Republicans plan to confirm Kavanaugh on weekend; protesters arrested

Stacey Abrams and Beto O'Rourke

Stacey Abrams and Beto O'Rourke

At senators behest, the FBI investigated and the agency's latest report Thursday did not corroborate "any of the sexual misconduct allegations against" Kavanaugh, said Majority Leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, according to the Associated Press.

In a letter to President Trump, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Judiciary Committee ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein discussed their understanding that "conducting background investigations on nominees has always been the FBI's standard practice, and it is common for such background investigations to be reopened when new information about a nominee becomes known".

A procedural vote on Kavanaugh's nomination is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EDT Friday.

Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin.

Should Republicans get the majority of votes they need - and vice president Mike Pence is available to cast the tiebreaker, if necessary - that would set up a decisive roll call on his confirmation, probably over the weekend. Jeff Flake of Arizona - a key vote on the nomination - called for it with the backing of Republican Sens.

This comes on the heels of a six-day FBI background investigation of the sexual assault allegations.

Senators delayed a vote on Kavanaugh so the FBI could conduct a background investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

The group says Kavanaugh told "outright falsehoods".

But White House spokesman Raj Shah said: "What critics want is a never-ending fishing expedition into high school drinking".

"An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford - nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony - can not be called an investigation", her legal team said in a statement. Supporters of Kavanaugh also turned out.

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West Virginia's Joe Manchin, the other undeclared Democrat, spent time looking at the report and said he would resume reading it on Friday.

Thursday was a day of high drama and emotion in Washington: protesters swamped Capitol Hill and roamed the corridors of the Senate to lobby lawmakers who took turns in a secure basement room reviewing a single copy of the new Federal Bureau of Investigation report on Kavanaugh.

Several Democratic senators that have come out against Kavanaugh said the judge doesn't deserve the presumption of innocence and one senator, Sen. Even the pitched battle to confirm Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991 and the court's controversial 5-4 decision in Bush v. Gore didn't have much effect on public confidence in the institution. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. That is because I forcefully and passionately denied the allegation against me.

He wrote that his testimony "reflected my overwhelming frustration at being wrongly accused".

Richard Oh, who attended Yale at the same time Ramirez and Kavanaugh were students there, wrote in the declaration that he recalled a female student telling him that "what she initially thought was a plastic penis was exhibited, but she later realized it was a male student's exposed penis". "We believe that all the Senate's questions have been addressed through this supplemental FBI investigation".

A week after a televised Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which Kavanaugh and Ford transfixed the nation, the Capitol campus remained a stew of tension as the election-season cliff-hanger neared its conclusion.

Meanwhile, about 3000 demonstrators have gathered outside the Supreme Court to protest, .

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already started a process that will produce a crucial test vote in his polarised chamber on Friday on Mr Kavanaugh's fate.

The report arrived at a Capitol palpably tense over the political stakes of the nomination fight and from aggressive anti-Kavanaugh protesters who have rattled and reportedly harassed senators.

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