SUPREME BATTLE

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces his accuser Christine Blasey Ford in the Senate as more women come forward with tawdry tales of Kavanaugh’s past. Tonight we have the latest on the historic, tense and breaking situation.

Aired on September 26, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

WE BEGIN TONIGHT IN WASHINGTON, AND THE SHOWDOWN OVER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S EMBATTLED SUPREME COURT NOMINEE BRETT KAVANAUGH.

HAVING PREVIOUSLY SHOWN RESTRAINT, PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS GONE ON THE OFFENSIVE AHEAD OF TOMORROW'S PIVOTAL PUBLIC HEARING ON CAPITOL HILL.

WHERE, FOR THE FIRST TIME, WE'LL HEAR FIRSTHAND FROM DR.

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, THE WOMAN WHO HAS ACCUSED KAVANAUGH OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT DECADES AGO.

KAVANAUGH WILL ALSO TESTIFY, AND IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO ADAMANTLY DENY THE ALLEGATIONS.

AT THE U.N. THIS WEEK, PRESIDENT TRUMP UNLEASHED ON THE DEMOCRATS, AND HE QUESTIONED THE ACCOUNTS OF BOTH DR. FORD AND DEBORAH RAMIREZ, A SECOND WOMAN WHO HAS ALSO ACCUSED KAVANAUGH OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT.

36 YEARS AGO?

NOBODY EVER KNEW ABOUT IT?

NOBODY EVER HEARD ABOUT IT?

AND NOW A NEW CHARGE COMES UP, AND SHE SAID WELL, IT MIGHT NOT BE HIM, THERE WERE GAPS.

SHE SAID SHE WAS TOTALLY DRUNK.

SHE WAS ALL MESSED UP, AND SHE DOESN'T KNOW IT WAS HIM BUT MIGHT HAVE BEEN HIM.

OH, GEE, LET'S NOT MAKE HIM A SUPREME COURT JUDGE BECAUSE OF THIS.

THIS IS A CON GAME BEING PLAYED BY THE DEMOCRATS.

A VOTE WILL BE SCHEDULED ON FRIDAY JUST ONE DAY AFTER THE HEARING, A MOVE THE RANKING DEMOCRAT ON THE COMMITTEE CALLED 'OUTRAGEOUS.'

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL BELIEVES KAVANAUGH'S CONFIRMATION IS IMMINENT.

WE'RE GOING TO BE MOVING FORWARD, I'M CONFIDENT WE'RE GOING TO WIN.

DO YOU HAVE 50 VOTES TO CONFIRM JUDGE KAVANAUGH?

I BELIEVE HE'LL BE CONFIRMED, YES.

BUT THAT'S BEEN FLOWN INTO DOUBT AFTER REPUBLICAN SENATOR LISA MURKOWSKI SEEMED TO WAIVER IN HER SUPPORT IN AN INTERVIEW WITH 'THE NEW YORK TIMES.'

WITH THE NARROW MAJORITY, THE REPUBLICANS CAN'T AFFORD MANY DEFECTORS.

SETTING UP A VERY HIGH STAKES HEARING TOMORROW MORNING.

JOINING ME NOW TO PREVIEW IT ALL IS DANIEL STRAUSS, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER AT POLITICO.

DANIEL, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

SO FIRST OFF, BEFORE WE EVEN GET INTO THE ACCUSATIONS THAT WE KNOW ABOUT, NEWS HAS BROKEN THAT STORMY DANIELS' LAWLAWYER, MICH AVENATTI, IS CLAIMING HE HAS A THIRD ACCUSER, HE'S REVEALED HER IDENTIFICATION, WHO IS ALSO ACCUSING BRETT KAVANAUGH OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT.

DOES THIS AT ALL PLAY INTO AT LEAST THE CONVERSATION AROUND TOMORROW'S HEARING?

YEAH.

I MEAN, IT'S HARD TO SEE HOW THESE NEW ALLEGATIONS DON'T COME UP DURING THE HEARING.

AND WHAT AVENATTI PUT OUT WAS A PRETTY GRAPHIC PORTRAYAL OF BRETT KAVANAUGH IN HIGH SCHOOL AND THE SEXUAL MISCONDUCT EPISODE.

IT'S SURPRISING, AND IT WILL FURTHER ADD TO QUESTIONS DURING BLASEY FORD'S TESTIMONY TOMORROW.

I REALLY DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH ANY NEW ALLEGATIONS WILL SLOW DOWN A VOTE ON HIM.

SENATE REPUBLICANS SEEM PRETTY BENT AND PRETTY SURE THAT THEY HAVE THE NUMBERS DESPITE ANY OTHER QUESTIONS OR ACCUSATIONS THAT THEY'LL BE ABLE TO CONFIRM KAVANAUGH IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

AND, OF COURSE, AS I ALLUDED TO IN THE INTRO, THAT WE HAVE HEARD MITCH McCONNELL ESSENTIALLY SAY THIS IS GOING TO BE HAPPENING.

NOW, GIVEN THE FACT THAT THERE'S STILL GOING TO BE HOLDING THIS, DOES THIS MAKE TOMORROW'S HEARING MORE OF A FORMALLTY OR SOMETHING TO APPEASE PEOPLE THAT MIGHT BE UPSET, WHEN WE HEARD FROM MITCH McCONNELL WHO BELIEVES HE HAS THE VOTES AND KAVANAUGH WILL BE PUT ON THE SUPREME COURT.

YEAH, I MEAN, LOOK, HOLDING A HEARING DOES GIVE McCONNELL THE ABILITY TO SAY, WE HAD A HEARING, WE HEARD THESE ACCUSATIONS OUT, AND THAT THIS HAS BEEN ENOUGH OF THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE -- BUT AT THE SAME TIME, IT'S REALLY REALLY NOT GOING TO BE A CAKE WALK FOR THE GOP.

THIS HEARING IS GOING TO BE THE MOST TALKED ABOUT AND MOST -- THAT WE'VE SEEN THIS MONTH IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

WHAT'S SAID, WHAT HAPPENS, AND PRESIDENT TRUMP'S RESPONSE IS GOING TO CREATE A RIPPLE EFFECT THAT'S GOING TO COME UP THROUGHOUT THE REST OF THE MIDTERMS.

ALL THE WAY THROUGH NOVEMBER.

NOW, IS THERE ANY CONSIDERATION, AGAIN, TO THE OPTICS OF ALL OF THIS?

OF COURSE, A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE COMPARED THIS UPCOMING HEARING TO THE PREVIOUS HEARING OF ANITA HILL.

HERE WE HAVE A WOMAN MAKING AN ACCUSATION OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT IN THE WORKPLACE, AND SHE WAS FACING A SENATE PANEL OF ALL WHITE MEN.

AGAIN, WE WOULD HAVE THE SAME THING, EXCEPT THIS TIME, THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS HIRED AN OUTSIDE COUNSEL, A WOMAN TO COME IN AND DO THE QUESTIONING.

DOES THAT CHANGE THE DYNAMICS OF THIS AT ALL?

THE MOVE TO BRING THIS OUT REALLY IS AN ATTEMPT TO DIFFERENTIATE THESE HEARINGS FROM THE ANITA HILL HEARING.

BUT I DON'T THINK DEM-- IF DEMOCRATS HAVE ANY SAY, THEY'RE GOING TO LIKEN IT TO ANITA HILL AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, IT'S JUST NOT IDEAL OPTICS FOR A PARTY THAT'S TRYING TO CONFIRM THE SUPREME COURT NOMINEE.

WELL, OF COURSE, AS YOU SAID, IT'S GOING TO BE VERY TALKED ABOUT AND ALL EYES WILL BE ON DR. BLASEY FORD TOMORROW MORNING.

IS THERE SOMETHING WE SHOULD EXPECT TO SEE FROM HER OR THINGS THAT YOU CAN EXPECT THAT SHE WILL BE MOST JUDGED FOR, AND BY THAT I MEAN IN TERMS OF HER DEMEANOR, THE WAY HER VOICE SOUNDS, DOES SHE SOUND CONFIDENT, DOES SHE SOUND NERVOUS, HOW SHE APPEARS ON CAMERA.

HOW MUCH DOES THAT PLAY INTO THE PUBLIC'S PERSPECTIVE OF HER BELIEVABILITY?

I MEAN, I THINK -- I DON'T THINK THAT THERE'S GOING TO BE A HUGE AMOUNT OF JUDGMENT WHETHER HER VOICE CRACKS AT A SPECIFIC MOMENT OR WHETHER SHE'S EMOTIONAL.

I THINK A LOT OF IT IS GOING TO BE HOW SHE RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS AND HOW QUESTIONS ARE ASKED TO HER, IF THEY'RE OVERLY AGGRESSIVE, IF THEY ASK FOR UNNECESSARILY GRAPHIC DETAIL, OR DO THEY GO ON TANGENTS WHETHER SHE IS A SERIOUS WITNESS.

OR IF SHE'S MOTIVATED BY BEING A THIS TO DERAIL A REPUBLICAN NTO- NOMINEE FOR THE SUPREME COURT.

ALL RIGHT.

SO THEN FOR THE HANDFUL OF REPUBLICANS WHO MAY OR MAY NOT BE SWING VOTES ON THIS, IS THERE ANY INDICATION THAT MITCH McCONNELL MIGHT LOSE -- HOW MANY VOTES CAN MITCH McCONNELL LOSE AND STILL GET BRETT KAVANAUGH THROUGH, AND IS THERE ANY INDICATION HE MIGHT HAVE HIS COUNT WRONG?

NOT THAT MANY.

AND LOOK, McCONNELL RARELY HAS HIS COUNT WRONG.

IT HAPPENS ONCE IN A BLUE MOON.

WE THOUGHT THAT THE LATE SENATOR JOHN McCAIN WAS GOING TO VOTE FOR OBAMACARE REPEAL AND THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN.

BUT MITCH McCONNELL CAN ONLY LOSE ONE OR TWO VOTES.

I REALLY DOUBT THE SWING VOTES ARE GOING TO VOTE AGAINST KAVANAUGH.

COLLINS HAS SIGNALED EVEN THOUGH SHE'S UNDECIDED ON THIS, SHE'S HAD PERSONAL PROMISES FROM KAVANAUGH ON STICKING POINTS LIKE ROE V. WADE.

AGAIN, THIS THIRD ACCUSER DOES CALL INTO QUESTION -- IT PUTS ADDED PRESSURE ON MEMBERS OF THE SENATE ON WHETHER THEY'RE ABLE TO VOTE FOR KAVANAUGH OR NOT.

SO IT'S CONCEIVABLE, BUT I DON'T THINK --

YOU MENTIONED EARLIER HOW THE PRESIDENT REACTS MIGHT ALSO PLAY INTO THIS.

OF COURSE, THE PRESIDENT BEING AT THE U.N. GENERAL COUNCIL DID ADDRESS THE SECOND ACCUSER AND WENT ON THE ATTACK IN A WAY WE'VE SEEN HIM DO BEFORE, WHERE SHE MUST NOT KNOW WHAT SHE'S TALKING ABOUT, THIS IS PART OF A DEMOCRATIC CONSPIRACY TO SMEAR BRETT KAVANAUGH.

DOES THAT PLAY INTO ANY OF THIS AT ALL?

I MEAN, PRESIDENT TRUMP TWEETS DURING THE HEARING, I THINK THERE WILL BE A SHIFT -- [ INAUDIBLE ] I THINK FOR WHITE HOUSE STAFF -- [ AUDIO DIFFICULTIES ]

OF COURSE, STAYING AT THE U.N., HE GAVE A SPEECH THAT USUALLY GETS HIM A LOT OF APPLAUSE WHEN HE'S AT ONE OF HIS RALLIES.

BUT IN FRONT OF THE GENERAL COUNCIL THERE WAS AUDIBLE LAUGHTER.

WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THE UNITED STATES AND ITS STANDING WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD?

I MEAN, LOOK, I THINK IT WAS A LITTLE SURPRISING, NOT JUST TO PRESIDENT TRUMP BUT MOST AMERICANS WATCHING THIS, BECAUSE THIS IS A LINE THAT HE MAKES ALL THE TIME.

AND HE ALSO IS CONSTANTLY RAGING ABOUT HOW PREDECESSORS ARE BEING LAUGHED AT, THE WORLD IS LAUGHING.

SO TO SEE PRESIDENT TRUMP SPARK AMUSEMENT ON THE WORLD STAGE WAS A LITTLE IRONIC.

AND PRESIDENT TRUMP TRIED TO PLAY IT OFF.

HE SAID THAT WAS A DELIBERATE LINE TO GET SOME CHUCKLES.

BUT BEYOND THAT, I THINK TRUMP'S OPPONENTS WILL POINT TO THAT.

PRESIDENT TRUMP SAYS THEY WERE BEING LAUGHED AT BEFORE HIS ADMINISTRATION.

ALL RIGHT.

LISTEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR JOINING US, TO COVER ALL OF THESE BREAKING NEWS EVENTS.

AND, OF COURSE, TO GIVE US A PREVIEW OF WHAT WE CAN EXPECT TO BE A VERY CLOSELY WATCHED, VERY CLOSELY DISSECTED SENATE HEARING TOMORROW MORNING.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING YOU BACK ON THE SHOW.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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