you provided that letter to Senator Feinstein, is that correct?
FORD: I provided her a letter on July 30th.
MITCHELL: We're talking about the July 30th...
MITCHELL: ... letter.
MITCHELL: Did you -- and you provided that letter to Senator Feinstein, correct?
MITCHELL: Is that a yes?
MITCHELL: And you provided the letter to Representative Eshoo to deliver to Senator Feinstein?
MITCHELL: Besides those two individuals, Representative Eshoo and Senator Feinstein, and your attorneys, did you provide that letter to anyone else?
MITCHELL: Do you know how that letter became public?
MITCHELL: OK. After that letter was made public or leaked, did you reach back out to The Washington Post?
FORD: I reached out to The Washington -- well, they were continuously reaching out to me and I was not responding. But the time that I did respond and agree to do the sit-down was once the reporters started showing up at my home and at my workplace.
GRASSLEY: Senator Booker.
BOOKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Ford, thank you for being here. I just want to remind everyone that this is not a courtroom, this is not a legal proceeding, that you are here under your own volition and though the prosecutor's been engaged here to represent my colleagues, you're here, as you said, out of a -- a civic duty.
And I -- I want to join my colleagues that it -- it's really more than that. You know, our founding documents talk about civic duty. Our Declaration of Independence talks about for this country pledging your lives, your fortunes and your sacred honor.
And anybody who's read your testimony knows what you've had to sacrifice by coming forward. Your life has been upended. You have received vicious, hateful threats, death threats. You've had to move out of your family home -- to some expense, I imagine, to you and your family. You've had to engage security, to some expense. You've had to deal with incredible challenges.
And what's amazing -- and, I want to join my colleagues in thanking you for your courage and bravery in coming forward, all to help us deal with one of the most important obligations a senator has; to advise and consent on one of the branches of our government, the highest courts in the land, and the (ph) individual going before a lifetime appointment.
And you even said that the president had a lot of folks on that list.
And your fear was that this individual who assaulted you would ascend to that seat. That's correct, right?
BOOKER: Yes. And it is correct that you have given a lot of resources, taken a lot of threats to come forward, correct?
BOOKER: Assaults on your dignity and your humanity?
BOOKER: How has it affected your children?
FORD: They're doing fairly well, considering. Thank you for asking.
BOOKER: And your husband?
FORD: Doing fairly well, considering. Yes, thank you. Thank -- we have a very supportive community. BOOKER: That's good to hear. I want to use a different word for your courage because this is more -- as much as this hearing is about a Supreme Court justice, the reality is -- is by you coming forward, your courage, you are effecting the culture of our country.
We have a -- a wonderful nation, an incredible culture. But there are dark elements that allow unconscionable levels of -- unacceptable levels of sexual assault and harassment that are effecting girls and boys, and effecting men and women, from big media outlets, to corporations, to factory floors, to servers in restaurants, so our intimate spaces in homes and apartments all around this country.
I stepped out during the break and was deluged with notes from friends all around the country, social media posts, that there are literally hundreds of thousands of people watching your testimony right now. And in note after note that I got, people in tears feeling pain and anguish, not just feeling your pain but feeling their own, who have not come forward.
You are opening up to open air, hurt and pain that goes on across this country. And for that, the word I would use, it's nothing short of heroic. Because what you're doing for our nation right now, besides giving testimony germane to one the most sacred obligations of our offices, is you are speaking truth that this country needs to understand.
And how we deal with survivors who come forward right now is unacceptable. And the way we deal with this, unfortunately, allows for the continued darkness of this culture to exist. And your brilliance shining light onto this, speaking your truth is nothing short of heroic.
But to the matter at hand, one of my colleagues who I have a lot of respect for and I do consider him a friend went, to the Senate floor and spoke truth to both sides of the political aisle. Senator Flake said yesterday, "This is a lifetime appointment." and, "This is said to be a deliberative body. In the interest of due diligence and fairness... her claims must be fully aired and considered."
I agree with him. But you've asked for things that would give a full airing, from corroborating witnesses to be called, you've submitted to an intrusive polygraph test. Can you answer for me how do you feel that all the things that could have been done thoroughly to help this deliberative body, have not been honored in this so-called investigation?
FORD: I wish that I could be more helpful, and that others could be more helpful and that we could collaborate in a way that would get at more information.
BOOKER: Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, I'd just like to introduce for the record, seven letters by the Lambda Legal; from Mormon Women for Ethical Government; youth-led organizations around this country; the International Unions Bricklayers, Allied Craftworkers; a letter from 295 survivors of sexual violence in support of Dr. Ford; and a letter from 1,600 men to campaign in support of Dr. Ford; and those who want to assert men and women that survivors of sexual violence are not opportunists, do not have political axes to grind, but are coming forward with courage and with heart to speak their truth and try to end the scourge of sexual assault and violence in our country.
GRASSLEY: Without objection, so ordered. Senator Tills -- Ms. Mitchell, for Senator Tillis.
MITCHELL: Dr. Ford, in choosing attorneys, did anyone help you with the choice on who to choose?
FORD: Various people referred me to lawyers they knew in the Washington, D.C. area. So as you know, I grew up in this area, so I asked some family members and friends and they would -- they referred me to, like, divorce attorneys that might know somebody, that might know somebody and ended up interviewing several law firms from the D.C. area.
MITCHELL: And did anybody besides friends and family refer you to any attorneys?
FORD: I think that the staff of Dianne Feinstein's office suggested the possibly of some attorneys.
MITCHELL: OK. Including the two that are sitting on either side of you?
FORD: Not both of them, no.
MITCHELL: OK. We've heard a lot about FBI investigations. When did you personally first request an FBI investigation?
FORD: I guess when we first started talking about the possibility of a hearing; I was hoping that there would be an -- a more thorough investigation.
MITCHELL: Would that investigation have been something that you would have submitted to an interview?
FORD: I would be happy to cooperate with the FBI, yes.
MITCHELL: Would you have been happy to submit to an interview on -- by staff members from this committee?
MITCHELL: OK. Besides -- you mentioned some GoFundMe accounts -- besides those, are there any other efforts outside of your own personal finances to pay for your legal fees or any of the costs occurred -- incurred?
FORD: It's my understanding that some of my team is working on a pro bono basis, but I don't know the exact details. And there are members of the community in Palo Alto that have the means to contribute to help me with the security detail, et cetera. MITCHELL: Have you been provided...
(UNKNOWN): I -- I can help you with that. Both her co-counsel (ph) are doing this pro bono. We are not being paid and we have no expectation of being paid.
MITCHELL: ... Thank you, counsel. Have you seen any of the questions that I was going to ask you today?
MITCHELL: Have you -- you've been asked a few questions by other people as well, have you seen any of those questions in advance?
MITCHELL: Have you been told them in advance?
MITCHELL: And -- and likewise with my questions, have you been told my questions in advance?
FORD: Definitely not.
MITCHELL: OK. You mentioned about some possible information, such as when Mark Judge worked at the supermarket. I want to ask you about someone else. You mentioned that there was a classmate who was really sort of the connection between you and Brett Kavanaugh. Who was this person?
FORD: I -- I think that that case with Mr. Whelan, who was looking at my LinkedIn page and then trying to blame the person, I just don't feel like it's right for us to be talking about that.
MITCHELL: I'm not trying to blame anybody, I just want to know who the common friend that you and...
FORD: The person that Mr. Whelan was trying to say looked like Mr. Kavanaugh.
MITCHELL: ... OK. How long did you know this person?
FORD: Maybe for a couple of months we socialized, but he also was a member of the same country club and I know his younger brother as well.
MITCHELL: OK. So a couple of months before this took place?
MITCHELL: OK. How would you characterize your relationship with him, both before and after this took place, this person?
FORD: He was somebody that, we use the phrase, I went out with -- I wouldn't say date -- I went out with for a few months. That was how we termed it at the time. And after that we were distant friends and ran into each other periodically at Columbia Country Club, but I didn't see him often.
FORD: But I saw his brother and him several times.
MITCHELL: Was this person the only common link between you and Mr. -- Judge Kavanaugh?
FORD: He's the only one that I would be able to name right now -- that I would like to not name, but you know who I mean. And -- but there are certainly other members of Columbia Country Club that were common friends or they were more acquaintances of mine and friends of Mr. Kavanaugh.
MITCHELL: OK. Can you describe all of the other social interactions that you had with Mr. Kavanaugh?
FORD: Briefly, yes I can. There were during freshman and sophomore year, particularly my sophomore year which would have been his junior year of high school, four to five parties that my friends and I attended that were attended also by him.
MITCHELL: OK. Did anything happen at these events, like we're talking about? Besides the time we're talking about?