Kavanaugh latest: Senate votes to advance Kavanaugh confirmation to a final vote
Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Senators voted to move Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination forward Friday morning – a critical step in a protracted confirmation process that has highlighted complicated politics and the #MeToo movement.
It’s unclear if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has the votes to push President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee through a final confirmation.
The confirmation vote will likely be held on Saturday.
Republicans needed and netted a simple majority of 51 to invoke cloture and move forward with the final vote tomorrow.
Here’s how events are unfolding.
11:04 am: A look at the key senators
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine all voted yes on moving Kavanaugh forward. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, voted no.
Both Collins and Murkowski were greeted as celebrities it seemed just after the vote. Senators from both parties came over and shook their hands, ABC News’ Trish Turner reports.
Democrats, in particular, wanted to shake Murkowski’s hand.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washi., passed Murkowski a note.
10:37 am: Senate votes to advance Kavanaugh confirmation to a final vote
In a dramatic midmorning vote, members of the Senate voted to move President Donald Trump’s embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh forward for a final vote.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, a key vote, opted not to move the nominee forward. A group of sexual assault survivors, including a gathering of Native American women – a vital voting bloc in her district – had urged her not to move forward with Kavanaugh.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., also key senators in the confirmation process, opted to advance Kavanaugh for a final vote.
Manchin said he would likely be “undecided” until he walked through the Senate doors, ABC News’ Mary Bruce reports.
The president took to Twitter to hail the move.
10:17 am: Collins is a yes on cloture but won’t reveal final confirmation vote decision until 3pm
Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Maine Republican, is expected to vote yes on an upcoming procedural vote to move Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation forward to a final Senate vote. However, she plans on announcing at 3 pm how she’ll ultimately vote, a senior source with direct knowledge confirms to ABC News’ Trish Turner.
10:06 am: Senators make their case ahead of key vote
A parade of lawmakers took to the floor to make their case for or against Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Justice confirmation.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, declared that voting for Kavanaugh is “voting no to mob rule.”
“We should all admire Kavanaugh’s willingness to serve his country despite the way he’s been treated,” Grassley said.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared: “President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court will go down as one of the saddest, most sordid chapters in the long history of the federal judiciary.”
9:00 am: A wedding day vote?
In a turn of events that seems ready-made for a rom-com, Republican Sen. Steve Daines, of Montana, plans on walking his daughter down the aisle on Saturday in their home state – the same day as the planned vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation in Washington D.C.
His spokesperson tells ABC News’ Ben Siegel that the senator supports Kavanaugh and has done so throughout the entire process.
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, seemed to think Daines would be able to make the vote.
Where do senators stand?
Senators spent Thursday weaving in and out of a secure room on Capitol Hill, called an SCIF, where the FBI report was available for review. The report included more than 40 pages of interviews, which all 100 senators were able to access in rotating time blocks beginning at 8 a.m. Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell said there would be “plenty of time” for senators to review the material before Friday’s cloture vote.
If Republicans don’t have the votes to cut off debate on Friday, it cannot move forward to a final vote.
Standing in Kavanaugh’s way are a handful of key swing votes. The group of moderate senators who could ultimately make or break his nomination includes Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Flake and Collins, while saying they are still undecided how to vote, indicated they were satisfied with the FBI’s additional investigation, comments the White House would find encouraging.
Their votes will likely hinge on what is in the FBI’s report. Kavanaugh’s confirmation process has been rocked by multiple sexual misconduct allegations, all of which Kavanaugh has vehemently denied.
What was the FBI directed to investigate?
The FBI was directed to look into “credible” allegations of sexual misconduct made by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez against Kavanaugh.
The White House specifically requested FBI interviews with four people: Kavanaugh’s high school friends Mark Judge and P.J. Smyth; Leland Keyser, who Ford claimed was at the party where the alleged assault took place; and Ramirez, whose lawyers provided a list of more than 20 additional witnesses to interview.
Ford claims Judge was in the room when she said Kavanaugh assaulted her.
The FBI also interviewed Christopher “Squi” Garrett, another classmate of Kavanaugh’s who appeared on the July 1 calendar entry.
The White House received the FBI report Wednesday night, according to a statement by deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah.
“With Leader McConnell’s cloture filing, senators have been given ample time to review this seventh background investigation,” Shah said. “This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history.”
The report has not been released to the public. McConnell has insisted that it remain private.
How has Kavanaugh responded?
As lawmakers emerged from the secure room Thursday, some Republicans said they would be outright yes votes for Kavanaugh, while Democrats suggested the White House had tied the FBI’s hands by not allowing more witnesses to be interviewed.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., claimed the White House had “straightjacketed this investigation.”
On Thursday evening, the embattled judge defended himself in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
Under the headline “I Am an Independent, Impartial Judge,” Kavanaugh wrote: “I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been. I might have been too emotional at times.”
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