This is a rush transcript from "The Story," September 27, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: We saw a lot of raw emotions unfolding today in front of the entire nation from both the accuser and the accused as Dr. Christine Ford told her story first. And Judge Brett Kavanaugh came in with explosive and forceful rebuttal that served as a defense of his character, an indictment of this entire process as he put it so far. Watch this.
CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, ACCUSER OF BRETT KAVANAUGH: I'm here today not because I want to be. I am terrified.
BRETT KAVANAUGH, UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: This confirmation process has become a national disgrace.
FORD: I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.
KAVANAUGH: When you have replaced advice and consent with search-and- destroy.
FORD: I believe he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth.
KAVANAUGH: I'm not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time, but I have never done this.
MACCALLUM: So, at times Judge Kavanaugh was combative, and at other times, he was unable to keep his composure. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAVANAUGH: The other night, Ashley and my daughter Liza, said their prayers. And little Liza, all 10 years old said to Ashley, we should pray for the woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That's a very emotional moment. And now, we are getting worried that Republicans are quote, "ready to vote" according to Senator Cornyn, tonight. Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry, live with the update on all of this in Washington. Hi, Ed.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Martha, great to see you. It was almost a television docudrama playing out before tens of millions of Americans who were riveted by the testimony of both sides including President Trump himself.
We're told he was watching just a few moments ago. He tweeted his support for Judge Kavanaugh. And yet, after over nine hours, the story has still not been corroborated and the divide over who is telling the truth remains.
Democrats saying she was courageous. A believable witness who's an inspiration now to many around the country, while Republicans like Orrin Hatch, said this has gotten worse than the treatment of either Robert Bork or Clarence Thomas. Adding that everyone did dumb things in high school but that does not make you a sexual predator.
Dr. Ford painted a much different portrait of the man who wants to be the next justice on the Supreme Court giving a compelling account of what she believes happened on that day in the early 1980s. She was vulnerable, she admitted when she did not know something.
Republicans immediately were second-guessed for not cross-examining Ford themselves. Instead, leaving the questioning to Rachel Mitchell, that prosecutor from Arizona trained in sexual crimes who stuck to the facts and did not try to trip up Dr. Ford or back up Kavanaugh as the Republicans tried to do when they eventually did some questions.
Still, there were sharp challenges to Dr. Ford's account. She still cannot say exactly when it happened, which house it happened at, who took her there, who picked her up? But she remembered the stairwell in the house, the fact that she only had one beer that day, and the searing pain of Kavanaugh and his friend as she said it, Mark Judge allegedly taking advantage to her and laughing about it. Watch.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D—VT., SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: What is the strongest memory you have? Strongest memory of the incidents, something that you cannot forget? Take whatever time you need.
FORD: Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two.
RACHEL MITCHELL, CHIEF OF THE SPECIAL VICTIMS DIVISION, MARICOPA COUNTY: Did you pay for the polygraph yourself?
FORD: I don't -- I don't -- I don't think so.
MITCHELL: OK, do you know who did pay for the polygraph?
FORD: Not yet, no.
SEN. DICK DURBIN, D—IL., SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?
FORD: 100 percent.
HENRY: For his part in the afternoon, Kavanaugh came out swinging. Vigorously denied all of the allegations in his words before God and the nation. He produced actual evidence, like calendars from 1982 to rebut her testimony. He looked to his right at the Democrats on the dais charging they haven't unleashed what he called a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled by anger at President Trump's election victory.
But he also spoke movingly as you heard a moment ago about his own young daughter telling him that they should pray for Dr. Ford.
KAVANAUGH: You may defeat me in the final vote, but you'll never get me to quit. Never. I'm here today, to tell the truth. I've never sexually assaulted anyone.
HENRY: So what's next? Republican Chuck Grassley, the chairman, seems to be moving toward a committee vote early tomorrow morning while Democrats continue to say this should not move forward without a fuller FBI background check to check.
This out and potentially other allegations but Grassley noted there was nearly two months between July 30th when Democrat Dianne Feinstein got the initial letter from Dr. Ford. In mid-September, when it was disclosed to Grassley and others, a big chunk of time when this could have been investigated. Martha?
MACCALLUM: Yes. That's such a crucial part of this story. Ed, thank you very much. Joining me now once again, he hasn't left the desk. Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday. We've been here since about 10:00 this morning, 9:00 really this morning.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: All right.
MACCALLUM: We got started, Chris. So, you know this is the time when we sort of take it all in and think about what are the big takeaways here in terms of the history and the power of this moment that we watched unfold today?
WALLACE: Well, in terms of the key issue which is did he do it or didn't he do it. I don't have any more sense now than I did this morning. And you know, this was like covering a trial. In the morning, she testified. She was extremely credible, very raw, there was every reason in the world to believe -- certainly, that she believed it, not necessarily that if she was right.
And then, in the afternoon he came back and was just as convincing. And you know, that's part of the pity of all of this. Is that it is a he-said, she-said. And we're never going to know the truth of the matter. It was an ugly process.
I mean, think what happened, this was a confirmation hearing for somebody to go on the highest court in the land for a lifetime appointment. And we were talking about high school yearbooks, and flatulence, and how often you drank beer? And you know, do people have repressed memories?
You know, I guess, one of the things I think is we ought to be better than this. I'm not saying that we shouldn't have paid attention to her charge, but it should have been handled much better. Dianne Feinstein and a Democratic congresswoman had this information from early July on.
That seems to have been a way that without dragging these two people and their families through the mud, this could have been adjudicated. And if not settled, at least, disposed of.
MACCALLUM: It seems to me that that's one of the central flaws in this story, is the amount of time that Dianne Feinstein held on to this. And as Chuck Grassley was pointing out, Senator Grassley, the chairman of the committee. If you had brought this to me, we could have kept it confidential. We didn't have to attach anyone's name to this. We could have done the investigation.
That seemed to be one of the strongest arguments on the Republican side and one of the things that the Democrats had the most difficulty pushing back on. Because that is what makes it appear that their motivation was political in terms of the timing on when they dropped this story.
WALLACE: I agree. And one of the things that the Democrats are going to fire back is lets -- you want more evidence? Let's get Mark Judge. He was according to Christine Blasey Ford, he was in the room at the time. Yes, he has issued a statement to his lawyer that is under penalty of perjury. But let's bring them in. Let's have an FBI investigation.
Nobody is going to be satisfied with this process. So, he can be confirmed to the court or not. I can tell you though, this will stay with him forever. It will stay in his heart, but it will also be out there -- you know, as it is with Clarence Thomas.
We still talk about that 27 years later. Was -- did he commit sexual assault against or --
WALLACE: -- sexual harassment against Anita Hill, or did he not? So, this will never go away.
MACCALLUM: You are so right. The images -- I mean, I still -- you think of the coke can. You know, we're talking about the odd things that we discussed today. I still think of that reference in the Anita Hill hearings with Clarence Thomas and all the things that we're discussed there.
And they do, unfortunately, they stick to a person because when you do see him, you do its part of -- part of the whole picture that you think of when you look at him and then, and this will -- no matter what happens, I think stick with Brett Kavanaugh to a certain extent. And certainly, it's not something he will ever forget very easily going through this.
But you said at the end of the last hour, not necessarily over yet, this whole -- this whole saga. I mean, it's potential that we could see more twists and turns in this. The vote process starts tomorrow. What do you think is possible?
WALLACE: Well, the fact that the caucus is the Republicans on the committee have apparently decided that they're going to vote would seem to indicate that they think they have all 11 votes, including a couple of potential leaners, Jeff Flake and Ben Sasse.
So, it looks like it will be reported out of committee, 11 to 10 straight party-line vote, and it goes to the floor. First of all, who knows what allegations are going to come out? How many allegations did we get this week after the hearing was announced?
Who knows what else is going to come out and it will go to the floor, and there could be a vote because now with the nuclear option, it doesn't take -- there's no debate. It's a simple party line. If they get the 51 votes, they can get this through, I think, Tuesday, certainly, Wednesday at the latest.
But you don't know where some of these people that are undecided and said they wanted to watch the hearing like Susan Collins, like Lisa Murkowski, like Bob Corker, like Dean Heller.
So, you know, as I pointed out at the end of the last hour, I think it's for moderate Republican governors including Hogan of Maryland Kasich of Ohio, Baker of Massachusetts, or -- you know, everybody thinks well, the Republicans are together. No, they are saying let's take a pause and have an investigation.
So, who knows what Susan Collins, for instance, is hearing and thinking tonight.
MACCALLUM: Chris, thank you very much. Great to be with you throughout the day today. And as you say, we'll watch this as it moves forward. Only takes one vote for the Republicans to lose in this. So, we'll see how it all transpires. Chris, thank you.
WALLACE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Always good to be with you. Let's watch together, Lindsey Graham, today as he laid into his colleagues in that room in an incredibly forceful way and absolutely produced from the Senate side the moment of these hearings. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R—S.C., SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: If you wanted an FBI investigation you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy's life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020? You said that! Not me.
You've got nothing to apologize for. When you see Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello, because I voted for them. I would never do to them what you've done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn't have done, what you have done to this guy. Are you a gang rapist?
GRAHAM: I cannot imagine what you and your family were going through. Boy, you all want power. God, I hope you never get it. You're looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town at the wrong time my friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: I mean, that was a moment that people aren't going to forget for a long time, and we're going to discuss it in just a moment. But Lindsey Graham was in the hallway moments ago, and he commented on what happened in there. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: Yes, I thought of -- I thought what they did to Kavanaugh was despicable. I feel sorry for Dr. Ford. These people can yell all they want to, does not matter. I believed him, you asked me, I believe him. Absolutely, I believe him
I think she was abused by the process. I think the allegations by Mr. Avenatti and people like that is despicable. And it's all about power, it's all about delaying, it's all about delaying the hearing, the people see it open. It's not about the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: All right, that's Lindsey Graham, moments ago in the hallway. As you can see, he was chased down the hallway by protesters, supporters of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Emotions continue to run high on all of this.
Here now, Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute scholar, and a Fox News contributor. And Juanita Tolliver, campaign director for the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Welcome to both of you. Good to have you here today.
MARC THIESSEN, RESIDENT FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Good to be here, Martha.
JUANITA TOLLIVER, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND: Thank you for having us.
MACCALLUM: We witnessed an extraordinary day on both sides. I think a lot of people -- I think everybody was sympathetic to Christine Blasey Ford. She presented herself very effectively today. Very much from the heart, and then we saw a very powerful performance this afternoon from Judge Kavanaugh. Juanita, your thoughts on what we saw today?
TOLLIVER: Honestly take this was a difficult day for Dr. Ford. And she stood resolute in two things. One that she was sexually assaulted, and two, that it was done by Brett Kavanaugh. And what's interesting here is that I think voters are going to take away from this is really questions about how Republicans, which a panel of 11 white male Republicans opted to have a female shield protect him and ask questions of Dr. Ford. Instead of engaging her while they unfairly smeared her.
MACCALLUM: Would you rather have seen them -- I think this a -- I think this is a really interesting question.
MACCALLUM: Because I think that they should have asked the questions themselves.
TOLLIVER: Directly. But they took the time to smear her story before even hear about it. They already scheduled the vote before even hearing from her. And then, completely sat back without spines.
MACCALLUM: Marc, what do you think about? Because it was fascinating to watch Rachel Mitchell.
MACCALLUM: She started the process, she hung in there through the beginning of the Republican discussion. And then, it was almost as if they couldn't take it anymore. And Lindsey Graham wanted to speak out and have himself heard.
THIESSEN: Lindsey Graham, jump in.
MACCALLUM: Was it a mistake?
THIESSEN: No, I don't think it was. And look, I don't think it mattered whether it was her or them who asked the questions because the bottom line is there -- at the end of this day of hearings, there were -- about the start of the day of the hearings, there was not one scintilla of evidence or corroboration to back up her claims. And at the end of the day of hearings there was not one scintilla or --
TOLLIVER: And that is why people are asking for an independent --
THIESSEN: Hold on, hold on, hold on. No, I'm sorry. Please, what you want is to delay this. There's no -- there's no -- there's no investigation it's going to find anything that wasn't discovered. All the witnesses -- and they say --
TOLLIVER: Well, let's have it out there and yield this. Let's see what it yield.
THIESSEN: Let me finish my sentence.
THIESSEN: So there was there's no evidence. It's not Brett Kavanaugh's responsibility to prove that he's innocent. In America, in the United States of America, you were innocent until proven guilty. Though Chuck Schumer apparently said that that's not -- there's no presumption of innocence in the Senate, that's on American. And the reality is that -- is that look, I'm the father of two daughters, I've told you this before. And so I care very deeply that they are never sexually abused and if they were to be sexually abused that they would be taken seriously.
But I'm also the father of two sons. And I want to know my sons to live in a world where their reputations and their lives can be ruined without with accusations without corroboration. There is still today at the end of the day no corroboration and you just don't open an FBI investigation as a fishing expedition to try and find something that doesn't exist.
TOLLIVER: I don't think this would be a fishing expedition at all considering that Dr. Blasey Ford brought forward her account anonymously to the Washington Post and Brett Kavanaugh was simply on the short list of nominees. She contacted her representative. She contacted Senator Feinstein.
THIESSEN: And Democrats did nothing about it. They did nothing.
TOLLIVER: They were respectful of a survivor's request to remain anonymous.
MACCALLUM: Name, what we heard today was that they absolutely could have moved forward with the process internally in a confidential manner. So if that -- if their real concern was making sure that they investigated what her claims were, they should have started that process right away. The only reason that makes any sense for why they didn't start it in a confidential manner without her -- attaching her name to it at all so they could find out whether or not there was anything to it is because they wanted to wait until the final moment.
TOLLIVER: I completely disagree.
MACCALLUM: And today, Brett Kavanaugh, when he was speaking out, he basically said you know, a good old-fashioned attempt at Borking did not work during the course of the regular part of the hearings. And so they lie in wait and had it ready. None of that -- none of that rings true for you at all when you hear that?
TOLLIVER: Not at all. This -- the Democrats were -- especially Senator Feinstein held an ultimate goal of keeping Dr. Ford out of this as she requested as a survivor of sexual assault and she was merely respecting that request.
THIESSEN: That's ridiculous and I'll tell you why. The Senate --the Senate Judiciary Committee goes through hundreds of judicial nominations every year and there are -- all the time there are allegations brought forward by people who want to remain confidential and they have a process where they have bipartisan investigation by professional investigators. They could have brought her in in a confidential setting where nothing would have been leaked and they could have gotten all the statements, all that all of her allegations, and gotten to the bottom of it so that they don't have a situation where now at the at the very last minute it's coming out right after they -- he's about to get confirmed.
What they did was they held on to this in the purpose -- with the purpose of extending this. And now what you saw today, they had -- because there was no evidence whatsoever again to -- again stretch Kavanaugh, all they did was that, will you agree to an FBI hearing? They don't want to get to the truth, they want to extend the process.
THIESSEN: The goal -- the only purpose of an FBI investigation is to drag this out into the midterm elections so that he doesn't get confirmed before the election, so they hope they can win back the Senate, and it's not just stop Brett Kavanaugh but stop any Trump nominees from ever getting on the court again.
TOLLIVER: First and foremost, the accusation that a survivor of sexual assault would be used in that way to win elections, that is absolutely disgusting and ridiculous.
THIESSEN: That's exactly what the Democrats are doing. They are using her.
TOLLIVER: I dismiss the claim entirely.
THIESSEN: I agree with you. I agree with you it's disgusting and ridiculous.
TOLLIVER: It is not the intention at all. Your claim --
THIESSEN: You're 100 percent right.
MACCALLUM: I agree with you that if this was used opportunistically by a party, that is egregious. I don't think anyone doubts her sincerity in her experience and I think Kavanaugh was very careful to say that he believes that something happened to her and that he understood you know, he understood and sympathized with her. He said I have no ill-will against her whatsoever.
But the argument that it didn't get hijacked is a pretty tough one when you look at just the timeline of how all of this worked out. So -- and I don't think they're done pressing that. So -- Chris Coons is calling for a delay from what I understand tonight. So this -- the story goes on as we say here. Marc, thank you. Juanita, thank you.
THIESSEN: Thank you, Martha.
TOLLIVER: Thank you so much.
MACCALLUM: Good to have both of you here tonight. So judge Kavanaugh has extensive documentation, those calendars that we heard so much about were a prominent point from him during the course of today's hearing. Here's a bit of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITCHELL: If a gathering like Dr. Ford has described had occurred, would you have documented that?
KAVANAUGH: Yes, because I documented everything, those kinds of events, even small get-togethers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So fielding specific questions from the outside counsel about his notes, his calendar from 1982.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAVANAUGH: And then it looks like we went over to Timmy's -- you want to know their last names too? I'm happy to do it.
MITCHELL: If you could just identify is Judge, Mark Judge?
KAVANAUGH: It is.
MITCHELL: And is PJ, PJ Smith?
KAVANAUGH: It is. So it's Tim Garnett, Mark Judge, Tom Kane, PJ Smith, Bernie McCarthy, Chris Garrett.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: One of the people that was named in that list that Kavanaugh just mentioned, Tom Kane, is Brett Kavanaugh's high school friend and he joins me now. Tom, thank you for being here tonight. I assume you watched all of this today.
TOM KANE, HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND OF BRETT KAVANAUGH: I did, beginning to end.
MACCALLUM: What did you think about how he came out of the gate? Obviously, this has been very difficult for him and for his family. What was your reaction?
KANE: Well, yes, I think everybody that watched a significant portion really rode the roller coaster. Dr. Ford evoked the emotion that I expected. I thought Miss Mitchell watching her cross was a little like listening to a bad cell phone. You know, you really couldn't understand where she was going. So we didn't learn much there. And then he gave us what we were looking for. He came out with the emotion. I know that all of our friends were feeling. I think he accomplished two huge things. He quashed the allegations lock, stock, and barrel, and his fire really set the stage for reforming the process, I think, making it better for nominees to come forward in the future. And that's why I think he's going to be an outstanding Supreme Court justice.
MACCALLUM: You know, in terms of the calendar, when he talked about that and your name was on that calendar, and he sort of recounted the way that he spent his time, I'm assuming that all of that add up to you. Did anything stand out to you when he was going through that?
KANE: No, I remember it was a very busy summer. I liked Chemistry so much, I took it twice so I was in summer school. And he had Yale interviews but I knew -- I knew he was in summer league basketball. We had workouts that we did together. He was away at St. Michael's a lot, and you know I noticed he got grounded a couple times.
Now, it's -- it all rings familiar the doubleheader to Memorial Stadium. God, it brings back memories. I can't believe he wrote it down and I'm so glad he did.
MACCALLUM: So in terms of the depiction of him and you know, one of the things that he was questioned on quite a bit was whether or not he drinks to excess and whether or not he blacks out at times and there have been conflicting reports on that from different friends. He says he does -- he never did. He didn't black out and forget things. Describe your friend to us in that regard.
KANE: Yes, he always you know, he's been described as an old soul so he could maintain composure. You know, if you go through a roster of my friends at that time, you could say this guy can hold it and this guy can't, this guy can and this guy can't. And Brett was always under control, always under control. In fact, I've never seen him so angry as he was today, and I've never seen him stumbling drunk. I've never seen -- known him to black out and forget anything. He is the one we could rely on to take care of people.
MACCALLUM: What about the people named by Christine Blasey Ford today in terms of being at that party. You know PJ, you know, Mark Judge, you know she was very specific in terms of her memory of who was there. Your thoughts on that?
KANE: I thought it was an odd mix--
MACCALLUM: Really, why?
KANE: At the time because PJ lived all the way over in Sumner, I think, and over near Little Flower and Judge was out in Potomac, and then Brett is in a different part of Bethesda. I thought it was just a weird mix. And as Brett -- and particularly since she didn't place any of the rest of us there. Chris Garrett was always with us, a couple other guys. None of this really rings a bell. And I've said it before. When something -- you know, number one, if something like this happened I would have known about it and -- because it would have been talked about whether she reported it or not. And then I think our whole community would have known about it. And I feel the same way about the Yale thing. It's one of those things that sticks.
Now, and we've got this cohesive community when the letter writing was necessary. It took us about half an hour to recruit people to do that because we stick together, we know, we talk. And that the whole allegation just because of the guy I know, I think it's impossible. I will take that to my grave that it's impossible that he would do this. And then the whole background that nobody knew or anything like that, I just it doesn't hold water to me.
MACCALLUM: What's the impact on him from -- for having gone through this do you think ultimately?
KANE: What the impact on him?
MACCALLUM: Yes, going forward.
KANE: Well, obviously, as he said, his name, unfortunately, is going to be associated with this. But I hope that his legacy is a more civil process and they're going to be some lessons learned. Honestly, I harbor no ill will either against Christine Blasey. I think something awful happened to her. And even though it was -- it could be seen as political, the Democrats said some things that need to be said and repeated about women coming forth. But the -- politicizing the whole process I think it you know, it squanders that opportunity so I think his legacy like I said maybe to help get us on a path toward a better process and get him on the Supreme Court. And then you know, his name will be associated with a much cleaner processed, a more civil discourse.
MACCALLUM: OK. Stick around for one second because there -- I want to pull something up on my phone here that apparently just came through which I'm waiting for it to come through but there's a new statement by Mark Judge. It says -- this is coming from his attorney actually. Post-hearing statement from Mark Judge's lawyer, Mr. Judge does not recall the events described by Dr. Ford in her testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today. We have told the committee that Mr. Judge does not want to comment about these events publicly. We also have said that he is willing to answer written questions and he has. In addition, he is willing to participate in a confidential fact-finding investigation. He will not respond to any media inquiries. Your thoughts.
KANE: I think that's a big step. I talked to Mark last week. He's in a good place. I think he's got good representation. He's working with a therapist. I hope those people are making the right decisions for him or helping him make the right decisions. But he told me he doesn't remember 1982. And the things Brett said are right. He was in a bad place. He hit rock bottom the night before my wedding and we almost lost him. So I don't -- you know, I don't know how it's going to play out. I'm glad they made the statement so --
MACCALLUM: He said he's willing to answer questions and willing to participate in a confidential fact-finding investigation so we'll see where it goes. Thank you very much, Tom. Good to have you here tonight.
KANE: You're welcome, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Thanks for being here. So this just in. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein releasing a statement on how Dr. Ford's name got leaked to the media saying in part Dr. Blasey Ford asked that her information be kept confidential and it was. I only referred her letter to the FBI after it was leaked and reporters were knocking on her door. I don't know who leaked the information but it was not my office.
Geraldo Rivera watching all of this with us with great interest as we all have been today, Correspondent At-Large joins me tonight. Geraldo, you know, your reaction to what we saw today/
GERALDO RIVERA, AMERICAN ATTORNEY: Well, first if I can react to Dianne Feinstein, Senator Feinstein's later saying that it wasn't her that leaked the letter.
RIVERA: I have deep suspicions that what we just witnessed was an attempted coup by the minority Democrats who played their hand as best they could to delay this process. They had that letter, they held that letter, my deep suspicion is that Senator Feinstein was in consultation with the minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York. They thought that this was the only possible longshot way they had of derailing this nomination, derailing what will be the fifth vote that could undermine Roe v Wade, something that they feel so profoundly.
I am also pro-choice. I understood the implications of Judge Kavanaugh's ascension to the High Court. They had a bad hand to play but they played it brilliantly. They held that letter until the investigation was over. Then they dropped it hoping to extend the process, get it past the midterms, hope they get a couple of senators win a couple of seats in January -- in November but they get seated in January, and then in that way foreclose President Trump from altering the composition of the court and affecting Roe v Wade. They failed but it was a brilliant attempt at a coup.
MACCALLUM: You know, I mean it raises the question if we ever go back from this kind of operating as was pointed out by Senator Tillis today during the course of the last few days, a group that you know raises money to end Judge's aspirations and was already pushing a stop you know, the next judge that was going to be named if Mark -- if Kavanaugh wasn't able to make through the process. So you know, it's hard to believe in the divisive politics era that we live in, Geraldo, that were ever going to have a situation where this kind of dirty politics is not evident.
RIVERA: It was awful. It was demeaning. It was a humiliating, embarrassment. I think the man who hit the -- hit the right note today was Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. I think that his outrage was absolutely called for. But I must say, Martha, there's something else that happened today and don't want to give it your trip by any means. You know my wife. I know all of her friends are feeling the same way. Doctor Blasey Ford was entirely credible. She was totally believable. Her testimony was vivid and gut-wrenching.
I have no doubt in my own mind unlike my theory about the conspiracy, I have no doubt in my own mind that the purported victim in this case sincerely believes that this happened to her and it was Judge Kavanaugh and his friends, his colleagues who did it to her.
That doesn't make it true. But it just felt to me just watching her testimony by 12 noon today I thought that the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh was going down the drain.
To use a boxing analogy I thought that Judge Kavanaugh was on the ropes. He was getting beat up. Even though he wasn't there and it turns out he wasn't even listening to her testimony.
RIVERA: I think that's kind of embarrassing. But I think that he was on the ropes. Someone talked to him or maybe it was his family or maybe it was the president. I don't know who. But he came out when he gave his testimony he came out swinging. It was like a "Rocky" movie. You know, the trainer in the corner saying get out there. If you don't fight now, you are going to be down for the count. Get out there.
RIVERA: Pill up your shorts and get up there and do the best. And he came out swinging and you know, I think that he shifted the momentum. I would say that it's not exactly a slam dunk but I would predict with confidence that the judiciary committee will vote tomorrow to confirm the judge and the full Senate. And strict party line vote will follow, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, as I said earlier, from Monday when I interviewed Judge Kavanaugh to today, it was like on Monday he sort of had a cork in the top of the bottle.
And today it was like the cork popped out and he was expressive, he was emotional, he was heartfelt, he was indignant at times. He was emotional at times about what he been through and I think that it went a long way to make his argument.
And also I agree with you as we all did in the panel today as we cover this that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford acquitted herself extraordinarily well. She was very believable, she was very credible. And as we always knew going into this, it was going to be just a question of who appears to be more credible to the senators. We're not voting. They're voting. And that ultimately is the test.
You think that ultimately Judge Kavanaugh wears the robe and as a justice on the Supreme Court, Geraldo?
RIVERA: Yes, I do. I think that this was -- this was a hinge in history, Martha. I think that we will look back on this day. This day. Right now today and say this is where the composition of the court was determined for the next generation.
It was so dramatic. It was profoundly important. This has divided the nation along. This is all about abortion, this is all about Roe v. Wade. Half the country feeling one way. The other half of the country feeling the other.
All of it coming together. Crystallizing in the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh. And whether or not he will be confirmed. It was by any means necessary on both sides. I think though, he has narrowly averted disaster. I think President Trump is right to be triumphant tonight. I think that he has -- his candidate has gotten a very close split decision to keep the boxing metaphor going.
But I really do believe that this is something that will echo our children and our children's children will look back on this and say everybody I know was watching television today.
This was the biggest event -- it was -- it was as big or bigger in some ways than the election of Donald Trump. That was a stunning day. We all went, my God! This was something that was much more organic. Because it is an issue that is so divisive. You can't have two sides. You know, you can't satisfy both sides. You are either pro-choice or you're pro-life. And there are sincere and intelligent people on both sides.
MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask you one more. Geraldo, let me ask you one more. That's an astonishing statement that you just made about the election. But let me ask you one more question.
Do you think that if Brett Kavanaugh was someone who had stuck up for Roe v. Wade in the past in his judicial history do you think that the letter would have ever made it to Dianne Feinstein's desk and do you think that anyone in the press would have ever cared about Christine Blasey Ford's story?
RIVERA: You asked me the question and I know you know the answer to it. If Judge Kavanaugh was predicted to affirm Roe v. Wade, they would have sent him, the Democrats would have sent him roses, they would have sent the limousine to take him to the hearings, they would have been attaboying him and high-fiving him.
You know, that's -- Merrick Garland is a great judge. But Merrick Garland would have supported Roe v. Wade. Judge Kavanaugh is on the other side of that great divide. That's why he was nominated by President Donald J. Trump.
President Trump has pledged to try to reverse this, you know, I don't want to put words in the president's mouth. He's a friend of mine. I let him speak for himself on Roe v. Wade.
But we all know that the Republicans stand one -- the party is largely defined now by being pro-life. The Democrats are largely defined now by being pro-choice. It is one of those historic coincidences in some ways that our party politics and our stance on this most fundamental issue are the same.
MACCALLUM: Geraldo, always good to talk to you. Thank you very much. Good to see you tonight, friend.
RIVERA: You too.
MACCALLUM: All right, coming up next, the Democratic agenda was very clear at today's historic hearing. Geraldo was just touching on that. Bill Bennett is here on the political play and what we saw play out today. Coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: You are looking for a fair process, you came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Senator Lindsey Graham did not hold back at today's hearing about politics at play in all of this. But not the first case, of course, where the political bias has plagued sexual assault cases and it will not be the last.
Here now Bill Bennett, host of the Bill Bennett podcast, former education secretary and Fox News contributor. What did you think of Lindsey Graham today, Bill?
BILL BENNETT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I thought he was great. I think any of those conservatives, those true red-blooded conservatives in South Carolina had their doubts about Lindsey, not anymore, but not after today. I think he has a lot of golf with the president in his future too, you know.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I think there was probably a pretty big cheering session where the president is watching that.
BENNETT: It was a great moment because it was a genuine anger and he was absolutely right to hit all the right notes.
MACCALLUM: So in terms of what the big picture is, your take away is from today. And I just want to mention that Joe Manchin. Because everyone is wondering what the influence is on people's votes. Joe Manchin says we are all undecided.
BENNETT: We are all -- really? He speaks--
MACCALLUM: Declaration by Joe Manchin.
BENNETT: Speaking for the Democrats on the committee I wonder. I'm glad to hear he is undecided. That could make a difference. I can project the future only by talking about the past.
I remember in the late '90s going into green rooms talking with Democrats before I went on to talk about Bill Clinton. I wrote a book called "The Death of the Outrage." The president really hit this well the other day. When he is talking about the con job. He said Democrats get together and they laugh about this. They say we got it. We got a delay. We'll get another delay.
When I was in those green room with Democrats we'd be debating on TV. And afterwards they'd say you are absolutely right. He should go, he should be impeached. He should leave. It's deplorable. They go on TV and just lie. And I thought the bible. Sell your birthright for mess of pottage.
And I think this party has. They will -- they will go to no depths -- there are no depths which they will refuse to go and try to get their way. It's a badly tainted party.
What I thought would happen after his, Judge Kavanaugh's spontaneous -- it's hard to watch. He was so close to breaking up. But when he gave his version of this is a lynching, some of them would be shamed. But there is no shame in that party. You know the two words. We say shameful and shameless. They were not shameful. They were shameless. They were without shame. And they will do anything to take him down.
And that they are almost willing to say that. And the president was absolutely right to call that party out on that. I don't know what happens now. I don't know how the American people sort this out. I think he makes it through. But we are at a great divide in American politics right now.
I think it is right to say that other than the Civil War, this is the time of the greatest division. The good news is we got over the Civil War in past and we did get back together. But this is a serious, serious thing.
MACCALLUM: One of the things we discussed after I did the interview on Monday night and Judge Kavanaugh was very reserved, very withheld in his responses and the people said, you know, that he needs to show more passion. He needs to be more like Clarence Thomas was in the hearing in 1991. And let people see his heart more in this.
Let's play this clip from Clarence Thomas back then and get both thoughts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLARENCE THOMAS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT: This is a case in which this leads, this dirt was searched for by staffers of members of this committee. Was then leaked to the media. And this body validated it and displayed it in primetime over our entire nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: There is a lot of similarities there to what we saw today.
BENNETT: Somebody said, you know, despite the superficiality of a lot of television, that if you are on there enough and it's close enough, television will show you your soul. And I think that showed Clarence Thomas' soul. I think we saw Judge Kavanaugh's soul today.
Righteous indignation and it's powerful. Provided the American people understand that is what it was. See it for what it is. And understand that that was not made up. I thought the emotion showed by him and by Lindsey Graham were the most telling things.
I was delighted to see the president being so pleased. Whether you could see the president or almost hear the president cheering this thing on. How does the vote go? I hope it goes right.
MACCALLUM: You know what the president would have gone the other way if he didn't like what he saw today, and he thought that Judge Kavanaugh was not going to make it through this process or he wasn't strong enough, he wasn't feisty enough, do you think -- I mean, the president opened the door yesterday to the possibility that he might change his mind.
BENNETT: Strength I think is what the president admires. And he showed that strength today. Despite the almost tears, he showed that strong conviction.
There is something else here going on about the culture. I was thinking you are a parent. I'm a parent, and by the way, I'm a parent of two Georgetown prep sons. My wife and I raised two Georgetown prep sons.
And by the way, they occasionally got in trouble. My boys. Nothing like this. Small things that happen in this community went through the community like wildfire. You know, everybody knew. It's a very close knit community. You don't something like what Brett Kavanaugh is accused of without everybody knowing about it. So it just seems to me implausible for another reason.
But think about boys an girls and young men and women. It's hard enough growing up in adolescence that first day or that first call. And boy, this complicates things. This really complicates thing. People wonder and worry about how to talk and how to act.
MACCALLUM: Surely you felt sympathy for Christine Blasey Ford when she described her heartfelt feelings about what she's been through.
BENNETT: I did. I think she is a troubled person. Pretty clearly troubled person. Obviously haunted by this. But I think she believes what she is saying. I don't think she is lying. She genuinely believes it happened. That maybe somebody did happen to her. But I don't think it was Judge Kavanaugh. I think that's beyond the shadow of a doubt.
And look, one thing that people are saying that we got to stop saying this is not a court of law. Why do we have the presumption of innocence in a court of law? Because the law borrows from the moral life. Someone said once, the law is the witness in external deposit of our moral life.
The reason we import preponderance to the evidence and beyond the shadow of a doubt in a courtroom is because the courts with common sense and good moral sense. You can't be accused of being a witch and be burned as a witch without evidence. There is usually no evidence for witches.
MACCALLUM: Bill Bennett, thank you.
BENNETT: Thank you. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Great to see you tonight on a really historic day for the country in a day that I think that everybody will not long forget.
BENNETT: But with all due respect to Geraldo, not as historic as Donald Trump's presidency. That was cosmic. This is major and significant, but Donald Trump's victory was cosmic.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, Bill. Thank you. Always good to see you.
BENNETT: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So coming up here next, Guy Benson and Marie Harf on the major shift in tone that we saw today from Judge Kavanaugh and whether his first expression of moral outrage will be enough to get him wearing that black robe and sitting on the Supreme Court. Not over till it's over. When we come back.
MACCALLUM: Well, we certainly saw a different side of Judge Kavanaugh today than we did on Monday when he sat down with me in Washington, D.C. Take a look then and now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: This is a circus. This confirmation process has become a national disgrace.
I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity.
Since my nomination in July, there has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything, to block my confirmation.
I know I'm telling the truth. I know my life-long record.
The Swetnick thing is a joke. That is a farce.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D—CALIF.: Would you like to say more about it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So Judge Kavanaugh's tone today catching Democrats off-guard, perhaps, and give the Republicans and the red state Democrats reason to vote yes.
Joining me now, the hosts of Benson and Harf radio show. Guy Benson, political editor at Twonhall.com and a Fox News contributor, and Marie Harf, a Fox News analyst and former State Department and CIA spokesperson. Good to see you both.
GUY BENSON, FOX NEWS RADIO HOST: Hi, Martha.
MACCALLUM: You know, the same guy but clearly he had a whole different strategy today. Guy, we haven't heard from you. I've been talking to Marie today. So I want to start with you. What did you think?
BENSON: Well, he, speaking just about him, not Dr. Ford.
BENSON: He was dull on your show. He was extremely reserved and rehearsed. People said wooden. My jaw dropped within the first 15 seconds of his testimony today. He was angry, he was emotional, he was rightly accusatory of the Democrats.
And the big take-away that I had because I saw some people saying whoa, this is too much. I felt in that moment in a resonating way if I were in his shoes and this was happening to me and my family as an innocent person, I would do exactly what he did.
BENSON: I would have been just as angry and just as emotional when talking about my family. And that's what he did. I was not expecting it. I don't know if this was about being effective but it was effective.
MACCALLUM: I mean, it certainly felt raw, Marie.
MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
MACCALLUM: And you could tell he was emotional when he went through his calendars and talk about, you know, his life and everything. Do you think Democrats were caught off-guard by the Brett Kavanaugh that they saw today?
HARF: Probably a little bit. And Martha, we had heard that President Trump was not particularly happy with the reserved tone that he took with you in that interview and that he really wanted him to come out swinging today. Because we heard yesterday the president for the first time say well, maybe we could do something else.
It was definitely a strategy. I think it did take Democrats off-guard. He kept interrupting them when they were asking questions. But the questions, Martha, remains in my mind as it did a couple of hours ago. Will this angry, aggressive tone how will that play with Senator Collins, Senator Murkowski, two key female senators he needs to get at least one of them to get confirmed.
I think the jury is still out on that. Because to me he did come across as very angry, very aggressive. And when you are being accused of things involving aggressive, angry behavior it may not in the long run be the best technique.
MACCALLUM: I thought that answer that he gave to that exact question, he said just look at my judicial record, you know. I mean, he is being approved to be a judge. It's not a question of whether or not, you know, we like his personality in every -- in every aspect. He is saying look at my temperament as a judge. And this is not an issue that has ever come up in his work before.
BENSON: I saw some sort of lefties and some mainstream media reporters who I think tipped their hand ideologically on days like this. Saying my word, his tone was so different between the last hearings where he was so deferential and respectful to the Democrats and this time where he was combative with them.
And I'm like yes, something happened in between those two hearings, guys.
BENSON: And I think the Democrats did seem caught off-guard by him. partially because he was simply saying what so many of us I think know what the Democrats have been up to and they never imagined that he would be the one to call them out to their faces for doing it.
And I was like, there were times I was cheering. I was also moved by the way by her. I don't want -- I don't want to take her out of the equation.
BENSON: I thought she was poised and intelligent, credible person. Brave. I don't think it was easy for her to do this. But what a roller coaster of a day. What a -- it's been a lot of wild days in D.C. recently.
BENSON: This was right up there.
HARF: And it was a play, I think for the Republican senators to make sure he kept the caucus together. I do not think that aggressiveness was a play to get the Democratic senators on the fence. I think this was designed for the Republicans.
MACCALLUM: Absolutely. And I did think that Cory Booker and Kamala Harris were definitely a bit defanged in terms of presentation that we saw from them the first time around.
Thanks to you, guys. Great to see.
HARF: You also.
MACCALLUM: See you soon. We're going to take a quick break and we will be right back with more of The Story after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you watch Dr. Ford's testimony?
KAVANAUGH: I did not. I planned to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So what did you think of that decision? Do you understand it? Do you think that it was a wrong decision? Tweet me at Martha MacCallum using the hash tag The Story on your thoughts about today. What a day, right? Email us at Thestory@foxnews.com. We're going to see you back in New York tomorrow. Tucker Carlson is coming up next.
And we understand that Collins and Murkowski and Manchin and Flake are all huddling trying to decide their vote.
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