LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
The Ford-Kavanaugh hearings were both a moment the country watched together but also one that seemingly drove us further apart. We’ll cover reactions to the hearings throughout the show today. President Trump yesterday, before heading to a rally in West Virginia, expressed only support for Brett Kavanaugh as the FBI investigates sexual misconduct allegations into his Supreme Court nominee.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I don’t need a backup plan. We’ll have to see what happens. I think he’s going to be fine. Again, one of the most respected men and certainly one of the most respected jurists or judges in the United States.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: For more, I’m joined by NPR’s national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Welcome.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi there, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let’s start with the president. He is still all in for Kavanaugh.
LIASSON: All in for Kavanaugh. Last night at that West Virginia rally, he said, a vote for Kavanaugh is a vote against the mean, obstructionist Democrats. So he painted the vote in very partisan terms. But he also denied reports that he wanted to limit the FBI investigation. He tweeted, actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. He told reporters that the FBI had free rein to do whatever they wanted to do. And he even suggested that the FBI investigation could be a, quote, “blessing in disguise.” That’s the idea of if you make the process look a little fairer, then there will be less political blowback after Kavanaugh is confirmed.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. So where do things stand now, exactly?
LIASSON: Things stand right now – I think Republicans don’t yet have the votes. But every Republican I’ve talked to doesn’t expect the FBI investigation to turn up anything new. Even Jeff Flake said, I’m a…