Flake and Collins spent hours reading Federal Bureau of Investigation report before Kavanaugh vote

In Op-Ed, Kavanaugh's 'Drinking Buddies' Say He Shouldn't Be Supreme Court Justice

But he said he remains the same "hardworking, even-keeled" person he has always been. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., to announce Thursday that she would oppose Kavanaugh.

Three key Republican senators and one Democrat have not revealed where they are leaning ahead of the Kavanaugh vote. Her announcement left only one Democrat undecided: West Virginia's Joe Manchin. Democrats say the interviews, which they originally requested, are incomplete and inconclusive.

Looks like Susan Collins has saved Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

McConnell needs 51 votes to clear the procedural hurdle on Friday.

The procedural vote, an institutional matter unrelated to how Senators will eventually vote on Kavanaugh, allows for up to 30 hours of Senate debate before holding a final vote. Swetnick, who is represented by celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, alleges that Kavanaugh was physically abusive toward girls in high school and was at a house party in 1982 where she says she was the victim of a gang rape.

The FBI also did not interview Kavanaugh.

If confirmed, Kavanaugh would tip the balance on the court to a 5-4 majority in favour of conservatives in possible legal battles ahead over contentious issues such as abortion rights, immigration, and Trump's attempt to ban transgender people from the USA military.

Trump said the protesters' "rage-fuelled resistance is starting to backfire at a level nobody has ever seen before".

In a cloture vote Friday, Senate Republicans were successful in voting to end the debate on Kavanaugh's confirmation. Republicans swiftly declared that the FBI's report, which was shrouded in secrecy and accessed only by senators and a select group of staffers, absolved Kavanaugh of any wrongdoing.

Flake told reporters that "we've seen no additional corroborating information" about the claims against Kavanaugh. For instance, Ramirez's lawyer, William Pittard, said in a letter that investigators didn't interview more than 20 witnesses she offered to corroborate her allegation.

Afterwards, Donald Trump ordered an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.

Three female GOP senators - Jodi Ernst of Iowa, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Cindy Hyde-Smith of MS, sat directly behind Collins as she spoke.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Judiciary Committee Democrat, said Kavanaugh could move the court to the right on abortion, gun rights and other issues. The showdown drew raucous demonstrators - largely anti-Kavanaugh - to the Capitol, where they raised tensions by repeatedly confronting lawmakers despite an intensified police presence.

On the other side, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY called the fight "a sorry epilogue to the brazen theft of Justice Scalia's seat".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Sen.

Last week, Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the early 1980s.

Senators said the documents they examined totalled about 50 pages. Thom Tillis, including screenshots that "were very helpful" in understanding the communications between various people discussing the situation.

Under pressure from wavering fellow Republicans, GOP leaders agreed to an extraordinary Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week that absorbed the nation as Ford nervously recounted her story and said she was "100 percent" certain that Kavanaugh was her attacker.

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

Barring leaks, it was unclear how much if any of the Federal Bureau of Investigation report would be made public.



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