Individuals throughout the nation watched on edge Thursday as Supreme Court docket nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her in highschool, testified earlier than the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Within the early 1980s, when Ford was 15 and Kavanaugh was 17, Ford alleged that Kavanaugh, whereas intoxicated, pinned her to a mattress throughout a home occasion in Maryland and tried to take away her garments. She additionally claims he put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream.
Ford asserted these accusations throughout the listening to, saying at one level she is “100%” sure Kavanaugh assaulted her.
Later, Kavanaugh would ship a fiery and, at instances, tearful testimony, the place he vehemently denied the claims in opposition to him.
“This affirmation course of has develop into a nationwide shame,” he mentioned, including the accusations in opposition to him “destroyed my household and my good title.”
Ford’s supporters counseled her for bravery, whereas Kavanaugh’s backers — particularly Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. — tore into Democrats.
However in Thursday’s aftermath, at the least two Republican senators and two of their Democratic colleagues appeared to stay undecided on whether or not or not they’d vote to substantiate Kavanaugh.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., one key lawmaker who was nonetheless undecided after the listening to, introduced Friday he supposed to vote to substantiate Kavanaugh. However that assist got here with a caveat, as Flake mentioned he’d solely be “comfy” transferring on the ground if the FBI investigates additional.
If Flake stays a “sure,” nonetheless, there can be 48 pledged Republicans, with Sens. Susan Collins, of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, the 2 remaining wild playing cards. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., hasn’t introduced his stance however wasn’t anticipated to stray from occasion traces.
Collins and Murkowski, together with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, may vote in a bloc. A supply informed Fox Information that Collins, Murkowski and Flake huddled with Manchin on the sidelines of Thursday’s listening to to debate the nomination. They spoke for 30 minutes.
Collins has beforehand expressed concern a extra conservative choose on the Supreme Court docket may threaten Roe v. Wade. Just lately, nonetheless, she introduced she doesn’t imagine Kavanaugh, if accepted and appointed to the nation’s highest courtroom, would threaten the ruling.
Following Thursday’s listening to, nonetheless, it’s nonetheless not clear if Collins discovered Ford’s testimony credible.
Murkowski nonetheless remained undecided after the listening to and had beforehand famous the significance of listening to accusers in sexual assault instances.
“We are actually in a spot the place it’s not about whether or not or not Choose Kavanaugh is certified,” she informed The New York Occasions. “It’s about whether or not or not a lady who has been a sufferer sooner or later in her life is to be believed.”
All eyes on the Democratic aspect of the aisle turned to Sens. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, and Heidi Heitkamp, of North Dakota.
Heitkamp was nonetheless undecided. She voted for Trump’s different Supreme Court docket choose Neil Gorsuch, but in addition expressed the significance of listening to Ford throughout her testimony.
“It takes braveness for any lady to talk up about sexual assault, and we have to respect Prof. Ford by listening to her and listening to her story,” she mentioned in a tweet last Monday.
In the meantime, Manchin met with Collins, Flake and Murkowski on the sidelines of Thursday’s listening to. He was nonetheless undecided after the hearings.
“Everybody’s attempting to get some solutions to some issues and we’ll go from there,” Manchin informed The Hill. “We’ve talked and we’re nonetheless speaking. There’s no choices made on something, I can guarantee you of that.”
So far as assembly together with his Republican counterparts, Manchin insisted they have been mates and that no determination had been made regardless of rumors they might vote in a bloc.
Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly, of Indiana, and Jon Tester, of Montana, who have been thought of as attainable swing vote candidates, determined they have been going to vote in opposition to Kavanaugh.
Donnelly introduced early Friday he was going to oppose Kavanaugh throughout affirmation voting.
He mentioned in a press release he has “deep reservations about Choose Kavanaugh’s nomination to this lifetime place,” noting solely “113 folks have ever served on the Supreme Court docket, and I imagine that we should do our stage finest to guard its sanctity.”
Tester adopted go well with hours later, asserting he was not going to vote for Kavanaugh both. He cited what he heard within the hearings in his assertion.
“I’ve deep issues concerning the allegations of sexual assault in opposition to Choose Kavanaugh … the one data I’ve is from what he mentioned in his hearings. I will be voting in opposition to him,” Tester mentioned.
Senate Judiciary Committee
The Judiciary Committee voted Friday to ship Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court docket nomination to the complete Senate, at the same time as Republican Sen. Flake backed a flooring vote delay so a FBI probe may very well be performed.
Republicans maintain a slim 51-49 majority within the Senate, and may solely afford one defection of their bid to substantiate Kavanaugh, assuming they safe no Democratic votes.
Fox Information’ Brooke Singman, Adam Shaw, Kaitlyn Schallhorn and the Related Press contributed to this report.