Flake says he plans to stay in politics

Flake says he plans to stay in politics
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donates to Democratic sheriff being challenged by Arpaio in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says US-China trade talks to resume, hails potential trade with Japan, UK Joe Arpaio to run for Maricopa County sheriff in 2020  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 John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth 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 McConnellHillary Clinton: Voter suppression has led to 'crisis in democracy' in the US New York Times authors blame Kavanaugh correction on editing error: 'There was zero intent to mislead' The Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? 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.