Judiciary Committee Backs Kavanaugh; Floor Vote Likely Delayed Pending FBI Investigation

Update 2:35 p.m. GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has joined Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in supporting a delay of the full floor vote on Kavanaugh until an FBI can investigate accusations against him. This would require a request from the White House, however it could be done within a week according to Bloomberg.

While walking into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a key vote, said “yes,” when asked if she supports Sen. Jeff Flake’s proposal for a delay.

CNN asked: And do you think it should be limited to Ford’s accusations or should it include an investigation into other allegations?

Murkowski responded: “I support the FBI having an opportunity to bring some closure to this.” –CNN

President Trump says he’ll “let the Senate handle” whether or not the vote is delayed. 

Trump also said that testimony from both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford was “very compelling.” 

Feinstein reportedly cornered Murkowski on Thursday for an intense conversation, and today Murkowski supports a delay. 

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Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, sending the vote for the US Supreme Court nominee to the full floor. Confusion broke out shortly before the Senate Judiciary Committee held their vote, with Sen. Flake of Arizona calling for a one-week delay in order to conduct a full FBI investigation – only to have Chairman Grassley ignore the suggestion and call for an immediate vote. 

Kavanaugh’s advancement was approved 11-10, however Flake later saying that he would vote no on the floor without an FBI investigation. Flake has been given no commitment by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell whether that will occur. 

Also up in the air are GOP moderate Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. 

Update 2:20 p.m. Senator Cornyn (R-TX) tells Reuters that discussions over a possible one-week delay of Kavanaugh’s full floor vote will be held Friday afternoon, along with a discussion on whether to move forward with a Saturday procedural vote. 

Update 2 p.m. Despite Senator Flake’s proposal to delay the vote for one week, Chairman Grassley called an immediate vote to advance Kavanaugh, which was approved 11-10. The confirmation process now moves on to a full floor vote. 

Flake was reportedly in discussions with Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and other members of the panel, only to vote “yes” after half-heartedly floating the notion of delaying the vote. 

Flake now says he will vote “no” on the floor unless the FBI investigates the allegations against Kavanaugh. 

Update 1:45 p.m. As Senate Judiciary Republicans wait for the Democrats to appear, NBC and CNN are reporting that there are discussions are underway for a one-week delay on voting

Senator Flake announced a proposal to delay the floor vote for up to one week in order to allow the FBI to conduct an investigation. 

Update 11:15 a.m. The panel is going back and forth over Ford’s allegations, with Democrats continuing to insist a more thorough investigation, and GOP members pushing back. Sen. Graham: “Six FBI investigations and we missed the sophomore junior gang rapist? We didn’t miss it. It’s a bunch of garbage.”

Update 10:45 a.m. Several Democratic Senators briefly walked out of the chamber in protest. Kamala Harris of California, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Patrick Leahy of Vermont all left the room, along with staff for New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. Whitehouse and Leahy have returned. 

Update 10:00 a.m. The committee has approved a motion to vote on Kavanaugh for 1:30 p.m. EST by a margin of 11-8. Booker and Harris declined to vote in protest. 

Update 9:43 a.m. The proceedings have begun with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) insisting that the panel subpoena Mark Judge, the other boy Ford claims was in the room. Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley responded by reading a signed letter from Judge, declaring that he has no knowledge of the indicent from 36 years ago. The committee voted not to subpoena Judge. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote Friday on President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh – one day after riveting testimony from both Kavanugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

Ford claimed that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while at a high school party, while Kavanaugh responded with a vehement and categorical denial in an emotional statement. 

Senate Republicans are seeking to push Kavanugh through to confirmation on Friday, while the Democrats stood by Ford and are insisting that the confirmation be stopped or delayed until a “full investigation” can be conducted. 

Friday morning, Politico reported that the Senate panel had been advised by Rachel Mitchell, the attorney who represented the GOP members, that as a prosecutor “she would not charge Kavanaugh or even pursue a search warrant.” 

“Rachel Mitchell, a lawyer who was retained by the Senate GOP to question Ford, broke down her analysis of the testimony to Republicans, but did not advise them how to vote. She told them that as a prosecutor she would not charge Kavanaugh or even pursue a search warrant, according to a person briefed on the meeting.” –Politico

Last night, Townhall reported that Kavanaugh has the votes to make it out of committee and will be confirmed on the floor for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a Senate insider. 

Sens. Flake (R-AZ), Collins (R-ME), Murkowski (R-AK), and Manchin (D-WV) are expected to vote in favor of Kavanaugh. All the Republicans are voting yes. Also, in the rumor mill, several Democrats may break ranks and back Kavanaugh. That’s the ball game, folks. –Townhall

Speaking with reporters, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says he thinks “all of America” thought Ford’s testimony was compelling, while President Trump tweeted on Thursday night: “Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting.”

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, meanwhile, told CBS This Morning said that Kavanaugh will call “balls and strikes” fairly, as he has done for more than a decade. She noted that Ford’s testimony was “very compelling and very sympathetic,” and that Ford “was wronged by somebody,” but that it wasn’t Kavanaugh. 

It seems that she absolutely was wronged by somebody … it may turn out that they’re both right,” she said. “That she was sexually assaulted but that he had nothing to do with it.”

Stay tuned for updates throughout Friday’s vote.