Flake says he is 'not comfortable voting yes' yet on Kavanaugh

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcSally launches 2020 campaign Sinema will vote to convict Trump Senate drama surrounding Trump trial starts to fizzle MORE (R-Ariz.) on Sunday said he is "not comfortable voting yes" on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until the Senate Judiciary Committee learns more about the sexual assault allegation against him. 

"We need to hear from her," Flake told Politico hours after Kavanaugh's accuser identified herself publicly. "And I don't think I'm alone in this." 

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Flake told The Washington Post that he does not believe the Judiciary Committee should move ahead with its Thursday vote on Kavanaugh until the senators hear more from Christine Blasey Ford, the California psychology professor who went public with her accusation against Kavanaugh in a Post article published on Sunday.

Flake's spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

"For me, we can’t vote until we hear more," Flake, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the Post.

Flake, who is retiring in January, has displayed increasing willingness to break with his party in recent months. He is a frequent and outspoken critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report Trump takes track to open Daytona 500 Brazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record MORE

Kavanaugh's nomination would be stalled if Flake joins with Democrats on the panel in opposing the judge. Republicans have a slim 11-10 majority in the Judiciary Committee, and multiple Democrats have already vowed to vote against moving forward following Ford's accusation.  

Ford in the Post article accused Kavanaugh of attempted sexual assault in the early 1980s, when they were students at neighboring high schools in the Washington, D.C., area. She said Kavanaugh held her down and attempted to take off her clothes at a party, at one point holding his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming.

In the article, she said the incident has haunted her for decades and provided notes from therapy sessions with her husband in which she details what happened.

The White House and Kavanaugh have denied the accusations. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday also voiced willingness to allow Ford to testify before the Judiciary Committee. 

"If Ford wishes to provide information to the committee, I would gladly listen to what she has to say and compare that against all other information we have received about Judge Kavanaugh," Graham said in a statement.

Democrats throughout the day have called on the Senate to postpone the vote on Kavanaugh.

"Senator Grassley must postpone the vote until, at a very minimum, these serious and credible allegations are thoroughly investigated," Schumer said in a statement, referring to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law Wyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe MORE (R-Iowa). 

"For too long, when women have made serious allegations of abuse, they have been ignored," Schumer added. "That cannot happen in this case." 

Ford originally made the accusations in a letter sent to Feinstein's office earlier this summer.

Feinstein last week sent the letter to the FBI, though the bureau declined to open an investigation into the allegation.