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Senator Jeff Flake, AZ

Senate committee votes to advance Kavanaugh to full Senate

On a partisan 11-10 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. All of the committee’s Republicans voted in favor of recommending Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination while every Democrat voted against that.

Before the vote, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona said he would support the vote but wanted the full Senate to delay the vote for no more than one week to allow the FBI time to investigate the so far unproven allegations Christine Blasey Ford has made that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. Other senators agreed but that is subject to the decision of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI do an investigation limited in time and scope [on] the current allegations that are there,” Flake said after being cornered in a small room for 15 minutes by every democrat on the committee.

Flake then announced he would support Kavanaugh but he indicated that he would not be a “yes” vote for Kavanaugh on the Senate floor until the FBI completes work on what would be the 7th FBI investigation since Kavanaugh entered public service.

Flake, along with Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Joe Manchin, may all oppose confirming Kavanaugh while the FBI investigation continues — essentially forcing the probe to take place before a successful floor vote can occur.

President Trump, moments after the Senate committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, said he would defer to the Senate on whether to open a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into Judge Kavanaugh and delay a floor vote on his confirmation. Later Friday, after conferring with Republican leaders, Trump ordered the FBI “supplemental background check” to proceed.

The president praised the testimony of both Mr. Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Mr. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the early 1980s. Mr. Trump called Dr. Ford a “very fine woman” and a “very credible witness” and described the nominee’s testimony as “incredible” and “something I hadn’t seen before.”

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) said Friday morning he believed the Supreme Court nominee will ultimately be confirmed in bipartisan fashion.

“I’m optimistic. We’ve been in constant communication with all of my colleagues…I’m optimistic we’ll confirm the judge,” Cornyn said during an interview with Fox and Friends. “I’m hopeful that Senator Donnelly, Senator Manchin, Senator Heitkamp, all of whom voted for Neil Gorsuch, will see their way to vote for this nominee. I’m optimistic we’ll have a bipartisan vote.”