- The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Friday to favourably recommend the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
- But Republican Sen. Jeff Flake called for a delay in a final vote for up to one week, meaning his confirmation process hit a major snag.
- The developments came after a historic day of emotional testimony from him and Christine Blasey Ford, the psychology professor who’s accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school.
- Here’s an evolving count of which senators are voting for Brett Kavanaugh.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Friday to favourably recommend the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh following a dramatic marathon day of testimony from him and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who’s accused him of sexually assaulting her in high school.
Some last-minute behind-the-scenes drama delayed off a final vote, however. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona struck a deal to vote to favourably recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination for a full Senate vote, yet called for a delay on such a vote for up to a week to allow the FBI to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.
“I’ve had a number of conversations with people on the other side related to doing our due diligence,” Flake said. “I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but no more than one week in order to let the FBI continue to do an investigation limited in time and scope.”
Senate Republican leaders came on board with the plan later Friday, saying the investigation would last about a week. The Judiciary Committee said it would request that the Trump administration instruct the FBI to conduct a supplemental background investigation.
President Donald Trump on Friday said he’ddefer=”defer”to the judgment of Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Here’s a brief rundown of what’s happened so far Friday:
- The committee convened Friday morning to consider motions surrounding the vote.
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Democrat from Connecticut, raised a motion to issue a subpoena to Mark Judge, the man who Ford says was in the room during the alleged assault.
- The committee voted against the motion, 11-10, on party lines.
- The committee then voted, 11-8, to hold a vote at 1:30 p.m., with Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California abstaining out of protest. In voting no, Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii was overheard saying, “The ram job continues.”
- A handful of Democrats subsequently walked out of the meeting, including Harris, Blumenthal, and Hirono, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.
- After behind-the-scenes discussions with other senators, Flake returned to the committee room and announced he would vote to favourably recommend Kavanaugh for a floor vote with the understanding that an FBI investigation would be conducted before such a vote.
- Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, two crucial undecided votes, told reporters they agreed with Flake’s proposal to conduct an FBI investigation before holding a floor vote.
The committee comprises 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. While most Republicans on the committee are expected to vote to give Kavanaugh a favourable recommendation, all eyes will be on undecided Republicans who could sway the vote.
After announcing his decision, Flake then confronted over his vote in an elevator by two women, who said they were sexual-assault survivors, in a highly emotional moment that was filmed and subsequently went viral.
He then was absent from the committee room as other senators were making statements explaining why they supported or opposed Kavanaugh, leading some to speculate on second thoughts about his vote. People in the room then reported Flake in a “massive huddle” of senators, causing the 1:30 vote time to be delayed.
Ford, a psychology professor in California, has accused Kavanaugh of groping and attempting to rape her during a Maryland house party in 1982, when he was 17 and she was 15.
The first procedural floor vote to advance his confirmation is scheduled for Saturday at noon ET.
Both Ford and Kavanaugh delivered highly emotional testimonies that captivated the nation and the world. While Ford said she was “terrified” to be in the spotlight and held back tears at time, she delivered a thorough and steady recounting of the assault and its effects on her life, weaving in her scientific expertise on the effects of trauma on the brain.
When Kavanaugh took the stand, he gave a passionate, vehement, and sometimes angry denial of the allegations, sparring with senators and accusing Democratic forces of concocting a plot to tank his nomination.
He delved deep into details about his life in high school and touted his record of supporting and advancing the careers of female lawyers to defend both his qualifications to be on the Supreme Court – and his honour. Republicans left the day perhaps rallied even more around his nomination, even as some senators remained on the fence.
“It’s shameful what has gone on in this country in the last two weeks,” Montana Sen. Steve Daines told Business Insider. “This has brought the United States Senate to an all-time low.”
After the hearings, the American Bar Association took the extraordinary step of recommending an FBI investigation into the allegations before proceeding with his confirmation.
Read Business Insider’s full coverage of the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing:
- Full recap of the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing here
- ‘I am terrified’: Ford details her sexual-assault allegation in gut-wrenching opening statement
- ‘I will not be intimidated into withdrawing’: Kavanaugh defiant in prepared remarks for Senate hearing
- Ford says the strongest memory she has of Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault was ‘the uproarious laughter’
- Ford says she decided to come forward after reporters were sitting outside of her house and showing up in her classroom where she taught
- Here is the polygraph test Ford took following her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh
- Meet Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s high-school friend and the other man who’s becoming central to the allegations
- Here are all the allegations against Kavanaugh
- How the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing compares to the 1991 Anita Hill hearing
- Meet Rachel Mitchell, the woman questioning Ford about her Kavanaugh allegations
- Meet Brett Kavanaugh, ‘the Forrest Gump of Republican politics’
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.