DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — After a flurry of last-minute negotiations, the Senate Judiciary Committee, which includes Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, voted along party lines Friday to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to the Senate floor.
The 11-10 vote Friday came just one day after Republicans heard testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teens.
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, the deciding vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, had been on the fence about the vote but ultimately decided Friday to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full floor vote. However, he said that the Senate vote on Kavanaugh should be delayed for up to a week to allow time for the investigation of Ford’s claims.
On Friday morning, Flake had announced that he would support Kavanaugh’s nomination. Shortly after, he was confronted in an elevator by two women who, through tears, implored him to change his mind.
After huddling privately with his colleagues when the time came for the vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Flake announced that he would vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate only if the FBI were to investigate the allegations against the Supreme Court nominee.
Democrats have been calling for such an investigation, though Republicans and the White House have insisted it’s unnecessary.
In testimony Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford claimed she was locked in a bedroom as a 15-year-old by two drunk boys whom she identified as Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge. She said Kavanaugh groped her, tried to take off her clothes and covered her mouth to keep her from screaming.
Kavanaugh denied the accusation.
On Friday afternoon, the Offices of Sen. Hatch released the following statement regarding the events of the day:
While I personally believe it is appropriate to proceed with Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation at this time, I recognize that some members feel that additional investigation could be useful. I support the decision for an investigation limited in length and scope as described today. This will address the concerns raised by Senator Flake and others while also being fair to the Kavanaugh family.
President Donald Trump, who has accused the Democrats of obstruction and delay and has opposed the FBI probing the allegations against his nominee, says he’ll leave it to the Senate to determine when it will vote on his Supreme Court nominee, but he expressed optimism, saying: “I’m sure it will all be very good.”
Trump told reporters Friday during a meeting with the President of Chile that undecided Republican senators “have to do what they think is right” and “be comfortable with themselves” on the Kavanaugh vote.
But he said he hadn’t thought at all about a replacement, “Not even a little bit.”
Updated Sept. 28, 3:15 p.m., with statement from the Offices of Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Written by The Associated Press.
St. George News contributed to this report.
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