Posted September 28, 2018, 8:22 am CDT
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, a day after emotional testimony by both Kavanaugh and a woman who accused him of sexual assault during a party in the 1980s when they were high school students.
There are 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats on the committee. On Thursday, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a committee member, was considered a swing vote, report the Washington Post, NPR and Politico. But he announced in a statement on Friday that he will vote yes, NBC reported in a tweet.
“Yesterday, we heard compelling testimony from Dr. Ford, as well as a persuasive response from Judge Kavanaugh,” Flake said in a statement published by the Wall Street Journal. Flake was referring to testimony by Christine Blasey Ford, who said Thursday that Kavanaugh had jumped on top of her in a locked bedroom during the high school party, trying to take off her swimsuit and covering her mouth when she tried to yell.
“I wish that I could express the confidence that some of my colleagues have conveyed about what either did or did not happen in the early 1980s, but I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty,” Flake said. “What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence.”
The committee set the vote for this afternoon after defeating a motion to subpoena Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh’s in high school. Ford testified Thursday that Judge was in the room during the sexual assault.
Sen. Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa said Judge sent a letter to the committee Thursday evening saying he does not recall the events described by Ford in her testimony and he never saw Kavanaugh act in a manner described by Ford.
Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii accused Republicans of “a total railroad job” before walking out of the hearing room with others, the New York Times reported.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday that she thinks Kavanaugh was “incredibly powerful and very clear.” She said she hopes and thinks there are enough votes in the Senate to confirm Kavanaugh.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Fox & Friends that he is optimistic that Kavanaugh will be confirmed.
Potential swing votes in the Senate include Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, along with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia.
Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, had also been considered a possible swing vote, but he said in a tweet late Thursday that he would vote no in the Senate. Jones said Ford was credible and courageous, and he believed the vote should be postponed and a subpoena issued for Judge.
The ABA released a letter late Thursday night urging the committee to delay a vote until “after an appropriate background check into the allegations made by professor Ford and others is completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The letter, signed by ABA President Bob Carlson, said the ABA was making the request because of its “respect for the rule of law and due process under law.”
Updated at 9:39 a.m. with additional information and correction of Kavanaugh reference.
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