On Friday afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee pushed to advance Brett Kavanaugh‘s nomination to the Supreme Court, although Sen. Jeff Flake stated he would not vote to confirm Kavanaugh until an FBI inquiry into sexual assault allegations against the judge is held.

The latest announcement by Flake, an Arizona Republican, seems to directly contradict what he said hours earlier on Friday: that he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh despite the emotional and credible testimony that his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, delivered Thursday. Two sexual assault survivors angrily confronted Flake about his decision in a Senate elevator on Friday morning.

Along with the retiring Flake, moderate GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are considered key swing votes for Kavanaugh. As of early late Thursday, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin also had not revealed how he would vote on the judge. Flake asked for the floor vote to be delayed up to a week to allow for an FBI investigation.


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“We ought to do what we can to make sure we do all due diligence with a nomination this important,” said Flake during Friday’s hearings. “This country is being ripped apart here.”

He added that the FBI probe should be “limited in time and scope.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will ultimately decide when the final vote on Kavanaugh will take place.

One of the Republican senators who most vehemently defended Kavanaugh and slammed the process of holding testimonies for him and Ford was South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. In furious and impassioned statements on Thursday, Graham called the treatment of Kavanaugh an “unethical sham” and said Ford’s allegations were “garbage.”

Republicans have been desperate to confirm a conservative judge to the Supreme Court for several years, so it is unsurprising that some of them rushed to defend Kavanaugh. The GOP also fears Democrats may win the majority in November’s midterm elections, and are thus hoping to prevent Democrats from getting the opportunity to block Kavanaugh.

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