McConnell sets Friday test vote on Kavanaugh nomination

A demonstrator holds a sign during a protest and march against the U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in New York City. Reuters

A demonstrator holds a sign during a protest and march against the U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in New York City. Reuters

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday denied a request made by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to approve a briefing by FBI agents on the bureau's background investigation (BI) into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

It marked an aggressive change of tactics after Trump had opted to show restraint towards Christine Blasey Ford, calling her a "very credible witness" following her Senate testimony against Judge Brett Kavanaugh last week.

Asked whether Mr Trump's comments would affect her vote, Senator Murkowski told reporters, "I am taking everything into account".

In the letter to Grassley, the Democrats said each of them had reviewed Kavanaugh's confidential background investigation before the hearing, and "while we are limited in what we can say about this background investigation in a public setting, we are compelled to state for the record that there is information in the second post that is not accurate", in reference to the tweet.

Murkowski said that Trump's remarks were "wholly inappropriate, and in my view unacceptable".

"To be clear, I question the ultimate holding in that case, Ali v. Obama, but there is no question about the strength of the longstanding principle that false exculpatory statements may be considered evidence of guilt", she noted. "Before I start jumping in, let me just read what they have and we'll go from there".

"There's no time and no place for remarks like that", Flake said in an interview with NBC News early Wednesday. President Trump said, role-playing a conversation between a son and mother.

The FBI is conducting a supplemental background investigation into the nominee after he and Ford testified Thursday before the Judiciary Committee about her allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.

"Certainly the testimony by Dr. Ford was compelling, but you can't make this decision based on emotion".

"The leader's assumption, and I assume he knows more about this than the rest of us, is that it's coming today", Thune said, referring to the expectations of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has vowed to hold a vote this week. She also complained that the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not talk to witnesses identified by Deborah Ramirez, who also accused Kavanaugh of assault in the 1980s. At least one undecided Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham, also weighed in.

Kavanaugh has also not been helped by the emergence of former Yale classmates who have accused him of lying to the committee about his college drinking habits when he told the panel that he "did not drink beer to the point of blacking out".

"I think that it's a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of", Trump said Tuesday afternoon outside the White House.

But White House counselor Kellyanne Conway brushed off criticism of the President and bolstered the toughened White House line towards Ford.

"She's been treated like a Faberge egg by all of us, beginning with me and the President".

Last week Mr Trump called Christine Blasey Ford a "compelling" witness.

Although the FBI has yet to conclude its investigation, McConnell vowed Tuesday that a vote will happen on Kavanaugh's nomination this week regardless of what the FBI finds.

Flake and Collins are among five senators who have not publicly said how they will vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation.

After filing a cloture petition, lawmakers must wait one legislative day before proceeding to the cloture vote, according to Senate rules.

The only people who will be able to access the summaries will be the senators on the committee and senior staff.

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