U.S. Senate plans procedural vote on Kavanaugh in bitter confirmation fight

U.S. Senate plans procedural vote on Kavanaugh in bitter confirmation fight

U.S. Senate plans procedural vote on Kavanaugh in bitter confirmation fight

A vote in the Senate on Friday will be a crucial test of support for Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination.

Trump, pushing the Senate to confirm Kavanaugh to a lifetime job on the top USA court, said on Twitter after the FBI finished its investigation that the allegations against his nominee were "totally uncorroborated". One is Mark Judge, who the professor says was in the room when Kavanaugh lay on top of her, ground his body against hers and covered her mouth to keep her from screaming. The vote is not a final verdict on Kavanaugh but is likely to establish his chances of reaching the Court.

FBI agents did not interview Dr. Blasey Ford or Kavanaugh for their investigation, nor did they interview a third Kavanaugh accuser, Julie Swetnick.

Republicans defended him. "This investigation found no hint of misconduct", Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley said.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday, Kavanaugh said he "might have been too emotional at times" in his testimony.

"I know that my tone was sharp", he wrote, "and I said a few things I should not have said".

Trump's fellow Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin.

While Republican senators are saying the FBI investigation did not yield any additional corroborating evidence, Democrat senators are claiming the investigation was incomplete. Feeding the anxiety was an unusually beefy presence of the U.S. Capitol Police, who were keeping demonstrators and frequently reporters at arm's length by forming wedges around lawmakers walking through corridors.

They include three people who Ford says were in the house at the time of the party.

Schumer, D-N.Y., who appeared beside her at a news conference, blamed the White House for the limited scope of the latest probe.

Ford, now a California psychology professor, has testified that when the drunken Kavanaugh attacked her, she believed he was trying to rape her.

Lawyers for two women making claims against Mr Kavanaugh - Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez - also criticised the FBI's probe. Instead, senators from each party will take 1-hour turns to review a single copy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation document in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol.

Another Democratic Senator, Richard Blumenthal, told reporters it was a "whitewash". Republican Senate candidates in Missouri and Montana have made the Supreme Court fight part of their campaign message and released television ads referencing it.

Trump's pugnacious style was well suited to the messy drama, and his decision to stick by Kavanaugh, mock the woman who accused the nominee of sexual assault and use the controversy to fire up supporters could help Republicans in key Senate races in conservative states - even if it turns off independents and women voters in suburban House of Representatives districts that were already trending away from Republicans. Judge has said he did not recall the events described by Ford and that he never saw Kavanaugh act in the manner that she describes.

In his testimony, Kavanaugh complained about "a calculated and orchestrated political hit fuelled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election". But he did not apologize for his behavior at the hearing, in which he interrupted senators, turned questions about drinking back on them and seeded his opening remarks with comments about "revenge on behalf of the Clintons" and left-wing groups.

It was not clear why the 10th was not interviewed.

"This is now the 7th time the FBI has investigated Judge Kavanaugh", Trump said in a tweet.

I don't remember. How'd you get there?

Mr Trump, who on Tuesday scornfully mocked Ms Ford's Judiciary panel testimony, tweeted that Mr Kavanaugh's "great life can not be ruined by mean" and "despicable Democrats and totally uncorroborated allegations!" Flake, a frequent Trump critic, was instrumental in getting the president to order the FBI investigation last Friday.

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