tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN September 4, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
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we will get you back to capitol hill the contentious hearing day one in this confirmation of potentially the next supreme court justice. if the president has his way judge brett kavanaugh sitting there. we're waiting for his opening statement, that will happen in a little bit, the senators are still giving their opening statements. i want to bring you back to the other breaking news on this tuesday afternoon on this explosive new book that gives us a devastating look inside the trump administration. this is coming from bob woodward's book, it's called "fear: trump in the white house." it patz a dwurk picture of chaos and dysfunction. woodward released a recording to the "washington post" of a
conversation he had with the president about the book. >> just hearing about it and i heard -- i did hear from lindsey but i'm just hearing about it. we are going to have a very inaccurate book but that's too bad. i don't blame you entirely. >> it's going to be accurate. >> well, accurate is that nobody has ever done a better job than i'm doing as president, that i can tell you. and that's the way a lot of people feel that know what's going on and you will see that over the years, but a lot of people feel that, bob. >> i believe in our country and because you are our president i wish you good luck. >> when you think of pulitzer prize winning journalist you also think of carl bernstein who teamed up with woodward for their pulitzer prize winning coverage of the watergate scandal that led to the resignation of president richard nixon. what do you think of all this? >> i think that the most important thing that we see in bob's reporting is that the people closest to the president of the united states in the white house and in his
presidency see their job as to protect the nation and the world from donald trump as president of the united states. it's an extraordinary thing, the only previous time that i know of that it's happened in our history is in the closing days of the nixon presidency. this has been true throughout the trump presidency. save the country from the president of the united states. page after page after page. mattis, save the country from this moron. gary cohen, taking papers off the president's desk, save the country from what he might do. and this is an irrefutable picture because of bob woodward's methodology which is to go exhaustively to source after source after source. unlike those of us doing these stories day after day on the air and giving little pieces, what bob has done going back to the tradition that we've seen
through all of the books that he has worked on is to put a coherent complete narrative together that is absolutely undeniable, and in this case buttressed with notes, with memoranda, with actual quotes that go on and on and on. so there is not an element of this that the president of the united states can call fake news or fake book. this is the real story of donald trump naked, as president of the united states. >> so i was saying with gloria a second ago, i mean, based upon -- a lot of this has come from his own chief of staff, from mattis as you just pointed out, and who knows what happens with their futures. the concern would be if there is a true travesty in the realm of national security, carl, and these people are replaced by yes men or women, what happens then? what happens when the person isn't there to swipe off the desk. >> if this is not a warning sign
going off to the congress of the united states, to the republicans of the congress of the united states, saying, first of all, we must protect mueller's investigation, secondly, we cannot blindly follow this president and his incompetency, which is a theme throughout this book, and his recklessness and his disconcern for the national interest in favor of his own interest, it is time for the republicans to say, the trump presidency is a national emergency, and it is up to us, both parties, to treat the trump presidency as a national emergency. we're just getting at the surface of what's in this book. >> do you think they will? >> i have no idea. what we have seen so far is an abdication of responsibility by the republicans in the congress of the united states such as we have never seen. in watergate the system worked. it worked because republicans
decided we cannot have a president of the united states who is a criminal or a danger to the presidency of the united states. this situation is far more dangerous and that's what we know now. we have seen pieces of this on the air, many people have reported on pieces of this including descriptions that perhaps all of us have used on the air from our sources saying the president is unhinged. >> sure. >> here we see and hear his aides by name day after day after day say, the president is unhinged, he is a rage-a-holic, he is a danger to our national security. that's what we're dealing with here. also i want to say one thing about general kelly. >> sure. >> it would seem to me that general kelly in the interest of the country needs to resign. >> really? >> and with a statement that says the presidency can no longer be entrusted to this man.
we now have a picture of what we've all been dealing with here. i will be happy to appear before committees of congress, whether in executive session or whether in open session, and tell them what i have seen about this president of the united states and whether or not he is competent and able to lead the united states. i think he's in a position to do an act of great patriotism perhaps here, but for him to continue in this job given what he is quoted as saying by bob in this book. and the thing about the book is, like all of bob's books, the varus of mill tud. in this book it goes even further because there are so many tape record pgs from his sources that the account, the narrative accounts are based on that we finally are inside the
trump white house and it is a who are row show. and i said that not with any glee. this is a terrible, sad, dis may go -- dismaying, demoralizing, dangerous condition that donald trump has put the united states in. >> carl bernstein, thank you so much. >> good to be here. >> we are going to pick up on that conversation in just a second. let's go now to the confirmation hearings of this man, judge brett kavanaugh who could become the next justice on the supreme court. length now to senator cory booker. >> -- the opportunity to at least speak and make our case and even though you have not ruled in our favor of which i'm disappointed i do hope you understand that i value your friendship and frankly some of the most valuable moments i have had on this senate, i still remember coming to agreement with you on criminal justice reform. i've come to have a deep respect for you, sir, so i hope you do not think i was doing that earlier. >> if you worry about our friendship being affected it will not be, and that gives me
an opportunity to say something to the public at large, and that is about this committee. you would think that republicans and democrats don't talk to each other, but i'd like to remind the public that when they think that happens they ought to think of the record of this committee, not just this chairman, but this committee in the three and a half years and maybe even before i got to be chairman, but in the three and a half years i've been chairman every bill that got out of this committee has been a bipartisan bill. proceed, senator booker. >> thank you very much, sir. i appreciate that. it doesn't detract from the fact that i just fundamentally disagree with the way you've been concluding today. when i first got to the senate i was very fortunate that a lot of senior statesmen, yourself, senator hatch included, pulled me aside and gave me hard wisdom at times. remember, i came to the senate in a special election at a time that we were changing some of the senate rules. senator levin gave him a hard
talking to, senator mccain gave me a hard talking to and all made similar points about this idea that you need to be as pobt testify as possible and sisi how you would react if the pendulum was swung the other way. they warned me in this place what goes around comes around. i've been struggling with that, sir, with all honesty of what would the republicans be saying and what we would be saying if we had a democratic president right now, a democratic nominee right now and this process was in the reverse. i would like to believe how i would behave and i'm pretty confident -- i would actually be willing to bet that if the republicans were being denied effectively about 90% of the documents about a person's public record, and i actually do believe that some of the analogies that are made to senator -- excuse me, to justice k cra
craigen is not a favor analogy. this is part of the nominee's history that he has said is one of the most formative times. so i would not hire an intern in my office knowing only 90% of their resumé. there is not a person here that would buy a home only seeing 90% -- only seeing 10% of the rooms. i just believe what we're doing here just on the objective view of fairness is sincerely unfair and it's insulting to the ideals that we try to achieve in this -- with some sense of calmity and some sense of rules. but i want to get deeper han that. i'm trying to figure out what the jeopardy would be, what the jeopardy would be, if we just waited for the documents. last night we had a document dump of tens of thousands of pages. tens of thousands of pages. as has been said already there is no judge that would have allowed a court proceeding to go on, no judge that would move
forward if one of the parties had just got documents as of 5:00 last night or potentially as of 11:00. what i don't understand is what's the jeopardy of just waiting? not just for us to digest these documents, but other documents. the reality is that, senator grassley, you yourself have asked for specific more finite set, more limited set of documents that you haven't even gotten. so whether it's not seeing 90% of the resumé of the gentleman before us or 50% or 40%, that should come within time. and there is no jeopardy when we have a lifetime appointment. he will be there should he be confirmed for decades and decades and decades, waiting another week or five days or two weeks for those documents that you yourself has requested, which is a more limited subset for even those documents to come through, i don't understand what the rush is, especially given all that is at stake. and so those are the reasons why
i say to you, with sincere respect, that this is an absurd process. it just seems unfair to me and it could easily be solved by us putting a pause here on this process, waiting for the documents, evaluating the documents and it will be a much more robust set of hearings on this nominee. as i said, i would not hire an intern if i had not seen -- if i had only seen 10% of their resumé. here to have a fuller body of the work of this gentleman before us, who as one of my colleagues called popping up in some of the most interesting times in the last decade or two on some of the most important issues, already the limited amount what we call 7% of the documents that i've seen, unfortunately those are things that are being held committee confidential which i don't even know if i can use in my questioning here, i think the penalty, sir, a being ousted from the senate, but even the little limited amount of documents have potentially made my questioning far more rich,
far more substantive to get to the heart of the issues of the individual nominee. and, again, sir, i try to summon the spirit of some of the elder states people i had the privilege of serving with from rockefeller to levin to mccain to summon that spirit to be as objective as possible. i do not think it is unreasonable for us to wait for a week or two to get the full body of those documents. it will cause no harm or damage, except to have more of a full telling of what is at stake here. the stakes are too high in what this nominee represents for us to rush through this process without a full sharing of the documents. and with that i will continue, sir, with my opening statement. i have said before already that -- >> [ inaudible ]. i will take this opportunity to probably say that you said i didn't get all the documents i
requested. you probably heard the first sentence of something i said after our break and that was that i could -- i first started talking about expecting a million documents and we end up, i think, with 488,000, but then i went on to explain that the process with all the software and everything else that can speed things up, duplicates were eliminated and et cetera, et cetera, and so we've gotten all the documents i requested. just to correct you. >> sir, and to my understanding -- >> go ahead with your opening statement. >> i just want to make a point to that if you don't mind. you requested a limited set of documents of his time in the white house counsel's office. we have not received all the documents from his time, they are still being vetted slowly through a system of not a representative from the committee, but the bill burke individual is still reading through those documents as we speak. i imagine some of them will be dumped on us as this process is
going on and i predict with quite confidence that some of those documents might still be trickling out in the days before the actual full senate vote. please, sir. >> you're talking about committee confidential and you have access to them right now. there hasn't been a determination that like 80% of all the documents are on the website so the public can see them, but in regard to some, they were forwarded to us without a second review, that second review gives -- gives an opportunity to then get them out to the public, if there is no reason that they are excluded under the law, and you can read those committee confidential documents right now. >> well, sir, we sent a letter days ago asking for that. i will rescind it with you in this next 24 hours before our hearing tomorrow. >> we responded to your letter. >> again, sir, you did not
respond to our letter by allowing committee confidential documents -- >> bless go to your opening statement. >> thank you very much, sir. look, i was, you know, former senator, now former vice president biden talked about not questioning your colleagues' motives and some of the colleagues across the aisle have called the efforts by some of us sincerely to get access to these documents a sham, a charade, i can go through a lot of the words that were used calling into question the motivations that i have for doing what i believe, sir, is perhaps the most grave and important duty that i have as a senator, to advise and consent. and, yes, as senator cornyn pointed out i have announced my decision already, but my duty to the people of the state of the new jersey and others is to fully vet an individual. that's why i think the documents are important, that this full record is made clear and that we have a chance to ask questions about it. i also have said that i oppose this nomination happening right now because of the moment we are
in american history, which is very unprecedented. i remind you that we have had bipartisan statements by senators working in tangent about the attack on the united states of america, which was an attack going to the core of what our democracy is about, the voting processes. a special counsel was put into place and that has led to dozens of people being indicted, people all around the president of the united states, it has led to dozens and dozens of charges and that investigation is ongoing. we have seen the president of the united states credibly accused by his own personal lawyer as being an unindicted co-conspirator. in all of this we have one judge being chosen who was not on the original list. he wasn't on the outsourced federal society's original list. he wasn't on the second version of that list. he got on to that list after this special investigation got
going. in other words, after the president was in jeopardy. he was added to the list and then the president pulled the one person from all of that list that it was added late that would give him in a sense the ability to pick a judge that has already spoken vastly about a president's ability to be prosecuted, about a president's ability to dismiss or end an investigation. so that's the second reason why i have asked for us to put a pause on this process. fundamental to this nation's very beliefs, judge hand said this, as powerful and profound as the documents of this country are, our founding documents, they are not worth much if the people themselves lose faith them. and i believe the nomination of a judge from all of this list so powerfully speaks to a president's de facto immunity
from ongoing investigation prosecution will shake the faith that millions and millions of americans have in the fairness of the system. i've asked judge kavanaugh time and time again to recuse himself to restore that faith, to alleviate the concerns of americans and he has thus far refused to do so. now, i am upset about the process, and this is not manufactured outrage, this is sincere concern for a process that seems wrong and just not objective and fair. i am concerned about, as my colleagues are on both sides of the aisle, a russian attack on our nation, but there's a lot more going on here that makes this nomination of great concern and it's frankly some of the things i have heard from both sides of the aisle tonight. as we travel this country and what we are hearing from individuals and how that relates to a position on the supreme
court. right now millions of american families are watching this in sincere concern and fear. i've heard them. i've gotten the calls, i've traveled to this country. i've talked to republicans and democrats. they are fearful about where the supreme court is going and what it will do when it has the power to shape law, shape the lives and liberties for individuals for decades to come. i've talked to workers all over my state, all over this nation, workers that now work in a country where stages are at a 60 year low as a portion of our gdp whose labor protections -- workers whose labor protections are being diluted and whose unions are under attack. so many of those individuals are asking whether the supreme court of their lifetimes will be an institution that elevates the dignity of american workers or one that allows powerful corporate interest to continue to weaken labor protections that didn't just happen, labor protections that were fought for, that people struggled for,
that some in the labor movement actually died for, are these labor rights going to becoming a separated? are they going to become limited? further increasing the vast disparities of wealth and power in our country. we know this, we've talked to both sides of the aisle, we've talked to cancer survivors, americans with disabilities, survivors of domestic abuse, parents with beautiful children that happen to have disabilities, who because of the affordable care act can no longer be denied coverage because of, quote, a preexisting condition. there's a texas case where that's being challenged right now. that's moving up, it could likely go before the supreme court. well, knowing your record it is right that these americans, so many of them are preexisting conditions are asking whether the supreme court will be an institution that affirms and protects the rights of people with access to healthcare, many people rightfully believe when
they read our founding documents that talk about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that healthcare they believe is fundamental. we all know too many people who have set aside prescription drugs because they are too high because of what corporations are doing there. people who have put off going to see the doctor because a visit is too expensive. that is in the balance with this nomination. i have gone across the state and senator durbin, i don't know if i've he told you this, i was in your state talking to a republican farmer about how the farm country is changing so dramatically, the livelihoods of so many independent family farmers are being threatened by the consolidation of large multi-national corporations. these corporations have acquired so much power, this consolidation now from the seeds that they buy, the price is going up to who they have the ability to -- this abuse of corporate consolidation is driving so many farmers out of
business. you see one farmer was telling me about the suicide rates. now, people are saying that this is histrionics, this is not life or death. well, i know these things actually are often a matter of life or death. when uninsurance rate goes up -- when insurance rates go down, rather, more people without healthcare often lose their lives. there is not one senator on the republican side or democratic side who has not seen -- i have only been here five years and i have seen the culture of washington change because of the obscene amount of dark money pouring into our political process, corrupting our political process, rigging the system. this nomination will have an affect on that. i've seen americans all over this country, it's the bipartisan work that i've done with senators on the other side who feel entrapped by a broken criminal justice system, one
that is -- we know disproportionately targets black and brown americans. where many americans believe we have a system that now treats you better if you're rich and guilty than poor and innocent. these issues are in the balance now. everyone who is concerned about these issues and more are wondering what the story of america is. we have this great leader, a man named king who said the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. there are so many americans who fought for these fundamental rights, family members who they remember, union organizers, activists, women's rights activists who fought for, struggled for and died for many of these rights. the right for women to make their own medical decisions, including the right to an a and not a back alley butcher. the right for americans to marry who they love. the right to vote and to work
free of discrimination regardless of race and the rights of all americans. these are our rights, these are american rights. so we know the answer to these questions. i have looked through the record, i have had access to, to see the pattern of your decisions. and that's the pattern that really troubles me, judge. i know we are going to get a chance to go through this and i know my colleagues will as well, but it seems so clear that in your courts the same -- the same follow, win over and over again. the powerful, the privileged, big corporations, special interests. over and over again follks that lose are the folks i came to washington to fight for, minorities, the disadvantaged, the poor. this is the challenge before us, this is why so much is at stake. i love that my colleagues keep
going back to the constitution, but understand this, i laud our founders, i think they were geniuses, but you've got to understand that there are millions of americans who understand that they were also flawed people. we are the oldest constitutional democracy. we are the oldest one. we were founded in a break with human events, you know this, judge, i've read your writings, we were not founded on some kind of tribalism, we weren't founded because we all look alike, we all pray alike, because we are all the same race. we broke with the course of human events and formed this nation, god bless america, god bless our founders, but we know our founders and their values and their ideals. we know that they -- that they were flawed and you can see that in the documents. native americans were referred to as savages, women were referred to as all. african-americans, slaves were referred to as fractions of human beings, as one activist
used to always say consittue, i can only say three-fifths of the word. >> senator booker. >> i'm almost done, sir. >> okay. go ahead. >> the only reason i stopped you at this point is i thought that i would let people go at least as far as senator blumenthal have went and you have reached that point. >> i appreciate that. i'm a bit of a trailblazer, i'm going to push two or three more minutes. >> okay. >> my point, sir, is that i'm proud of this history. >> your clock when it reaches 10 is your two and a half minutes. >> from the activism stone wall, selma, seneca falls, there's an activism that i worry rights that were gained were rolled back. the example i have here is there is an amazing activist here right now, ms. calrotta walls lanier. it was 61 years ago on this day,
september 4th, 1957 that missoula near at the age of 14 faced crowds that were shouting racial slurs, she was jeered and on that day missoula near joined eight other students, a group that would become known as the little rock nine to try to dee segregate an all white high school in little rock, arkansas. we know what they did that day was much more -- much bigger than the first day of school, it was the first major test of the supreme court's landmark decision, the 1954 brown versus board of education decision. i've opinion shocked sitting here that there are now some judges that trump has appointed that refuse to even say -- i'm not saying this is you, sir -- that that's settled law. there are people like missoula near who were part of gaining rights in this country, advancing the ideals of this nation towards the purity of the ideals put forth by the founders despite the imperfections and now the fear and the worry is where the trend of the court of the court is doing is rolling back those gains, undermining that progress, restricting
individual rights as the rise of corporations, the rise of dark money, the rise of the interests of the powerful and the privileged and the elite. i just say in conclusion, sir, i said this to you in a heart to heart moment in the last seconds that you came to my office to meet with me one-on-one, which i appreciated, i pointed to the map behind my desk which is the central ward of newark, new jersey, a place with mighty people, it's a low income community, people still struggling for the fullness and the richness of the promises of america, that that's -- that's the concern that i have right now. that is what is at stake. so i say in conclusion, sir, this to me is a profound and historical moment. i cannot support your nomination, not just because of the body of your work, but also the perverse process by which this comes forward. we should not vote now. we should wait. and if we are not waiting, we should object to your nomination. thank you. >> senator till lis. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
i have a 12-minute preamble and 18 minutes of comments. >> all right. we are going to take a quick break. you've been listening to day one of this senate confirmation hearing of who the current president hopes will be the next justice on the u.s. supreme court, judge brett kavanaugh there. quick break. we now have reaction from this explosive book coming out from bob woodward, we have reaction from the white house. stay tuned for that next. kyrockt after a scratch so small you could fix it with a pen. how about using that pen to sign up for new insurance instead? for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty mutual insurance. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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the press secretary sarah sanders and i'm going to quote her, this book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former
disgruntled employees told to make the president look bad. while it is not always pretty and rare that the press actually covers it, president trump has broken through the bureaucratic process to deliver unprecedented successes for the american people, sometimes it is unconventional, but he always gets results. democrats and their allies in the media understand the president's policies are working and with success like this, no one can beat him in 2020, not even close.
apparently with this statement they released a long list of accomplishments from this white house from the past 20 months. i have our senior white house correspondent in front of the camera now, jeff zeleny. talk to me about how the white house is responding. >> well, brooke, after several hours of silence as the white house is trying to get their arms around this book because i am told they, in fact, had not seen it until the news reports came out today, we are now seeing a slow string of denials coming out really sort of one by one of the people who were quoted in this book. let's take a look at a couple of those, first is the current
white house chief of staff, john kelly, of course. he released a
statement with sarah sanders' statement, it says the idea that i ever called the president an idiot is not true. as i stated back in may and still firmly stand behind, i spend more time with the president than anyone else. we have an incredibly candid and strong relation sh hypothetical. he always knows where i stand and he and i both know this story is total bs in his words. i'm committed to the president, his agenda and our country. this is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to president trump and distract the administration's many successes. that is one denial from john kelly, the current white house chief of staff. another denial from john dowd who was a former personal lawyer for the president, he parted ways with the president earlier this year over disagreements really over philosophy and strategy. this is what john dowd says in a statement released a few moments ago, he says i have not read bob woodward's book which is the
latest in misrepresentations based on anonymous statements. i do not intend to address every inaccurate statement attributed to me but i want to make this clear, there was no so-called practice session or reenactment of a mock interview at the special counsel's office. further, i did not refer to the president as a liar and i did not say he was likely to end up in an orange jumpsuit. it was a great honor and distinct privilege to serve president trump. so wrapping up there, john kelly, chief of staff saying he didn't call the president an idiot, john dowd his lawyer saying he didn't call the president a liar. but the reality here, brooke, is in the hours and hours and hundreds of interviews bob woodward did, he compiled these from interviews with other people. we will see how these denials stand up and most importantly, we will see what the president says when he reacts to this. he has been oddly silent about all of this, brooke, but we do know he's stewing. >> we're waiting for it. jeff, thank you so much. max, i'm turning to you first. you know, john dowd says i never said that, there was no practice
session. you know, others are saying absolutely no, and then you have standing up against, you know, the bob woodward. someone ain't telling the truth. >> keep in mind, brooke, this is the most dishonest white house in history and that includes the nixon white house. this is a president who lies an average of something like eight times a day according to the "washington post" and that trickles down to his subordinates. i would take these denials with a giant heaping of salt, not only because of bob woodward's half a century of credible reporting, but also because what he's reporting tallies what we've heard from other sources. remember, rex tillerson trump's own secretary of state referred to him as an f'ing moron and he did not deny that. so maybe it's true that general kelly did not call trump an idiot, maybe he called him a moron or something else, but the general idea that people around trump have a very low -- >> and there's more from that in this book. stand by, max. senator kamala harris, california, here now going back
to capitol hill. >> in terms of the point that has been made about playing politics and blaming the supreme court, i think that we have to give pause when those kinds of concerns are expressed to also think about the fact that there have been many a political campaign that has been run indicating an intention to use the united states supreme court as a political tool to end things like the affordable care act, the voting rights act and campaign finance reform. which makes this conversation a legitimate one in terms of a reasoned concern about whether this nominee has been nominated to fulfill a political agenda as it relates to using that court and the use of that court. as it relates to the 42,000 documents -- or 42,000 pages of documents, i find it interesting that we get those documents less than 24 hours before this hearing is scheduled to begin,
but it took 57 days for those documents to be vetted before we would even be given those documents. so there's some suggestion that we should be speed readers and read 42,000 pages of documents in about 15 hours, when it took the other side 57 days to review those same documents. so the logic at least on the math is not applying. now, the chairman has requested 10% of the nominee's documents, that's 10% of 100% of his full record. the nominee's personal lawyer has only given us 7% of his documents. 7 out of 100% of the full record. republicans have only given 4% of these records or made them public. that's 4% of 100% of a full record. 96% of his record is missing.
96% of his record is missing. it is reasonable -- this is reasonable that we should want to review his entire record and then we can debate among us the relevance of what is in his record to his nomination. but it should not be the ability of this -- the leadership of this committee to unilaterally make decisions about what we will and will not see in terms of its admissibility, instead of arguing about the weight of whatever is made admissible. the late senator kennedy of massachusetts called these hearings a supreme court nominee's, quote, job interview with the american people. and by that standard the nominee before us is coming into his job interview with more than 90% of his background hidden. i would think that anyone who wanted to sit on the nation's highest court would be proud of
their record and would want the american people to see it. i would think that anyone privileged to be nominated to the supreme court of the united states would want to be confirmed in a process that is not under a cloud, that respects due process. i would think that anyone nominated to the supreme court of the united states would want to have a hearing that is characterized by transparency and fairness and integrity and not shrouded by uncertainty and suspicion and concealment and doubt. we should not be moving forward with this hearing. the american people deserve better than this. so judge kavanaugh, as most of us know, and i will mention to you and you have young children and i know they are very proud
of you and i know you are a great parent and i applaud all that you have done in the community. so as you know, as we all know, this is a week when most students in our country go back to school. it occurs to me that many years ago right around this time i was starting kindergarten and i was a bus -- in a bus, a school bus, on my way to thousand oaks elementary school as part of the second class of students as busing desegregated berkeley, california, public schools. this was decades after the supreme court ruled brown v. board of education that separate was inherently unequal. as i've said many times, had chief justice earl warren not been on the supreme court of the united states, he could not have led a unanimous decision and the outcome then of that case may have been very different. had that decision not come down
the way it did, i may not have had the opportunities that allowed me to become a lawyer or a prosecutor. i likely would not have been elected district attorney of san francisco or the attorney general of california. and i most certainly would not be sitting here as a member of the united states senate. so for me a supreme court seat is not only about academic issues of legal precedent or judicial philosophy, it is personal. when we talk about our nation's highest court and the men and women who sit on it, we're talking about the impact that one individual on that court can have, impact on people you will never meet and whose names you will never know. whether a person can exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot, that may be decided. if judge kavanaugh sits on that court. whether a woman with breast cancer can afford healthcare or
is forced off lifesaving treatment. whether a gay or transgender worker is treated with dignity, or maybe treated as a second-class citizen. whether a young woman who got pregnant at 15 is forced to give birth or in desperation go to a back alley for an abortion. whether a president of the united states can be held accountable, or whether he will be above the law. all of this may come down to judge kavanaugh's vote, and that's what's at stake in this nomination. and the stakes are even higher because of the moment we are in and many of us have discussed this. these are unprecedented times. as others have already observed, less than two weeks ago the president's personal lawyer and campaign chairman were each found guilty or employed guilty to eight felonies. the president's personal lawyer
under oath declared that the president directed him to commit a federal crime. yet that same president is racing to appoint to a lifetime position on the highest court in our land, a court that very well may decide his legal fate. and, yes, that's essentially what confirming judge kavanaugh could mean. so it is important, more important i say than ever, that the american people have transparency and accountability with this nomination. and that's why it is extremely disturbing that senate republicans have prevented this body and most important the american people from fully reviewing judge kavanaugh's record and have disregarded just about every tradition and practice that i heard so much about before i arrived in this
place. judge kavanaugh, when you and i met in my office you said with respect to judicial decisions that rushed decisions are often bad decisions. i agree with you. i agree with you. and when we are talking about who will sit on the supreme court of the united states, i believe your point couldn't be more important. mr. chairman, when judge kavanaugh was nominated in july he expressed his belief that a judge must be independent, must interpret the law and not make law. but in reviewing this nominee's background i am deeply concerned that what guides him is n independence or impartiality, it's not even ideology. i would suggest it's not even ideology. what i believe guides him and what his record that we've been able to see shows is what guides
this nominee is partisanship. this nominee has devoted his entire career to a conservative republican agenda, helping to spearhead a partisan investigation into president clinton, helping george w. bush's legal team ensure that every vote was not counted in bush v. gore, helping to confirm partisan judges and enact partisan laws as part of the bush white house. and in all of these efforts he has shown that he seeks to win at all cost, even if that means pushing the envelope. and if we look at his record on the d.c. circuit, and in his recent writings and statements, it is clear that the nominee has brought his political bias to the bench. he has carried out deeply conservative partisan agendas as a judge favoring big business over ordinary americans, polluters over clean air and water and the powerful over the vulnerable. just last year judge kavanaugh
praised the dissent in roe v. wade and ruled against a scared 17-year-old girl seeking to end her pregnancy. he has disregarded the supreme court precedent to argue that undocumented workers weren't really employees under our labor laws. we have witnessed horrific mass shootings from parkland to las vegas to jacksonville, florida, yet judge kavanaugh has gone further than the supreme court and has written that because assault weapons are, quote, in common use, assault weapons and high capacity magazines cannot be banned under the second amendment. when he was part of an independent counsel investigation into the democratic president, the nominee was dogged in demanding answers. and yet he has since changed his tune arguing that presidents should not be investigated or held accountable. a position that i am sure is not
lost on this president. these positions are not impartial, they are partisan. judge neil gorsuch, judge kavanaugh's classmate insisted before this committee that judges are not merely, quote, i fear that judge kavanaugh's record indicates that he is exactly that. now i know members of this committee and the nominees friends and colleagues have assured us that he is devoted to his family and supportive of his law clerks and volunteers in his community and i don't doubt that at all. but that's not why we are here. i'd rather that we think about this hearing in the context of the supreme court of the united states and the impact it will have on generations of americans to come and do we want that court to continue a legacy of being above politics and
unbiased or are we prepared to participate in a process that is tainted and that leaves the american public questioning the integrity of this process. and i'll close by saying this, we have a system of justice that is symbolized by a statute of a woman holding scales and she wears a blindfold. justice wears a blindfold because we have said in the united states of america under our judicial system, justice should be blind to a person's status. we have said that in our system of justice, justice should be blind to how much money someone has, to what you look like or who you love, to who your parents are and the language they speak and every supreme court justice must understand and uphold that ideal. and sir, should those cases become before you, judge kavanaugh, i am concerned
whether you would treat every american equally or instead show allegiance to the political party and the conservative agenda that has shaped and built your career. i am concerned your loyalty would be to the president who appointed you and not to the constitution of the united states. these concerns i hope you will answer during the course of this hearing. i believe the american people have a right to have these concerns. i also believe the american public has a right to full and candid answers to the questions that are presented to you during the course of this hearing. i will be paying very close attention to your testimony and i think you know the american public will be paying very close attention to your testimony. thank you. >> senator graham? >> am i the last person? >> yes, but don't forget we're going to hear from the nominee and his introducers before you can go home and go to bed.
>> okay. thank you. i was going to ask you to take me to dinner but that's not going to happen. >> you know the answer to that. >> you know that, that's right. so to my colleagues on those -- i look forward to working with you. i think you've got to be blind as to what's going on here. have you heard of justice briar? do you know him? you can't say anything, i guess. where did he come from? he was ted kennedy's senate judiciary person. where do you think republicans are going to go find a judge? the whole argument is, you can be a conservative republican president but you got to nominate a liberal to be fair to the country. that's absurd. where do you think ruth bader ginsberg came from, she's the general counsel of the aclu, wonderful person, what groups do y'all use to pick from? this is shaping up to be the
hypocrisy hearing and that's hard to do in the senate in today's time to be hypocritical, but let me just point to a few of these things. clinton, it didn't bother anybody for clinton to nominate briar while he was under investigation? it didn't bother any of you all that ted kennedy staff person was his pick. it didn't bother me either because that's who i expect to you pick. this is ridiculous. you're one of the best choices any republican could make as i said with justice gorsuch, i'm glad you're here because there were days i'm wondering who he would've picked and this is a home run from my point of view. let's talk about roe v. wade. who would ever play politics on the campaign trail where roe v.
wade? what a bast ard donald trump is, until you hear about hillary clinton. february the 3rd, 2016, this is what hillary clinton said when asked does she have a litmus test for scotus nominations. i do have a litmus tests, i have a bunch because the next president could get as many as three appointments and i hope she's right. we've got to make sure to preserve roe v. wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed. she sounds very open minded. october 2016, we need a supreme court that will stand up on behalf of woman's rights. it is important that we not rebirth roe v. wade. i want to supreme court that stick with roe v. wade and a woman's right to choose. i understand where she's coming from. anybody running for president over there, i dare you to disagree with her? you'll wind up like i did
getting 1%. if you even suggest that you will pick a nominee that's not going to uphold roe v. wade that's the ends of you, but you figured that out. you don't need me to tell you. so this is the way we do politics. this is a big decision called roe v. wade. there are two sides and a bunch of nuances. here's what i know about you, you're going to take it as press dent, you wrote a big book that i will never read and you're going to tell us what it took to overturn a long-standing president. nobody on this side will care if you overturn citizens united. matter fact they will cheer you on. somebody will challenge citizens united and you will say let me hear both sides of the story and i will tell you whether or not to uphold it. so hillary clinton, we know where she's at on roe v. wade and that's just the way it is. now, what other things? executive power. this idea that trump picked you
to save him. amazing concept since you said what you said back in 1998 and 2008, the bottom line is when clinton was being impeached, my good friend and this is true, he is my good friend, on february the 12th, 1999 introduced into the record during the deliberations of the clinton impeachment trial an article by brett kavanaugh suggesting that you should wait if there is an indictment until after the president is out of office. the same concept we're talking about here today when the shoe was on the other foot, here's what joe said about your thinking. the president's not simply another individual, he is unique. he is the embodiment of the federal government and the head of a political party. if he is to be removed the entire government likely would suffer and the military or
economic consequences should the nation could be severe. these repercussions if they are to occur should not result from the judgment of a single prosecutor whether it be the attorney general or special counsel and a single jury. prosecution -- a nonprosecution of a president is in short a political act, thus as the constitution suggests, the decision about the president while he's in office should be made where all great national judgements and our country should be made in the congress of the united states according to joe biden. the gift that keeps on giving for us. i think that's pretty hypocritical. during the clinton days, you were right, but all of a sudden you're a danger to the republic. let's talk about -- there's so many -- how many minutes do i have here? the bottom line is -- >> don't exceed what whitehouse -- >> i will not.
guns. somehow you're going to make sure that congress -- the bottom line on guns, dianne feinstein's a wonderful lady and has passion on this issue about assault weapons. she was able to succeed politically after ten years the gun assault weapons ban expired and its been hard to get it re-established. she introduced legislation in 2013 that got 60 no votes, 16 democrats, so i don't believe they see you as a threat to the nation if you come out on the idea that the second amendment has some meaning. in other words, the political process when it comes to guns is a work in progress and i'd rather us decide that than you. when it comes to the pillar of virtue comey.
harry reid that he's been a supporter of comey and led the fight to get him confirmed as he believed comey was a principled public servant with the deepest regret i now see i was wrong. mr. nadler from new york. the president can fire him for cause and ought to. he violated all the guidelines and put his thumb on the scale of an election. mr. cohen from tennessee, a democrat, called on comey to resign his position effective immediately. i'm sure upon reflection of this action he will submit his letter of resignation for the nation's good. to my democratic friends, you are all for getting rid of this guy. now all of a sudden the country's turning upside down because trump did. there's a process to find out what happened in the 2016 election. its called mr. mueller. and i will dory