SUPREME BATTLE

September 27, 2018 at 4:30 am

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. 

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>>> 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 James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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