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Michael Moore: Senate Must Take Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Seriously & Postpone Kavanaugh Hearing

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A Senate hearing with Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford may not move forward, as Blasey Ford asks for the FBI to investigate her claims that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her as a teenager before she testifies. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley had invited Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh to both testify on Monday, but Blasey Ford’s attorneys are declining the offer. Her lawyers wrote in a letter to Grassley, “While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.” The letter revealed that Blasey Ford has received multiple death threats and has been forced to move out of her home. On Tuesday night, Senator Grassley said there’s “no reason for any further delay” in the hearing, even if Christine Blasey Ford does not testify. We speak with Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore about Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. His new movie, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” is out in theaters this week.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when she was 15, has asked for the the FBI to investigate her claims before she testifies to the Senate. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley had invited Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh to both testify on Monday. But in a letter to Grassley, Blasey Ford’s attorneys wrote, quote, “While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.” The letter went on to reveal Christine Blasey Ford has received multiple death threats in the past few days and has been forced to move out of her home. On Tuesday night, one of her attorneys, Lisa Banks, appeared on CNN.

LISA BANKS: Any talk of a hearing on Monday, frankly, is premature, because she just came forward with these allegations 48 hours ago. And since that time, she has been dealing with hate mail, harassment, death threats. So she has been spending her time trying to figure out how to put her life back together, how to protect herself and her family. And there hasn’t been an investigation. And these are serious allegations.

AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday night, Senator Grassley said there’s no reason for further delay in the hearing, even if Christine Blasey Ford doesn’t testify. Meanwhile, President Trump dismissed the need for an FBI probe into her allegations.

JOHN DECKER: To that end, what would be the problem with the FBI reopening their background investigation into Judge Kavanaugh? Would you support such a thing?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It wouldn’t bother me, other than the FBI, John said, that they really don’t do that. That’s not what they do.

AMY GOODMAN: Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California responded on Twitter by writing, “Fact check: The FBI can investigate Dr. Blasey Ford’s allegations as part of its background investigation—that is their job. To say otherwise is FALSE. It investigated Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas. It should investigate this too.”

President Trump also defended Kavanaugh, describing him as a “great gentleman.”

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I feel so badly for him that he’s going through this, to be honest with you. I feel so badly for him. This is not a man that deserves this. … And we will see what happens. But I just think he is at a level that we rarely see, not only in government, anywhere in life. And, honestly, I feel terribly for him, for his wife, who is an incredible, lovely woman, and for his beautiful, young daughters. I feel terribly for them.

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump himself has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women. In that news conference, he would not refer to Dr. Blasey Ford by name, only as “the woman.”

Well, on Tuesday evening, I sat down with Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, whose new film about Trump and much more is out this week. It’s called Fahrenheit 11/9: Tyrant. Liar. Racist. A Hole in One. He was here in our New York studio, and I asked him to respond to Trump’s comments about Kavanaugh and, as well, Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

MICHAEL MOORE: I watched the news this morning, and to hear her say, as she has described in The Washington Post article—she described the incident—that when he had thrown her on the bed—and he, at that point, is a 17-year-old junior or senior in high school, she’s a 15-year-old freshman or sophomore. And she said—and I think I’m quoting accurately here—that the thought ran through her head that she could possibly die, because he was suffocating her with his hand over her mouth and nose, as it—I guess as you have to say legally here, as it is alleged.

AMY GOODMAN: Because she was attempting to scream.

MICHAEL MOORE: Because she was trying to scream. And—

AMY GOODMAN: Allegedly.

MICHAEL MOORE: Yes. I was never a teenage girl, but I have had to live my 64 years listening to women, both friends, family and the general public, tell me these stories. This is, I think—to any woman who hears this story, this is not an unusual or uncommon story, that when they were younger, some young boy, some young man, decided that they had the right to throw them down and to try to take their clothes off. And I think that—I hope that in this year of #MeToo, that we’ve come far enough now to take this very, very seriously. I don’t like at all the way that they’re trying to rush this through. …

I think this is a real watershed moment, frankly. And while we all still believe—I hope we believe—that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, that any woman who comes forward with an allegation like this has to be listened to. And you cannot say, “Oh, it was just high school.” He was 17 years old. How many 17-year-olds do we have in prison now? Usually people of color. But they try them as adults. To just try to slough this off, to not have a real investigation—this thing has to be postponed.

Separate from that, a president who is under criminal investigation, possibly for treason, has no rights to appoint anyone or nominate anyone to the Supreme Court. Can we all just agree on that?

But now that Dr. Ford has come forward with this, to ignore her, to not listen to her, that will be its own crime. And I sincerely hope, as we sit here today, and in the coming days and weeks, that somehow this has to be tabled. There’s no way they can go forward with this now.

And I don’t know, I guess I just—I don’t know. I feel for—I feel for everybody that has told me a story like this, that I’ve listened to for the last 40 years. And I got to tell you, too, as—you know, as a guy, as a guy who was a teenager, as a guy who was a tween, just so you know, guys like me have had to put up with these guys since we were in junior high school. You know, I don’t know what words I can use on this show, but basically, these [bleep] holes that we’ve had to tolerate and who have made life miserable for us and who were the bullies when we were in school, and their belief that they have a right to use their strength for violence to get their way, this is nothing new to us as men, and the men that we have had to deal with since we were that age. So, none of this is surprising. Everyone has felt it or been affected by it, but especially the women who have had to tolerate this their entire lives.

And I’ve just—I know that when I walk out of here, if we were doing this at night, and it was 10:00, and we’re downtown here in New York City—it’s 10:00 at night, and it’s dark out—I would walk out of your building here and walk to the subway and go home and really never have another thought about it, because I belong to this gender. But if you belong to the other gender, you can’t just walk out of here at 10:00 at night. You have an invisible radar like those TV news vans, where a thing goes up, where you have to watch and you have to be careful, because you know what could possibly happen. I don’t know if most men actually realize that they have to—that we’ve got to live our entire adult lives really never having to worry about who’s coming at us down the street or whatever, because we belong to this gender. And if you see a woman on a dark street walking toward you at night, never once do you think, “Oh, I could be in some danger here. You know, I could be”—because that’s not the gender that does that.

When you first heard that there was someone—I remember I was watching CNN, they broke in, and they said there was a man on top of that hotel in Las Vegas firing on a crowd of 20,000 people. And they said the word “man,” but they said they didn’t know who was up there doing it and they didn’t know how many there were. But they gendered it. Of course they did, because everybody knows there’s no woman up there with machine guns firing on a crowd of people, that you don’t have to worry about 51 percent of the population that is not going to jump out of the bushes and mug you or commit acts of violence against you. That’s just the truth. Everybody knows it’s the truth. We never talk about the gender aspect of this. The CDC has wanted to study it. The NRA has kept them, in Congress, from studying the gender aspect of violence in our society. To me, it’s always been—if you’re watching the 11:00 news and you hear that a woman has actually shot a guy, what’s your first thought? “Well, what did he do? What kind of abusive guy is that?” We know—I mean, it’s like, for a woman to do that, that’s the society we live in.

So, Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford now bring one of the big, central issues and way of living in our society now to the table again. And we’re going to have to confront it and deal with it. And I hope we do. But either way, the criminal president doesn’t have a right to be making appointments to the Supreme Court.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, commenting on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her when she was 15 years old and he was 17. Michael Moore’s new film about Trump and much more is out this week. It’s called Fahrenheit 11/9. Michael Moore joined us here in our New York studio. We’ll air more of his interview later this week.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we head to North Carolina to speak with Dr. Barber about the hurricane and the effects on the poor. Stay with us.

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