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tv   CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  October 5, 2018 6:00am-7:01am PDT

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a very good friday morning to you. there is news, trust us this friday morning. i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm poppy harlow. we're in washington. a critical day. the crucial senate vote is 90 minutes away. a vote that will decide if brett kavanaugh will fill that critical swing seat on the high court. what we know this morning, republican senate leadership does not yet know if they have the votes. just listen to senator chuck grassley, chairman of the judiciary committee. >> most of the part-time, like maybe 99% of the time we know
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how a vet is going to go before it goes. this is one vote that we probably won't know until the votes are actually cast. >> the senate convenes in less than 30 minutes with the eyes of the political world on four key swing votes, susan collins, lisa murkowski, jeff flake and joe manchin. they will be making a decision that could impact our lives for decades and shift the balance of the court towards conservatives. one republican senate is out of town tomorrow, which is also affecting the math here. >> wait until you hear why he is out of town and what this means. for the nominee himself, brett kavanaugh is making a rare move, writing his own closing argument in an opinion piece in the washington journal this morning say he may have, quote, been too emotional in last week's testimony. joining us now, our congressional correspondent. it is so telling that grassley said
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to you we just don't know. this is going to come down to whatever happens on the floor. >> that's right. that really speaks to the reality of this moment, poppy, that this is a very anxious time. a lot of uncertainty. so much is indeed fluid and at this hour, at this very moment, republican leaders do not know if they have the votes because they do not know where those four key undecided senators are going to land. those are susan collins whose office we are outside of this morning. red state democrat joe manchin. lisa murkowski and jeff flake. will they vote for or against brett kavanaugh? and certainly republican leaders in the past 24 hours have been trying to project confidence, but at the end of the day, they still do not know where they are going to vote. certainly it seems that at least a few of these senators are actively deliberating this
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decision at this late hour. we know susan collins was shuffling in and out of that secure location here at the hill three times yesterday late into the hour reading that fbi report. we know that senator manchin intends to check out that report again this morning, adding into their important late in the game decision this morning. >> remember where we were last friday. it looked like it was in bag and then things change. >> the elevator, jeff flake and everything that ensues. sources tell cnn the idea for that op ed came from brett kavanaugh himself. our supreme court reporter is here with her reporting on that. some are looking at that this morning and saying was that a desperate move? was that a move where the brett kavanaugh camp thought, wow, we need a hail mary here. >> it is all about his judicial temperament, right? he knows that's the problem. he's been calling his own shots. i've been told he called his own
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shot here, i'm sure with help from the white house. he talked about his 300 opinions, his constitutional take on everything. remember then he said, i'm going to stay zip codes away from political issues. then we saw an entirely new brett kavanaugh. he comes out fiery and invokes the clintons and glares at those democratic senators and then he writes this wall street journal op ed and says, you can count on me. my judicial temperament will be fine and he's definitely trying to shore up some people who are worried just about that. >> it is a key question. certainly he's concerned about it. we are joined now by republican senator john kennedy. he sits on the judiciary committee. of course will be voting in 90 minutes from now. senator, thanks very much for taking the time this morning. >> you bet. thanks to you both. >> first question, the obvious one, senator grassley, your college, is a pretty good whip.
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he's good at lining up the votes, but he just doesn't know. i'm sure you have been talking to your colleagues. do you believe republicans have the votes to confirm brett kavanaugh? >> don't know. my hunch is that judge brett kavanaugh will be confirmed. i could be wrong. normally on an issue this important, unless you know a senator very, very well on a personal basis, you don't ask him how they're going to vote. i would never tell my colleague on something like this how to vote. i would suggest to them respectfully to follow their heart. but take your brain with you and go look at the evidence or lack thereof. >> do you have a feeling that some of your colleagues are still considering? because i remember last friday as we were just saying, it seemed like it was done. and then you had that elevator moment, senator flake and reconsideration. is it your sense that some of your colleagues are truly undecided 90 minutes to go? >> most of my colleagues, if not all, have decided.
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they may not be willing yet to articulate it and they may want to do some last minute work. but at this juncture and after the hearings, plural, and all of evidence and the seven fbi reports, i think most people, if not all, i think everybody has made up their mind. >> you heard us talking about this relatively unusual step of a supreme court nominee 24 hours of a vote writing this wall street journal op ed and laying it out there saying, listen, i was more emotional than i'd like to be. i might have sounded more partisan than i'd like to be. do you believe he was too emotional, too partisan in that testimony, and do you accept this, i suppose you could call it, do you accept his apology? >> the demeanor issue is important. we all know federal judges. some of whom it goes to their head. they can strut sitting down. i mean, you don't want that kind of judge on the bench.
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in terms of judge brett kavanaugh, the best parameter is his law clerks. a federal judge spends more time with his law clerks than his spouse. and to a person, they all say that he is very even tempered and fair managed. but number three, you have to consider the context. judge brett kavanaugh was called a rich, lying, drunk sexual predator and he took offense to it and he did get mad, and i'm not sure i wouldn't have gotten mad under the same circumstances. in fact, i'm very sure i would have. >> senator, we have one of his law clerks joining us in a little bit. a fair point there. we will hear what she has to y say. let me ask you about the fbi report, this latest one that you have read. you said, and i quote you to reporters yesterday, i wish you could read the report. by the way, so do we. there are things in here that make he really angry. what did you see that made you angry and why? >> well, i can't tell you that
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because i'd be breaking the law and i'm not going to do that. >> can you give us a sense of the general topic area? >> well, i think -- i think -- i think you could see some politics involved in this. look, the fbi interviewed nine witnesses. one wouldn't talk. they were the five witnesses suggested by dr. ford and by ms. ramirez. there wasn't any corroboration. i know dr. ford's attorneys wanted her to be interviewed, but the fbi reached out to her attorneys and said, please submit to me any new evidence or to us any new evidence and they didn't. but i think we're making a big mistake not releasing this report. it is not my call. it is the white house and the justice department, senator feinstein, senator grassley. the american people need to make this decision on their own and they are entitled to draw their own conclusions. i would trust them and i think we're making a big mistake not
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releasing it. >> given that point that you think all the american people should be able to see this and read it fully to make up their mind. >> yes. >> if judge brett kavanaugh is confirmed, senator, to the high court or if he is not but the american people aren't privy to all the information in this latest fbi probe, what do you think this, a, will do and has done to america as a whole and will do to the court which has never seen, if this comes down to a party line vote, has never seen a supreme court nominee confirmed along party lines. >> the american people see the united states supreme court as an institution, as a political institution. it's not. it's not supposed to be. but what matters is how the american people see it. they see the law as politics, practiced in a different way. and this process is contributed to that. now, the confirmation process is a mess. we need to clean it up. we've got a choice here after
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this is over no matter what happens. we can ride the anger for political reasons so we can solve the problem. i hope we'll try to solve the problem. part of the reason that the people see the court as political is congress, not just the way we have acted in the last 90 days, but congress keeps appointing the tough issues to the supreme court instead of deciding it themselves. >> understood. listen, i hope the country follows it, frankly. i want to ask, if i can, about the women involved here, principally of course dr. ford but the women inspired by her testimony. do you believe that this process will discourage women who allege that they have been assaulted from coming forward, coming in public in this kind of context. >> i don't think we know yet. but i hope not. the me too movement in my opinion has helped this country immensely. i didn't know the extent of sexual harassment.
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i talked to friends of mine and their responds to me is what planet did you just parachute in from? it is a problem. it needs to be dealt with. i think in dealing with it it is important we treat the accuser and the accused with respect and fair mindedness and most of all due process. i think we tried to do that in this process. some disagree. but i've said before this is no country for old men. it's not. we need to fix that. but this is no country at all without due process. >> senator, thank you very much for taking the time. we know you are moments away from a critical vote, as are your colleagues there. we look forward to keeping up the conversation. >> thanks. >> the stakes are high today. a critical vote is just moments away. literally moments away. a vote that will shape the future of the supreme court for years to come.
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we're on all the developments. >> and we are following some other breaking news this morning. to be clear, a new jobs report just outputs unemployment in this country at a 49 year low. you got to go back to 1969 to see numbers like this. let's bring in christine romans, the chief correspondent for cnn business. so actually the jobs numbers were a bit off the average, but the unemployment number did come down. >> yes, because of hurricane florence. i want to show you what that chart looks like because 3.7% is really a remarkable number. this is what we call essentially full employment. you got to go back five decades to get a number like this. the jobs added 134,000 net new jobs. look, you had upward reviesions of the prior couple of months. you would have had stronger numbers if it hadn't been for hurricane florence. i got to tell you, at some point
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you have to find more workers. it's going to have to be immigration. it's going to have to be people out of the workforce coming back because the economy is pretty robust here. let me show you annual job growth. that's the jobs out of the last year. let me show you annual job growth. we're showing here almost two million this year. this has been now several years of strong jobs growth ten years after the financial crisis, we have hadd eadded new jobs. very good there. health care, up 26,000. manufacturing up 18,000. there have been 278,000 new manufacturing jobs created this year. you can credit the president's trade policies on this one. also some new jobs in mining as well. so this is another strong report. it shows a strong economy and the headline here is the unemployment rate the lowest since any of us were alive.
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>> okay. all right. christine, thank you very, very much for that. >> we promised you news as it comes and we got some new news. this on the brett kavanaugh vote. joe manchin, senate from west virginia, a deeply red state saying that he remains undecided on this and we're going to give you more details on that. >> we know he was going to go down to read the rest of this this morning, so he may be there finishing this. but he could make or break this for the republican party. >> remember, because they need -- well, they don't need, but if they lose a republican, they will need -- well it depends if they lose a couple republicans they may need some of those red state democrats. >> much more on the breaking news next. cnn business now brought to you by fidelity investments. visit for your
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we promised you news this morning, and it is coming in literally by the minute here. we just heard that the key democratic swing vote joe manchin remains undecided on this. in minute it is senate will be back in session, a little over an hour on the critical vote on brett kavanaugh and we're watching all this closely. >> it does come down to these four swing senators. let me read you what he told our phil mattingly moments ago. i am still undecided and will probably be undecided until i walk into the door to vote at 10:30 a.m. that is not how mitch mcconnell wants to see it go or chuck
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grassley. let's discuss. so nia, to you, look, they don't know and grassley was so clear with that this morning. manchin still reading it this morning. what are you feel something. >> we don't know. we will know once they start casting these votes. very interesting that manchin says a bolt of lightening will strike him when he walks in. he says he's weighing everything. he's got to be weighing the fact he's in west virginia, a state that is heavily republican. >> 32 days from the midterms. >> yeah. he's been able to win there by being independent from his party. he didn't even endorse obama the last time he ran in 2012. so we'll see. murkowski has these competing pressures in alaska as wellment collins, somebody who probably will face a pretty tough challenger if she votes.
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but then you have to know that these folks are republicans, right? this is their party. this has been their party for a long time, and this has been the dream of the republican party, to have a supreme court that's conservative, that will rule a certain way on any number of issues, roe v. wade, voting rights, redirecting. if you are collins, you are weighing what it would mean if she were to walk away from her party at this moment. >> you say republicans have been laying the ground work for this for years. susan page, there is a skeptical camp out there that says that all of this last minute hammering is a little overdone. that at the end of the day things are going to turn brett kavanaugh's way. do you buy that? >> republicans always want to vote the republican way. the easier thing to do is vote with your party. you need a powerful incentive to vote against your party. if you have that as your landscape, i think that probably
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it does look like judge brett kavanaugh has those. not quite a guarantee yet, but i think once we heard senate collins and senate flake talk yesterday about being reassured by this delay of a week, by the fbi report that that was a signal that he was going to be confirmed. and the only question now is will it be on a totally party line vote, something we have never seen happen. >> it is interesting. at the end of the day, the fbi report could be political cover for republicans on the fence. >> but here is the thing, his wall street journal opinion piece basically saying, i apologize for part of the way that i acted in that testimony. addresses the issue outside of what senators think from the fbi probe and what they read. and that's what did he display in terms of his temperament and how partisan he may or may not be on thursday. that's completely different.
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you can see that weighing on these undecided senators. i just wonder when you read his editorial this morning, would his excuse have held more water if he had not been reading from prepared remarks when he made the partisan comment about the clintons, for example, or expressed that anger? those were remarks he carefully wrote the day or days before, prepared. it wasn't heat of the moment. >> that's right. that's a good leading question, poppy. >> you know, we're in cross-examination here. >> that's right. absolutely. it is very hard to argue that i was just carried away in the moment when you are reading from a script. he has to stay away from the sexual misconduct issue. that's a rail for him. there's nothing he can say about that and of course rather iconic today, a noble peace prize awarded today to two activists against social violence. you have to remind people
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remember the judge brett kavanaugh you saw before this came up. >> there is a political history there. john paul stevens, now retired supreme court justice clearly this issue of partisanship and those political jabs that he was throwing caught his attention. have a listen to what he said about brett kavanaugh overnight. >> i think that his performance during the hearings caused me to change my mind. he has demonstrated a potential bias involving enough potential litigants before the court that he would not be able to perform his full responsibilities. i think there is merit in that criticism. >> beyond the view of a retired justice, susan paige, you have a lot of cases that will come up
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before this court in the coming weeks and months that are political third rail issues very divisive, and this process will not be forgotten then, assuming brett kavanaugh is on the court. >> assuming that brett kavanaugh is confirmed, that will be one of the lingering questioning as we move forward. if he votes in each case in a way that is consistent with what conservative republicans would want him to do, does that raise questions about whether he's really showing judicial independence, that will be a question he has to answer. let's consider how extraordinary it is for a former justice to speak out against the nominee for the court. if you are looking at this, former justice nominate bid a republican president. this is really extraordinary. we overuse the word unprecedented, but it's like six times a day. >> that is a bipartisan concern about the reputation of the court as an impartial arbiter.
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>> he also said, to jim's point, we have to learn from this, and we have to do differently next time. i think everyone agrees they have to do differently next time. what could be different because, again, we have never seen -- i mean, think of rbg. she was confirmed 96-3. scalia unanimously. >> he seems to be getting at the idea of whether or not people will request him to recuse himself from these cases, any cases that could be brought by democratic groups because he did show such partisanship in his statement talking about the clintons, talking about this being a hangover from trump's election. you feel like this bitter partisanship with this process, where does it go? i think if you are a republican you see it in some ways as energizing and democrats see it
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as energizing as well. >> what does it do to the court? the words he used about the clintons, orchestrated political hit, what does that do to the courts? >> that calls into question the legitimacy of his appointment. to the point of what we do going forward, there is a new factor here. it is the whole issue of the me too movement and the sexual misconduct and frankly neither side has had to deal with that the way they have had to suddenly deal with it with this intensity in only a couple years. it is unknown how you go forward with those kinds of issues. >> thanks very much. again, the news keeps coming this hour. we're just over an hour away from critical vote on capitol hill. will brett kavanaugh move ahead to a final confirmation vote? that all hinges on the decision of three key senate republicans, as well as a couple democrats. we will be live in their home states when we come back.
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all right. a crucial day. you are looking at the senate floor. we will hear from senate majority leader mitch mcconnell in a few moments. what will he say when we now know that joe manchin is still undesecide undecided? >> we are live in the home states of these key swing votes here. let's start with cnn correspondent dan simon in phoenix. >> reporter: well, hi, him and poppy. we know senate flake has been central to all this. he forced this seven-day delay. in terms of what he is going to do, what did he say yesterday? he said you looked at the fbi report and saw no information that would further corroborate the sexual assault allegation and said at least in his mind this was a thorough fbi investigation. in the meantime here at his
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office we did see a couple dozen protesters yesterday. these were mainly women from advocacy groups. we did see women get arrested right in front of his office. they were blocking the entrance. they were charged with misdemeanor trespassing. we saw a handful of counter protesters as well. we should point out that senator flake has been a polarizing figure because of the criticism he has directed towards president trump. of course, he does have the chance somewhat to redeem himself if he does support judge brett kv gnavanaughkavanaugh. >> jeff flake's hometown. gary is in alaska. gary, the thing about her is she's got other issues besides brett kavanaugh, issues with native americans, et cetera. i know you spoke with two women who met with senator murkowski yesterday. what are you hearing from them? >> we don't know how senator
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murkowski will vote. >> standby because here is chuck grassley. >> the nomination of judge brett kavanaugh to serve as the newest justice. he spent 25 years of his career in public service. he spent the last 12 years on the d.c. circuit, considered the second most federal court in the country. his record there has been extremely impressive because the supreme court as an example adopted a position advanced by judge brett kavanaugh's opinions no fewer than a dozen times. judge brett kavanaugh is also a pillar in his community and also in the legal profession. he serves underprivileged communities, coaches girls basketball and is a lecter at his church. he prepares young lawyers for
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their careers. he has been a law professor at three prestigeous law schools and a mentor. this should have been a respectable and dignified confirmation process. in a previous era, this highly qualified nominee would have received unanimous support in the senate. before a left wing outside groups and democratic leaders had him in their sights, judge brett kavanaugh possessed an impeccable reputation and was held in high esteem by the bench and the bar alike. even the american bar association, which the democrat say is their gold standard for judging judges, the aba gave him their unanimous well-qualified rating. what left wing groups and their democratic allies have done to
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judge brett kavanaugh is nothing short of monstrous. i saw what they did to robert bourke. i saw what they did to clarence thomas. that was nothing compared to what we witnessed here in the last three months. the conduct of left wing dark money groups and their allies in this body have shamed us all. the fix was in from the very beginning, before the ink was even dry on the nomination, the minority leader announced he would oppose judge brett kavanaugh's nomination with everything he's got. even before he knew the president's nominee, the minority leader said he was opposed to all 25 well-qualified potential nominees listed by this president. even one member of my committee said that those who vote to
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confirm judge brett kavanaugh would be quote, unquote, complicit in evil. another member of the committee revealed the end game when she suggested that senate democrats could hold the vacancy open for two years if they defeated judge brett kavanaugh and took control of the senate in these midterm elections. i saw the most transparent -- i over saw the most transparent confirmation process in senate history based on the fact that more than 500,000 pages of judicial writing, publications, documents from judge brett kavanaugh's executive branch service. this is on top of the 307 judicial opinions that he authored. despite democrats efforts to bury the committee in even more paperwork, the senate judiciary committee held a timely four-day hearing on judge brett
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kavanaugh's nomination last month. judge brett kavanaugh testified for more than 32 hours over the course of three days. judge brett kavanaugh showed the nation exactly why he deserved to be on the supreme court, because of his qualifications. judge brett kavanaugh's antagonizers couldn't land a punch on him during those -- his three days of testimony. even when they made false or mislaemi misleading arguments, they couldn't touch him. some of my colleagues accused judge brett kavanaugh of committing perjury. for that false claim the washington post fact checker awarded my colleague three. another colleague claimed judge brett kavanaugh described contraceptives as abortion inducing drugs. the video that my colleague shared on the internet was
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doctored to omit the fact that judge brett kavanaugh was describing the plaintiff's claims in a case that he decided not his own views. my colleague was awarded four pinocchios. that's the most you can get. they still had one big card to say, which they kept a ways up their sleeves for a month. actually, for 45 days, i think. by july the ranking member received a letter from dr. christine blasey ford alleging that judge brett kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school 36 years ago, instead of referring dr. ford to the fbi or sharing these allegations with her colleagues, either of which would have respected and preserved dr. ford's
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confidentiality and that's what dr. ford requested, the ranking member referred dr. ford to democratic activist attorneys closely tied to the clintons. the ranking member shamefully sat on these allegations for nearly seven weeks. only to reveal them at the 11th hour when it appeared judge brett kavanaugh was headed towards confirmation because he was so qualified. the ranking member had numerous opportunities to raise these allegations with judge brett kavanaugh personally. i'll give you six examples. she could have discussed them with judge brett kavanaugh during their private meeting on august the 20th, a meeting which took place after her staff had sent dr. ford to democratic lawyers. or another timeshared them with
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64 of her senate colleagues which also met with him individually. the ranking member's staff could have raised them with judge brett kavanaugh during a background investigation follow-up call in late august. senators could have asked him about the allegations during his 32 hours of testimony over the course of three days. judiciary members could have asked judge brett kv gnavanaugh about this in their closed session of the hearing, which the ranking member didn't attend. the closed session is the appropriate place to bring up issues where confidentiality is supposed to be respected. and there were no questions about these allegations among the 1,300 written questions sent to judge brett kavanaugh after the hearing. this amounts to more than -- more written questions submitted
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to this nominee after a hearing than to all supreme court nominees combined. keeping the july 30th letter secret deprived senators of having all the facts they needed to have about this nomination. so it wasn't then until september the 13th, july 30th to september 13th, nearly seven weeks after the ranking member received these allegations and on the eve of the confirmation vote that the ranking member referred them to the fbi. and somehow they were leaked to the press. it wasn't until those news reports on september 16th that i learned even of dr. ford's identity. this is an outrage. the political motives behind the democrats' actions should be obvious to everyone. dr. ford requested the opportunity to tell her story to
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the senate judiciary committee. after a lot of foot dragging by dr. ford's attorneys, they finally agreed to a public hearing. as promised, i provided a safe, comfortable and dignified form for dr. ford, as well as judge brett kavanaugh. dr. ford was insesincere in her testimonies, as was judge brett kavanaugh who denied the allegations. it is true that confirmation hearings aren't a trial. but trials have rules based on common sense rules of fairness and due process, not the other way around. it is a fundamental aspect of fairness, a fundamental aspect of due process that the accuser have the burden of proving allegations. judge brett kavanaugh was publically accused of a crime and his reputation and livelihood were at stake, so it was only fair that his accuser have the burden of proof, the
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consensus is that the burden was not met. ultimately, the existing evidence, including the statements of three alleged eye witnesses named by dr. ford refuted dr. ford's version of the facts. our investigative dominating nation consult ratio mitchell, who has nearly 25 years of experience advocating for sexual assault victims and investigating sex crimes concluded that there was lack of specificity and simply too many inconsistencies in dr. ford's allegations to establish that judge brett kavanaugh committed sexual assault. even under the lowest standard of proof she concluded a he said she said case is incredibly difficult to prove. but this case is worse than that. dr. ford identified other witnesses to the event. those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to
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corroborate them for the reasons discussed below, i do not think that a reasonable prosecutor could bring this case based upon the evidence before the committee, nor do i believe that this evidence is sufficient to satisfy the preponderance of the evidence standard, end of quote. so we have thoroughly investigated judge brett kavanaugh's background. in addition to the prior six fbi field background investigations with the interviews of nearly 150 people who have known judge brett kavanaugh his entire life, the committee also separately and thoroughly investigated every credible allegation that we received. our more than 20 committee staff members have worked night and day over the last many weeks tracking down virtually all leads. and at the request of the undecided m ed members, the fbi investigation was opened for another week. the fbi interviewed ten more
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people related to the latest credible sexual assault allegations and the fbi confirmed what we senate investigators already concluded. that is this. there is nothing in the supplemental fbi background investigation report that we didn't already know. these uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by judge brett kavanaugh and neither the judiciary committee, nor the fbi could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations. there also is no contemporaneous evidence. this investigation found no hint of misconduct and the same is true of six prior fbi investigations conducted during judge brett kavanaugh's 25 years of public service. nothing an investigator including career fbi special
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agents does ever be good enough to satisfy democrat leaderships in washington who staked out opposition to judge brett kavanaugh before he was even nominated. there is simply no reason then to deny judge brett kavanaugh a seat on the supreme court on the basis of the evidence presented to us. the democratic strategy used against judge brett kavanaugh has made one thing clear, they will never be satisfied no matter how fair and thorough the process is. 31 years ago, the senate democrats' treatment of robert bourke, their play book remains the same. for the left wing, advice and consent has become search and destroy. a demolition derby. i am pleased to support judge brett kavanaugh's confirmation. i'm sorry for what the whole
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family went through the last several weeks. we should all admire brett kavanaugh's willingness to serve his country, despite the way he's been treated. it would be a travesty then if the senate did not confirm the most qualified nomination in our nation's history, the multitude of allegations against him have proven to be false. they have also proven that no discussion of his qualifications came up with any -- a discussion of his qualifications, nothing showed he wasn't qualified. we had a campaign of distraction from his outstanding qualifications. a campaign of destruction of this fine individual. what we have learned is the resistance that has existed since the day after the november 2016 election is centered right here on capitol hill.
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they have encouraged mob rule. when you hear things about get in their face, bother people at every restaurant where you can find a cabinet member, these are coming from public service. that ought to set an example of civility in american society. and it's been made worse by what has happened to judge brett kavanaugh. i hope we can say no to mob rule by voting to confirm judge brett kavanaugh. i yield the floor. >> all right. well, >> there you have chairman of the senate judiciary committee, republican senator chuck grassley. i think we're going to listen in to the ranking democrat on the judiciary committee, dianne feinstein. >> my ninth supreme court nomination hearing. and i must say i have never
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experienced anything like this. never before have we had a supreme court nominee where over 90% of his record has been hidden from the public and the senate. never before have we had a nominee display such flagrant partisanship and open hostility at a hearing. and never before have we had a nominee facing allegations of sexual assault. the nominee before us being considered for a pivotal swing seat, if confirmed, would be the deciding vote on some of the most important and divisive issues of our day. i'd like to start by speaking about some of the issues in relationship to judge kavanaugh. president trump promised to only nominate individuals to the supreme court who would be pro life and pro gun nominees. who would automatically overturn
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roe v. wade. in my judgment, judge kavanaugh clearly meets the test. in a speech in 2017, judge kavanaugh focused on praising justice rehnquist and his descent in roe v. wade where he challenged the right to women's privacy as protected in the constitution. also last year, judge kavanaugh argued in a dissent in a texas case that a jane doe should not be able to exercise her right to choose. because she did not have family and friends help her make the decision. if adopted, this argument could rewrite supreme court precedent and require courts to determine whether a young woman had a sufficient support network when making her decision. even in cases, as is in this one, where she had gone before a
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court. his reasoning demonstrates that judge kavanaugh not only is willing to disregard precedent, but his opinions fail to appreciate the challenging realities women face when making these most difficult decisions. when i asked him about whether roe and casey were settled law and whether they were correctly decided, he refused to answer. he would only say these cases are entitled to respect. roe v. wade, as we all know, is one of a series of cases that upheld an individual's right to decide who to marry, where to send your children to school, what kind of medical care you can receive at the end of life, as well as whether and when to have a family. the government cannot interfere with these decisions according to these cases. another issue that gives me great pause is judge kavanaugh's
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extreme view on guns. in reviewing his record and judicial opinions, it's clear his views go well beyond simply being pro gun. during a lecture at notre dame law school, judge kavanaugh himself said he would be, quote, the first to acknowledge that most lower court judges have disagreed with his views on the second amendment. specifically in district of columbia v. heller, judge kavanaugh wrote in a dissenting opinion that unless guns were regulated, either at the time of the constitution was written or traditionally throughout history, they cannot be regulated now. end quote. in his own words, gun laws are unconstitutional unless they are, quote, traditional or common in the united states, end quote. judge kavanaugh would have struck down d.c.'s assault
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weapons ban because they have not historically been banned. this logic means that as weapons become more advanced and more dangerous, they cannot be regulated at all. when i asked judge kavanaugh about his views that if a gun is in common use it cannot be regulated, he replied this way, and i quote. there are millions and millions and millions of semiautomatic rifles that are possessed. so that seemed to fit common use and not being a dangerous and unusual weapon, end quote. think about that. judge kavanaugh made up a new standard that had nothing to do with common use but instead relied on whether a gun is widely possessed and owned as determinative as to whether it is subject to any regulation. the united states makes up 4% of the worldwide population, but we own 42% of the world's guns.
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by judge kavanaugh's standard, no state or locality will be able to place any limitation on guns because of widespread ownership in this country. i'm also concerned about his views on presidential power. specifically he has said that sitting presidents cannot be indicted, cannot be prosecuted, should not be investigated, and should have the authority to fire a special counsel at will. in other words, the president of the united states is above and outside the law. these views raise serious concerns that should concern us all, especially at a time when the president continually threatens to fire the leadership of the department of justice for failing to be loyal and reining in the mueller investigation. these views alone are not sufficient for me to vote
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against judge kavanaugh, but what we have seen and experienced in the past several weeks has raised serious new concerns. concerns i believe should worry us all. judges are expected to be, quote, even handed, unbiased, impartial, and courteous, end quote. however, at the hearing last week, we saw a man filled with anger and aggression. judge kavanaugh raised his voice, he interrupted senators, he accused democrats of, quote, lying in wait, end quote, and replacing, quote, advice and consent with search and destroy, end quote. he even went so far as to say that dr. ford's allegations were nothing more than, quote, a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with pent-up anger about president trump and the 2016 election, end
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quote. quote, revenge on behalf of the clintons, end quote. how could he? this behavior revealed a hostility and belligerence that is unbecoming of someone seeking to be elevated to the united states supreme court. his display was so shocking that more than 2,400 law professors from around the country have expressed their opposition. they wrote, and i quote, instead of trying to sort out with reason and care the allegations that were raised, judge kavanaugh responded in an intemperate, inflammatory, and partial manner, as he interrupted and at times was discourteous to senators, end quote. the professors concluded, and i quote, we have differing views about other qualifications of
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judge kavanaugh, but we are united as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions in believing he did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land. madam president, i ask unanimous consent to enter a full copy of the letter in the record. >> without objection. >> thank you. finally, i want to mention the serious and credible allegations raised by dr. christine blasey ford and deborah ramirez, the two women who came forward to tell their experiences facing sexual assault. when dr. ford decided to make her story public, she faced all her worst fears. she was harassed, she received death threats. she had to relocate her home, her husband, and two children.
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and yet, in less than a week, she came before the senate and told 21 senators she had never met along with millions of americans about the most tragic, traumatic, and difficult experience of her life. and she did so with poise, grace, and most importantly, bravery. unfortunately, she was met with partisanship and hostility. my republican colleagues have largely chosen to ignore her powerful testimony. senators weren't allowed to hear from any witnesses who could corroborate or refute her account. they refused to gather evidence or do an impartial investigation into her allegations. deborah ramirez also reluctantly came forward to tell her story. like dr. ford, ms. ramirez offered to speak to the fbi.
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both ford and ramirez submitted evidence to support their allegations. including naming over two dozen witnesses each. unfortunately, the limited investigation that was conducted by the fbi failed to interview any one of the witnesses these two women identified who could support her account. let me say that again. they refused to investigate, to talk with any of the 24 witnesses that could have supported their accounts. mr. president, i think it's important to remember why we're here today. we're here to determine whether judge kavanaugh has demonstrated the impartiality, the temperament, the even handedness that's needed to serve on this great high court of o


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