Key senators undecided as Senate poised to vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate is poised to take a crucial vote Friday on whether to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court as key Republican senators remain undecided

Posted: Oct 5, 2018 8:52 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is poised to take a crucial vote Friday on whether to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court as key Republican senators remain undecided amid allegations of sexual misconduct and intense protests that have divided the nation.

The 53-year-old judge made what were in effect closing arguments by acknowledging that he became “very emotional” when forcefully denying the allegations at a Judiciary Committee hearing last week.

“I said a few things I should not have said,” he wrote in an op-ed published Thursday evening. But he said he remains the same “hardworking, even-keeled” person he has always been. “Going forward, you can count on me,” he wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

The op-ed, as well as a late boost from President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Minnesota, appeared aimed at winning over the three wavering senators from the slim GOP majority — Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — and one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has yet to announce his position.

Ahead of Friday’s voting, Republicans emerged confident that an FBI investigation into the allegations unearthed no new corroborating details, they said. But a level of uncertainty lingered as Collins and Flake spent hours Thursday pouring over confidential FBI documents in the secure basement briefing room long after others had left seemingly satisfied with the findings.

Even without locking in support, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed ahead with trying to move Trump’s nominee forward in what would be an election year win for his party. The Republican leader has little room for error with his party’s slim 51-49 hold on the Senate, even if Vice President Mike Pence is called in to break a tie. A final vote is expected Saturday.

Tensions have been high at the Capitol with opponents of Kavanaugh, including survivors of sexual assault, confronting senators in the halls and holding vigil across the street at the Supreme Court. Supporters of Kavanaugh also turned out.

Trump said the protesters’ “rage-fueled resistance is starting to backfire at a level nobody has ever seen before.” He was referring to polling that shows some improvement for Republicans heading into the midterm election.

Friday’s vote is a procedural one to end the debate, and some fence-sitting senators could conceivably vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination but still hold out their support ahead of a final confirmation roll call over the weekend.

Two of the undeclared Republicans emerged from the secure briefing facility Thursday accepting the FBI report as “thorough,” bolstering GOP hopes for confirmation.

Flake told reporters that “we’ve seen no additional corroborating information” about the claims against Kavanaugh.

Collins also expressed satisfaction, calling it “a very thorough investigation.” She paid two visits to the off-limits room where the document was being displayed to lawmakers.

Murkowski said she was “still reviewing” her decision.

Democrats complained that the investigation, running just six days after Trump reluctantly ordered it, was shoddy, omitting interviews with numerous potential witnesses. They accused the White House of limiting the FBI’s leeway.

Those not interviewed in the reopened background investigation included Kavanaugh himself and Christine Blasey Ford, who ignited the furor by alleging he’d molested her in a locked room at a 1982 high school gathering.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, said while her party had agreed to a weeklong FBI probe with a finite scope, “We did not agree that the White House should tie the FBI’s hands.”

A hefty police presence added an air of anxiety, as did thousands of anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators. U.S. Capitol Police said 302 were arrested — among them comedian Amy Schumer, a distant relative of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement late Thursday that said the FBI reached out to 11 people and interviewed 10. Six of the witnesses involved Ford’s claims, including an attorney for one of them, and four were related to Deborah Ramirez, who has asserted that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when both were Yale freshmen. Grassley said the FBI concluded “there is no collaboration of the allegations made by Dr. Ford or Ms. Ramirez.”

Senators said the documents they examined totaled about 50 pages.

The underlying material from the FBI included text and Facebook messages, said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., including screenshots that “were very helpful” in understanding the communications between various people discussing the situation.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said nine of the pages were about Mark Judge, the Kavanaugh friend who Ford said also jumped on her while Kavanaugh assaulted her. Judge has said he doesn’t recall the incident.

White House spokesman Raj Shah rebuffed Democrats’ complaints, saying, “What critics want is a never-ending fishing expedition into high school drinking.”

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

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Terre Haute
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 60°
Robinson
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 58°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
56° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 56°
Rockville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 55°
Casey
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 58°
Brazil
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 60°
Marshall
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 60°
Sunny and breezy
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Casey's General Store works to help Wabash Valley veterans and their families

Image

Here's the perfect Halloween morning breakfast idea

Image

North Central-Perry Central

Image

North Knox-Evansville Mater Dei

Image

Linton-North Posey

Image

Sullivan-Vincennes Lincoln

Image

Washington-Edgewood

Image

TH South-Cathedral

Image

Progress is moving along with the new THPD headquarters

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 408648

Reported Deaths: 9994
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1864055469
DuPage24696619
Lake21819518
Will19946439
Kane18030351
Winnebago11084186
St. Clair8247224
Madison7554158
McHenry6953121
Champaign658528
Unassigned6324283
Peoria489378
Sangamon445064
McLean439237
Rock Island434995
Kankakee368281
Macon355556
Kendall293830
Tazewell290559
LaSalle265268
DeKalb260543
Adams213624
Coles211140
Boone203825
Williamson201661
Vermilion189311
Clinton187731
Whiteside169130
Jackson163726
Knox141821
Randolph135815
Ogle13548
Effingham12854
Stephenson11829
Marion117023
Grundy10867
Franklin108110
Morgan103226
Monroe101630
Bureau98617
Jefferson97352
Christian88831
Henry8797
Macoupin85411
Lee8402
McDonough81822
Union81025
Douglas7879
Shelby74612
Livingston73012
Woodford72315
Fayette72024
Crawford6766
Montgomery66716
Logan6454
Saline63711
Fulton6222
Warren5619
Jo Daviess5569
Iroquois53919
Bond5329
Wayne53217
Carroll49013
Jersey48521
Perry48516
Cass47411
Moultrie4706
Pike4237
Johnson3920
Lawrence3628
Richland34718
Mason3465
Hancock3454
Washington3392
Clay33514
Greene32917
Clark32818
Cumberland3136
Mercer3116
White2895
De Witt2826
Piatt2822
Jasper28010
Wabash2566
Pulaski2461
Ford21716
Menard1911
Marshall1713
Edgar16711
Massac1652
Alexander1471
Hamilton1432
Henderson1360
Brown1210
Scott1160
Edwards1140
Gallatin1132
Putnam1010
Schuyler1011
Stark963
Calhoun700
Hardin580
Pope441
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 175893

Reported Deaths: 4286
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion27107796
Lake15351372
St. Joseph10252178
Elkhart9964148
Allen9275235
Hamilton6799122
Vanderburgh648473
Tippecanoe436516
Porter379753
Hendricks3599139
Monroe351538
Johnson3506133
Delaware332081
Clark322467
Vigo296943
Madison275899
LaPorte256267
Cass237426
Kosciusko223529
Warrick214066
Floyd196269
Howard178467
Wayne165634
Dubois158827
Marshall157830
Bartholomew155359
Grant145340
Henry143830
Boone137850
Hancock132444
Noble131135
Jackson126920
Dearborn111028
Lawrence106238
Morgan106040
Clinton100816
Gibson99612
Shelby97937
Daviess97336
Knox91010
Fayette87522
DeKalb86713
LaGrange86115
Harrison85924
Putnam81717
Posey8138
Jasper7665
Miami7355
Steuben7189
Montgomery69422
White67016
Adams6518
Greene61138
Scott58716
Decatur58339
Ripley5338
Whitley5326
Wabash52610
Wells51712
Clay5137
Huntington5135
Starke5029
Sullivan49114
Randolph48811
Spencer4466
Orange44125
Perry44114
Fulton42510
Jefferson4235
Washington4223
Jennings40913
Franklin40626
Jay3996
Pike37618
Carroll37013
Fountain3623
Tipton29823
Rush2964
Vermillion2951
Blackford2766
Parke2754
Newton25211
Owen2291
Martin2100
Pulaski1884
Crawford1751
Brown1563
Ohio1477
Union1300
Benton1200
Switzerland1080
Warren1081
Unassigned0236