Mitch McConnell Sets Friday Vote to Thwart Filibuster of Brett Kavanaugh

Stacey Abrams and Beto O'Rourke

McConnell takes key step toward vote on Kavanaugh nomination

"There's nothing in it that we didn't already know", Grassley contended, basing his comment on a briefing he said he'd received from committee aides.

Kavanaugh promised in the piece, titled "I am an independent, impartial judge", that his tone was not an indication that his open-mindedness would change if the Senate confirms him to the nation's highest court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who supports Kavanaugh's nomination, addressed the stream of protesters from the Senate floor Wednesday, talking about how Republicans are coming into contact with protesters in their offices.

But a level of uncertainty lingered as Collins and Flake spent hours Thursday pouring over confidential Federal Bureau of Investigation documents in the secure basement briefing room long after others had left seemingly satisfied with the findings.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who is a key undecided vote on Kavanaugh, was escorted out of a hearing Wednesday by three police officers.

Kavanaugh is a Roman Catholic who has said religion is an important part of his life.

White House spokesperson Raj Shah rebuffed Democrats' complaints, saying, "What critics want is a never-ending fishing expedition into high school drinking". Senators are reviewing the results of the probe ahead of a cloture vote Friday. The agency has also spoken to a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, who has claimed Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a Yale party when both were freshmen.

Democrats criticized the limited scope of the FBI investigation. Some of them reported their abuse at the time, but others said nothing until now.

Asked whether Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court if there is "still a doubt about whether the charges are true", 52% felt he should not, while 40% said he should.

Trump nominated Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who had been a swing vote on a panel now equally divided between four conservative and four liberal justices. I don't remember. Where was the place?

"I don't remember", he said repeatedly, mocking Dr Ford's testimony.

The group says Kavanaugh told "outright falsehoods". He said he made it about halfway through the material. Kavanaugh also testified before the committee - and vehemently denied the allegation.

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.

Flake said the comments were "kind of appalling" in an interview with NBC News.

He added: "It's time to vote". "But to discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right".

Mr Flake and Ms Collins are joined by a third undecided Republican, Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska.

Kavanaugh explained that he met with "65 senators and explained my approach to the law".

As Trump took the stage, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Kavanaugh in which he sought to assuage the concerns of senators - and many Americans - who anxious that his partisan-infused testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee a week ago suggested that he might not be impartial from the bench.

A few women who identified themselves as sexual assault survivors approached Republican Sen.

"It's not like a typical type of investigation, where the FBI has wide latitude to pursue facts and evidence and information as necessary to develop a case or develop information for national security purposes, that type of thing", Campbell said.

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