Senate

Flake on ‘sharp and partisan’ Kavanaugh remarks: ‘We can’t have this on the court’

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday expressed concerns over what he called Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s “sharp and partisan” exchanges with Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing last week, saying “we can’t have this on the court.” 

“The initial defense that Judge Kavanaugh gave was something like I told my wife, I hoped that I would sound that indignant if I felt that I was unjustly maligned. But then it went on, and the interaction with the members was sharp and partisan and that concerns me,” Flake said at The Atlantic Festival.

{mosads}“I tell myself give a little leeway because of what he’s been through, but on the other hand, we can’t have this on the court,” he added.

The comments follow those Flake made on CBS’s “60 Minutes” this past weekend in which he said, “I think his interaction with some of the members was a little too sharp.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee gathered Thursday to hear testimonies from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. Ford was the first of three women to publicly accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while he was in high school and college.

She claimed that Ford sexually assaulted her at a high school party in 1982.

Kavanaugh has denied all three women’s allegations.

Ford appeared first Thursday, offering a tearful testimony recounting the attack and said she was “100 percent” certain Kavanaugh was the one who assaulted her.

Kavanaugh then offered a fiery defense of himself, admitting to drinking beer in high school but never blacking out and sounding combative with multiple Democratic senators, including asking Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) if she had ever blacked out from drinking after she asked him that same question. 

The committee voted along party lines 11-10 to pass Kavanaugh’s nomination on to a Senate-wide confirmation vote.

However, Flake then threatened to withhold his full Senate confirmation vote unless the FBI investigated the allegations against Kavanaugh. He was soon joined by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

President Trump requested the FBI reopen an inquiry into the claims against Kavanaugh. Trump has reportedly told the FBI to interview anyone it deemed necessary

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate will “be voting this week.”

Updated at 12:36 p.m.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Donald Trump Heidi Heitkamp Jeff Flake Joe Manchin Lisa Murkowski Mitch McConnell Susan Collins

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