Undecided Republicans Signal Support for Kavanaugh as Key Vote Looms

Ivan Pentchoukov
By Ivan Pentchoukov
October 4, 2018Politicsshare

In a sign of support for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, two key Republican senators said on Oct. 4 they were satisfied with the FBI’s background investigation report and said it did not corroborate the claims of the women accusing Kavanaugh of misconduct.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who remains undecided on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, said the bureau’s report appeared to be “very thorough.” Sen Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), another swing vote, said that the report had “no new credible corroboration, no new corroboration at all.”

With a key procedural vote looming on Oct. 5, Collins and Flake are two of the four senators who have not stated whether they would vote to confirm Kavanaugh. Republicans need just two of the five swing votes to reach the 50-vote confirmation threshold, with Vice President Mike Pence on deck to cast the deciding vote should the Senate split even.

One of the three other undecided Senators, Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), said on Oct. 4 that she will vote against Kavanaugh, leaving only Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on the fence as of early afternoon.

Democrats and Republicans took one-hour shifts viewing a single copy of the report in a secure room on Capitol Hill throughout the day. The White House and key Republicans quickly offered their support for the nominee after reviewing the report.

“They interviewed 10 witnesses, they followed leads from interviews that made sense to me. It’s a complete report. It’s a background check. I’m confident that the FBI did a good job. They were not hindered in any way,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

“I was looking for certain things to be answered by witnesses. I am more confident than ever that what the committee found held up, and then some,” Graham added. ” I am ready to vote.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chair of the judiciary committee, which advanced Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate, said the bureau found “no hint of misconduct” during the five-day investigation.

“I feel really good that the FBI report has taken place. And there’s zero corroboration, zero, to any allegation that’s been made,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

The top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, disputed Grassley’s claim, saying he disagreed that there was no evidence of misconduct. Other Democrats dismissed the investigation as insufficient.

The White House believes the FBI report addressed the Senate’s questions about Kavanaugh, Shah told CNN, adding that the FBI reached out to 10 people in its investigation and “comprehensively interviewed” nine of them.

“The White House didn’t micromanage the FBI,” he said.

If Kavanaugh clears the hurdle on Friday, the Senate can cast the final vote to confirm him as early as Saturday.

Midterm Elections

Republicans and Democrats alike view the Kavanaugh confirmation as a key factor for winning the midterms elections in November. Republicans are looking to maintain majorities in the House and Senate. President Donald Trump embarked on a string of back-to-back rallies to back Republicans, whose support is crucial for carrying out his agenda.

Many Democrats committed themselves to oppose Kavanaugh minutes after Trump nominated him. Some Republicans accuse the Democrats of subverting the confirmation process by withholding the allegations against Kavanaugh until after the judiciary committee held his confirmation hearings.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) received a letter from Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Ford, over a month before Kavanaugh appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. All of the witnesses Ford named deny her allegations. Prior to the FBI investigation, a prosecutor who questioned her in the Senate concluded that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case based on Ford’s claims.

The Democrats’ campaign against Kavanaugh appears to have fired up Republican voters, according to an NPR poll. In July, Democrats held a 10 percent edge over Republicans in a poll asking voters if the November elections are “very important.” At the time, 78 percent Democrats said the elections were “very important.”

That edge shrunk to just two points in the same poll conducted in October amid the drama surrounding the Kavanaugh confirmation. Eighty-two percent of Democrats said the elections are “very important,” compared to 80 percent of Republicans.

Democrats triggered the national spectacle around the confirmation, sparking a media frenzy with some outlets breathlessly reporting uncorroborated allegations. The tactic appears to have backfired even among their base with 40 percent Democrats agreeing with Kavanaugh’s view that the confirmation process has devolved into a “national disgrace,” according to a Rasmussen poll.

Republicans are even more upset about the proceedings, with more than 3 in 4 conservatives agreeing with Kavanaugh’s statement.

Beyond the midterms, Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would shift the nation’s top court to a solid conservative majority. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose seat Kavanaugh is nominated to fill, sided with liberal justices on certain crucial issues, including abortion and same-sex marriage.

Trump prior Supreme Court nominee, now-Justice Neil Gorsuch, filled the seat of a solid conservative, the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Kavanaugh’s confirmation is especially heated because the seat he would fill once elected was occupied by Kennedy, who was viewed as a swing vote.

Trump campaigned on a promise to nominate conservative Supreme Court justices and has said the promise was a large reason he won.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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