Kavanaugh Confirmation Likely - Collins: Yes; Manchin: Yes; Flake: Probably

Who was questioned by the FBI in the Kavanaugh probe

Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the US Supreme Court looked like a done deal Friday - after the Senate narrowly voted to push forward with his nomination and key senators who had been on the fence announced that they would back him.

If senators do not change their voting intentions, Judge Kavanaugh will be appointed to the top United States court.

There does remain some suspense about the timing of the final vote.

In a speech lasting more than 40 minutes, Collins said she believed Kavanaugh was well qualified and she can not abandon the "presumption of innocence" over the sexual assault allegations against the nominee.

What's happening in the Senate?

Democrats paraded to a almost empty Senate chamber overnight to lambast the nominee. A vote is expected tomorrow.

"Like so many Americans, I am deeply disappointed in Senator Collins' vote for Kavanaugh".

So what are the numbers?

Daines was one of the "yea" votes to end debate on the nominee.

A potential swing vote who had been regularly targeted by protesters in recent weeks, Flake's office was locked Friday and staff did not answer the door. Lisa Murkowski turned against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh quietly, uttering a single word: "No". She said on the Senate floor Friday evening that Kavanaugh is "a good man" but his "appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable". Murkowski said she'd use an obscure procedure that lets one senator offset the absence of another without affecting the outcome. Joe Manchin said he, too, would back Kavanaugh, ensuring at least 51 "yes" votes in the Senate. Susan Collins of ME and red state Democratic Sen. It was only after reporters ambushed him as he was trying to get into a auto at the Capitol that he said he planned to vote yes "unless something big changed".

Oddly, Ms Murkowski will also separately be counted for a "yes" vote.

When she finished, Collins received applause from the roughly two dozen GOP senators present. The political war, however, is just beginning.

Christine Blasey Ford's legal team has released a statement from her friend Keith Koegler, who provided an account that appears to corroborate Ford's testimony accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not interview him.

"We will be ill-served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness, tempting though it may be", she said.

Kavanaugh's path to the court seemed unfettered until mid-September, when Christine Blasey Ford accused him of drunkenly sexually assaulting her in a locked bedroom at a 1982 high school gathering. Kavanaugh has denied all the accusations. Deborah Ramirez, a second accuser who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her while the two attended Yale University, voiced similar frustration.

President Trump watched very closely as all this drama played out on the Hill. That argument was echoed by Arizona political consultant Jason Rose, who said Friday that it will backfire on Democrats by providing the GOP with "locler-room material" to energize its base in November.

Basically, it's the final arbiter of U.S. law.

The court has the final say on issues such as abortion and gun control. "One can only hope that the Kavanaugh nomination is where the process has finally hit rock bottom." she said. That's never happened in a Supreme Court confirmation.

It depends on the thinking of a few wavering senators in a chamber where Mr Trump's fellow Republicans hold a razor-thin majority.



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