US Senate to vote on Trump's Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh

Spencer Underwood
October 5, 2018

The report, sent by the White House to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the middle of the night, was denounced by Democrats as a whitewash that was too narrow in scope and ignored critical witnesses.

Senators Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) had been undecided on Kavanaugh, but Flake and Collins both said on Thursday that the report seemed "thorough", hinting that they would vote to confirm the judge.

The Senate is heading toward a procedural vote Friday, and if Republicans prevail, Kavanaugh would be on track to a lifetime appointment to the nation's highest court. Flake said he saw no additional corroborating information against Kavanaugh, although he was "still reading" it.

Ford and Kavanaugh testified at a dramatic Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week in which she described the alleged assault, and Kavanaugh denied all of the allegations against him, while accusing the Democrats of a political "hit". Heidi Heitkamp, N.D., and Joe Manchin III, W.Va., also have yet to announce how they will vote.

The court has the final say on some of the most contentious issues in the USA, including abortion and gun control.

Her testimony and the accusations of the other women have turned the Kavanaugh battle into the latest chapter in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault.

While Republican leaders were not saying they had nailed down the support needed, backing from two of those three would ensure Mr Kavanaugh's confirmation because every other Republican was poised to back him.

The Republican leader filed a motion setting up a Friday vote on whether to limit debate on Kavanaugh and move forward.

Capitol Police have begun arresting about 300 protesters who staged a sit-in on the floor of a Senate office building's atrium.

The FBI's report on its Brett Kavanaugh investigation is the hottest document in Washington, but there's only a single copy for 100 senators to share. Only senators and authorized staff will be able to read them.

If he joins the Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh, 53, would be expected to tilt its ideological balance in favour of conservatives. If so, that could be enough for a Trump victory.

Earlier, White House spokesman Raj Shah rebuffed Democrats' complaints, saying, "What critics want is a never-ending fishing expedition into high school drinking".

I don't remember. How'd you get there?

That may have been the case, but it also may have imposed restrictions requested by Senate Republicans.

If all Democrats vote against, Kavanaugh can afford only one Republican defection.

Thursday marked a day of high drama and public outrage on Capitol Hill, and furore over Kavanaugh's nomination is dominating the runup to next month's midterm elections in which control of Congress by Trump's Republican Party is at stake.

Both Kavanaugh and his sexual assault accuser, university professor Christine Ford, testified before the 21-member Senate Judiciary Committee in an 8-hour-long hearing last week.

"When the noise fades, when the uncorroborated mud washes away, what's left is the distinguished nominee who stands before us". "The second thing we know for sure is that there's no way anything we did would satisfy the Democrats".

"What we know for sure is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation report did not corroborate any of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh", McConnell told reporters at the start of a televised press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon.

They include three people who Ford says were in the house at the time of the party.

But agents didn't talk to Judge Kavanaugh, nor did they interview Ms. Blasey Ford.

He has denied all allegations against him.

Also quizzed was Leland Keyser, Ford's friend who she also said was present on the night of the alleged attack, but who has previously said in a sworn statement that she can not recall the party in question and has never met Kavanaugh.

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