McConnell promises Senate vote on Kavanaugh

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump flubs speech location at criminal justice conference Sunday shows preview: Trade talks, Cohen sentencing memo take center stage Trump tells McConnell to let Senate vote on criminal justice reform MORE (R-Ky.) said on Monday that the Senate will hold an up-or-down vote on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, amid a committee investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against the nominee.

"I want to make it perfectly clear. ... Judge Kavanaugh will be voted on here on the Senate floor. Up or down on the Senate floor. This fine nominee to the Supreme Court will receive a vote in the Senate in the near future," McConnell said from the Senate floor on Monday.

He declined, after his floor speech, to say if Republicans would try to vote on Kavanaugh before Oct. 1 — the previous timeline for when leadership wanted to get him confirmed.


McConnell's comments are the latest sign from top Republicans and the White House that they are not backing down from an all-out brawl as they try to confirm Kavanaugh to succeed retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.

He added that Democrats are trying to "smear" Kavanaugh, arguing that their tactics are "despicable."

The floor speech was McConnell's first comments on Kavanaugh since The New Yorker reported that Senate Democrats are investigating a second sexual misconduct allegation dating back to Kavanaugh’s freshman year at Yale University.

Deborah Ramirez says Kavanaugh exposed himself in front of her during a gathering at Yale. She told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh thrust his penis in her face, causing her to touch it without her consent.

Kavanaugh was already facing a sexual assault allegation from Christine Blasey Ford, who says that at a party in the early 1980s Kavanaugh pinned her down to a bed and tried to remove her clothing.

Kavanaugh has denied wrongdoing.

Kavanaugh and Ford are both scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. 

McConnell indicated on Monday that he wants the Thursday hearing to go on as scheduled, saying senators should "have a fair hearing on Thursday."

McConnell’s comments suggest he will bring Kavanaugh’s nomination to the floor even if he doesn’t have the majority needed to clear the Judiciary Committee.

Republicans hold a one-seat majority on the panel. GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTim Scott: Stop giving court picks with 'questionable track records on race' a Senate vote Flake stands firm on sending a ‘message to the White House’ on Mueller CNN to partner with The Des Moines Register on polling ahead of 2020 Iowa caucuses MORE (Ariz.) has yet to say if he will support Kavanaugh.

If he votes no, Kavanaugh would not have the support of a majority of the committee.

But GOP leadership has other procedural options for bringing Kavanaugh to the floor.