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Brett Kavanaugh committee vote to go on as scheduled Friday, Republican senators say

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether to favorably recommend Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to t...

Posted: Sep 28, 2018 10:47 AM
Updated: Sep 28, 2018 10:47 AM

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether to favorably recommend Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court as previously scheduled Friday morning, though top GOP senators did not know as of Thursday night whether enough key Republican votes had been convinced to confirm President Donald Trump's nominee.

Kavanaugh's supporters and critics are now closely watching a handful of key Republican senators as they decide whether to support the nominee, following a day-long, blockbuster hearing that featured both Kavanaugh and the woman who accused him of sexual assault.

Brett Kavanaugh

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Joe Manchin

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Susan Collins

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Jeff Flake

Lisa Murkowski

The vote scheduled for Friday morning means undecided GOP members of the committee -- including Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake -- have just hours to publicly choose a side in a deeply polarizing political fight.

As of Thursday night, Flake -- who also met earlier with fellow key votes Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin -- told reporters, "There's more doubt than certainty moving ahead."

"This isn't easy for anybody," Flake told reporters. "Some of us have been talking for a while -- similar questions I guess."

When asked if he thought more time before the deadline would help with his decision, Flake said he didn't know.

"When you have more time, you look at what more time has done in the past couple of days in term of ludicrous allegations, some of which have been recanted. Others just were anonymous to begin with, and what does that do to the accused. Just to give it more time. I don't know. You have to weigh those things, You have to weigh all those things."

GOP senators told reporters that members meeting behind closed doors said the committee vote would happen as previously scheduled Friday morning and that the first procedural vote will take place on the Senate floor Saturday. GOP leaders had pushed for a full Senate vote on Tuesday, October 2.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell would not confirm if he had the votes following a conference wide meeting Thursday night.

When asked if he was confident the nomination would advance out of committee, he replied: "well the next step is the committee will be voting in the morning."

He added, "We're optimistic, basically."

'We're meeting at 9:30'

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley declined to answer questions Thursday night from reporters as he repeatedly said, "we're meeting at 9:30" -- a reference to the committee meeting where the panel is scheduled to vote on whether to give Kavanaugh a favorable recommendation.

When asked by the media if the nomination will come to the full Senate floor for a vote, Grassley responded "Depends on what happens tomorrow."

Republicans can advance Kavanaugh's without any support from Democrats, but given their 51-49 seat majority in the chamber, Kavanaugh's supporters can only lose one vote and still advance his nomination.

Sen. John Cornyn, who as majority whip is the second-ranking GOP member in the chamber, expressed optimism following a Republican meeting Thursday night that Kavanaugh's nomination will be favorably reported out of the committee on schedule.

Asked if he is confident that Kavanaugh can advance out of the committee, he said, "I am optimistic, yes."

At least one long-undecided Republican senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee, announced his support for Kavanaugh just before 9 p.m. ET on Thursday night.

"While both individuals provided compelling testimony, nothing that has been presented corroborates the allegation," Corker said in his announcement. "There is no question that Judge Kavanaugh is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, and in a different political environment, he would be confirmed overwhelmingly."

Four key senators meet

The meeting of Flake, Collins, Manchin and Collins occurred less than hour after Kavanaugh finished his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, where he forcefully and passionately maintained his innocence and defiantly challenged Democratic senators who grilled him on multiple allegations of inappropriate behavior.

On Thursday morning, that same committee heard from Ford, who she said was "100%" certain Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s. In Kavanaugh's testimony, he also said he was "100%" sure he did not sexual assault anyone.

Collins and Murkowski have appeared to be the most outspoken Republican senators in seeking additional investigation into the allegations of inappropriate behavior that have surfaced against Kavanaugh in recent days.

Multiple sources familiar with a private Wednesday meeting -- the night before the hearing -- told CNN that Collins appeared unnerved by the latest allegations, citing in particular that a sworn statement from accuser Julie Swetnick sent to the panel, which carries with it the possibility of perjury for lying to Congress. At that Wednesday meeting of Republican chairmen, GOP leaders tried to reassure Collins, keenly aware of the critical role she plays.

When asked by reporters earlier this week whether there should be a full FBI investigation into the allegations, Murkowski responded, "It would sure clear up all the questions, wouldn't it?"

On Thursday night, Murkowski said she was leaving to think over the nomination at home.

"I'm going to go home, have dinner and have a chance to think about all that's gone on today," Murkowski told reporters.

Manchin is up for re-election this fall in a state Donald Trump won overwhelmingly and supported Trump's last Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Manchin was among a handful of Democrats from red and purple states that Kavanaugh supporters were targeting as possible votes.

"We are still talking," Manchin told CNN leaving that meeting. "There are no decisions on anything. There are some concerns that people have and we're going to try to close the loop."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17436187
Hinds16524328
Harrison13876199
Rankin11000217
Jackson10652187
Lee8981141
Madison8413168
Jones6552112
Forrest6101121
Lauderdale6034189
Lowndes5463119
Lafayette507393
Lamar496465
Washington4877124
Bolivar4068109
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Monroe3628105
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Union350563
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Neshoba3433152
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Tate276762
Alcorn268854
Pike266580
Itawamba266261
Scott253448
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Simpson240069
Leake234367
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Marion218473
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Adams210170
Wayne206432
Winston205267
George202739
Attala195761
Newton195745
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Chickasaw186144
Jasper176038
Holmes169868
Clay162735
Tallahatchie154935
Stone148424
Clarke143562
Calhoun138021
Smith125825
Yalobusha120234
Walthall113437
Greene112129
Noxubee111425
Montgomery110936
Carroll105922
Lawrence104317
Perry103231
Amite99926
Webster94324
Tunica87621
Jefferson Davis87327
Claiborne86825
Benton84023
Humphreys83624
Kemper79120
Quitman7029
Franklin68716
Choctaw62313
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55920
Sharkey44217
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 432536

Reported Deaths: 6379
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63523957
Mobile30967562
Madison27627201
Tuscaloosa21122268
Montgomery19495326
Shelby18941126
Baldwin16798188
Lee12901102
Morgan12447129
Etowah11911178
Calhoun11365205
Marshall10322119
Houston8813156
Limestone823176
Cullman8159106
Elmore8056104
DeKalb7796102
Lauderdale773399
St. Clair7705122
Talladega6347109
Walker5993174
Jackson590341
Colbert543274
Blount541186
Autauga527061
Coffee454160
Dale405482
Franklin371948
Russell345712
Chilton340972
Covington334168
Escambia328344
Dallas310196
Chambers297370
Clarke290536
Tallapoosa2665107
Pike258830
Marion250155
Lawrence249150
Winston231442
Bibb219848
Geneva206946
Marengo205229
Pickens198631
Hale180842
Barbour177836
Fayette174528
Butler171358
Cherokee162530
Henry157523
Monroe150718
Randolph143236
Washington139527
Clay128546
Crenshaw121644
Cleburne119724
Lamar119621
Macon119637
Lowndes112536
Wilcox105822
Bullock101428
Perry99118
Conecuh96320
Sumter89726
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Coosa62215
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