Republicans aim to confirm Kavanaugh on weekend; protesters arrested

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans gained confidence on Thursday that his U.S. Top court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, could win Senate confirmation after two wavering lawmakers responded positively to an FBI directory of accusations of sexual misconduct from the judge.

The report, sent via the White House into the Senate Judiciary Committee in the course of the night, was denounced by Democrats as being a whitewash that was too narrow in scope and ignored critical witnesses.

Thousands of anti-Kavanaugh protesters rallied beyond Supreme Court and entered a Senate workplace, holding signs along the lines of “Believe Survivors” and “Kava-Nope.” Lots of demonstrators were arrested, including actress Amy Schumer.

But Republicans moved forward with plans to get a key procedural vote on Friday and a final vote on Saturday on confirming the conservative federal appeals judge always job ahead U.S. court.

The timing from the vote could be complicated by Republican Senator Steve Daines, whose office said on Thursday he planned to go to his daughter’s wedding in Montana on Saturday, making them unavailable to cast his vote.

Republicans control the Senate by just a 51-49 margin. With Daines straight from the picture, the party would wish every other Republican to opt for Kavanaugh for him to end up being confirmed inside a Saturday vote if perhaps all Democrats oppose him.

No Republicans have said they are willing to vote against Kavanaugh, although four havenrrrt committed to supporting him.

Comments by a pair of them – Jeff Flake and Susan Collins – indicated the FBI report, that was the latest twist through the pitched political battle over Kavanaugh, often have allayed their concerns about him. Flake, a frequent Trump critic, was instrumental when you get the president to buy the FBI investigation last Friday.

Trump, himself accused by numerous women all through the 2019 presidential race of sexual misconduct, wrote on Twitter that your FBI report showed that the allegations against Kavanaugh were “totally uncorroborated.”

Collins said the FBI investigation looked to be thorough. Flake said he saw no additional corroborating information against Kavanaugh, although he was “still reading” it. Another undecided Republican, Senator Lisa Murkowski, did not present her with view on the FBI report.

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Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, truly wants to finish reading the report before he is really a decision, his spokesman Casey Contres told the Denver Post. Gardner’s spokesman do not respond to a request comment from Reuters.

While content by Flake and Collins were positive, neither explicitly announced support for Kavanaugh.

A previously undecided Democratic senator, Heidi Heitkamp, said she had vote against Kavanaugh, citing “concerns about his past conduct” and questions on his “temperament, honesty and impartiality” after his angry, defiant testimony last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator Joe Manchin, a common remaining undecided Democrat, said he would finish reading the set of Friday morning.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein noted the fact that FBI don’t interview Kavanaugh himself or Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor from California who may have accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 1982.

“It smacks to a whitewash,” Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal told reporters, saying the report probably should not give political pay for Republicans to opt for Kavanaugh because “it’s blatantly incomplete.”

Most Democrats opposed Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh from the outset. If confirmed, nevertheless deepen conservative benefits of the court. The sharply partisan battle became you’ll need stamina political drama when Ford and a other women emerged to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct with the 1980s as he was in high school and college.

‘I understand MY TONE WAS SHARP’

Ford testified a week ago at a dramatic Judiciary Committee hearing that whenever she was 15, a drunken 17-year-old Kavanaugh pinned her down, attempt to remove her clothing and covered her mouth after she screamed. Kavanaugh denied the allegation in testimony following Ford’s, painting himself as being the victim of a “political hit.”

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday, Kavanaugh said he “may have been too emotional at times” within the testimony.

Kavanaugh wrote that his testimony “reflected my overwhelming frustration at being wrongly accused.”

“I do know that my tone was sharp,” he wrote, “and i also said whatever i should not have said.”

On Thursday afternoon, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens told a gathering in Boca Raton, Florida, that Kavanaugh really should not be confirmed. Video of his remarks was shown from the C-SPAN television network.

Stevens, who had previously been appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford and who often sided with liberal justices on key rulings, said he initially thought Kavanaugh was qualified, but his “performance while in the hearings caused me to alter my mind.”

The Kavanaugh fight has riveted Americans weeks before Nov. 6 elections when Democrats wanting to take control of Congress with the Republicans.

Kavanaugh’s nomination has changed into a flashpoint in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault. The nomination battle reduced to a “he was quoted saying, she said” conflict requiring senators to make the decision between diametrically opposed accounts available from Kavanaugh and Ford.

Trump mocked Ford during a political rally in Mississippi.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

The FBI report weren’t released within the public. Senators were permitted read it in today’s world in a secure location during the Capitol, without taking notes or making copies.

A senior Senate Republican aide said there seemed to be growing confidence that Collins, Flake and Manchin – all swing votes – would support Kavanaugh. Then, that could be enough for any Trump victory.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said the Trump administration was “fully confident” Kavanaugh had the support.

Some protesters, many wearing black, crowded into your Hart Senate Office after rallying while you’re watching Supreme Court on your sunny, warm autumn day.

“I’m fed up of seeing women’s experiences not given weight,” demonstrator Christine Zagrobelny, 29, an application engineer from San francisco, said beyond your Supreme Court.

Republican leaders sounded unmoved.

“If the noise fades, in case the uncorroborated mud washes away, what’s left is definitely the distinguished nominee who stands before us,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said within the Senate floor.