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 FlakeMcSally ties Democratic rival Kelly to Sanders in new ad McSally launches 2020 campaign Sinema will vote to convict Trump 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 CoonsDemocratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe Graham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump 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 McConnellEverytown plans ad blitz on anniversary of House background check bill Kentucky state official says foreign adversaries 'routinely' scan election systems Don't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms 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 CollinsDemocratic Senate campaign arm raised more than .5 million in January On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Susan Collins in statistical tie with Democratic challenger: poll MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump budget includes proposal for US Consulate in Greenland Democrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (Alaska) remain undecided.

Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinLawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall Overnight Health Care: Appeals court strikes down Medicaid work requirements | Pelosi's staff huddles with aides on surprise billing | Senate Dems pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit Senate Democrats pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampSusan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same MORE (N.D.) are undecided on the Democratic side after Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyGinsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle Watchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world 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 GrassleyErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Overnight 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 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.