The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Judge Brett Kavanaugh in a party-line vote on Friday afternoon. That sent his Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate a day after an emotional hearing in which a California professor leveled sexual assault allegations – allegations that Kavanaugh emphatically denied.
From Fox News:
The committee voted 11-10 to recommend Kavanaugh, with previously undecided GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona supporting him. However, that support came with a last-minute caveat that holds major implications for a final vote.
After meeting with Democrats behind closed doors, Flake, who earlier in the day announced he would endorse the nominee, emerged to call for a delay in a full floor vote to allow for an FBI investigation “limited in time and scope.” While backing Kavanaugh at the committee level, Flake said he’d only be “comfortable” moving ahead on the floor if the FBI investigates further.
He said the pause should last for no more than one week. FBI officials told Fox News Friday afternoon that they had not been contacted by the White House to investigate Ford’s allegations.
The call throws into doubt whether Kavanaugh can win enough support. The FBI and Trump administration have balked at another investigation. But Republicans have a slim 51-49 majority and can afford few defections.
The development caught the White House by surprise, just as the momentum started to shift in Kavanaugh’s direction.