Graham Explains Anger At Kavanaugh Hearing: "This Was About Delaying The Nomination"

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Senator Lindsey Graham says on 'Sunday Morning Futures' that he wants Judge Kavanaugh to be treated fairly and reacts to supplemental FBI investigation into the nominee.

Graham said the bridge-too-far moment was when Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) instructed Kavanaugh to tell White House counsel Don McGahn to order an FBI investigation.

BARTIROMO: Joining me right now is the man himself, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, sits on the Senate Judiciary, Armed Services and Budget Committees.



Senator, it is good to have you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.

GRAHAM: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

BARTIROMO: And let me say, thank you for your leadership and your courage this past week.

What prompted you?

GRAHAM: Outrage at a Star Chamber process.

I have known Brett for 20 years. He's gone through six FBI background investigations. He's appointed more women to be his law clerk than any circuit judge in the country. He's highly respected, not one hint of impropriety. And they have tried to destroy his life.

I voted for Sotomayor and Kagan. This was about delaying the hearing, keeping the seat open past the midterms, so it could be filled in 2020.

There are no rules when it comes to Brett Kavanaugh. I honored Obama's election. He got to pick Sotomayor and Kagan. They don't want to honor President Trump's ability to pick a fine man. I was -- when Durbin told and turn to Don McGahn, if you're truly innocent and ask for this to continue, that was a bridge too far.

And I think I spoke in a way that a lot of Republicans at least could relate to. And I'm a bipartisan guy. I will continue to be.

But when it comes to judicial nominees nominated by our side, I'm going to make sure they're treated fairly. And he was not.

BARTIROMO: And he was not. You said what a lot of people were thinking.

What is your thought now that they are delaying for another week with an FBI investigation?

GRAHAM: Here's what I would like your viewers to know, that Jeff Flake has been a friend of mine for a very long time.

Susan Collins, Murkowski, Lisa Murkowski, are all fine senators. They want a supplemental FBI background investigation. The committee talked to the people named by Dr. Ford at being at the party. Dr. Ford tell us when it happened or where it happened, sometimes in the summer of 1982, she believes.

So the committee talked to Leland Keyser, a friend of Dr. Ford. And Ms. Keyser has told us that she doesn't refute what Dr. Ford said.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

GRAHAM: But she was not at a party. She doesn't know Brett Kavanaugh. So, as to that aspect of the allegation by Dr. Ford, she is confused.

Mark Judge said, didn't happen. P.J. said, don't know what you're talking about.

So the FBI is going to interview these people.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

GRAHAM: They're going to ask Mark Judge, have you ever seen Brett Kavanaugh drug women and participate in gang rapes, the Avenatti claim, which Mark Judge was both be an accomplice to?

BARTIROMO: Unbelievable.

GRAHAM: We're going to speak -- we're going to speak to Ms. Ramirez, the dorm accusation about exposing himself.

BARTIROMO: Hold on. Hold on one second. Hold on one second, Senator, because there are a lot of people who say they weren't there.

We're going to continue in a moment. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

And we're back with Senator Lindsey Graham.

And, senator, you were going through some of the things that the FBI will certainly be doing in terms of their questioning.

GRAHAM: Right.

BARTIROMO: We have heard from many of those people. And many of them have said, I wasn't at the party, and I don't have any recollection of Brett Kavanaugh in that behavior.

GRAHAM: Yes. Right. Right.

We told -- they told that to the committee. But the senators that I just named would like the FBI to kind of double-check. Ms. Ramirez refuses to talk to the committee. Democrats haven't helped us at all on the committee to find out what happened.

Her allegations wouldn't be printed by The New York Times, for a very good reason. We're going to vote this coming week. The FBI background supplemental investigation should be done early part of this week, Monday or Tuesday. Then we will have a final passage vote later in the week.

I'm highly confident he will be confirmed. He deserves to be confirmed. He's a good man. He's the best choice President Trump could have made, in my view. I did recommend him to President Trump.

But I want to tell you what's going to happen next, if -- if you will allow.

BARTIROMO: Please.

GRAHAM: OK, here's what's going to happen.

I'm going to ask Senator Grassley to get to the bottom of how this hearing process was so hijacked, the unethical aspects of it, the slash-and-burn aspects of it, the effort to delay it, to abuse, I think, Dr. Ford's trust.

So let me tell you, we're going to start with the following concept. Dr. Ford said at the hearing that she didn't know that the committee was willing to come to California to take her to testimony in a private setting.

Here's what I can -- here's what she said. "I just appreciate that you did offer that. I wasn't clear on what the offer was, if you were going to come out to see me. And I would have happily hosted you and been happy to speak with you out there. It wasn't clear to me that -- that that was the case."

How could that not be clear to her? Let me tell you what this committee did. On September the 19th, the staff told a Grassley letter to Katz, her attorney. "My staff would still welcome the opportunity to speak with Dr. Ford at a time and place convenient to her."

"We also offered that committee investigators are available to meet with Dr. Ford anywhere, anytime, if she would prefer to provide her testimony outside of a hearing setting," September 22, Judiciary Committee staff e- mail to the lawyer Katz and Bromwich.

Grassley tweets: "Come to us or we will come to you."

We wrote a letter -- he did -- to the Democrats: "I'm even willing to have my staff travel to Dr. Ford to California or anywhere else to obtain her testimony," letter from Grassley to Feinstein.

BARTIROMO: Right.

GRAHAM: Dr. Ford's attorney replies, September the 20th: "Dr. Ford has asked me to let you know that she appreciates the various options you have suggested." Katz's e-mail back to Judiciary staff.

So I'm going to find out why she didn't know her options. I'm going to find out who in Feinstein's staff recommended Katz to be Dr. Ford's lawyer. It's improper for senators to recommend lawyers to constituents.

I'm going to ask, if you thought she needed a lawyer as a staff member, why didn't you come forward and tell the committee about the allegation? I'm going to try to find out who betrayed Dr. Ford's trust to remain anonymous.

There are three people at three groups that had the letter, a Democratic congresswoman and her staff, Feinstein and her staff. And I don't believe Feinstein did this. And Dr. Ford's lawyers. No friend sent this out to the press. No friend would do this to her.

The person who sent this anonymous -- destroyed her trust, betrayed her request to be anonymous, had a political agenda.

I'm going to get to the bottom of it.

BARTIROMO: So, is...

GRAHAM: I'm want to find out who on the Democratic side leaked an anonymous letter provided to the committee by Senator Gardner with no postmark on it, no return address, claiming that Judge Kavanaugh did something wrong in 1988 -- 1998 in Colorado.

Somebody on the Democratic side leaked that to NBC News, and they ran it as a story. I cannot imagine, if a Democratic nominee had been before this committee, that NBC would run an anonymous letter provided by Republicans.

BARTIROMO: So, laws...

GRAHAM: The bottom line is...

BARTIROMO: Yes, have laws -- go ahead. The bottom line?

GRAHAM: The bottom line is, we're going to look into a betrayal of trust of Dr. Ford, a betrayal of the committee rules.

We're going to look to see if we can prove what I think is obvious. This wasn't about protecting Dr. Ford. It was about delaying the hearing. It was about not sharing with the committee relevant, credible information.

It was about running out the clock, never confronting him in real time, to put us in the box we're in. That's what this has been about.

BARTIROMO: Well, people also want to know if laws were broken in terms of revealing your personal information.

Your colleague Senator Rand Paul is now calling for an investigation...

GRAHAM: Yes.

BARTIROMO: ... to determine and punish who published the personal information of you and two other Republican senators during the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on -- on Friday.

Tell me what happened as a result of your personal information being published, sir.

(LAUGHTER)

GRAHAM: This is the second time I have had to change my phone number. The first time is when President Trump did this -- and during the campaign. And I'm not worried about me changing my phone number. I am worried about my address being sent out.

But here's what I would say.

BARTIROMO: Who did it? Who do you think did it?

GRAHAM: I don't know. I would like to know.

Why do I want to know? Not so much about me. I want to deter an abuse of the process, because if this is going to be the new norm, God help us all. Who would want to come before this committee if we're going to do this?

And the people who did it, I hope they don't get away with it. I want to find the person, if I can, who destroyed Dr. Ford's trust...

BARTIROMO: Yes.

GRAHAM: ... outed her, when she wanted to be anonymous, who sent a document given to the committee to an outlet that was an anonymous letter, unverified.

But I also want to know what's going to happen to the fifth accuser. Senator Whitehouse got an accusation from a man in Rhode Island who said that a female friend of his was taken out a boat by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh, and poorly treated. She told him about it. He went down to the dock basically and beat both of them up.

I support an FBI look into that. Whitehouse did the right thing.

BARTIROMO: Right. Senator, you said...

GRAHAM: The guy recanted. I want him to be held accountable.

BARTIROMO: You said something interesting this week. You said, "If I am the chairman of this committee in the future, I will remember this."

I want to ask you about that after this short break. Stay with us.

Senator Lindsey Graham returns in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: And we're back with Senator Lindsey Graham.

And, Senator, you made a comment last week, saying, with all of this misconduct on the left, "If I become chairman of this committee, I will remember."

Is that in the plans?

GRAHAM: Yes, I'm going to try to deter this for the -- for the future.

It's a noble cause on the left to destroy Kavanaugh and stop Trump from having a Supreme Court pick when it comes to replacing Kennedy. Most liberal media outlets believe it's a noble cause. They're not going to give much scrutiny to people who try to take Kavanaugh down, the tactics they use.

But this can be played out over time and destroy the ability to get good people to come forward. I am going to find out what staffer recommended Katz to be Ford's lawyer, why that staffer didn't tell the committee about the allegation, if you believed she actually needed a lawyer.

Ms. Ramirez said one the main reasons she came forward, she was urged by Democratic senators to talk, to give an interview. Well, if a Democratic senator believed she had something serious to say, they should have reported it to the committee, so we can investigate it, not to the media, so it would be allegation number two.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

GRAHAM: I'm going to find out who leaked the anonymous letter provided by Cory Gardner, if I can, and punish them.

We can't let those people who betrayed Dr. Ford's trust get away with it, because that will affect the committee in the future.

BARTIROMO: But should we trust -- but should we be trusting the FBI here?

GRAHAM: Yes. Yes. Yes.

BARTIROMO: After all that we have discussed in terms of this small cabal of people at the top of the FBI in trying to put their finger on the scale in the 2016 election, what's your trustworthiness of the FBI's investigation of Kavanaugh in the next week? And will it really just take a week?

GRAHAM: It should take just a couple of days. The trust -- the trust level is high.

My beef has never been with the FBI. It has been with McCabe and a few bad apples. I love the FBI. Professional agents who do background checks will talk to the people Dr. Ford named, like the committee did. They will talk to Ms. Ramirez, who refuses to talk to the committee.

And that will be it. It'll be done in a few days. I trust the FBI to do a fair supplemental background check. And I promise everybody who's listening, we're not going to let them get away with this. If this is the new normal, nobody will come forward.

I want to know the Democratic senators who encouraged Ramirez embarrassed go to the press, but didn't tell the committee. It's obvious what they're trying to do. They say it themselves.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

GRAHAM: They're trying to delay Kavanaugh, so we can replace him in 2020.

BARTIROMO: Real quick before you go, Senator, what should we expect next week from this meeting with Rod Rosenstein and the president?

GRAHAM: A conversation about whether or not Rosenstein was part of a bureaucratic coup to take him down. I don't believe Rosenstein was. And that's a conversation they need to have.

And I want to thank President Trump for nominating Kavanaugh. He was such an outstanding choice.

But I wouldn't fire Rosenstein unless there's some real credible evidence, other than McCabe, that he did something improper.

BARTIROMO: Because we know, if the House flips, we're not going to hear about that story any longer.

We're going to talk about that right now.

And it is good to see you this morning, Senator. Thanks very much for joining us.

GRAHAM: Can I just add one thing?

BARTIROMO: Yes, please.

GRAHAM: If I had done what Democrats had done, if I had recommended a conservative activist lawyer against a Democratic male nominee, an accuser who came forward in South Carolina, and I hid it, and I didn't tell the committee about it, I would be destroyed.

The double standard here is unacceptable. And we're finally going to do something about it.

BARTIROMO: Senator, thank you. We will be watching. We appreciate your time this morning.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: Senator Lindsey Graham.

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