Flake says he plans to stay in politics

Flake says he plans to stay in politics
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday vowed to stay involved in politics after he leaves the Senate in January, but that he doesn't yet know "at what level or in what way."

"I’m not leaving the Senate because I’m not tied to this institution or ‘pox on all your houses,'" Flake said at The Atlantic Festival in Washington, D.C. "It’s a wonderful institution with wonderful people." 

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"I simply couldn’t run the kind of campaign that I felt I needed to run in this environment and succeed," he said. "That’s the bottom line. But I will stay involved, certainly. I don’t know at what level or in what way but this is important."

Flake announced last year that he would not run for reelection amid an ongoing clash with President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE. The Arizona senator rankled members of the GOP with his ongoing attacks on the president, whom he has accused of leading the Republican Party astray.

Flake played a pivotal role as a swing vote in the controversy surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, which has been roiled by multiple allegations of sexual assault.

Last week, Flake forced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Manchin 'can't imagine' supporting change to filibuster for voting rights Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet MORE's (R-Ky.) hand by announcing he would vote "no" on Kavanaugh unless the FBI investigated the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against the high court pick. 

The White House subsequently opened up a one-week FBI investigation, which is ongoing. Flake told CNN on Tuesday that his vote will depend on the results of that inquiry.

Flake during CBS's "60 Minutes" over the weekend said that he would not have called for the FBI investigation if he were running for reelection

"There’s no value to reaching across the aisle," he said during the "60 Minutes" interview. "There’s no currency for that anymore. There’s no incentive."

Flake has not ruled out the possibility of launching a challenge to Trump during the 2020 presidential election. He has said he would run as a Republican rather than a third-party candidate because he "can't imagine doing anything else."

The Arizona senator will visit New Hampshire next month, his second visit to the state this year. New Hampshire is a traditional destination for possible presidential candidates, as it is the nation's first presidential primary state and second contest after the Iowa caucuses.