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 FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report – Cohen says Trump knew payments were wrong | GOP in turmoil over Trump shutdown threat | Kyl to resign from Senate at year's end Overnight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Flake asks Daily Show where he can get a blanket emblazoned with his 'meaningless tweets' 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 CoonsSenators prepare for possibility of Christmas in Washington during a shutdown Dem senator: Trump 'seems more rattled than usual' Dem: 'Disheartening' that Republicans who 'stepped up' to defend Mueller are leaving 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 McConnellTrump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law Federal judge in Texas strikes down ObamaCare Ocasio-Cortez: By Lindsey Graham's 1999 standard for Clinton, Trump should be impeached 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 CollinsOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force House Dems follow Senate action with resolution to overturn IRS donor disclosure guidance Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHouse funding bill scraps Arctic icebreaker program Senate advances Trump energy pick after Manchin flips The Senate must reject Bernard McNamee’s nomination for FERC MORE (Alaska) remain undecided.

Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber Manchin puts hold on FCC nomination over wireless internet fund delay MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampHatch warns Senate 'in crisis' in farewell speech Dem senators Heitkamp, Donnelly urge bipartisanship in farewell speeches House passes bipartisan bill aimed at reversing rising maternal mortality rates MORE (N.D.) are undecided on the Democratic side after Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyHatch warns Senate 'in crisis' in farewell speech Dem senators Heitkamp, Donnelly urge bipartisanship in farewell speeches Schumer gets ready to go on the offensive 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 GrassleyThe Year Ahead: Tough tests loom for Trump trade agenda Senate heads toward floor fight on criminal justice bill Top security officials issue stark warning of Chinese espionage efforts 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.