This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday,” September 30, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I’m Chris Wallace.
President Trump orders the FBI to reopen the investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after a Republican senator wavers on support for the judge.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE, R-ARIZONA: I will move it out of committee, but I will only be comfortable moving on the floor until the FBI has done more investigation then they have already.
WALLACE: The shocking development coming after a day of dramatic testimony from both sides.
SEN. DICK DURBIN, D-ILLINOIS: With what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?
CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: One hundred percent.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY, R-LOUISIANA: None of these allegations are true.
BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: Correct.
KENNEDY: No doubt in your mind.
KAVANAUGH: Zero, I’m 100 percent certain.
WALLACE: Will the new investigation into claims of sexual misconduct hurt Kavanaugh’s chances confirmation? We’ll ask White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
DEMONSTRATORS: Kavanaugh has got to go!
WALLACE: A Supreme Court confirmation battle in the age of #MeToo.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Somebody could come and say 30 years ago, 25 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago, he did a horrible thing to me. It’s a very dangerous period in our country.
WALLACE: We’ll discuss what the showdown means for allegations of sexual assault with Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center. And then we’ll ask our Sunday panel where the burden of proof lies these days.
And our “Power Player of the Week,” a Hollywood titan on the rewards of giving back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You never see U-haul behind a hearse. What are you going to do with what you have while you’re here.
WALLACE: All, right now on “Fox News Sunday”.
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
Tomorrow, the Supreme Court opens its new term with eight justices on the bench. Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination facing another week of uncertainty after President Trump, under pressure, ordered a new FBI background check into allegations of sexual misconduct by his nominee.
And all this just five weeks before the 2018 midterm elections. In a moment, we’ll speak with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
But first, FOX News White House correspondent Kevin Corke has the latest from Capitol Hill — Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Chris, the fate of the president’s Supreme Court nominee and the rest of the hands of a few fence-sitting Republican senators, but it is now clearly in those of the FBI, which has opened up a supplemental background investigation into Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would suggest that we —
CORKE: The probe comes in the wake of a series of sexual misconduct allegations dating back to Judge Kavanaugh’s high school and college years. Saturday, the attorney for Deborah Ramirez confirmed that agents have contacted his client, an indication that the probe will look beyond the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford. The scope of the FBI investigation had been a question.
Saturday, NBC accused the White House of limiting the probe, something the president quickly denied, tweeting: Actually, I want to interview whoever they deem appropriate at their discretion.
White House spokesman Raj Shah noted that the Senate sets the scope and duration of the FBI probe, and that the White House is letting the FBI agents do what they’re trained to do.
Saturday night at a rally in West Virginia, the president reiterated his support for his embattled nominee.
TRUMP: A vote for Judge Kavanaugh is also about to reject the ruthless and outrageous tactics of the Democrat party, mean obstructionists, mean resistance. For the last 18 months, Democrats have spent every minute trying to overturn the results of the last election.
CORKE: Michael Avenatti, who is the attorney for a third accuser Julie Swetnick, says he has yet to hear from the feds. Chris, the investigation is expected to wrap up by the end of this week.
WALLACE: Kevin Corke reporting from Capitol Hill. Thanks for that. Joining me now, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
And, Sarah, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It’s great to be with you, Chris. Thanks for having me.
WALLACE: Let’s pick up on this report overnight. Has the White House limited in any way who the FBI may talk to and specifically, has the FBI been given a list of potential people to talk to but does not include Julie Swetnick, the woman, the third accuser who talked about gang rapes and also college friends who may contradict Judge Kavanaugh on the issue of heavy drinking?
SANDERS: No, the White House is not micromanaging this process. This is — the Senate is dictating the terms. They laid out the request and we’ve opened it up. And as you heard the president say, do what you need to do, the FBI, this is what they do and we are out of the way and letting them do exactly that.
WALLACE: But to be specific, did the White House counsel give the FBI a list?
SANDERS: Not that I’m aware of. The White House counsel has allowed the Senate to dictate what these terms look like and what the scope of the investigation is.
Again, the White House isn’t intervening. We’re not micromanaging this process. This is something — it’s a Senate process. It has been from the beginning. And we’re letting the Senate continue to dictate what the terms look like.
WALLACE: So, do you know if either the Senate or the White House is saying, don’t interview Julie Swetnick?
SANDERS: That’s a question you’d have to ask the Senate. That’s not something that, again, the White House is engaging in.
WALLACE: But the White House is in charge of telling the FBI —
SANDERS: That we’re open to the investigation and we’ve asked that they do that.
Look, at the end of the day, the FBI is going to go through this process, they’re going to do interviews. They don’t come to the conclusion, that still something the Senate has to do. They’re going to go and they’re going to provide information and the Senate is going to have to make a determination to either vote for Brett Kavanaugh or not.
This can’t become a fishing expedition like the Democrats would like to see it be. Look, I think you have to go back to the very beginning of day one of when President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh. From that very first moment before any of these allegations were brought up, Democrats said they were not going to support him, they weren’t going to vote for him and they were going to do everything within their power to fight him.
We’ve seen that play out over the last couple of months. They’ve been absolutely disgraceful in the way they’ve handled this process, in the way they’ve exploited both Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford. I think we cannot allow the people that have acted in bad faith to determine and allow this to become a total fishing expedition by the FBI.
The Senate is going to lay out, Senate Republicans are going to lay out and dictate those terms and we look forward to this wrapping up so we can see what was seen in the last six investigations that Judge Kavanaugh has been a part of.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on this question because President Trump said yesterday as he was leaving the White House the FBI investigation, his words, could be a blessing in disguise.
But here was the tweet that he put out on Thursday after the hearing: Democrats search and destroy strategy is disgraceful in this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct and resist. The Senate must vote.
Does the president think the Democrats’ demand for this extended FBI probe is part of what he has called a big fat con job and that Republican senators like Flake, like Collins, like Murkowski fell for the Democratic sham?
SANDERS: I don’t know that he think he’s individual spell for the sham. He knows those people want to see this process play out. I think of people that have been bad actors in this, as the president laid out in his tweet, are the Democrats.
Look, Dianne Feinstein and her staff knew about these accusations. They could have done all of this in a private way to protect Dr. Ford. Instead, for the people that claim to champion women, Democrats have exploited Dr. Ford, they have exploited this process and I think it’s been totally disgraceful and I don’t think anyone has hit the nail on the head better than Lindsey Graham did in Thursday’s hearing.
WALLACE: So why did Jeff Flake go along with it?
SANDERS: That’s a question you’d have to ask Jeff Flake. But at the end of the day, we want this process to be completed and we want Brett Kavanaugh to be able to take the bench and to be a Supreme Court justice without the cloud over his head and if that allows us to do that, then by all means, let’s get this done this week.
But the Senate has to make a decision and a determination and they have to vote based on the information that they have.
WALLACE: Here’s what the president said after the hearing about Christine Blasey Ford’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thought her testimony was very compelling and she looked like a very fine woman to me. Very fine woman. Certainly, she was a very credible witness. She was very good in many respects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: What did the president find compelling and credible about Dr. Ford’s testimony?
SANDERS: Well, I think certainly anybody who watch that can ignore the fact that it evoked some emotion, that this isn’t about emotion, it’s about facts and the facts all in on Brett Kavanaugh side, certainly all of the information that came through that hearing, there was no corroboration that nobody could deny that her testimony wasn’t compelling, that it wasn’t impactful and certainly, it appears something happened to this woman and I don’t think there’s anybody in America who would condone that or be OK with that.
I do think the big question is, was that Brett Kavanaugh? And I think based on his testimony and the information he provided, you can easily come away and say it wasn’t.
WALLACE: Well, I want to pick up on that. You’re not only the White House press secretary. I don’t have to tell you, you’re a woman.
How did her testimony affect you personally and how do you explain it that she could be that compelling, that believable, and that you think she’s that wrong?
SANDERS: Well, again, I think her testimony was compelling, but there was no fact-based information that supported the accusation. Equally compelling, if not more so, was Brett Kavanaugh.
And I — you pointed out I’m a woman, I’m also a mom. I have a daughter and I have two sons and I think it’s a very, very dangerous place in a very dangerous road for America to go down to simply take an accusation and make it facts. We have to look at the information provided based on what we know. I think Brett Kavanaugh was very compelling, very credible that he had a lot of corroboration to backup his side of the story and I think that’s equally as important, that you have to take that into account as well.
WALLACE: Let’s take a look at some of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: I believe he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from yelling.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-VT, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: What is the strongest memory you have? The strongest memory of the incident?
FORD: Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two and they’re having fun at my expense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: How does the president who has called her not only compelling, but credible, how does he explain that she could be so credible and so specific in putting Kavanaugh and his best — one of his best friends, Mark Judge, in that room and be wrong about it? You say you think something happened, not necessarily with Kavanaugh. I mean, is it just mistaken — how does he explain it?
SANDERS: Look, I don’t think anyone of us can know 100 percent, but I think we have to look at the information that’s provided. There’s no doubt that her story is heartbreaking and it’s heart wrenching to watch it. I’ve watched it a number of times.
Again, I think you have to look at Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony as well. Equally heartbreaking. Look at the destruction of his family, look at how this is played out. The biggest thing that I think is so disgraceful and so disgusting is the way that the Democrats have allowed this process to play out and allowed both of these individuals to be so beaten down, so destroyed by frankly the media, who have played a big role in this.
Not to say they shouldn’t report it, but they’re putting so much information and so much pressure on these two individuals that I think this all could have been avoided had Dianne Feinstein and her team done this behind closed doors, not done this in such a public setting. That was what Dr. Ford asked for. She wanted this to be done in a private way and it wasn’t, and it could have been and a lot of this could have been avoided, and the pain and the suffering that she’s had to relive and that Judge Kavanaugh is having to experience, all could have been avoided.
WALLACE: Before the hearing, the day before the hearing, President Trump said that his mind was open and if he heard information that, in fact, Kavanaugh had committed sexual assault, he was open to withdrawing his nomination. Does he stand by that?
If the FBI were to find something over the course of this week that contradicts Kavanaugh’s testimony, will he pull the nomination?
SANDERS: I’m not going to get ahead of what the FBI may or may not find. I can totally with the information that we have up until this point and look back at the president’s comments that he made last night. Judge Kavanaugh is an incredible individual of great intellect, great temperament. And I think you can’t just erase everything about what happened over the last week.
This is a person who has had peers and colleagues from the time he was a small kid until today, come out and talk about who he is, the type of character he has. He’s been through six different FBI investigations.
Look, I’ve been through one of those. They are very thorough. It’s not like they sit down with one person and call it a day.
WALLACE: No, but I’m just asking specifically, he said on Wednesday before the hearing he has an open mind and he would listen to the facts. Will he listen to the facts of the FBI investigation?
SANDERS: I think he certainly will listen to the facts. But again remember, six of them have been done. We’ll see —
WALLACE: But they weren’t about this.
SANDERS: We’ll see if anything new — but they are about everything. They don’t look at one thing. They look at everything. A standard FBI investigation goes into the depths of all parts of —
WALLACE: But you were saying if something new come — comes out?
SANDERS: Certainly, we don’t expect that to happen at all. I think we’re pretty confident given that we’ve been through this process a number of times, but we would assess that at that point.
WALLACE: OK. There’s other news in Washington and I want to get to it briefly. Let’s do my version of a lightning round.
When will the president and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein sit down this week? And is the only issue on the table whether or not Rosenstein did in fact talk about wanting to wire himself to the president or invoke the 25th Amendment? Is that the only issue? Will he keep his job if the president is satisfied that that’s not true?
SANDERS: I wouldn’t be surprise if other topics come up. I’m not going to get ahead of the president’s conversation with the deputy attorney general.
A date for that hasn’t been set. It could be this week. I could see it pushing back another week given all of the things that are going on with the Supreme Court, but we’ll see. And certainly always like to give the press updated on those.
WALLACE: Thank you.
The president signed a spending bill on Friday that funds the Department of Homeland Security only until December 7th after the midterms and it provides no new money for building the wall. If the Congress does not pass by December 7th when that funding runs out, at least $5 billion more for the wall, which is what the House wants, will the president shut down the government?
SANDERS: We’ll have to wait and see what happens. But the president is committed to making sure we build a wall and getting the funding for it. And if I know anything about Donald Trump, he ultimately will get what he’s fighting for and that will be the wall.
WALLACE: Finally, this takes me back to my days in the White House briefing back in ’80s with Larry Speaks —
SANDERS: You’re welcome back anytime.
WALLACE: No, six years was enough, I still get PTSD about it.
We are happy to have you here, but you have not had a formal White House press room briefing since September 10th, which will be three weeks ago tomorrow. Are you thinking — there have been reports — are you thinking of ending the formal briefings or perhaps taking them off camera because you believe the White House reporters, especially White House TV reporters grandstand?
SANDERS: Certainly, I won’t disagree with the fact that they grandstand but that’s not why —
WALLACE: I’m not saying it.
SANDERS: I think — I don’t think you have to. I think it’s pretty widely known that it happens.
Look, we talked to the press and a number of different ways. The day that the briefing was initially created, the atmosphere was incredibly different and you didn’t have the same access and ways to communicate with the American public.
Look, the president does more short Q&A sessions than any president has prior to him. We looked at those numbers.
WALLACE: So, we’re running out of time. Are you saying that the White House briefing, the formal White House press briefing on camera is —
SANDERS: We’re going to continue to do that, but I always think if you can hear directly from the president and the press has a chance to ask the president of the United States questions directly, that’s infinitely better than talking to me. We try to do that a lot and you’ve seen us do that a lot over the last three weeks, and that’s going to take the place of a press briefing when you can talk to the president of the United States.
WALLACE: Well, you know that since he’s become president, he hasn’t talked to me.
SANDERS: We’ll work on that. I’ll put in a good word for you and I’ll see if we can make that happen.
WALLACE: Despite this interview.
SANDERS: Despite this interview.
WALLACE: Sarah, thank you. Thanks for coming in today and we will try to stay on top of all the fast-moving developments this week. Thank you.
SANDERS: Absolutely. Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the surprising one week FBI investigation and how big a threat it poses to Judge Brett Kavanaugh getting on the Supreme Court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF FLAKE, R-ARIZONA: I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI continue to do an investigation limited in time and scope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Republican Senator Jeff Flake with his stunning demand Friday, forcing President Trump to reopen Brett Kavanaugh’s background check.
And its time now for our Sunday group. Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, Mo Elleithee of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, former Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards, and Kimberley Strassel of The Wall Street Journal.
Well, Brit, let me start with you. What did you think of Jeff Flake’s decision, supported by two other moderate Senate Republicans, to go along with the Democratic demand for an investigation, in this case, a one week FBI investigation of Brett Kavanaugh?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I’ve heard it described as a compromise. I don’t think it was a compromise because when a compromise occurs both sides give something. It’s not clear to me at all what the Democrats gave for this. This is exactly what they wanted and all of what they wanted.
Now, maybe they would have liked it to go on in perpetuity but I don’t think Mr. Flake got much for his so-called compromise, and I think that you have to remember this — everyone knows on the committee what an FBI background check is like. It is not a criminal investigation. It is not an in-depth investigation like the kind we associate with this.
It is simply a background check and which will go and interview people about a nominee or candidate and they are going to look into some of these charges and it’s worth remembering that in all these instances, no one has corroborated the charges and it’s a little hard to imagine that when the FBI finishes this, they will find corroboration that no one else has been able to discover from witnesses who have so far pretty well deny that they saw this or even that it happened.
WALLACE: Congresswoman Edwards, I want to pick up on that because I think we all agree that Christine Blasey Ford was an extremely compelling witness and nobody could watch her obvious pain in recounting this story without your heart going out to her. On the other hand, she did not offer any evidence except her own recollection and everybody else she puts in that house that day says they don’t remember this happening.
DONNA EDWARDS, D-MD, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: Well, they wouldn’t remember it happening because they weren’t in the room and the one person who was in the room, the additional person who was in the room, Mark Judge, hasn’t been talked to, hasn’t been talked by the —
WALLACE: Wait a minute. He has —
EDWARDS: He’s written a letter. That is not —
WALLACE: He’s written a letter under penalty of perjury.
EDWARDS: But that is not the same thing as an FBI agent showing up at your door and asking you very specific questions and I think that that has to be done. And the fact is that in most instances of sexual assault, there is not another witness. So I think that it was appropriate for Jeff Flake to do this.
And let’s keep in mind, the votes were not there because, clearly, Senator Collins and Senator Murkowski were not on the same train without this FBI investigation. And so, if Republicans really want to move this investigation — move this nomination forward, then they’ve got to finish this investigation. They’ve got a week to do it.
WALLACE: Are you willing to say that at the end of this week — I know you’re not going to like Judge Kavanaugh anyway, you don’t agree with his judicial philosophy. But are you willing to say, if the FBI comes back and says, we have no evidence this guy did anything wrong, are you willing to say on that front, case closed?
EDWARDS: Well, I think there are a lot of people who won’t be voting for Judge Kavanaugh anyway on —
WALLACE: I know, but on this issue.
EDWARDS: — on that point. And I think — I think, look, Democrats agreed with Jeff Flake that the investigation would be open for this week. We will see with the FBI comes up with and then I guess the nomination will go forward or not.
But it’s really important to do what can be done in this week. And I look at Dr. Ford and I’m going to tell you something, I’ve worked with, over the years, 20 years, a lot of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She was incredibly credible.
The things that she could remember where, as she said, indelible to the hippocampus, and I think that the FBI is going to get to some truth, and the scope of the investigation should not be limited and you got to look at his drinking, you got to look at his companions during this time period and there will be people to interview. I bet that house is going to be identified and we are going to get to the truth here.
KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: No. You have lots of people who go into lots of confrontations on a daily basis in courtrooms, outside of court rooms, employment disputes. They both present their sides as credible. Credibility is not the question here. It has to be evidence-based.
And this is what the FBI is now attempting to do, but it remains the case that before these hearings and after these hearings there is not a single piece of evidence beyond Christine Blasey’s word in this that this happen. If we are willing to overthrow all of due process in the country and just say, OK, that won’t be the standard anymore, one accusation is enough to lose you your job, your life, your home, we’ve got some really big problems.
So, the FBI is going to go out, that you already Democrats undermining the very FBI probe they called for, saying it’s not long enough, it’s not wide enough, it’s not going to go on long enough. I can promise you, this probe is going to change one person — one Democrats vote at the end of the day. This was about more delay. And Jeff Flake and the others need to understand that.
WALLACE: Mo, let’s be honest about this. The Democrats don’t want this nomination and one of the things they’ve been trying to do is delay it. To what degree does this call for an FBI investigation just playing out time and hopes, with all due respect to Congresswoman Edwards, she’s already said, well, we need to go, maybe a week isn’t enough and try to push this past the midterms, in the hope that Democrats take over and that Donald Trump never gets another Supreme Court justice?
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUE OF POLITICS & PUBLIC SERVICE: I think unfortunately there are some Democrats where that is true. I don’t think that is where a majority of Democrats are. I think — there are some Democratic activists out there who are saying, let’s just — let’s delay this and then we’ll find something else to delay and then we’ll find something to delay after that and ride this through 2020, and I think they’re doing the Democratic Party, of which I’m a proud member, a disservice.
But I think to the fact — these are Democrats out there who believe that when there’s a credible allegation like Dr. Ford’s against someone who is seeking a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, that is worth pumping the brakes and doing a real investigation. I don’t believe — I personally do not believe that she was treated with the respect and the credibility that many people are patting themselves on the back and saying they gave her.
I think when — Democrats are oftentimes criticized for saying, you know, they came out against him before all of this started, right? They said that they were — right? Republicans were saying before the hearing started that they were going to vote for him afterwards. I don’t think her allegations were treated as credibly as a lot of people say they were and I think that’s what this investigation is so important.
WALLACE: Kim, I’ve got about —
STRASSEL: Do you think Brett Kavanaugh was treated well?
ELLEITHEE: I think this whole mess has just been disgusting.
HUME: If I respond to the question about how Christine Blasey Ford was treated? You have to remember how the origin of this. She wrote a letter anonymously requesting anonymity to Democratic congressman from California who passed it down to Dianne Feinstein who did absolutely nothing with it now.
ELLEITHEE: At her request, at Dr. Ford’s request.
HUME: She did not say to do nothing with it.
EDWARDS: She said she wanted to remain anonymous. I am not going to argue — I’m not going to argue that —
HUME: Let me finish. May I finish please?
This — what then happened was, the matter was not looked into by the committee confidentially at all. Weeks, months passed, right, and then it was leaked. She was forced into the public eye and manipulated into the testimony which he gave under such obvious emotional duress the other day. It is not fair to say that she was treated well by the Democrats, she was not.
WALLACE: You have 15 seconds, Congresswoman.
EDWARDS: Dr. Ford said that she was not a pawn. She said that she was engaged in politics, she felt very strongly — once her name was leaked that she had an obligation —
WALLACE: By the Democrats.
EDWARDS: I don’t know who leaked it.
EDWARDS: What I’m saying is I don’t know who leaked it. I don’t know where it came from. Dianne Feinstein said it didn’t come from her office and I take her on her word.
The point is we would rather argue politics and process than the fact that the substance of these allegations and requirement for the highest court in the land that we get this right.
WALLACE: Well, I’m glad we settled this, folks.
All right, panel. We have to take a break here. We’ll see you a little later.
Up next, a Senate confirmation battle in the age of #MeToo. We’ll discuss what it means for the movement with the head of the National Women’s Law Center, Fatima Goss Graves.
Plus, Oscar winning actor Denzel Washington on giving kids the tools to deal with life’s ups and downs.
WALLACE: Coming up, a Supreme Court confirmation battle in the age of Me Too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We’ll ask the head of the national women’s law center about the Kavanaugh hearing in the FBI investigation, next on “Fox News Sunday.”
WALLACE: Opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination centered at first on what kind of a justice he would be. But this week amid allegations of sexual assault, the focus turned to what kind of a man he is, especially in the age of Me Too. We’ve reached out to all ten Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats to join us today and, for the third week in a row, none of them accepted.
But we’re happy to have with us Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center, which opposes Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.
You support the decision to reopen the background FBI investigation into Judge Kavanaugh, but you oppose the idea of limiting it to one week, why?
FATIMA GROSS GRAVES, NATIONAL WOMEN’S LAW CENTER PRESIDENT & CEO: There’s no question about that.
To begin with, they should have done an FBI investigation prior to the hearing. And this sort of sham process that we saw during the hearing reflected the problem of not having a —
WALLACE: But, wait — but, wait a minute. The fact that they didn’t have this before the hearing is because the Democrats didn’t ever release it to the FBI.
GRAVES: Well, they had — they had time — they had more time between they — when they first learned of Dr. Blasey Ford and when they had the hearing. They had almost ten days when they are now allowing her now —
WALLACE: But they had six weeks between when the senator got the letter.
GRAVES: But now they have — now they have five days. There’s real concern that they’re limiting it in scope.
And the real question is, when you’re talking about an issue like sexual assault, are you treating it with the seriousness that it deserves? Are we really going to have a situation when where we will allow the sort of doubt to be held with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court?
WALLACE: You were in the room —
GRAVES: I was.
WALLACE: For Thursday’s hearing and you say that you believe Christine Blasey Ford.
Here was Senator Lindsey Graham, who was also in the room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SC, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: There is no house. There is no location. I have been a prosecutor, defense attorney and a judge. There is no way to investigate something that happened 35 years ago when you can’t tell them the month, the location.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And, in addition to that, everyone that Christine Blasey Ford puts in the house that night that she’s named, none of them back up her story.
GRAVES: You know, I have to say, Lindsey Graham’s conduct during hearing was sort of shocking and was reflective of the real concern. You have this woman who has come forward and given such credible testimony. And around, I actually think the country, whether you were in the room or not, people really believe this woman.
And so then the question is, what do you do with that? What you should do in that situation when you have such credible testimony is treat it seriously, investigate it thoroughly, not have sort of the process where you have doubted her out of the box, as Lindsey Graham has.
WALLACE: But — but forgive — forgive me. He’s saying, other people are saying, look, you don’t know where the houses. You don’t know how you got there. You don’t know how you left the house. You’ve — you’ve mentioned, what, four names, Kavanaugh, Judge, PJ and Leland Keyser, her friend, and none of them back up your story.
GRAVES: The irony is that Dr. Blasey Ford actually had to both testify about her personal experience and she actually ended up being the expert there in how trauma works. So she — it was sort of a powerful teaching moment, I think, for the country that around why people don’t tell in the first place and how memory works when you’ve had such a traumatic experience, especially when you’re young.
So it is perfectly typical to remember quite vividly things in the room, the sound of laughter, right, and not remember the address or even a specific date, right? It’s the — the laughter that is haunting her and actually hunting many survivors around this country.
WALLACE: OK, but let’s take a look at the accused, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Here was some of his testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: This has destroyed my family and my good name. A good name built up through decades of very hard work in public service at the highest levels of the American government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You believe that Judge Kavanaugh was guilty of criminal mistreatment of at least this one woman? On what basis?
GRAVES: You know, I believe it because I believe her testimony. And I actually think that Judge Kavanaugh did not do himself a service at — either in that hearing or before. The thing is, when you had sort of mistruth about some of the small things, the way he was trying to minimize the drinking in high school and in college, the way that even when people asking him questions about, you know, what does it mean, these statements from your yearbook, coming up with things that actually didn’t sound logical. I’m not sure why he wasn’t being clear about the small things, but it raises real questions about (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: But — but — but would you agree that — and I understand, this isn’t a court of law. This is a job interview for one of the most powerful jobs in the country.
GRAVES: That’s right.
WALLACE: But in a situation where she says he did it and he says he didn’t and she can provide a single, corroborating fact, I mean —
GRAVES: OK —
WALLACE: I mean let’s take an example.
Leland Keyser, her friend, her friend, not — not one of his friends, she says, I don’t think I ever met Judge Kavanaugh.
GRAVES: Well, one of the — that’s one of the reasons people wanted an FBI investigation in the first place so that they could interview people who knew them both at the time, who may have been there, rather than people writing cursory statement saying, I don’t want to talk to the committee and I — I don’t plan to go forward.
But I — I want to just push back a little bit on the idea that she didn’t have any corroboration.
So, she took a lie detector test. And there was — it wasn’t admitted and we didn’t have testimony from the person who administered it, but that is actually important. She also has evidence that she told people about this when it didn’t matter to him. She told her husband many years ago in therapy and at other times.
WALLACE: But, again —
GRAVES: She told her friends when it didn’t matter.
WALLACE: I — but, again, I mean, that’s her testimony. That’s not —
GRAVES: Right, but those are the sorts of things, when you’re talking about something, when it actually doesn’t matter. But in and out of a court a law people would consider — but that actually isn’t a court of law. And I think that’s what’s important. The question is, does he have the right temperament? Is — does he have the right credibility to sit on the Supreme Court. And after the performance I saw Thursday, I worried about whether he has the right credibility and temperament to be in his current job.
WALLACE: You wrote an article this week in which you said the following, I am grateful to Dr. Blasey Ford for her bravery and I am grateful to Debbie Ramirez and Julie Swetnick for risking everything to speak their truths as well.
Let’s talk about Julie Swetnick, the third accuser in this case. She claims that she attended several parties in the early ’80s where she saw Brett Kavanaugh spike the punch so girls could be gang raped. And of all the people in the world, all the lawyers in the world, she chose Michael Avenatti, who is Stormy Daniels lawyer, to represent her.
Do you believe her story, that’ it’s — let me just finished — that at 16 or 17 Brett Kavanaugh was involved in serial gang rapes and that the FBI did six background checks and never got a whiff of this?
GRAVES: So here’s the thing. Her account is horrific and startling. But, unfortunately, what I know from the work we do at the law center is that one in three girls have experienced sexual assault before the age of 18. And oftentimes alcohol and drugs is involved.
So although in a totally horrific account, it’s actually not totally extraordinary.
And I’m not sure why her choice of counsel matters at all, frankly. It’s a serious —
WALLACE: Because he’s a — because there’s great doubt about how legitimate a — a lawyer he is —
GRAVES: But I —
WALLACE: And — and about his — his political —
GRAVES: But I — I — I hear — I hear that.
GRAVES: I hear the concerns about counsel. But what I’m concerned about is her and whether or not her story is just an opportunity (ph) —
WALLACE: And you — so you believe that she — you believe her when she says that Michael Avenatti — that — that Michael Avenatti — Freudian slip — that Brett Kavanaugh —
GRAVES: Right. That’s the problem, right? Yes.
WALLACE: That — that Brett Kavanaugh participated in serial gang rapes?
GRAVES: I believe it’s a serious enough allegation that someone has to look into it in a serious say. And it’s my understanding that her counsel is saying that they haven’t yet been contacted by the FBI. And I — so I’m not sure if that is the case. But it’s — if it is not, it — they should be. They should take this seriously because sexual violence itself is an issue that is serious.
WALLACE: Ms. Gross Graves, thank you. Thank you for your time.
GRAVES: Thanks so much for having me.
WALLACE: Next up, we’ll bring back our Sunday panel to discuss that showdown between Senator Jeff Flake and two sexual assault survivors, and who bears the burden of proof these days.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Always I heard, you’re innocent until proven guilty. I’ve heard this for so long. And it’s such a beautiful phrase.
In this case, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I think that is a very, very dangerous standard for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump raising questions about the burden of proof and standards of evidence in the wake of accusations against his Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
And we’re back now with the panel.
I hope, for the next seven minutes, that we can all take off our Washington pundits hats, our former congresswoman hats and act like real people and discuss some of these issues.
Kim, the Me Too movement says accusers must be heard. What should the standards be on when they should be believed?
KIMBERLY STRASSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, look, I think one of the problems with this case is it’s undercut to a certain degree the Me Too movement because what made some of those initial cases so compelling and why did we decide that we absolutely had to listen to these women, we could not ignore them, is because this woman said evidence and could tell you when it happened, how it happened, who else was there, the time period. They gave contemporaneous accounts of it to other people and patterns as well. It wasn’t just one woman, or six, seven in the case of Harvey Weinstein, a lot of people come out. That’s what gave heft to it and made people step back and go, OK, there’s a problem here.
But when you begin to now have a standard in which one person, no evidence, no pattern, no details, you really threaten to — to change the standards and then make it less believable whenever a woman comes forward.
WALLACE: When Senator Flake was in the Capitol on Friday, he was confronted in an elevator by two women who said that they have been victims of sexual assault.
Here’s a bit of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at me when I’m talking to you! You’re telling me that my assault doesn’t matter! That what happened to me doesn’t matter and that you’re going to let people who do these things into power. That’s what you’re telling me when you vote for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But, Congresswoman Edwards, is that fair? Don’t we at least need to hold open the possibility that someone is unjustly accused?
DONNA EDWARDS, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN (D-MD): So burden of proof applies when there is a criminal case where you have the potential to lose your life and your liberty. This is a job interview. This is, you know, a circumstance where I think that accusers are speaking up. And if you talk — if men began to have a conversation with their wives and their girlfriends and their friends, they are going to find out a lot about what they’ve experienced. And I think that’s the moment that we’re in. And so when you’re talking about standard of proof, burden of proof, I think if we were in the middle of a court proceeding, absolutely. It’s the highest standard possible because of what’s lost. But we’re not. And the standard for a judicial nomination always has to be the truth, the whole truth and the nothing but the truth.
WALLACE: Let me — let me just finished, because there was a moment in the hearing that seemed to come straight out of the movies. And I want to play this and then I will bring in Brit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I welcome whatever the committee wants to do because I’m telling the truth.
DICK DURBIN, D-ILL., SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I want to know what you want to do.
KAVANAUGH: I — I’m telling the truth.
DURBIN: I want to know what you wanted to do, judge.
KAVANAUGH: I’m innocent. I’m innocent of this charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Brit, have we reached the point at which for all practical purposes that the — that the burden of proof has shifted from the woman who accuses to the man who’s accused?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that’s what’s essentially being argued here. And I heard it echoed in what Congresswoman Edwards just said. This idea that it is only in a court of law in a criminal case of some kind or a legal case that you are innocent until proven guilty is far more deeply embedded in our nation and our culture as an ordinary sense of fairness. And to have another standard would mean that someone, out of the blue, with an accusation, under certain circumstances, you are guilty until proven innocent, that is manifestly unfair. It means that unverified allegations can be used to ruin your reputation and damage your life forever without verification. It is absolutely impossible to think that we as a nation are going to go there and yet, remember, three members of the committee, the judiciary committee, and Minority Leader Schumer all said there’s no presumption of innocence. It — that is where we are — that is where we seem to be going. And I don’t — I — I don’t think — I hope and trust the public won’t stand for it.
WALLACE: Mo, put aside the politics, put aside the specifics of this case. Can you imagine anything more frightening than being unjustly, unfairly accused of doing something you didn’t do?
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE: Other than being the victim of something like this, which would probably be more — more frightening.
Look, I am — I — I am going to try to take off — take this out of the politics because this question is playing itself out in corporate board rooms, in newsrooms, in all sorts of other venues outside of politics across our country. And it is complicated. And it is hard. I’m a guy and I’m a dad of a son and I don’t want to be accused and I don’t want my son to be falsely accused. I also have a daughter and if, God forbid, she was ever in this situation, I want her to be heard and I want her to be believed.
And so this is really a cultural battle that is emerging in a way that I have not — Brit and I were talking about it in the green room earlier, this is probably one of the most divisive cultural issues we have faced and that has polarized us as a nation as far as I can remember.
I believe that the women ought to be heard. And when these charges come up and these accusations come up and these questions come up in corporate board rooms, in newsrooms, in other venues, whether it’s political or not, I think they need to be looked at, they need to be investigated, the women need to be treated absolutely seriously. And the accused needs to be treated fairly.
WALLACE: But does — (INAUDIBLE) — but does — the point is, does every — do we have to be fair to both the accuser and the accused?
EDWARDS: Of course we do. (INAUDIBLE) information.
STRASSEL: In any situation —
WALLACE: You’ve got — you’re got 30 seconds.
EDWARDS: Of course.
STRASSEL: In any situation. This is not about like just a courtroom, OK? Due process is at the center of our entire civil society. If you don’t have it — and in any of those, the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt, or at least a preponderance of evidence. We are talking about evidence-free claims. Whether this is a case of an employment dispute, it doesn’t have to be in the courtroom. If we lose that, everyone’s son out there is at risk.
WALLACE: All right, we could go on. We will go on.
Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our “Power Player of the Week.” Denzel Washington on the club that made him the man he is today.
WALLACE: For many kids, the hours between three and eight are when their futures are decided. And for more than 100 years, one place has opened its doors to make sure kids have a place to go after school and stay out of trouble.
Here’s our “Power Player of the week.”
DENZEL WASHINGTON, BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS NATIONAL SPOKESMAN: It’s where I learned so many life lessons, just thinking I was having fun.
WALLACE (voice over): Denzel Washington is talking with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Four thousand local clubs that provide after-school programs for more than 4 million young people. And, in the process, change lives.
He was in Washington this week for the group’s annual dinner.
D. WASHINGTON: I remember that first day and how I felt and how special they made me feel.
WALLACE: And to honor the national youth of the year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Malachi Haynes.
WALLACE: Eighteen-year-old Malachi Haynes of Colorado, who’s been going to his club since he was six.
MALACHI HAYNES, BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF AMERICA NATIONAL YOUTH OF THE YEAR: Being a leader and a role model in my community is my purpose.
D. WASHINGTON: I was a wild one. You know, I was — I had a lot of energy.
WALLACE: Washington used to run track for his club. And he remembers when a new kid came in and started running faster. One of his mentors took him aside.
D. WASHINGTON: He said, he has natural ability, but his natural ability will only take him so far. So I applied that to — to — to my career, my first two years when I started acting in college.
WALLACE: Washington won the first of his two Oscars for his role in “Glory,” about an African-American military unit in the Civil War.
For more than 30 years, he’s played a series of indelible characters.
D. WASHINGTON: To protect the sheep you’ve got to catch the wolf. And it takes a wolf to catch a wolf, do understand?
I was never interested in being a movie star. We were sort of New York theater snobs. I wanted to be James Earl Jones, you know. I was hoping to make $650 on Broadway one day. And — and I did.
WALLACE (on camera): Your father was a preacher and I’ve read that at various points in your life you’ve thought about becoming a preacher. Really?
D. WASHINGTON: It was prophesies that I would preach. And — by this woman. And I said, well, maybe that’s what I’m supposed to do. And says, well you already have a pulpit.
WALLACE (voice over): Now at age 63, Washington is more about giving back.
D. WASHINGTON: You never see a U-Haul behind a hearse, my pastor told me. You know, you — whatever you have, you can’t take it with you. So the question is, what are you going to do with what you have while you’re here?
WALLACE: Washington’s oldest child, John David, is building his own career, starring in the movie “BlacKkKlansman” and on the TV series “Ballers.”
JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON, ACTOR: He lost 42-14. But who got those 14?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you got started in this business. being the son of Denzel Washington was —
J. WASHINGTON: And Pauletta.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Pauletta — than you.
J. WASHINGTON: Who was earning more money than he was when they — when they married, before they got married. She was on Broadway working. She paid for the first date.
D. WASHINGTON: I said, let’s take a cab. And I’m watching the meter and I ran out of money. So she — she paid for the — for the ride home. But I — I remember paying for the date. She says we split it.
WALLACE (on camera): So, I know a little bit about being the son of somebody famous and somebody that you go into the same business. Has that been complicated for the two of you?
J. WASHINGTON: I guess more for — for him.
D. WASHINGTON: You know, when you pray for rain, you’ve got to deal with the mud too.
WALLACE (voice over): The Boys and Girls Clubs deal with the ups and downs of life too. Kids at the clubs do better at school, are less likely to do drugs, and volunteer more. Malachi started his own program to improve reading levels.
HAYNES: We call it Double Trouble. So we do an hour of reading and an hour of playing basketball, eating pizza, just hanging out and getting to know the kids.
WALLACE: And Denzel Washington says that’s the real message here.
D. WASHINGTON: We’re just bombarded so much with negative news that one can just feel like, what’s the — that’s the use? But listening to these young people saying, oh, no, no, no, we’re going to change it, we’re going to do something about it, I’m — that’s inspiring.
WALLACE: I asked Washington where he sees himself at this stage of his career. He says he uses stuntmen more but that he’s excited about the unknown and what comes next in his life and career.
And that’s it for today. Have a great week and we’ll see you next “Fox News Sunday.”
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