Kavanaugh clears procedural hurdle, but confirmation on Saturday isn't guaranteed


The only Republican to vote against Kavanaugh, Senator Lisa Murkowski, said in a speech on the Senate floor on Friday night that her decision was "agonizing" but after watching Kavanaugh's Senate testimony she "could not conclude that he is the right person for the court at this time".

Under the pairing arrangement, the senator in the duo who is present and voting - in this case Murkowski - announces that she or he has "a pair" with the senator not in attendance.

Collins, in remarks on the Senate floor explaining her decision to back Kavanaugh, said Ford's accusations against him "fail to meet the more-likely-than-not standard".

Manchin, the only remaining undeclared lawmaker, used an emailed statement to announce his support for Kavanaugh moments after Collins finished talking, making him the only Democrat supporting the nominee.

Collins and Murkowski are the only GOP senators who support abortion rights, a crucial issue in the debate over Kavanaugh's nomination.

Murray said she believed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party in 1982 when they were teens.

"Either Sen. Collins VOTES NO on Kavanaugh OR we fund her future opponent", the campaign, hosted by Crowdpac, is titled. However, some Republicans were concerned that Flake would change his mind, since he had called for a delay in the vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation to allow the FBI to conduct a brief investigation into the allegations against the judge.

But when asked whether she believed Ford, the first lady would not answer directly.

She went on to say, "I have been wrestling with whether or not this was about the qualifications of a good man or is this bigger than the nominee".

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In final remarks just before the voting, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said a vote for Kavanaugh was "a vote to end this brief, dark chapter in the Senate's history and turn the page toward a brighter tomorrow".

Sen. Flake confirmed to reporters Thursday that there was "no new corroborative information" in the Federal Bureau of Investigation report on sexual allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. The roll call was ending a contest fought against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement and Trump's unyielding support of his nominee.

Republicans have a 51-49 majority in the Senate.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley offered up some words of praise for protesters ahead of the vote.

Meanwhile, the US Capitol Police arrested 302 people for protesting in the Senate office buildings against Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona also said on MSNBC on Friday he would vote yes on Kavanaugh's final confirmation barring no late breaking developments.

Trump's remark about "paid professional protesters who are handed expensive signs" is likely a reference to a conspiracy theory he touted on Friday, when he tweeted that the sexual assault victims that confronted Sen. The deadline for a final vote is Saturday at 2 p.m. PT.

Kavanaugh denied the allegations, but two more women came with different sexual assault allegations against him.

Two key Republican senators said they were satisfied with the FBI's background investigation report on October 4, and said it didn't corroborate the claims of the women accusing Kavanaugh of misconduct.