- In a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday, Sens. Jeff Flake and Chris Coons detailed their bipartisan effort to force an FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
- Flake, a Republican representing Arizona who is set to retire this year, said he never would have been to side with the Democrats on the issue if he had been running for re-election.
- Coons, a Delaware Democrat, called Flake a “hero” for what he did.
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake detailed why he decided to work with the Democrats last week to insure the FBI was able to investigate the sexual assault claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“I don’t think anybody expected, you know, what happened on Friday to happen. And I can’t say that I did either,” the Arizona senator told CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday. “I just knew that we couldn’t move forward, that I couldn’t move forward without hitting the pause button.”
Flake appeared on the show alongside Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware. It was the two senators, who are good friends despite their differing political ideologies, who came together to force the investigation.
Just minutes after sending out an email on Friday stating his intention to vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the country’s highest court, Flake was cornered by two women in an elevator, who tearfully confronted him about what the decision meant to them as sexual assault survivors.
Cameras captured Flake looking down at the floor, speechless, during the emotional interaction, and he continued to look troubled throughout Friday’s hearing.
Eventually, Coons was given the opportunity to speak and asked that the Republicans just give the FBI a week to look into accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party when they were both in high school.
After Coons was done speaking, Flake could be seen walking to the other side of the half-moon dais, motioning for Coons to join him outside for a chat.
“I followed Jeff into the anteroom and he said very intently, ‘This is tearing our country apart. We have to do something,'” Coons recalled.
Soon, Coons said, the entire committee had followed them in the small room to see what was going on, and they had to squeeze into a phone booth to continue their conversation in semi-privacy.
At the end of the discussion, Flake decided to vote in favour of Kavanaugh, to send his nomination to the Senate floor for a full vote. But he said he was not prepared to vote for Kavanaugh on the floor unless the FBI was given time to investigate the allegation.
“I cannot tell you how grateful I am. Jeff’s the hero here,” Coons said, as Flake shook his head in disagreement.
Last year, Flake announced that he would not be running for re-election, so he will be leaving the Senate come January. During a speech announcing his retirement, moderate Flake said that he couldn’t hope to keep his seat in Trump’s America.
When asked if he would have pushed for an investigation had be been running for re-election, Flake said “not a chance.”
“There’s no value to reaching across the aisle,” he explained. “There’s no currency for that anymore. There’s no incentive.”
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