WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Senator Jeff Flake reconsidered his decision before the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee could make their 11-10 vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
- Flake and other senators pushed for an FBI investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh before they decide to support the judge’s confirmation.
- President Trump finally ordered the FBI investigation on Friday.
Before the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee could recommend the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court, it was 11-10 in favor of Kavanaugh, the tables turned. Jeff Flake, Arizona Senator, changed his mind.
Flake voted that Kavanaugh moves out of the committee. He also said he wouldn’t vote for the judge on the Senate floor unless the FBI would be able to conduct their investigation into the allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.
If they lost Flake, Republicans would still have 50 votes favoring Kavanaugh’s confirmation during the scheduled Tuesday vote. Vice President Mike Pence’s vote would be the tiebreaker, and that would mean Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Just before the 11-10 vote, Flake, along with Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, spoke up and said that other Republicans shared Flake’s opinion. Meaning, they would not support Kavanaugh’s confirmation without the FBI investigation first. Likely, those senators would include Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. After the session, Murkowski did confirm to reporters that she is in support of Flake’s proposal.
Not willing to risk that Flake and Murkowski follow through and Kavanaugh’s nomination falls short by one vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel issued a formal request that the White House tells the FBI to do a supplemental background check. McConnel said this “would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today.”
Friday, President Trump also had to give in and he ordered the FBI to push through with the investigation, though he was not happy about the week-long delay. If the request for the FBI investigation was refused, Trump would lose Kavanaugh. If the investigation turns up nothing that incriminates Kavanaugh, any Republican senators with second thoughts could be convinced to once again support the judge.
Though Trump has been supportive of Kavanaugh despite the sex assault allegations, he has already discussed the possibilities of what would happen if he had to move on from Kavanaugh to another nominee.