Key Senators Undecided As Senate Poised To Vote On Kavanaugh


U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh got support Friday from key fence-sitting U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), likely putting him over the top for confirmation when the final vote is taken.

In a Senate speech that was disrupted by protesters before it began and met with applause from GOP senators when it ended, Collins declared, "I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh".

Sen. Flake confirmed to reporters Thursday that there was "no new corroborative information" in the Federal Bureau of Investigation report on sexual allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh was accused by Ford in September of committing sexual and physical assault while they were both at a party in high school.

A failure to advance Kavanaugh's nomination would deliver a potentially fatal blow to Donald Trump's embattled supreme court pick, who has faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who has repeatedly battled Trump and will retire in January, said he'd vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation "unless something big changes".

Susan Collins: Maine Senator announces Kavanaugh confirmation vote today
Kavanaugh's former schoolmate Dr Christine Blasey Ford pictured during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last Thursday. Kavanaugh's expected two-vote victory in itself underscored how unusually divisive his nomination fight has been.

In a twist, Murkowski said she will state her opposition but vote "present" as a courtesy to Kavanaugh supporter Sen.

The Senate voted 51-49 to approve Kavanaugh in the procedural cloture vote, with one Republican, Lisa Murkowski, opposing going forward while one Democrat, Joe Manchin, voted to move ahead.

Daines will walk his daughter down the aisle in Montana on Saturday, shortly before the crucial Senate vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the nation's highest court.

Democrats meanwhile condemned the investigation - the parameters of which were reportedly set by the White House - as preordained.

It's actually been in session throughout the night covering the issue, although the debate has taken place in a largely empty chamber. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Here's what she tells reporters traveling with her in Egypt: "I think he's highly qualified for the Supreme Court".

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Palin's tweet looks like a succinct suggestion that she'll challenge Murkowski when she's up for re-election in four years. Referring to the judge's sworn response to Ford's testimony, Markey said, "We heard anger".

All three of the law professors who spoke to The Spokesman-Review said they signed the letter and spoke out in a personal capacity and were not representing Gonzaga with their comments. That would mark an anti-climactic finale to a clash fought against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement and Trump's unyielding support of the nominee, opposing forces that left Kavanaugh's fate in doubt for weeks.

Although the Senate Judiciary Committee has concluded its role in considering Kavanaugh's nomination to replace now-retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley continues to seek information from Ford.

In the vote on Gorsuch a year ago, the cloture and final confirmation votes lined up perfectly (with the exception of one Republican senator who missed the final vote for health reasons). Dick Durbin on Friday said his confirmation "would shake the confidence of millions of Americans and the integrity of our Supreme Court". At one point, she and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talked one-on-one.

Gillibrand says that after the way Anita Hill was treated by the Senate during the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, "we said it would never happen again".

There have also been smaller pockets of protesters who are standing up for Kavanaugh and backing his nomination.

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