Senate gets FBI Kavanaugh report, with initial vote Friday


The Senate is set to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination on Friday.

Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation depends on Republican senators voting strictly along party lines.

Collins said the investigation appeared to be thorough, while Flake said he saw no additional corroborating information against Kavanaugh, although he was "still reading" it.

Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia also has not declared how he'll vote. Agreement by a majority of the 100 senators would advance Kavanaugh's nomination. If confirmed, he would deepen conservative control of the court.

Three women have accused him of sexual misconduct in separate incidents in the 1980s.

The battle over Kavanaugh has riveted Americans weeks before November 6 elections in which Democrats are trying to take control of Congress from the Republicans.

One Democratic senator facing a tough re-election in North Dakota, a state President Donald Trump won handily in 2016, announced she's against Kavanaugh.

Kerry Berchem, who attended Yale a year after Kavanaugh, said she contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation about text messages she received from a close friend of Kavanaugh's - messages that she believes suggest Kavanaugh or his friends might have been trying to preemptively rebut negative stories that could surface during his confirmation process.

The report was not released to the public.

One copy of the report exists for all 100 senators to read. Said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., "The senators who requested the supplemental background check got what they requested, and I am ready to vote". Heitkamp is in a tough re-election battle in a state Trump by nearly 36 percentage points.

"This looks to be the product of an incomplete investigation, I don't know", Feinstein told reporters on Thursday morning.

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The Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority, could vote as early as Saturday and all eyes are on three key Republican senators who could make or break the nomination - Flake, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

With Republicans clinging to a 51-49 Senate majority and five senators - including three Republicans - still publicly undeclared, the conservative jurist's prospects of Senate confirmation could hinge largely on the file's contents.

Democrats not only oppose Kavanaugh; but they also remain deeply embittered by the experience that closed out the tenure of President Barack Obama, when McConnell refused to schedule a vote on Obama's nominee for a Supreme Court vacancy that Trump eventually got to fill. Kavanaugh has said stories of his bad behavior while drinking are exaggerated.

US Senator Susan Collins, left, Republican of ME, walks to a room to read the report on the FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 4, 2018.

"When the noise fades, when the uncorroborated mud washes away, what's left is the distinguished nominee who stands before us".

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chewed the most scenery, calling the process a "shameful spectacle that has embarrassed the senate".

President Donald Trump, pushing to get his nominee for a lifetime job on the top USA court, said in a Twitter post on Thursday after the FBI finished its investigation that the allegations against Kavanaugh were "totally uncorroborated".

Kavanaugh has denied all accusations against him. But the probe's limited scope - which was dictated by the White House, along with a Friday deadline - is likely to exacerbate the partisan tensions surrounding Kavanaugh's nomination.

Lawyers for Ford said Wednesday their client had made a tremendous sacrifice in coming forward, "but those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth".

Jeff Flake of Arizona last week after Ms. Blasey Ford and the judge both testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. At the hearing, he vehemently defended his innocence and derided what he called "a calculated and orchestrated political hit".