World

Republican senators, 2 divergent paths on Kavanaugh

Republican senators, 2 divergent paths on Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court cleared a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Friday, and his confirmation now seems all but certain, after a key swing vote, Sen.

Holdout Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski called Brett Kavanaugh "not the right man for the court at this time" after she stunned fellow Republicans by voting not to advance the nominee.

At one point, Murkowski told reporters it was "the most hard evaluation of a decision that I've ever had to make".

Senator Susan Collins - a maverick member of Trump's Republican party - and her Democrat counterpart Joe Manchin said allegations that Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted a fellow teenager almost four decades ago were unproven.

With the political world holding its breath, Collins spoke of a lack of "corroborating evidence" to back up Ford's claims that Kavanaugh was the man who assaulted her more than three decades ago.

While the comments by Flake and Collins were positive, neither explicitly announced support for Kavanaugh.

OK, so the vote Friday was 51-49. A final vote is expected Saturday.

"If I need to be in two places at once to walk my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day and to be the final vote to put Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, he's offered me use of his plane", Daines said.

Collins said Christine Blasey Ford's dramatic testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week describing Kavanaugh's alleged 1982 assault on her were "sincere, painful and compelling".

Kavanaugh's once near-certain confirmation to the lifelong appointment on the constitutional court is on a knife-edge after bitter debate over sexual assault allegations dating to his school and university days.




"Based on all of the information I have available to me, including the recently completed Federal Bureau of Investigation report, I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him", the West Virginia senator stated.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders thanked Collins for "standing by your convictions and doing the right thing", while former president George HW Bush saluted her "political courage and class". "I do hope that Judge Kavanaugh will not allow the partisan nature this process took to follow him onto the court".

Republicans have said that a week-long investigation, summed up in the FBI dossier, had turned up nothing to corroborate the sexual assault allegations against the 53-year-old Kavanaugh, who now sits on a federal court in Washington.

A final vote on Kavanaugh's nomination could occur over the weekend. White House spokesman Raj Shah said the Trump administration was "fully confident" Kavanaugh had the necessary support. Flake for a one week investigation into sexual assault allegation against the high court nominee.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake has said he intends to vote for Kavanaugh "unless something big changes".

As Collins stepped onto the Senate floor to make her speech, protesters in the Senate gallery chanted loudly, "Vote No!" Chris Coons, D-Del., said Flake discussed the matter with him Friday morning and at least heard Coons' main points.

Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the GOP leadership, said he would be "very surprised" if Murkowski switches her vote. They said he also seemed ready to knock down President Barack Obama's health care law and to rule for Trump if federal authorities probing his 2016 campaign's connections to Russian Federation initiate legal action.

Which leaves Collins and Manchin. He was the first Democrat to meet with Kavanaugh when the nominee was meeting with senators on Capitol Hill in July.

Manchin, who is battling to retain his seat at upcoming midterm polls in a state that voted heavily for Trump in the presidential election, said he had promised constituents to cast his vote "based on the facts before me".


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