Judiciary approves Kavanaugh, sending nomination to full Senate after Flake request

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination on Friday after Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakePollster says Trump unlikely to face 'significant' primary challenge Trump gives nod to vulnerable GOP Sen. McSally with bill signing Flake opens up about threats against him and his family MORE (R-Ariz.) requested a delay in the floor vote on the nomination for a week.

The dramatic events capped an emotional two days of testimony from the nominee and a woman accusing him of sexual assault decades ago when they were high schoolers.

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Flake earlier had announced his support for Kavanaugh, but then disappeared from the committee room as lawmakers offered hours of statements on the proceeding.

When he returned to speak, he said he would vote to advance Kavanaugh but called for a one-week delay in a Senate floor vote on his nomination.

“I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI to do an investigation limited in time and scope,” he said.

Flake was reportedly in discussions with Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsMenendez, Rubio lead Senate effort to regulate Venezuelan sanctions Dem report questions State Dept. decision to revoke award to Trump critic Senate Dem calls on Trump to apologize for attacks on McCain MORE (D-Del.) and other members of the panel. 

Flake said he was voting to advance Kavanaugh “with that understanding” and said he has spoken “to a few other members on my side of the aisle who support it as well.”

He said senators should do “what we can to make sure that we all do due diligence with a nomination this important.”

It’s highly uncertain that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFormer Bush assistant: Mueller report makes Obama look 'just plain bad' 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform Dem says marijuana banking bill will get House vote this spring MORE (R-Ky.) will agree to delay the vote, which is on pace for Tuesday.

GOP leaders have argued the longer Kavanaugh’s nomination remains pending in the Senate, the more he is likely to face what they call spurious allegations — such as a recent charge from a woman who claimed gang rapes occurred at parties Kavanaugh attended.

Other Republicans on the committee have argued, however, that Congress does not have the power to instruct the FBI to reopen its background investigation, which is provided as a courtesy to the Judiciary Committee.  

Flake said he would make a special request to the White House.

It's still not clear whether Kavanaugh can get to at least 50 votes on the Senate floor, which would allow Vice President Pence to break a tie and confirm him to the Supreme Court.

GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump GOP senator: 'No problem' with Mueller testifying The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiCain says he 'won't run away from criticism' in push for Fed seat Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed License to discriminate: Religious exemption laws are trampling rights in rural America MORE (Alaska) remain undecided.

Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOn The Money: Cain 'very committed' to Fed bid despite opposition | Pelosi warns no US-UK trade deal if Brexit harms Irish peace | Ivanka Trump says she turned down World Bank job Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed Pro-life Christians are demanding pollution protections MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampPro-trade groups enlist another ex-Dem lawmaker to push for Trump's NAFTA replacement Pro-trade group targets 4 lawmakers in push for new NAFTA Biden office highlights support from women after second accuser comes forward MORE (N.D.) are undecided on the Democratic side after Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellySome in GOP fear Buttigieg run for governor Paul Ryan joins University of Notre Dame faculty GOP senator issues stark warning to Republicans on health care MORE (Ind.), another Democrat up for reelection in November in a red state, said he would vote "no" on Kavanaugh.

During Friday's session, Republicans said they were sympathetic to Ford but argued that she failed to provide any compelling corroboration to her claim that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and sexually assaulted her at a party 36 years ago.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost The 7 most interesting nuggets from the Mueller report Government report says new NAFTA would have minimal impact on economy MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the committee, said he found Ford “sincere” but the “existing evidence” refutes her allegation.

“It’s a fundamental aspect of fairness and due process that the accuser have the burden of proving allegations. ... [And] there is simply no reason to deny Judge Kavanaugh a seat on the Supreme Court on the basis of evidence presented to us,” he said.

Lydia Wheeler contributed.