WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 28, 2018) (J.D. DURKIN/CHEDDAR) – A Republican-led committee approved President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday (September 28) but moderate Republican Senator Jeff Flake called for an FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against the judge before a final Senate vote.
Flake’s dramatic intervention means a final Senate vote on the nomination could be delayed for up to a week so that the possible FBI investigation can be completed, if Republican Senate leaders agree to his demand. Democrats have called for an FBI probe, but Republicans had opposed the move.
The committee, with tempers flaring on both sides, met the day after a jarring and emotional hearing into sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh that gripped the country, with a university professor named Christine Blasey Ford accusing him of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh denied the accusation.
It was unclear yet if the investigation will take place. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office had no immediate comment. The committee moved to advance the nomination 11-10 on party lines, with Trump’s fellow Republicans voting yes and Democrats voting no.
Earlier in the day Flake, who had previously raised concerns about the allegations against Kavanaugh, said Ford gave “compelling testimony” but Kavanaugh provided “a persuasive response.”
Soon after Flake made his announcement that he would vote for Kavanaugh in the committee, the senator was confronted in an elevator while on his way to the committee meeting by protesters who said they were sexual assault survivors.
It remained unclear if Republicans have the votes to confirm Kavanaugh on the Senate floor. Republicans hold a slim Senate 51-49 majority, making the votes of two other so-far undecided Republican moderates crucial: Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.