Senate Committee Sets High-Stakes Vote to Advance Kavanaugh After Day of Drama
The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote Friday on whether to favorably recommend the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at 1:30 p.m. ET following a dramatic, marathon day of testimony from him and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her in high school.
Here's a brief rundown of what's happened so far Friday:
- The committee convened Friday morning to consider motions surrounding the vote.
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, raised a motion to issue a subpoena to Mark Judge, the man who Ford says was in the room during the alleged assault.
- The committee voted against the motion, 11-10, on party lines.
- The committee then voted 11-8 to hold a vote at 1:30 p.m., with Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California abstaining out of protest. In voting no, Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii was overheard saying, "The ram job continues."
- A handful of Democrats subsequently walked out of the meeting, including Harris, Blumenthal and Hirono, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.
The committee is composed of 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. While most Republicans on the committee are expected to vote to give Kavanaugh a favorable recommendation, all eyes will be on undecided Republicans who could sway the vote.
Shortly before the vote, Sen. Jeff Flake, who was previously undecided, announced he would support Kavanaugh.
Ford, a psychology professor in California, accuses Kavanaugh of groping and attempting to rape her during a Maryland house party in 1982, when he was 17 and she was 15.
"This isn't easy for anybody," Flake told reporters after the testimony on Thursday. "Some of us have been talking for a while -- similar questions I guess."
If Kavanaugh's nomination makes it out of committee, the first procedural floor vote to advance his confirmation is scheduled for Saturday at noon ET.
Both Ford and Kavanaugh delivered highly emotional testimonies that captivated the nation and the world. While Ford said she was "terrified" to be in the spotlight and held back tears at time, she delivered a thorough and steady recounting of the assault and its effects on her life, weaving in her scientific expertise on the effects of trauma on the brain.
When Kavanaugh took the stand, he gave a passionate, vehement and sometimes angry denial of the allegations, sparring with senators and accusing Democratic forces of concocting a plot to tank his nomination.
He delved deep into details about his life in high school and touted his record of supporting and advancing the careers of female lawyers to defend both his qualifications to be on the Supreme Court -- and his honor. Republicans left the day perhaps rallied even more around his nomination, even as some senators remained on the fence.
"It's shameful what has gone on in this country in the last two weeks," Montana Sen. Steve Daines told Business Insider. "This has brought the United States Senate to an all-time low."
After the hearings, the American Bar Association took the extraordinary step of recommending an FBI investigation into the allegations before proceeding with his confirmation.