Sen. Jeff Flake, Key Swing Republican On Judiciary Committee, Will Vote To Confirm Brett Kavanaugh
The announcement from Flake comes one day after Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — the woman who accused him of sexual assault when the two were in high school — both testified before the Committee, and helps ensure that the Committee’s Republican members will obtain enough “yes” votes to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the entire Senate.
The Senate Judiciary set a vote for Friday at 1:30 p.m. EST that would send Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate floor. A preliminary “test vote” could take place Saturday, and then a final vote as early as next week.
Ford and Kavanaugh both delivered highly emotional testimonies on Thursday and were questioned extensively by senators.
“After hearing more than 30 hours of testimony from Judge Kavanaugh earlier this month, I was prepared to support his nomination based on his view of the law and his record as a judge,” Flake said in statement on Friday. “Our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence,” he continued. “That is what binds us to the rule of law.”
Four people have corroborated Ford’s allegations of Kavanaugh, which related to an incident from 1982. One of the many issues that was discussed in Thursday’s hearings was whether or not the FBI should investigate Ford’s claims.
Shortly after Flake delivered his statement, two women approached him in a Senate elevator and scolded him for his decision. According to the New York Times, both women — who were weeping — are sexual assault victims.
“Look at me when I’m talking to you,” one of the women told Flake. “You are telling me that my assault doesn’t matter, that what happened to me doesn’t, and that you’re going to let people who do these things into power. That’s what you’re telling me when you vote for him. Don’t look away from me.”
She continued: “That’s what you’re telling all women in America, that they don’t matter. They should just keep it to themselves because if they have told the truth you’re just going to help that man to power anyway.”
Flake did not respond to the woman’s angry statements.
Women confront Sen. Jeff Flake after he says he’ll vote yes to Kavanuagh: “That’s what you’re telling all women in America, that they don’t matter. They should just keep it to themselves because if they have told the truth you’re just going to help that man to power anyway.” pic.twitter.com/T7fSpyT69E
— CNN (@CNN) September 28, 2018
Only a few lawmakers have not yet said how they will vote on Kavanaugh. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — two GOP moderates — and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin have not made a decision on the judge’s fate.
On Thursday, Ford said at one point she was “100 percent” certain that Kavanaugh was the man who assaulted her when she was 15.