Ford lawyers gave Federal Bureau of Investigation list of people to contact

Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh argues he's an 'independent impartial judge'

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of ME said Friday she will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, all but ensuring that a deeply riven Senate will elevate the conservative jurist to the nation's highest court despite allegations that he sexually assaulted women decades ago.

Trump risked alienating key undecided senators when he derided the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s at a high school party.

The California psychology professor has testified that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually abused her in a locked room at a high school party in the 1980s and has said she believed he was trying to rape her. Kavanaugh has denied her assertions and those of two other women, who have accused him of other instances of sexual misconduct in the 1980s. In one, CNN reports, the Demand Justice group refers to Ford's claim that Kavanaugh used his hand to stop her from screaming. 'I don't remember.' Where is the place? 'I don't know. I don't know.

A handful of Republicans and Democrats have not decided whether to support Kavanaugh.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who's repeatedly battled Trump and will retire in January, said he'd vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation "unless something big changes".

"The president's comments were just plain wrong", she said. "I wish he hadn't done it".

McConnell filed a petition for a cloture vote, which if successful would limit debate on the nomination and start the clock ticking on a final 30-hour waiting period before a Senate confirmation vote. "It is what is right and fair for Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, and the American people".

Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a fellow moderate and friend of Collins, became the only Republican to say she opposed Kavanaugh.

Three women came forward last month to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual harassment or assault during his high school and college years. "But that's how its being portrayed and its a shame".

All that said, it's hard to imagine Collins and Murkowski going different ways on this vote. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY said of Murkowski and Collins, Politico reported. Because the report is confidential, senators will not be allowed to talk about what's in it.

In a twist, Murkowski said she will state her opposition but vote "present" as a courtesy to Kavanaugh supporter Sen.




"I'm not wasting any daylight here", she responded. We're supposed to be conscience of the nation.

Leahy, one of the most senior Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he worries the fight will have a lasting impact on both the Senate and the courts.

Corker, who is retiring in January after two terms in the Senate, said, "This is the worst it's been since I've been here".

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., blamed Democrats for politicizing Kavanaugh's confirmation process and passionately defended Trump's nominee at the confirmation hearing last week.

Will the report affect the progress of Kavanaugh's nomination?

"I'm telling all of my colleagues that this is the most despicable thing I've seen since I've been up here", Graham said. "There's a lot at stake here".

"Senators ought to wipe away the muck from all the mudslinging and politics and look at this nomination with clear eyes", Grassley said, echoing accusations against Democrats that McConnell has been making. He and other Senate Republicans now travel the halls of the Capitol with a police detail out of fears of violence.

Those passions were on full display this week in a fight that could energize both parties' voters in elections for control of Congress just five weeks away. Protesters are flooding the halls of Capitol Hill to confront lawmakers, showing up in restaurants where senators are dining, and waiting for their planes to land at the Washington airport. It all but assured a victory for President Donald Trump's quest to move the Supreme Court rightward, perhaps for decades, and a satisfying win for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the GOP's conservative base. On Wednesday he shot back in a speech on the Senate floor about what he said was harassment, saying, "We will not be intimidated by these people". He added, "It's time to vote".

Under the agreement, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to recommend Kavanaugh's nomination to the full chamber on the condition that the Federal Bureau of Investigation get seven days to look into the misconduct charges.

Senators said the documents they examined totalled about 50 pages. "And we have plenty of those right now".

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