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Kavanaugh’s path to confirmation begins to solidify

Supreme Court docket nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s path to affirmation appeared to solidify on Thursday after two key Republican senators praised an FBI report and mentioned it didn’t discover proof corroborating the sexual assault allegations in opposition to him.

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump: ‘The US is with Kavanaugh all the way’ McConnell sets key Kavanaugh vote for Friday The Memo: Trump’s shot at Ford seems to backfire MORE (Ariz.) on Thursday mentioned senators had seen “no new credible corroboration, no new corroboration in any respect.”

A second pivotal undecided GOP vote, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump: ‘The US is with Kavanaugh all the way’ McConnell sets key Kavanaugh vote for Friday The Memo: Trump’s shot at Ford seems to backfire MORE (Maine), mentioned the report seemed to be “very thorough.”

Collins returned to the secured room containing the FBI paperwork round midday. An aide estimated she can be in there for a minimum of an hour.

“I believe Susan Collins was quoted saying it was very thorough however no new corroborative info got here out of it. That’s correct,” Flake advised reporters after reviewing the FBI report in a safe room within the Capitol Customer Middle.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump: ‘The US is with Kavanaugh all the way’ McConnell sets key Kavanaugh vote for Friday The Memo: Trump’s shot at Ford seems to backfire MORE (Alaska), the third undecided Republican within the highlight, advised reporters that she didn’t attend a Thursday morning briefing for Republican senators on the report.

“I believe it is crucial that each one who want to learn it get that chance and I’m taking my alternative now. I’m wanting ahead to it,” she mentioned.

Murkowski and Collins each took a again exit to get out of the room the place the FBI’s report is being held. Murkowski advised reporters that she’s nonetheless reviewing it. Collins, escorted by GOP Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight Energy — Presented by Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance — Trump ends law enforcement program at wildlife refuges | Pruitt canceled trips he already had tickets for | Senate panel approves new parks fund Senate panel moves to renew expired park conservation fund How the Trump tax law passed: The final stretch MORE (Ohio), declined to reply questions as she was trailed by a number of reporters into the Capitol Guests Middle and up an escalator. 

Republicans want a minimum of two of the GOP senators to vote for Kavanaugh if they don’t win over any Democrats.

The GOP trio have been instrumental final week in persuading Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFord attorneys slam FBI’s Kavanaugh investigation for not interviewing Ford, witnesses McConnell sets key Kavanaugh vote for Friday Rand Paul’s wife pens letter to Booker following protests, threats against husband MORE (R-Ky.) to delay Kavanaugh’s nomination for per week to present the FBI extra time to research. 

Not one of the three introduced help for Kavanaugh on Thursday morning, however their feedback concerning the FBI report have been extensively interpreted as constructive indicators for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: ‘The US is with Kavanaugh all the way’ Sasse: I encouraged Trump to pick someone other than Kavanaugh Sasse: Trump’s rhetoric on Ford ‘wrong’ but not surprising MORE’s nominee. Kavanaugh’s nomination has been on a roller-coaster experience for weeks, one which has seen him go from a shoo-in for affirmation to dealing with seemingly powerful odds.

Within the newest dramatic flip within the controversy, Flake emerged minutes earlier than the Judiciary panel was set to approve the nomination final week to say he had requested for extra time for the FBI to do an investigation

On Thursday, Flake gave the impression of he was a minimum of nearer to transferring on.

“I needed this pause, we’ve had this pause,” mentioned Flake, who voted “sure” for Kavanaugh on the Senate Judiciary Committee final week. “To this point we’ve seen no new credible corroboration, no new corroboration in any respect.”

Different Republicans sounded assured that the Senate may vote to finish debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Friday, with a last vote potential on Saturday.

Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynKavanaugh fight puts Senate on edge of precipice GOP senators call for Kavanaugh FBI findings to be made public Five things to know about the FBI’s Kavanaugh investigation MORE (R-Texas) mentioned Thursday afternoon that he now expects to have sufficient Republican votes to verify Kavanaugh. He additionally known as the additional week permitting the FBI investigation “useful.”

“I’m optimistic. We’ve executed what Sen. Collins, Sen. Murkowski, and Sen. Flake requested. And I believe there was no new info. I believe it was useful to undergo that course of now on reflection, so I’m optimistic,” he mentioned. 

Cornyn mentioned he expects the Senate to vote on Friday morning round 10 a.m. on a procedural movement to finish debate on Kavanaugh and for a last affirmation vote to happen Saturday afternoon. 

Deputy White Home press secretary Raj Shah mentioned in an announcement early Thursday that the White Home is now “absolutely assured the Senate will vote to verify Decide Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court docket.”

Democrats have been extensively essential of the FBI report, arguing not sufficient witnesses have been interviewed.

“This confirmed my issues, the truth is my fears, that this might be a constrained set of investigations that didn’t embody related witnesses,” mentioned Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul’s wife pens letter to Booker following protests, threats against husband Election Countdown: Dems raising millions in fight for House | Trump attacks potential challengers | GOP finalizes 2020 convention plans | Dems see Kavanaugh fight driving women voters to the polls | Bloomberg spending big for Senate Dems EPA left key official out of ‘secret science’ rule MORE (D-N.J.).

Two Democrats, Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampMcConnell sets key Kavanaugh vote for Friday Poll: Heitkamp trails Cramer by 12 points in North Dakota Election Countdown: Dems raising millions in fight for House | Trump attacks potential challengers | GOP finalizes 2020 convention plans | Dems see Kavanaugh fight driving women voters to the polls | Bloomberg spending big for Senate Dems MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMcConnell sets key Kavanaugh vote for Friday Kavanaugh fight puts Senate on edge of precipice Poll: Heitkamp trails Cramer by 12 points in North Dakota MORE (W.Va.), are undecided on Kavanaugh. Each face powerful reelection races in states the place Trump is well-liked, and are believed to be holding out on the selections of the undecided Republicans.

An aide blocked reporters from making an attempt to ask Heitkamp questions as she left the secured room and walked by means of the Senate basement. 

Manchin advised The Hill earlier this week that the FBI investigation would weigh closely on his resolution. 

“This investigation’s going to inform quite a bit,” he mentioned. 

A ballot by Public Opinion Methods, a GOP polling agency, final week discovered that 58 p.c of West Virginians help Kavanaugh’s nomination whereas 28 p.c opposed it. 

Democratic leaders blasted the White Home and Senate GOP for not giving the FBI sufficient time for its investigation.

“We had many fears that this was a really restricted course of that might constrain the FBI from getting the details. … These fears have been realized,” Senate Minority Chief Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP candidate Hawley releases ad slamming Senate “circus” on Kavanaugh nomination Schumer: ‘Kavanaugh’s testimony was better suited for Fox News than a confirmation hearing’ Cotton says Feinstein will be investigated over Ford letter MORE (D-N.Y.) advised reporters on Thursday. 

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinKavanaugh fight puts Senate on edge of precipice Election Countdown: Dems raising millions in fight for House | Trump attacks potential challengers | GOP finalizes 2020 convention plans | Dems see Kavanaugh fight driving women voters to the polls | Bloomberg spending big for Senate Dems Feinstein questions legitimacy of Kavanaugh investigation MORE (Calif.), the top-ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, characterised the FBI’s investigation as “incomplete,” floating that it might need been “restricted” by the White Home.

McConnell touted the FBI’s findings in a ground speech Thursday, noting it was the seventh background investigation of the nominee. 

“Not one of the allegations have been corroborated by the seventh FBI investigation,” he mentioned. “Neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI may find any third events who can attest to any of those allegations. 

“No backup from any witnesses, together with these particularly named as eyewitnesses by the individuals who introduced the allegations within the first place,” he added. 

The FBI interviewed 10 extra witnesses prior to now a number of days to evaluate the claims of Christine Blasey Ford, who claims Kavanaugh assaulted her at a highschool social gathering greater than 30 years in the past.

Brokers spoke with three individuals who have been on the home the place the alleged assault occurred: Mark Decide, who Ford mentioned was within the room on the time; Patrick J. Smyth; and Leland Keyser.

Not one of the three have mentioned they recollect the assault, although Keyser has mentioned that she believes Ford.

Brokers additionally spoke with Deborah Ramirez, a 53-year-old lady, who advised The New Yorker journal that Kavanaugh uncovered his genitals to her at a drunken Yale dorm room social gathering. 

The FBI didn’t discuss to Kavanaugh or Ford.

Murkowski, Collins and Flake are below monumental stress to vote with their social gathering on Kavanaugh.

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) was non-committal on whether or not the Republicans would all again Kavanaugh.

“I might by no means inform Susan or Jeff the right way to vote or Lisa. They should observe their hearts. I simply need them to take their brains with them,” he mentioned.

A senior Democratic aide mentioned Collins’s assertion praising the FBI report was a clear signal that she is going to vote sure.

“She’s been in search of a method to get to sure,” mentioned the aide. “She’s nervous a few major in 2020,” referring to the 12 months when she’s subsequent up for re-election. 


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