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tv   Kate Kelly and Robin Pogrebin The Education of Brett Kavanaugh  CSPAN  September 29, 2019 12:55pm-2:02pm EDT

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order. >> for 40 years, c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events from washington dc and around the country so you can make up your own mind. created by people in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your cadillac provider. your unfiltered view of government. >>. [applause] >> good evening everybody, welcome to the national press club. i am the 112th president of the national press club and i am an incoming investigations editor at the associated press. we have program tonight, i
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don't think i've ever seen looked at as this fall so thanks for coming. we invite you to listen, watch and follow along on twitter. it's at press club in dc and the hashtag is an pc live. if you have questions, for the authors this evening, please there will be question cards around the room. write the questions on the card, they'll be collected and sent out to me. and we will leave plenty of time for questions. i just want to take a moment to acknowledge our headliners team, laurie riso and dc media strategies and our staff liaison lacey underwood who put this event together this evening. so we are delighted to have with us here tonight, rotted
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programming and kate kelly, the authors of the education of brett kavanaugh. >> the book is about three days old and it's been three days of uproar, controversy and for both president trump to call for the mass resignation of new york times staffers and democrats to call for justice kavanaugh to be impeached and the new york times had to retract a poorly conceived to. opinion piece published in the times included an excerpt of the book and new allegations against kavanaugh that provoked a lot of backlash when this paper revealed it had edited out a key detail that the woman behind the allegations who was a subject of the allegations had that she does not necessarily remember the attempt. authors who done deepens the allegations of sexual misconduct that dogged justice kavanaugh during his confirmation to the supreme court described her account as nuanced.
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the washington post called the book a remarkable work of slowed down journalism. that merits event rather than opening on them or analyzing them. >> so we're excited and our two authors here today to be with us this evening about the reporting and what they hope they've achieved with the book. >> we welcome robin pogrebin, little bit about robin. she covers arts and cultural institutions exploring internal politics and governments of the world of auction houses and performing arts stories. she's a yale graduate. and we will hear more about that. and she previously covered the media for the times business section and natural gas. kate kelly to miami right
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covers wall street. he's an experienced television broadcaster and the author of streetfighter, best-selling account of the bank failures that set off the financial crisis. before joining the times she worked at the wall street journal and cnbc and she attended the national cathedral school in washington before setting up for columbia so please join me in welcoming kate kelly and robin pogrebin. >> as i mentioned in my intro, a lot of the talk about your book has been centered in the last couple of days around the times so i'd likeus to focus more on the book . can you just talk a little bit about what was your goal? what were you hoping to achieve inwriting this book especially so quickly after the confirmation process ? >> i would love to answerthat question, we both would and thank you for this warm welcome. we appreciate everyone who come here to listen more
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about the book and look forward to everyone's questions . what we wanted to do was provide alittle bit more information , perhaps a little more closure about the confirmation process so royal america a year ago. allegations that arose of sexually misconduct, the questions that were not answered. the fbi inquiry was short and left a lot of potential information providers unaddressed. not focused on when justice kavanaugh was confirmed, i think a lot of people felt unsettled andunsatisfied all around the spectrum of thinking . people who found the women to be credible found that they had not had their allegations investigated adequately . people who believe that justice kavanaugh was innocent of all these accusations perhaps felt he had not had his side of the story corroborated well enough or heard adequately enough. and we wanted to know who the
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fbi talk to the people they did talk to, what sort of information context that they get . the report generated was reviewed only by senators and key staffers in a secure location. >> .. we lived in the same freshman dorm our freshman year. and had social circles that overlap somewhat. that had kind of helped in the
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reporting initially in terms of reaching out to former classmates. we are both part of this team which is quite large and i'm sure many of you were on that story possibly as well. i don't need to remind you it was kind of this frenzy of information seeking in that moment in real time where even as these confirmation hearings were unfolding we were all scrambling to flush things out as much as possible and it was difficult to do under that time pressure when also people have a lot of stake in the outcome. i think we both really felt that it was a story for our time not just because it resonated on such a personal level with so many people it had been so incredibly polarizing but it speaks to this political culture we are in so much that we really have the sense of people saw in the story what they wanted to see. regardless of the fact and the merits that they just people we talked to who assumed, even
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when we said the reason we went back back at these events in the book was to revisit them in a more thoughtful in-depth detailed way with the benefit of time but did have people who i would talk to and say i'm writing this book they'd be like, you're going to get them right? or people who would say, juergen finally show that this guy was railroaded. and treated terribly. so given those incredible extremes i think our outcome is that messy and between which is probably unsatisfying satisfies no one. we found these allegations credible ultimately of these women but we also kind of got to know kavanaugh a lot better which i think most of the country hasn't. we start to understand his record, 12 years on the second circuit and what those decisions were and then actually he's more of a roberts
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and disco leah and it might be helpful for people to know that were very worried about him being a right wing ideologue. that he is respected ãbthese are some of the counterintuitive things that we also uncovered that i think were sort of lost in the flurry to the rush to judgment originally. >> was there specific things it sounds like that surprising perhaps was there anything specific that surprise you, any fact? >> one of the things that really he made it his mission to address that. as a result really had the highest record of hiring women. you can argue ã >> ginsberg has acknowledged him as being the first supreme
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court justice as having four female clerks. there were people who said it was politically strategic perhaps in a time when we are all politically correct he knew it would be good to get points for that, there are others who say he was trying to free up the allegations at the time like maybe he knew this was in the offing. so he did this as an anecdote to that. creating a good record with women. we found whatever his motivations, he did this in a real sincere way and so many women attest to the fact that he, not just hire them as clerks but stayed with them over time promoting the making sure they went to supreme court and really meant touring them. and and nurturing and masterful way there was this one story particularly striking someone who testified at the heritage foundation she talked about he was an unorthodox
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candidate. on the deborah ramirez side of things i think that was also a story that was lost in the flow where it started to feel like piling on of allegations against kavanaugh you had the julie swetnick allegations and the right is doing a lot with their book as off were out to get we investigate all of them to the extent we could in the last 10 months. we found the julie swetnick allegations didn't pan out. as deborah ramirez we found
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repeated stories of people who had heard about that in the years since he became well in advance of him coming federal judge. that was meaningful. >> if i could add a quick addendum to one point it's interesting what you say about leave all women because i heard senator kirsten gillibrand you recently on the new york times daily etiquette was talking about the notion of leave all women and what does that mean and she said it means do the investigation. take the allegations seriously and conduct an investigation and see what's there and what may have happened or did not happen. that was very much our eat those going through this.>> i want to get to that fbi investigation but i want to go back a little because he mentioned he mentioned this in passing that you were in his yellow class. i was told that your culture reporter wall street reporter why are you covering this? you were starting to get calls
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organically when he was nominated, is that how it started? >> it's interesting i don't think i've ever talked about this but this is kind of good. i have a college friend who, unlike september 14 texted me, do you remember the name deborah ramirez? so someone was asking her about deborah ramirez and i was like i don't know. she said can you send me a picture erm your your books i went to my yearbook i texted it to her and then she came back and said, do you remember tracy harmon? another name and can you send me that picture. and i did it was because she had a friend who worked for senator who is trying to find out more about those names. september 14.
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>> just for context come the christine blasey ford story came out of the washington post with her name on the record and all the description of the allegations on september 16. i think it was days before that i'm not sure the 14th a right before that that the intercept reported on the existence of a letter containing what we would later learn to be the blasey ford allegations. there were not a lot of details know at the time. >> that's right. so like yalies were talking. this thing was moving around and we definitely heard that in the course of my reporting that there's this whole part in our book where we talk about there are some classmates who have this theory that brett was i should say justice cavanaugh, we called him brett. he was trying to preempt the allegations in advance. >> as far back as july there was some kind of communications about don't say anything bad ã ãdon't say anything bad about
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brett, among the people of yell?>> yes. >> just answer your question of how i came to the story which would seem out of the blue. i grew up here here's my hometown and was national cathedral school class of 93 so i was in school 10 years after justice kavanaugh graduated from georgetown prep. i was part of the independent in both the georgetown prep single-sex school and i was familiar with the social scene at least a 10 years later i knew some people that had come to in the 80s interestingly at the time of the kavanaugh confirmation process i didn't realize i knew anyone who was an alum of georgetown prep. i later learned some people i knew through church or family or other connections were alums and it was one of those people who said to me, you need to look into some things here. the thing that was being shared with me was about the yearbook and the issues around the young
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woman named renata who was bragging about in the yearbook. by kavanaugh and some of his friends as being members of a renata club. we later learned they were sexually themed jokes and boasts about her that were not strictly true. it's a very messy story in a way because those boys at the time, men now, some of them, including i think justice kavanaugh, really respect this roman renata. she's in their extended social circle, they cared about her at the time and they do now but there was sort of a cultural through line at the time based on some of the alums from the 1980s that i've talked to from prep of to use one of those people's words "casual misogyny" joking about women and sometimes in a disparaging way. in the renata yearbook mentions as well as some of the talk around campus at the time about renata even if it was intended
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to be humorous. it was harsh and belittling. >> did you speak to her? >> she issued a statement to the new york times saying that she was, and paraphrasing, see essentially said she had been unaware of the meaning of those jokes back then and she found them horrible and hurtful and talks about how she hopes those folks don't treat their own daughters that way.so that was what we got from her. i spoke to some of her friends who talked a little bit about the social scene at that time and they said there was not sex acts going on between renata in these boys. it just shows that even now even so many years later can be very painful and hurtful to be
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talked about in that way and to think that people have a certain impression of you from high school that's erroneous. >> i read your essay where you describe your conclusion and one of them is that you did not find that justice kavanaugh had any allegations of bad behavior postcollege as far as he could find. it was a nuance conclusion. what do you come away with in terms of how we deal with past behaviors? especially if they were one somebody was essentially a kid. >> this is something we wrestled with quite a bit. particularly since we both have daughters and both have sons. the idea that something you did, let's say he did do these things, if you did them when he was 17 and 18, are they disqualifying if he has improved and been a better
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person and has had exemplary conduct ever sense. we didn't find anything in the last 36 years. i'm not saying there might not be something out there but we didn't, we thought it was meaningful particularly since i have done up a lot of "me too" stories for the times. when i'm done then there is usually a real pattern of behavior there is one woman leads to another woman, it isn't hard to establish that this is a predator. someone like judge kaczynski who kavanaugh worked for clicked for and became close to first it was five women or eight women and then 15. and that happens. that did not happen in this case. then it's really a difficult question for what other, how are you evaluating him and we talk to people who feel like whatever you do something in your life, even if it's unacceptable behavior, before you are of age, it's still acceptable forever.
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that means the court is not spoken to you as a job. i think there are others who feel like should we give you both a chance to get better maybe even if he had a conscious effort to address the behavior and the rest of his life. what kate and i ultimately concluded as we had to stick to what we do as journalists, which is uncover and present as many facts as we possibly could. this is a fact-based book and let the readers decide for themselves. this was ultimately the president's decision, the senate, voters who then weighed in on the midterm elections, it was not for us to say whether justice kavanaugh deserves to be on the court.>> there was obviously this controversy about the allegation from a party at yale. where the purported victim did not speak to you. people have asked why you
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included it in the book. my sense has been it's because it was also illustrative of the scope of the fbi investigation. can you talk about the decision-making including that? >> i'm glad you asked about that. the additional allegations, just to quickly summarize it, has to do with a drunken dormitory party at yale in which allegedly go young brett kavanaugh exposed himself and had friends pushes genitals into a classmate a female classmate's hand. we had more than one source now we have two sources on that it was also in a document that was prepared for the fbi by lawyers for christine blasey ford a description of the incident with the women's name. he was circulating a year ago. what we found was there was a
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person in the room when this happened and observed it. in washington figure named max dyer. who had some history doing work on behalf of the clintons but for many years has been a nonpartisan good government advocate and is a respected figure. he says that he witnessed this event and he told this to multiple senators last year as well as tried to contact the fbi and share the details of that with the fbi he tried among other things by senator chris cohen wrote a letter referring to styron saying he was someone who should be followed up with. in terms of the reporting, we have these two sources dyer has declined to discuss this publicly. the women involved, actually
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did talk to robin for the book but about a different subject and did not want to talk about this and i will let you say more. friends of hers have said that she does not recall the incident and that may be because from what we understand pretty much everyone she and others at the party were intoxicated or under the influence if not intoxicated. am i forgetting anything? >> i think that's right.it's really different so often people have said you don't really have you have all this hearsay about something that happened. here you actually have something that witnessed something and saw it. and people have made a lot of his clinton association but actually are former editors of the time today said on fox news of all things if he will politically motivated why did he blow this up during the confirmation hearing which he didn't. from our understanding he had a very specific agenda which was to bring this information to
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the people who could affect the outcome who were evaluating kavanaugh and beyond that he wanted to go no further. once kavanaugh was confirmed he was done that's why he hasn't talked about it. >> so what do you look into the fbi investigation to what degree did you find that they spoke to people that you spoke to? >> so many of the people who felt frustrated by this process felt that that was unfinished business. i think basically what you have here is the republicans wanted to confirm as fast as possible this was fast-track for them very much mcconnell's mission to get it done, done before the midterms, get it done before the court resumed. they had no interest in dragging it out any further. on the other hand you have a culture in a "me too" moment that has these explosive allegations and i think they needed at least to do some kind of dutiful nod to an additional look into these allegations but they also didn't want to be as
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callaway delma killian conway described a fishing expedition that went on if indefinitely. they established a very circumscribed investigation directed by the president. that's where the orders came from. i think there was actually just a lot of confusion. i remember when we were reporting on it at the time mike was directing this?who's creating the rules? who is deciding how many witnesses they talk to? what you found is that they tried to limit it to people with a firsthand knowledge although they did go back to christine blasey ford or brett kavanaugh to interview them. they wanted the key players. >> it was interesting because what started off as a bipartisan agreement between senator kunz and senator flake at the time who said we are going to hold hands and jump off a bridge here, was the inside joke at the time. he very much became an effort driven by a certain key republicans in the white house in the sense that senators kunz
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and flag huddled with senators collins and murkowski and talked about what they might do, what the parameters could be and brainstormed potential witnesses and from what we understand those witness list that they were talking about was well into the double digits. then the republican senators met with mitch mcconnell and talked a little bit more about what should be done and ultimately the ball was handed to the white house because technically the white house was a client in this case. the white house looking back on the new york times reporting from the time was initially suggesting for witnesses be interviewed, for key people from the alleged blasey ford incident. that list ultimately grew to 10. we know there were 25 people on a list that ramirez's lawyers gave to investigators. another i believe 13 that were named in a letter from ford's lawyers to the fbi and scores
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more that were not named but suggested with their affiliation with various events. >> we also have so many classmates from both high school and college who really have these stories agonizing stories of trying to get through the fbi. being sent to the tip line. spending all day on hold. whether the information was relevant or not is another question. >> did they tell you their information? >> these were people that when we have these people who heard about the ramirez allegations thought that was important. there is a woman that was really lost in this who demi ramirez had told about the incident after they graduated to sign an affidavit to that effect and brought it to the fbi. things like that. somebody trying to get their information across and the fbi sort of i think what's interesting is the sense that some people blame the fbi but the fbi was following orders
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and one way that we found that illustrated degree to which their hands were tied was that the two agents in boulder colorado who'd interviewed deborah ramirez after hearing her whole story said we find you credible. sort of, it will do more if we are permitted to do more but at this point we can only go as far as we been told to go. in one of her attorneys said they almost seemed a little apologetic like. >> so you've talked to a lot of people who said they want to talk to the fbi but weren't able to. but you haven't come up with 15 new allegations. should we conclude that the fbi investigation was adequate in the end? >> that's a good question.
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i think what we were able to do by doing some journalistic interviews with these people was established much more of a picture and try to understand what you see these two images of brett kavanaugh and how he possibly rectify those. also to come up with a little more detail on this new allegation that we talked about. one other interesting thing that came up in the fbi investigation and reporting had to do it leland kaiser, i don't know if you want to talk about that. this is kind of a set of facts that would work in justice kavanaugh's favor. leland kaiser was a woman who is alleged to be at the christine blasey ford gathering. to make a long story short, she has said consistently she doesn't remember that evening and can't say based on any clear memory whether it did or did not happen or anything like it happened. but upon reflection she's become dubious of the accuracy of the blasey ford per trail.
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she told that to the fbi in a second meeting. >> that she sought out. >> that's right. after reflecting at the matter looking at old photos of younger brett kavanaugh and thinking back to those times. she had a number of reasons why she wasn't confident in the story including just the circumstances like ford had talked about living in the columbia country club on that day. i think we as a public last fall had the impression that the party started at the club with the six people had migrated to a house in the events unfolded. kaiser said, i was a member of the columbia club and i did go there and christine was on the diving team i would occasionally go by and actually critique her diving, leland was a real athlete and played six or eight varsity sports. had a good eye for these things. she said that would happen but really she is spending most of her time that summer at the
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congressional country club. she said things like, she really didn't remember brett kavanaugh to the controversy last year she did remember him as a young person. she thought she would have. there were a number of things that were all very interesting and reasonable reasons to raise questions about the account. we put it all in our book because we think it's relevant. in the end though, we didn't necessarily feel like kaiser recollections were like a dispositive negation of the ford story because, she acknowledges maybe i did go to the columbia country club at some point and judge the guiding. another interesting thing was that kaiser actually dated mark judge who was justice kavanaugh's good friend back in high school and was the person alleged to be in the room when the alleged assault occurred.
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ford told me in subsequent interviews that may be the gathering she remembers came together as a result of kaiser and judge planning it cannot because everybody ran into each other at the club. these are interesting details that come up. we talk at the end of the book a little bit about our own analysis as reporters and as people hopefully with common sense who can kind of put this all together and make a deduction but we invite readers to take from it what they see and help inform their perspective. >> i think also to your question is even if the conclusion is the same i think people will feel like they come to it with more information then they did based on what the fbi investigation was. i feel like there's a lot we feel we lay out in this book where people on both sides of the issue will feel like now i'm making much more of an informed judgment then i did
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initially when these events were flying by. >> i want to get questions from the audience. this is gonna be a nitty-gritty reporting question just because i like it. he talked a little bit about how you went about trying to figure out if this house exists. >> this was like a real reporting challenge. i went through the public record everything that ford had said about her recollection of this house. i had a series of conversations with her and some of her friends and advisers and took down any details that i thought might help narrow it down in some way.
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to give you all the flavor, some of you probably remember this well, ãbi'm combining what we do publicly with what i learned of the reporting process. somewhere in montgomery county between the columbia country club at her house on ãbin potomac not far from burning tree. not necessarily walkable from the columbia country club. it was at least a two story house, it had a narrow set of stairs from the ground level where the party was going on to this upper level where there was a bedroom and bathroom across the hall. there were a number of things like that. one interesting thing was she had a recollection that mark judge, kavanaugh's friend, seemed to have a possessive kind of approach to the house. not that it was his house,
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that's more or less been ruled out in my reporting but that it was maybe a friend of his house or a family member or something like that. i kind of went to the mark judge universe of that time as best i could. >> that he was kind of worried about taking care of the house that someone might come home to the house. >> right. there was a sense they had to be out by a certain time. there seem to be a fear of if we break something or spill something it's on me. >> he was going to the house. >> right. to make a long story short, i certainly could be wrong but i sort of narrowed it down to two possible houses. one belonging to the judge family friend and one belonging to another prep classmate from 83. i shared with ford kind of some details on the houses and it just became really hard to make a clear judgment. there were not floorplans that
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i knew to be from 1982 apparently montgomery county has not kept a lot of their archives, floorplans and houses prior to 1986 there was like a digitization that went on later on and a lot of things were thrown out, which is fair enough it's been a long time. i'm sure some of those probably exist but that was about as far as i got. >> i love that kind of digging. this is a question i had too. i was glad to see it on the top of the pile. did he lie at his confirmation? >> i think what we realized here was that he's a very good lawyer, he is a very good judge. he would probably not get up there and lie in front of the american people. but that he kind of navigated the truth. i think that's a good way to put it.
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there are conceivably different definitions of double triangle and goofing and all those terms. he said he had too many beers, for example, that understates our reporting indicates how excessively he was drinking but he did say he had too many beers. that's the kind of thing i mean. it was ultimately not necessarily a technical lie but that's actually, the drinking was sort of a through line we found in the book which was kind of what helped understand his development and what he was like as a young person and how these events might've happened and what might shed light on explaining them. and drinking was a big part of that. and that's what brought so many classmates out of the woodwork during the confirmation hearing who had planned to stay on the
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sidelines who wanted to say, wait a minute that's not the rib democrat i remember. it was a different level of drinking. i think you purchase things perhaps. but i also think there's this question of his temperament toward the end and there's this element to which there's people who have argued, what if kavanaugh got up there and said i did stupid stuff when i was young and i'm sorry about it and i may have hurt some people in the process and i feel bad about that. it made a real effort to be a better person. i think the argument is in this trump moment it would've been inconceivable. it's all about fighting back and it's all about denying and there is no kind of room for
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the gray. there is no room to be a human being who is flawed right now. although he apologized how he spoke to amy klobuchar, center closure, and how he wrote an op-ed in the wall street journal saying i probably went too far. i think otherwise there was no room for concessions. >> did you find any sense he had expressed remorse anywhere for his behavior when he was younger if it was to be true? >> he did apologize to renata. it was a deeply felt apology and on september 27 hearing and as i recall he kind of choked up on that. i think he feels very bad about he said he felt bad about the way this had come out.
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maybe he was referring to the media coverage but i think the idea that she got hurt was upsetting to him. in terms of saying i don't remember something like this but if i ever hurt anybody in the past i'm terribly sorry, that's not happened that i'm aware of. >> it's amazing how many people suggest how much that would have meant. i think that christine ãbkate has an interesting story before she even did this that she could've called brett kavanaugh and said let's not do this, which was clearly unrealistic on some level. deborah ramirez said, if he had just apologized, it's so weird to hear that that might've been enough but there are enough sexual victims i've talked to have said that sometimes that's kind of what you need for closure is an acknowledgment. i think that sometimes it's lost in the conversation is how far that could go.
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>> the question of should there been an apology and is there an apology even possible if it feels warranted although in this case justice kavanaugh says he was innocent of the charges and presumably did not find it warranted. the cultural moment we are living in is so hard it's a cultural moment in which you have the advent of social media where you can say any hateful thing to somebody and get away with it. you can make death threats he can threaten their family and this happened to christine blasey ford people had bodyguards because they were worried about death threats. i think the "me too" movement has been a galvanizing cultural event for the last two years.
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at the time of the kavanaugh confirmation hearing the me to ãbthis notion of believe all women was oversimplified and overlooking the investigation part i was talking about earlier. when you have a president who does advocate taking tough stances and has talked about allegations of sexual misconduct is something you need to deny. it becomes hard to acknowledge any flaws in that environment. >> i think one of the things that we encountered as reporters as we had to fight our own assumptions about us as well as our own preconceptions. we are two women people assumed we would be absolutely on the side of the women to begin with and then uncritical way. i think they assume because we
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are at the new york times we have a liberal agenda. i think it was important for us to put ourselves in kavanaugh shoes and imagine someone is being falsely accused and really go there and explore that. and try to understand perhaps we have plenty of people argue to us his temperament was unacceptable but imagine if you're fighting for your personal and professional life. we really want to talk to people they had all sorts of ideas their minds were made up obviously the controversy over the book excerpt and the fact that the article did not include the fact that the alleged victim didn't remember the incident at the yale party
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this idea that you are out to get him perhaps. one question that asks if you are able to read it if it was before it was published and you knew that it was taken out and, what was your reaction? >> let's walk through this. essentially we prepared this story it was an excerpt of the book it was always going to be a small fraction of what was in the book where we try to cover every single base but you can't do that in an excerpt by definition. the focus of the excerpt was on the deborah ramirez story.
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she felt like a fish out of water and alleged as part of that we thought that talking about this new allegation briefly was germane because it was a similar situation we had crafted language that use the women's name and talked about the fact that there was a witness max dyer who we talked about earlier that max dyer has not wanted to talk about it publicly what shared it with government officials. and ultimately that the woman has declined to talk to us about this specifically. and then francis says she doesn't remember it. during the editing process the line was taken out along with the woman's identity, there's a mentality at the new york times what you want to protect women
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who are victims in these situations. in the end it was taken out and we had added it in. we address that oversight as soon as we realized it. we really regret the omission and the concern that has been caused. there are people throughout, you mentioned throughout the deborah ramirez the excerpt in the way you frame it she ended up seeming hopeful one of the
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questions here asks about addressing the 1980s drinking rape culture. she seemed to suggest that the whole episode might be i want to say healing might be a long but making people talk about the world was like at that time. >> when i initially reached out to her to talk to her when we are first beginning the process things were still pretty raw and it was difficult, she also by no means was ready to trust me. debbie ramirez has both the huge binder as well as this box of letters and notes that she saved and returned in terms of
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dialogue she felt pretty good about it. she didn't testify publicly and i think to some extent wasn't raked over the coals to quick to agree that blasey ford was. maybe the scars are a little less damaging. i think that she had a more hopeful view of potentially that this started something that was important. >> do you agree with that? >> in terms of talking about it? >> has it started something? >> i struggle with that in the sense that this happened with anita hill and yet kind of the outcome was the same. how much of things changed? we've asked ourselves that
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questions a lot. i think the way this country treated these allegations was different where they took christine blasey ford seriously because they had to. they treated her with respect and that hearing think more respectfully than anita hill was treated. she was not dismissed. they also realized the bad optics of having a panel of republican white male judges. male senators, questioning her and got a female prosecutor. there was some advances although they jettisoned her quite basically. i think there are plenty of people who i've talked to who feel like nothing has changed and the patriarchy rains.
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>> if i could add, in framing 1991 verses now there's an interesting poll we cite in the epilogue of our book a little bit dated. post kavanaugh confirmation hearings from perry on them the research firm 49 percent of those polled are largely in favorable impression of kavanaugh as compared to 29 percent due to favorable. 35 percent said the senate did the right thing and confirming him. 41 percent, fairly close disagreed, by contrast an overwhelming 50% of american polling after the claris conference confirmation supported him with 30% opposed. ultimately 55 percent of the voters who were polled believed ford over kavanaugh which was a 16 point margin error. so you don't have a perfect comparison of thomas to kavanaugh in the sense of the believability but when you look
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at the favorability for thomas even after the anita hill hearings it's a different picture from last year. >> several people ask, did you speak to justice kavanaugh? >> we were on our way to washington to speak to him. we had finally arranged for an interview, ultimately we could not agree on terms that we felt comfortable with so we didn't do it, regrettably, we did it feel like we could. >> do you want to tell us about the disagreement? >> we debated whether to talk about this but it is what it is, he wanted us to say we hadn't spoken to him. [laughter] we even went to negotiate the phrasing of that where we were willing to say nothing. not talk about who we spoke to. not to talk about our sources but he wanted a line in there saying we did not and we felt that to mislead our readers in
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a book about pretty much deals with issues of truth would probably not be a good foot forward. >> interesting. >> i just said that he said we had to have a line in there saying we didn't speak to him. >> saying he declined to be interviewed. as a condition for being interviewed. >> even if we had then spoken to him. on that ground or off the record. >> is not mentioned in the book? >> it isn't.it happened late. we only got to this point way late the book was about to be literally go to the press. >> are we comfortable with the decision? >> we do say we declined the interview which is true we did not meet with him.
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what's in the book is true, the old back story we just shared with you is not in the book and as robin is saying. the situation unfolded very late in the game. >> i think also we were ambivalent about we certainly realize we were protecting him by not putting it in ultimately and what we do in future additions, it's hard because we did feel good we were about to talk to him. we would really like to but i think at a certain point you have to be forthcoming about the truth of these things and the reality of what we were left with. >> the book was about him.it was not as though he was a smaller player. [laughter] >> it's really hard, we could talk more about this but briefly, as a beat reporter, which we both are and i'm sure many are, you meet with key figures on your beat from time
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to time and you have a state of the union conversation you get their thoughts on different things and maybe that's deep background or maybe off the record and down the line you write a story about something that maybe you only touched on or maybe didn't touch on at all in the interview and you can honestly say, so-and-so declined to be interviewed for this article. that was not the case here. the point of the meeting was to talk to him about the issues that were to be in the book there was no way to thread the needle, unfortunately. >> if you people say, it's already been confirmed so what's the point of all this? >> i think what this week attests to is that this experience isn't going away. and for whatever reason it had kind of a seismic effect. i'm sure you guys have all been at plenty of dinner tables where this continues to ignite
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very strong feelings for people on a lot of levels. i'm not sure we will ever get to a sense of resolution about it but i think grappling with these issues is important. that something that quite frankly has frustrated us about why the times has obscured what we are trying to do which is to raise questions and wrestle with them in terms of and why it was formative for so many people. in such a hot button issue. and now it does have implications for the rest of our time. it helps politicize the confirmation process has become of judges. it talked about how we are dealing with christine blasey ford was considered sort of the pinnacle of this "me too" moment. are we in a backlash as a result? people thought it was "me too"
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run amok on some level. these are issues that will continue to ripple out and will come around again in some other form. there needs to be a fair process for everybody. there needs to be a fair process for judges that are considered conservative and those considered liberal going forward. i believe it was john rubin who wrote an interesting column this week on the topic of kavanaugh saying there should be house inquiry into the fbi investigation and what was done during that period. not because she thinks that impeachment is likely or necessarily should happen even though there are calls for that by some of the democratic presidential candidates but just because it was be useful to see how it was conducted under what marching orders, what information was gathered
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and where they were process flaws perhaps that could be amended for future candidates. we all want a fair court and we all want fair process. >> i think i'm quoting justice kavanaugh and saying i want a fair process. [laughter] >> we have time for a few more questions and i clearly i have a pile and i'm sorry a i get every single one of them. you got some nitty-gritty ones i want to get to. several people asked, if you spoke with mark judge, this one goes on to say you know his whereabouts? [laughter] then this one says did ford ever explain why she left her friend in the house after an attempted rape? people are getting into the details. >> i love this question, this is a room full of reporters. mark judge, i was tasked with finding mark judge. it was not that easy to do. mark judge has been kind of
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itinerant damages during this relevant period last fall he was kind of hunkered down at the bethany beach home of some family friends and i think it was a washington post to track them down. at the time that we were working on this kind of late last year early this year especially he had been staying with family friends in potomac at one point and then i heard he was staying with a family member outside washington so i knocked on some doors and went looking for him. i eventually think i landed him a place where he was staying and i was turned away by the person that answered the door but i left a business card and explain why was there. and i got a call from him. mostly telling me to buzz off but we had a brief conversation
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and i can't say a lot about it but basically the upshot of the judge reporting that i've done in the thing he's told other people is that he just doesn't recall this incident. that's been his perspective all along. in terms of board why would she leave the friend? i'm just gonna interpret that question, hopefully accurately, the question is, why would ford run out of the house and leave her friend kaiser there because, that was sort of the picture that emerged last fall. in my reporting i got a more detailed version of that. let me start by saying i said to ford or i understand from what you said that you told the senate judiciary committee everything that you could
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remember. so i want to ask you other things that you are sorted iffy on you think might be happened it would be useful reporting and i can try to figure out if they are accurate or not or might just guide me as i look to this. i want to make the caveat that she is consistently said i shared what i knew at the time. the rest of it is hazy remembering. but her hazy memory, her guesstimate is that she would have left the house with leland and said we need to leave i want to go home. and that leland would have driven her home. she says she thinks it highly unlikely that she walked home from this house because they didn't walk anywhere at the time. she lived near burning tree and i believe leland's family was up in rockville. here they were in chevy chase. her best thought, although she doesn't really remember specifically, is that leland drove her home. leland also said to me, i probably would have driven her home and i don't remember that. it would seem she didn't leave her friend there but it's an interesting question in itself.
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calexico people are asking about molly hemingway's book about kavanaugh there just wondering what you think. >> it's interesting to me. she's obviously taking it on quite strongly spending a lot of time on our book. combating it on twitter. actually read their book we read it right away. >> we both did. i thought i found it really valuable for us. and quite good. i was appreciated particularly i was reading it for some of the details we weren't able to get because we wanted so much of the texture of these people we wanted to portray them in a 360 degree way which was also something we felt we had missed because they had been caricatured. things like ãbtrump was ãb i'm sorry, kavanaugh.
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[laughter] was inspired by reading the brethren in terms of coming a judge and he listens to country music sort of who he is and now as a person that kind of stuff is good. it also just the way in which republicans were working behind the scenes which is something we were able to get at somewhat but we certainly were interested in we wanted to really do the tick-tock of this of how everybody was getting ready for these hearings and then preparing i feel like they had a lot of good stuff on along those lines. unfortunately they are so clearly partisan in terms of they have a clear agenda and make no bones about it. i think that is still unfortunate in that you can't just take their book on the merits of writing a dispassionate book because they have a real estate. >> from what we understand they did not call christine blasey ford and ask her comments on the things about her in the
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book. >> i have one more question before i do i want to present m. after we finish here robert and kate will sign books over there. there are a lot of people so probably try to move through it a little bit quickly. and frankly, how are you dealing with all the vitriol is on social media and elsewhere. i'm not reading much of it. i will speak for myself. i was expecting a lot of heat. this is an inflammatory topic. we understand why people are so passionate about it. i ran into a neighbor of mine
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he sort of went off about brett kavanaugh and i did what i always do when somebody takes a strong position for or against i kind of kept them on. as we probably said ad nauseam we feel the book is very nuanced and complicate a story. when people have a very strong perspective that he's a good guy or bad guy we always want to challenge that. i was just losing the argument big time. i walked away from it thinking whatever people thought a year ago and people have very strong feelings it's ossified now. in the absence of additional new information. i don't know if we will have success in broadening perspectives modifying changing perspectives to accept other points of view ãbhave to be
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thick-skinned. him to have it particularly be caught up in certain things like taking a line out of an op-ed or really bad tweet. which ends up obscuring what you actually set out to do. it just feels like a lot of noise, sometimes you kind of hope you can get past it so people actually consider the work you did with an open mind. to take our work seriously the way we try to. ... ...
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[inaudible conversations] >> we're watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend, booktv, television for serious reader. >> some programs to watch out for this weekend, journalist paul. >> journalist gordon cheng report on the dangers south
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korea may face forgot north korea and foreigner fbi agent and the fbi under president trump. >> booktv recently visited capitol hill and asked republican congressmen gary palmer of alabama about his reading list. >> well, over the last year or so i've read several books. the american spirit by david mccullough, friends divide by gordon wood so get a little history thing there. a time for truth by guinness. if you can keep it, bit met tax sucks, david and goliath by malcolm gladwell, and

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