Key Senators Undecided as Senate Poised to Vote on Kavanaugh

Key Senators Undecided as Senate Poised to Vote on Kavanaugh

Key Senators Undecided as Senate Poised to Vote on Kavanaugh

With Mr Kavanaugh's uncertain prospects for approval depending in part on the decisions of five wavering senators, politicians began viewing the document in a secure room in the Capitol complex.

The Senate is voting Friday morning on the first step to confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court following the release of an Federal Bureau of Investigation report on allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh. Mitch McConnell originally scheduled it for Saturday afternoon, but Republican Steve Daines has indicated he will attend his daughter's wedding tomorrow in Montana no matter what the Senate is doing.

Collins said Thursday that the FBI appears to have conducted a "very thorough investigation" of the sexual misconduct claims against Kavanaugh.

In a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, eight of the 10 Democrats on the panel said information contained in a Republican Twitter posting "is not accurate and must be immediately corrected".

West Virginia's Joe Manchin, the other undeclared Democrat, spent time looking at the report and said he would resume reading it on Friday.

Prof Blasey Ford testified last week at a dramatic Judiciary Committee hearing that when she was 15, a drunken 17-year-old Kavanaugh pinned her down, tried to remove her clothing and covered her mouth after she screamed. Kavanaugh denied the allegations vehemently, calling them "an orchestrated political hit", but his confirmation vote was put on hold while the FBI investigated the claims.

"Judge Kavanaugh stated at his hearing that the individuals at the incident involving Dr. Ford refuted her version of events", Schumer said Thursday.

What was already a sharply partisan battle became an intense political drama when university professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school in Maryland in 1982.

All eyes are on the key Republicans who could make or break the confirmation - Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Flake, a frequent Trump critic, was instrumental in getting the president to order the FBI investigation last Friday.

Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski cast a surprise "no" vote.

File Photo: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary committee regarding sexual assault allegations at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, US, September 27, 2018. Some held signs calling Kavanaugh a liar and unfit to serve.

Flake's "yes" vote - combined with his comments Thursday that the FBI's supplemental investigation had been thorough and provided no corroborating evidence of the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez - suggested he would nearly certainly be a "yes" on final confirmation.

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

Kavanaugh's nomination has been imperiled by accusations of sexual misconduct.

Most Democrats opposed Mr Trump's nomination of Mr Kavanaugh from the outset.

Kavanaugh has said stories of his bad behavior while drinking are exaggerated.

He told MSNBC after the cloture vote that he plans to vote "yes" on Kavanaugh's nomination.

On Friday, the Senate voted 51-49 to advance Kavanaugh's nomination to a full Senate vote slated for Saturday evening. "From their own public statements, we knew that to be false, and nothing in this report changes that".

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