Transcript: Sen. Amy Klobuchar on "Face the Nation," Sept. 30, 2018

The following is a transcript of the interview with Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota that aired Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, on "Face the Nation."  


JOHN DICKERSON: We want to get some perspective from a key Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar is in Minneapolis this morning. Senator, what are your expectations about what the FBI will be investigating?

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think it's really important that the FBI get to the bottom of the evidence here because what happened in that hearing, was that a number of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle said that they respected Dr. Ford, that they thought she had dignity, that they found her testimony compelling. Well you don't respect her if you don't try to figure out what actually happened. And so that's why I was so pleased when Senator Flake rose to the occasion and said it was beneath the dignity of the Senate and beneath the dignity of the court, basically, if you don't follow up. And that's what this one week investigation is about. And as long as it is conducted in a professional manner and we give the FBI the ability to do their jobs instead of having it be micromanaged by the White House, we can at least get to the bottom of the evidence.

JOHN DICKERSON: Is your expectation when they do their job that they will just interview the four people who were allegedly at this party or that they will do things outside of that? Going to look at whether Mr. Judge worked at the Safeway and so forth?

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: It is the latter. I think they have to have the ability- I'm a former prosecutor. They have to have the ability to pursue the evidence. You look at background checks when either- whether it's the Obama White House, whether it's the Trump White House, yes they can order background check when they put a nomination in place. But they cannot say, oh hey only interview the people in their neighborhood on one side of the street. Or only interview people from a certain period of their life. You let the men and women of the FBI, the professionals, do their jobs. And that is what three Republicans asked, three undecided Republicans, did not feel comfortable moving forward with the vote on the floor without having this information. That is how you show Dr. Ford the respect you deserve. And unlike what I just heard from my colleague, Senator Cotton, I think that there is evidence here. She- six years ago, before Judge Kavanaugh was famous, she said his name to her husband in a therapy session. And there are notes from that session. She took a polygraph test and passed with flying colors. And the FBI can look at that. There's all kinds of evidence that they can look at.

JOHN DICKERSON: Senator do you expect the FBI to look into the claims that the Judge Kavanaugh made to you and others on the committee about his drinking habits, about college, about high school is that- is the inquiry going to go into testing whether those statements were true?

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: Well I think that is relevant because when I was asking him about whether or not he had blacked out, or maybe partially blacked out in the past because of excessive drinking he just turned it back on me instead of really answering that question. And the reason it's relevant is perhaps he doesn't remember what happened because there were repeated incidences of this excessive drinking. And so I do think it's relevant. But again I don't think people should be micromanaging the FBI investigation we can make very clear that we think that should do the broad investigation we can get in a week which is all Senator Flake would ask for. But again, at least he asked for it, unlike some of my colleagues that just thought they should march ahead when a woman was telling her story not just to a jury box of strangers. So many people have to do when they were a victim but to a nation of the world.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about Senator Graham's claim and then the claim you heard Senator Cotton make repeatedly this morning, which is essentially that- that the Democrats on the committee held this information sprung out at the last minute. Senator Graham in the hearing said you had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None.

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: You know what I thought when I heard Senator Cotton, especially today, I thought of that old legal adage, "If you don't have the facts you argue the law. If you don't have the law you argue the facts. And if you don't have either you pound the table." That's what they were doing. The truth is this is a woman that went in and called the receptionists of her congresswoman just to report something before this man had even been nominated. She was concerned because his name was out there and she wanted to get them information. Then, after she wrote this letter, which I didn't know about until a few weeks ago. But when she wrote the letter she asked her congresswoman and Senator Feinstein for confidentiality--

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: --and that was why they hadn't given it

JOHN DICKERSON: --but

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: to the FBI.

JOHN DICKERSON: But why not go to--

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: The person, the news organization

JOHN DICKERSON: Why not go to the majority--

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: Go ahead.

JOHN DICKERSON: -- and say, we've got this information and let's work on this and get this investigated together?

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: I think that Senator Feinstein took this very seriously when she requested confidentiality. But here's the thing. The justice system is messy, John. Things come in at the last minute all the time before trial at the last minute. The question is not what happened in the past. We can examine that later. There may have been better ways to handle this. The question is when you have power, what do you do with that information? Do you just sweep it under the rug and say well what happened in a house doesn't belong in the courthouse? No. You look at it. You don't sweep it under the rug. And that is a question that I posed to my colleagues that day and I am just thankful that Senator Flake didn't have the stomach to let this continue without giving this woman the respect she deserves.

JOHN DICKERSON: Twenty seconds. Senator, this question of temperament. Doesn't Judge Kavanaugh have a right to defend himself if he feels he was wrongly accused?

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: Of course he has a right to defend himself but this isn't a criminal trial. This is a job interview for the highest court in the land and my colleagues who are still undecided- that's not me- but my colleagues who are undecided are going to have to evaluate that temperament and evaluate his decisions from the past which I think are extreme when it comes to presidential power.

JOHN DICKERSON: Okay.

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: He was handpicked by a president. Thank you.

JOHN DICKERSON: Got to go. Thank you so much Senator and we'll be back in a moment--

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: Thank you so much.

JOHN DICKERSON: --with a lot more Face the Nation. Don't go away.