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Kavanaugh Confirmation Hits Major Snag After Jeff Flake Seeks FBI Probe
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=49209"><span class="small">Elana Schor and Burgess Everett, Politico</span></a>   
Friday, 28 September 2018 13:08

Excerpt: "Sen. Jeff Flake said he will vote to advance Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court with the understanding that the sexual assault accusation against him will be investigated by the FBI."

Senator Jeff Flake. (photo: Getty)
Senator Jeff Flake. (photo: Getty)


Kavanaugh Confirmation Hits Major Snag After Jeff Flake Seeks FBI Probe

By Elana Schor and Burgess Everett, Politico

28 September 18


Republicans were on course to take the judge's high court nomination to the Senate floor as soon as this weekend.

UPDATE 2:01 p.m.:

Sen. Jeff Flake said he will vote to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court with the understanding that the sexual assault accusation against him will be investigated by the FBI.

I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI do an investigation limited in time and scope,” Flake said on Friday afternoon, just hours after announcing he would support Kavanaugh.


rett Kavanaugh is closer than ever to the Supreme Court as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to advance him to the Senate floor, even as his path to confirmation narrows with multiple Democrats coming out against him.

Soon after swing-vote Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) announced his support, effectively ensuring Kavanaugh gets a favorable vote in the Judiciary panel on Friday, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said he opposes the nomination. With Kavanaugh still short of 50 votes, that leaves just two moderate Republicans and two moderate Democrats still undecided.

Donnelly called the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh "disturbing and credible" and called for an FBI investigation that Republicans are not calling for.

“While I would gladly welcome the opportunity to work with President Trump on a new nominee for this critically important position, if Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination comes before the full Senate for a vote under these circumstances, I will oppose it," Donnelly said.

The 53-year-old appeals court judge delivered an emotional and defiant defense amid sexual misconduct allegations on Thursday, a showing that successfully rallied many Republicans behind him. Kavanaugh's next test comes in the Judiciary panel, though Flake's public support all but ensures the judge will sail to the floor with a positive recommendation.

“I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty," Flake said in a statement on his support for Kavanaugh after indicating Thursday night that he was wrestling with whether to believe the judge or Christine Blasey Ford. "What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence."

Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) scheduled a final Kavanaugh vote for Friday afternoon, but not before a group of House Democratic women staged a symbolic protest and walked out of the hearing room. And Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s top Democrat, decried Kavanaugh’s public anger toward her party during Thursday’s hearing.

"I have never seen a nominee for any position behave in that manner," Feinstein said Friday morning. "Judge Kavanaugh used as much political rhetoric as my Republican colleagues — and what's more, he went on the attack."

As the committee prepared to vote, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) – who could become chairman of the panel next year, if the GOP keeps control of the Senate, declared that his party would not let allegations such as Ford’s come out through the media before the chamber can investigate.

“We’re not going to let this happen again,” vowed Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “You will bring it to the committee, not the Washington Post.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) pointed out that a calendar Kavanaugh provided to the committee to bolster his innocence of Ford’s allegation includes an entry for a social gathering with two individuals Ford has said were at the party where she was assaulted. But Democrats largely did not pursue that line of questioning with Kavanaugh on Thursday, instead focusing on Kavanaugh’s past drinking habits and his lack of interest in an FBI investigation of Ford’s claim.

Shortly after Flake issued his statement, he was confronted by female protesters who asked him how he could support Kavanaugh after the wrenching testimony of the day before.

As he tried to ride the elevator to the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, Flake mostly nodded and stayed silent as the women urged him to not vote for Kavanaugh.

“You have power when so many women are powerless,” one of the women said.

Republicans are now on course to take the judge's high court nomination to the Senate floor as soon as this weekend. The “yes” vote from Flake ensures that senators can vote on Kavanaugh with an endorsement that now-Justice Clarence Thomas did not receive in 1991 after sexual harassment allegations against him from Anita Hill — despite memorable testimony Thursday by Ford, Kavanaugh's initial misconduct accuser.

Ford's testimony nonetheless has begun pushing red- and purple-state Democratic senators off the fence on the nomination. Sens. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) all announced their opposition to Kavanaugh in the hours after Ford's testimony, although the GOP did not consider any Democrat a legitimately swayable vote in the end.

One Democrat the GOP is heavily courting, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin huddled with Flake and undecided Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on Thursday night before a private meeting of majority-party senators on the nomination. Donnelly did not attend that meeting.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is also publicly undecided. Heitkamp’s reelection campaign has taken aim at her challenger Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) for his comments on the allegation against Kavanaugh as she fights for her political life, but Democratic sources see her as a genuine toss-up.

Once the Judiciary panel finishes processing Kavanaugh's nomination on Friday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to tee up a procedural vote on Saturday and another one on Monday to line up a final vote as soon as Tuesday.

GOP leaders seemed increasingly confident that moderates Collins and Murkowski will come around to Kavanaugh on the floor.

"There are some people who haven't stated their intentions," said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 GOP senator. "If this is a process based on facts and evidence and truth it's hard to feature how people could come to the conclusion based upon his emphatic denial and the absence of any absence to contrary, that he wouldn't be supported and confirmed."

Saturday's vote may not indicate whether Kavanaugh will be confirmed. Historically, Murkowski and Collins generally believe nominees should be advanced to a final vote on the Senate floor.

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Last Updated on Friday, 28 September 2018 14:03
 

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+8 # Porfiry 2018-09-28 13:23
It is to the advantage of ALL concerned to have this investigation. My wife said, "It's only common sense." It will protect both Democrats and Republicans.
 
 
+9 # Bruce-Man-Do 2018-09-28 14:03
This seems like so much other Rethuglican BS con job manipulation of wishful idiots I've seen. Who's to say there will ever be a real investigation? And if they actually let one get started, who's to say it can be accurately run and concluded in the arbitrary week-long window they've supposedly opened?
We'll see what things look like in a week, if McConnell even waits that long to call the vote.
 
 
0 # lfeuille 2018-09-29 00:49
That's what concerns me. I have a hard time believing that will stay out of it and let the investigation go where the evidence leads and a week might not be enough time.
 
 
+14 # Maturus 2018-09-28 14:37
Lyndsey Graham described the hearings as "..the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics" and "..the most unethical sham since I've been in politics".

Was he asleep for the Iraq war? Did none of you think to wake him up for it, as it seems like the sort of thing he'd have enjoyed? Or is that why he's so angry all the time?
 
 
-8 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-09-28 18:17
So this is good. It would be bad to leave this problem unresolved. I worry that it cannot be resolved, however. The time frame and scope should be limited. I should not become another Mueller Witchhunt.

To me there really is only one question: did the party Prof. Ford referred to happen or not. Right now 3 people say it did not and 1 person says it did. There were 2 more people at the "alleged" party. Their names are known. Ask them under oath. If the party did not occur, then the case is closed. It is a false memory and these happen all the time.

If the party did take place, then it should not be hard to figure out the date and location. Then see where Kavanaugh was on that night. He's submitted his calendar.


I have less faith in the FBI's ability to investigate anything than I do in Kavanaugh to explain himself. I'm not optimistic about a clear conclusion by the FBI. Comey, McCabe, Strozok were able to conclusively clear Hillary on her email investigation, but as we now know, they never bothered to look at the emails. Probably we'll get the same sort of crappy work here.
 
 
+2 # Caliban 2018-09-29 02:48
What should we expect to see on this so-called calendar - diary -- of BK's -- "Tried to rape a cute girl this afternoon, but dummy MJ jumped on the bed and knocked us off!"

Somehow, I doubt that this future Yale lawyer would so conveniently self-incriminat ing, even in a private, self-directed communication.
 
 
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-09-29 11:10
Cali -- you are missing the point. Of course he would not include an entry "tried to rape a cute girl" on the calendar. But if a date were identified for the party, and BK's calendar says he was somewhere else, the FBI can ask other people who were there is BK was also there. If he was not and his calendar says he was, then they have a good lead.
 
 
-1 # Maturus 2018-09-29 03:43
Does the confirmation process examine the candidate's abilities or his 'character'.? The latter is tested in adversity and the accusations have allowed us to examine who Brett Kavanaugh in a manner which was not previously available.

Technically brilliant: who can dispute it? An exemplary record of service and achievement: ok, granted. A paragon of virtue with an unblemished background as he and others portrayed: now we have a problem.

Our problem should not be that BK liked his beer and had a few too many at times: it is that he hid it until presented with the accusations. Our problem should not be that he did immature acts that may have gone beyond the bounds of decency: it is that he denies that he did any immature acts despite the number of people who attest to his activities.

Our problem should be BK's reason for his omissions and denials because they point to only one thing: and excess of what the Bible calls pride - the pride that causes man to invent an image of himself as perfect and thereby denies God's role in his development.

BK attends church each Sunday - but for what purpose? His ambition to sit on the Supreme Court is fuelled by his pride in his own creation and that alone should disqualify his candidature.
 
 
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-09-29 07:19
I got the numbers of people at the alleged party wrong. The claim is that there were 5 or 6 people in attendance. 5 have been named. 4 say they were not at the party. 1 says she was there. The 6th person has not been named by Ford. He is Chris Garrett who was her boyfriend at the time. She was with him at the country club that day. There's something here for the FBI to find out, if it actually tries. I have very little confidence in the FBI. It builds cases against people it wants to put in jail. It does not really solve real mysteries.
 
 
0 # librarian1984 2018-09-28 21:22
I am so used to being gutted by politics that this one act of decency today was rejuvenating.

Sen. Flake was confronted by sexual assault survivors at the Senate elevator on his way to the committee room, and he listened to the words of his friend, Democratic senator Chris Coons, who said we needed a week for an investigation.

As we waited for the vote Grassley had called for 1:30, Flake rose from his seat and motioned to Coons as he left the room. They were gone for 15 minutes and then other senators left and returned, and small conversations started. It was obvious something was happening.

This is what we can do if politicians and the grass roots work together.

If we'd unite behind a progressive agenda we could accomplish so much.
 
 
+1 # SusanT136 2018-09-29 01:59
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
The time frame and scope should be limited. It should not become another Mueller Witchhunt.”

Stop watching Fox News. There’ve been trials & multiple convictions. A witch hunt is, by definition, attempting to find something not there to the point of creating fiction.

“To me there really is only one question: did the party Prof. Ford referred to happen or not. Right now 3 people say it did not and 1 person says it did....If the party did not occur, then the case is closed. It is a false memory...”

Wrong. 3 people say they don’t remember the party. Very different from saying there was no party. Not surprising; for them it was most likely an unremarkable evening decades ago. False memories? That’s highly offensive & dismissive. Ford was extremely credible, far more so than Kavanaugh’s belligerent tantrums.

“If the party did take place, then it should not be hard to figure out the date & location. Then see where Kavanaugh was on that night. He's submitted his calendar.”

Easier once Repubs stop obstructing investigation. Again, for most, it was an unremarkable evening decades ago. Not easy.

“I'm not optimistic about a clear conclusion by the FBI. Comey, McCabe, Strozok were able to conclusively clear Hillary on her email investigation, but as we now know, they never bothered to look at the emails.


Hillary’s emails? News flash - Trump is Pres. Not Hillary. Pay attention to the bad stuff happening now
 
 
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-09-29 11:19
Susan -- I have never seen Fox TV. I don't have cable so I can't watch any of the cable news programs. I have seen some segments of Fox shows on youtube, and that's the same for MSNBC. But I don't follow Fox.

You are right they did not say no such party happened in those words. But when 4 out of 5 people who were claimed to have attended the party say they cannot remember attending the party, it might as well have never existed. My point was that the FBI will have to establish that the party happened; i.e., that there was a group of people including Ford.