Sens. Susan Collins, Jeff Flake & Joe Manchin Vote To Advance Kavanaugh Nomination; Will Announce Final Decision Friday Afternoon
Collins, a moderate GOP member, is considered one of three key swing votes for Kavanaugh alongside Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Collins said she would announce her formal decision on the judge later today, although given her most recent statement all signs point to her likely voting to approve Kavanaugh.
The Maine Republican is up for re-election in 2020, and a “yes” vote on Kavanaugh would likely hurt her chances of retaining her seat. On Thursday, after senators received the FBI’s report on its investigation into sexual assault allegations against the judge, Collins and Flake both said they were satisfied with the report. A vote is scheduled for Friday and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a final confirmation could take place as soon as Saturday. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and three other women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
Flake and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — the only Democrat who remains undecided on the final vote — followed Collins’ lead to agree to a procedural or “cloture” vote. Murkowski voted “no” on the motion to proceed.
Spectrum News’ Capitol Hill reporter Kevin Frey gave an update on the lawmakers’ votes on Friday morning and noted their announcements were not necessarily indicative of their final decisions.
Here’s the headcount of the key players on #Kavanaugh cloture vote:
– Collins: yes
– Flake: yes
– Manchin: yes
– Murkowski: no
— Kevin Frey (@KevinFreyTV) October 5, 2018
Many GOP lawmakers maintained that the FBI report presented “no corroboration” of Ford’s allegations, although Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York disagreed with this statement. Several Democrats called the report and investigation “incomplete,” partly because of the small number of witnesses interviewed. McConnell and several other Republicans reportedly fought to keep the report private.