McConnell says Kavanaugh nomination moving forward as Trump approves FBI probe

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request MORE said Friday that the Senate is moving forward with Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, even as President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE agreed to GOP leaders' request for the FBI to reopen its background check into the Supreme Court nominee.
 
The Kentucky Republican said there were "two very significant developments" on Kavanaugh's nomination on Friday: That it cleared the Judiciary Committee and that 51 GOP senators agreed to proceed to the nomination.
 
"This is a nomination that deserves to move forward, and that is precisely ... what is happening. I commend our colleagues on the committee for sending this impressive nominee here to the floor with a favorable recommendation. Now we will keep the process moving," McConnell said from the Senate floor. 
 
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The Senate agreed by a voice vote on Friday evening to proceed to Kavanaugh's nomination. But additional votes are on hold for up to a week as the FBI investigates sexual assault allegations that have thrown his nomination into limbo.
 
McConnell didn't mention the agreement to temporarily delay a vote on Kavanaugh on the Senate floor. Asked by reporters about the next steps on the nominee, McConnell said, "Well we're on the nomination and we're moving forward." 
 
Republicans have a narrow 51-seat majority in the Senate. Several senators, including GOP Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeDemocrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (Ariz.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Klobuchar, Murkowski introduce legislation to protect consumer health data MORE (Alaska), had backed delaying a vote on Kavanaugh for up to a week to give the FBI time to investigate, making it likely McConnell couldn't have moved forward without an agreement. 
 
But the Senate Republican leader on Friday evening highlighted GOP unity on proceeding to the nomination, saying that "100 percent of the Republican conference supports proceeding to the Kavanaugh nomination." 
 
The decision by Flake and others to call for an FBI investigation comes after Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford testified during an emotional, closely watched hearing on Thursday before the Judiciary Committee.
 
McConnell said Friday that the allegations against Kavanaugh had been "thoroughly investigated." 
 
"The evidence that has been produced either fails, fails to corroborate these accusations or in fact supports Judge Kavanaugh's unequivocal denial," he said. 
 
Ford alleges that at a high school party in the early 1980s Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her and tried to remove her clothing. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.
 
Trump on Friday called Ford a "credible" witness and described her testimony on Thursday "credible," but also praised Kavanaugh's forceful defense of himself during the rollercoaster hearing.
 
In his statement released by the White House on Friday afternoon, Trump said he "ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file."
 
"As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week,” Trump added.