Brett Kavanaugh vote: Democrats take to Senate floor to voice opposition

Senate Votes to Move Kavanagh’s Nomination Forward

The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U. S. Supreme Court is moving forward after the Senate voted Friday to limit debate and steer the nomination to a full vote of the Senate on Saturday.

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The vote for cloture, or to limit to 30 hours the debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, passed the Senate on a 51-49 vote. The final vote, in which Kavanaugh is expected to be confirmed, will take place Saturday afternoon.

LIVE UPDATES: Kavanaugh vote: Senate readies to vote on confirmation 

Previous updates:

Update: 9:15 a.m. EDT Oct. 6: Democrats took to the Senate floor overnight to deliver speeches in opposition of Kavanaugh's nomination. As the vote tally stands now, Kavanaugh will likely be confirmed 50-48. The final vote is scheduled to take place this afternoon.

Update: 8:45 p.m. EDT Oct. 5: Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she opposes Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh but will ask to be recorded as "present" during Saturday's confirmation vote to accommodate another GOP senator who will be at his daughter's wedding in Montana.

Update: 3:54 p.m. EDT Oct. 5: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin issued a statement shortly after Sen. Collins speech saying he will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court, calls him a 'qualified jurist.'

Update: 3:51 p.m. EDT Oct. 5: Senator Susan Collins (R. - Maine) has made her announcement how she plans to vote Saturday on Judge Brent Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Collins announced Friday afternoon on the Senate floor that she will vote for the confirmation of Kavanaugh Saturday.

She voted yes Friday morning on the procedural cloture vote to move the confirmation to a vote of the full Senate Saturday.

As Collins took the podium to announce her decision, she was met by protestors yelling from the Senate gallery, "Sen. Collins, please vote no," reporters Tweeted.

Update 1:38 p.m. EDT Oct. 5: Sen. Mitch McConnell told reporters that he has had lunch with some Senate republicans and that, "We're heading towards a final vote tomorrow afternoon, and I'm optimistic," a producer and reporter with NBC News is reporting.

Earlier Sen. Ted Cruz took to social media to share his thoughts on the process that surrounded Kavanaugh's nomination.

Update 12:33 p.m. EDT Oct. 5: Susan Collins will announce how she intends to vote at 3 p.m. EDT Friday. If she votes yes, Kavanaugh's nomination will pass as long as no Republican changes the way he or she voted on the cloture motion.

Update 12:14 p.m. EDT Oct. 5: Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake says barring anything "big" happening, he will vote for the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

Update 12:07 p.m. EDT Oct. 5: Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she will not vote for Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court on Saturday. She said Friday that she does not believe he is "the right man for the court at this time."

Update 10:52 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: The vote for cloture passes on a 51-49 vote. Sens. Flake, Manchin and Collins voted yes. Sen. Murkowski voted no. Now 30 hours of debate on the nomination begins.

Update 10:46 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: The vote for cloture is now at 51-42. If no one of the yes votes change their mind, cloture will pass.

Update 10:33 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: McConnell says, "They have harmed a good man and the reputation of this institution … Facts matters, fairness matters." He urges the Senate to vote yes on his nomination. The vote is about to begin.

Update 10:31 am. EDT Oct. 5: "Witnesses didn't witness anything," McConnell said. "They have spoken to the FBI and what we know now is what we knew a week ago, there is no corroboration on these allegations. … "All the Keystone Cops were on the case."

Update 10:22 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: McConnell slams Democrats for their role in the confirmation process. He says Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, claimed that Kavanaugh did not deserve due process in the allegations of sexual assault brought against him. He says Democrats announced minutes after Kavanaugh's nomination by President Trump that they vowed to stop his confirmation and they have worked to do that.

Update 10:19 a.m. EDT Oct 5: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is speaking.

Update 10:16 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: "I do not see how my colleagues can say Kavanaugh has the temperament to serve on the Supreme Court," Schumer says. "For all the controversy, all the heavy handiness ... there's always hope the Senate can save itself."

Update 10:12 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: Schumer says Kavanaugh sees a "president cum king" when it comes to presidential powers. Schumer says Trump is currently facing investigations of his own.

Update 10:09 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: Schumer says the nomination could have come to the floor of the Senate at any time, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thwarted by his own party.

Update 10:05 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, is speaking. "The Kavanaugh nomination will go down as one of the saddest, most sordid chapters in the country's history."

Update at 10 a.m. EDT Oct. 5:  Feinstein is talking about Christine Ford's testimony. "My Republican colleagues have largely decided to ignore her testimony." She says both Ford and a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, supplied the FBI with a list of witnesses, but the FBI spoke to none of them. She ends her remarks by saying, "I do not believe that Judge Kavanaugh has earned this seat."

Update at 9:55 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: Feinstein says Kavanaugh's views on guns are a danger. She is also concerned about his views on presidential powers. "In other words, a president is above and outside the law," she said.

Update at 9:50 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: Sen. Dianne Feinstein is speaking. She says she has never seen a confirmation process like this one. Feinstein has been in the Senate since 1993. She is talking about the danger Roe v. Wade would be in if Kavanaugh is confirmed.

Update 9:49 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: "They have encouraged mob rule," Grassley says of the Democrats.

Update 9:39 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: Grassley slams Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, for "keeping secret" the letter she received from Dr. Christine Ford about allegations of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh and not bringing them up until the eve of the Judiciary Committee's vote to recommend Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. There were six times she could have done something with the letter, Grassley says. Then he lists them.

Update 9:33 a.m. EDT Oct 5: Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is speaking now in favor of Kavanaugh's nomination.

“This should have been a respectful and dignified process,” Grassley says before tearing into the Democrats.

He says what “left-wing and dark money groups” have done, “shamed us all. The fix was in,” Grassley said.

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: The Senate is in session now.

Update 9 a.m. EDT Oct. 5:  Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, won't be in Washington D.C. on Saturday, making some Republicans a little nervous.

Daines’ daughter’s wedding is scheduled for Saturday in Montana. Normally, that would not be an issue for the Senate, but on Saturday, senators will likely be voting on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

And, as it is often in life, the math could be the problem.

If all the senators (100) are present and voting and all the Republicans vote for Kavanaugh, his nomination will pass 51-49.

If Daines is out, and all Republicans vote for Kavanaugh’s nomination, the vote would be 50-49, still a win for Kavanaugh. However, if Daines is not there, and one of the three Republican senators – Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – decides to vote against Kavanaugh, his nomination would fail. None of the three senators have declared as to how they will vote.

In another scenario, one of the three GOP senators in question could vote no and the nomination could still pass if a Democrat, such as Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia, votes for Kavanaugh. Manchin has not declared how he intends to vote.

Or, if it appears Kavanaugh’s nomination is in danger, the vote could be held open until Daines could get back to D.C. from his daughter’s wedding.

Update 7:40 a.m. EDT Oct. 5: The vote for cloture, or to end debate on Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, is set to take place on Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. We will have live updates on the vote here.

Update 8 p.m. EDT Oct. 4: Judge Brett Kavanaugh made a direct appeal to public opinion in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal Thursday night.

Update 7:17 p.m. EDT Oct. 4: At least one Republican senator will be absent Saturday from a potential Senate confirmation vote on Brett Kavanaugh.

Republican Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) told The Associated Press Thursday he will be attending his daughter’s wedding back home in Montana on Saturday.

Daines has been a supporter of Kavanaugh and said through his spokeswoman that he didn’t find anything in the FBI report to corroborate sexual assault allegations against the judge.

Daines vote may not matter, if Senate Republicans have 50 votes without him. If they loose any of the crucial votes they need like Maine’s Susan Collins or Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, then they would have to postpone the vote until next week.

Update 5:35 p.m. EDT Oct. 4: A retired U.S. Supreme Court judge on Thursday said he does not support the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens told a crowd of retirees in Florida that Kavanaugh lacks the temperament for the job, and does not belong on the Supreme Court, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Stevens said he once thought Kavanaugh had the qualifications for the job, but changed his mind after watching the hearings last Thursday.

Update 5:15 p.m. EDT Oct. 4: Women are protesting the nomination and impending vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington and in other cities, as well.

At the Hart Senate Office Building, protesters were arrested Wednesday afternoon after staging a demonstration against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Meantime, four senators are crucial in seating Kavanaugh on the high court: Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Manchin told reporters as he was leaving Thursday that he plan on finishing his review of the FBI probe Friday morning.

It’s still unclear how Collins, Murkowsi or Flake plan to vote and they, along with Manchin, are considered crucial key votes in whether Kavanaugh is ultimately confirmed.

Update 4 p.m. EDT Oct. 4: A protest against Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court took shape around noon in Washington D.C. as it looked more likely that he would be seated on the high court.

Protesters gathered outside of the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington and chanted and marched through the city’s streets. By 4 p.m., the protesters packed the Hart Senate Office Building.

"We anticipate a vote on the Senate floor to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as early as Friday," #CANCELKAVANAUGH organizer, Party Majority PAC, wrote on the the group’s website. "It is critical we make our voices heard on the ground in Washington on Thursday."

According to USA Today, Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer and Whoopi Goldberg were expected to make appearances at the event.

Update 3 p.m. EDT Oct. 4: Republican senators Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Thom Tillis, John Cornyn and Mike Lee talked to reporters Thursday afternoon in support of Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, hours after the supplemental FBI investigation into charges of sexual misconduct was provided to the White House.
Senators have spent the day reading the report in a secured room in the Capitol.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell said the FBI report did not corroborate any allegations against Kavanaugh, and that there was nothing Republicans could do to “satisfy the Democrats.”

The senators spoke for about 20 minutes, taking turns pledging their support to Kavanaugh and his confirmation. Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said he “feels good” about Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Not because of the votes needed for confirmation, he said, but because of Kavanaugh ’s qualifications to sit on the court.

Grassley also denounced delaying tactics from Democrats, and Hatch said he was “disappointed in his Democratic colleagues.”

Update at 2:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 4: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, says she will vote no on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, according to the Associated Press.

Update at 2:12 p.m. EDT Oct. 4:  Who can see the FBI report on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and how do they go about doing it? There are rules for the senators to view the report.

According to The Associated Press, the rules for keeping investigations confidential grew out of an agreement governing background checks dating from the Obama administration.

Here are a few of the rules:

  • All 100 senators can see the report. There are nine staff members – from both parties – who also have access to the report.
  • There is one copy and it is being held in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility – or SCIF.
  • The senators come to that room to read it.
  • Each party has an hour in the room for a group of their members to read the report, then the other party gets an hour.
  • Senators may not bring cell phones into the room.
  • Senators are not supposed to discuss what they read in any detail.

Update 12:08 p.m. EDT Oct. 4According to The Hill website, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, R, says he saw nothing in the FBI report that corroborates allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

"Thus far, we've seen no new credible corroboration — no new corroboration at all," Flake said of the report.

Flake's comments came after fellow Republican Susan Collins of Maine told CNN that the FBI's report "appears to be a very thorough investigation."

Flake’s and Collins’ votes will likely determine if Kavanaugh is confirmed by the Senate for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Update 11:31 a.m. EDT Oct. 4: Senate Democrats are saying that the just-released supplemental FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is incomplete. According to a story from The Washington Post, several top Senate Democrats say they believe the FBI was constrained by the White House as to what they could investigate.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, told journalists that the report was a “product of an incomplete investigation,” the Post reported.

Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York, said he disagreed with Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. Grassley said earlier Thursday that after reading the report her felt there was "no hint of misconduct.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, called for an end to the confirmation process and a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“It’s time to put this embarrassing spectacle behind us,” McConnell said. “The American people are sick of this display that's been put on here in the United States Senate in the guise of a confirmation process.”

Update 10:08 a.m. EDT Oct. 4:

Chuck Grassley, chairman of the the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday that there is “No hint of misconduct” in the confidential FBI report on sexual misconduct claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The AP is reporting that Grassley has read the full report and found “nothing we didn’t already know.”

Update 9:53 a.m. EDT Oct. 4: A White House official has confirmed that the FBI interviewed nine people in its supplemental inquiry of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, National Public Radio is reporting.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was not one of the people interviewed, according to her attorney.

Update 8:47 a.m. EDT Oct. 4: From reporter Jamie Dupree:

Update 5:33 a.m. EDT Oct. 4: The Senate Judiciary Committee has received the report from an FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, according to its chairman.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted early Thursday that the "Supplemental FBI background file for Judge Kavanaugh has been received."

The FBI delivered the report to the White House late Wednesday.

According to The Associated Press, early Thursday, Grassley will read the full report on the allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Ford when the two were in high school and that he engaged in sexual misconduct when he was a student at Yale University.

The other members of the committee will then be given the report to read.

Update 2:33 a.m. EDT Oct. 4: The FBI's report on Kavanaugh has been given to the White House and is on the way to the Senate, spokesman Raj Shah tweeted early Thursday.

"The White House has received the Federal Bureau of Investigation's supplemental background investigation into Judge Kavanaugh, and it is being transmitted to the Senate," Shah's statement read.

"With Leader McConnell's cloture filing, Senators have been given ample time to review this seventh background investigation," the statement continued. "This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history, which includes extensive hearings, multiple committee interviews, over 1,200 questions for the record and over a half million pages of documents. With this additional information, the White House is fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court."

Update 10:10 p.m. EDT Oct. 3: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled a key procedural  vote on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Mitch McConnell just filed cloture (which starts the clock on the confirmation vote) and we haven’t (as of now) even seen the FBI report yet,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said in a social media post Wednesday night .

A cloture vote ends debate on the nomination and, if it passes, moves the nomination on to the confirmation vote by the Senate.

Once cloture is invoked, the Senate takes a series of steps to cut off debate on the nomination and move toward a vote.

Democrats are angry because they haven’t seen a report, yet, on the FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

McConnell said the report will be available to lawmakers late Wednesday.

Update 9:15 p.m. EDT Oct. 3: The nation's largest  coalition of churches is calling for the withdrawal of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, according to news reports.

More than 40 denominations, including Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Christians, are part of the National Council of Churches.

Organization officials said in a statement on their website that they believe Kavanaugh has "disqualified himself from this lifetime appointment and must step aside immediately," according to The Hill.

The statement cited Kavanaugh’s behavior during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last Thursday into sexual assault allegations against him.

“Judge Kavanaugh exhibited extreme partisan bias and disrespect towards certain members of the committee and thereby demonstrated that he possesses neither the temperament nor the character essential for a member of the highest court in our nation,” according to the statement.

Organization officials also said that there were "several misstatements and some outright falsehoods" in his testimony about Christine Blasey Ford's allegations of sexual assault, but the group cited other concerns about Kavanaugh's nomination, as well, including a "troubling political record" on issues such as "voting rights, racial and gender justice, health care and environmental protections."

Update 2:40 p.m. EDT Oct. 3: Senate Republicans expect to receive results of the latest FBI background investigation into U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as early as Wednesday afternoon.

The second-ranking Senate Republican, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, says he hopes "we'll see it (the report) soon, perhaps as early as today," according to a story from the Associated Press.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell  is expected to file cloture on Kavanaugh's nomination after the FBI report is submitted. The motion would cut off debate and  move the nomination closer to a vote by the full Senate.

 Update 11:45 a.m. EDT Oct. 3: The lawyer for Julie Swetnick, the third woman who has publicly accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, says now a fourth woman has come forward claiming Kavanaugh was a heavy drinker in his teens who spiked the drinks of women at parties.

Michael Avenatti tweeted on Wednesday that his new client has said in a sworn statement that while she and Kavanaugh were in high school, the two crossed paths at 20 or more parties an that she saw him “spike” the “punch” at those parties, in addition to acting “inappropriate” toward women.

Avenatti said his new client would be “fully willing” to speak to the FBI about Kavanaugh. She was not named on Wednesday and her personal information was redacted from the statement posted.

Update 8:38 a.m. EDT Oct. 3: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said the FBI's supplemental background check into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should be completed in enough time to have the Senate vote on Kavanaugh's nomination by the weekend.

USA Today is reporting that "Multiple media reports, citing unnamed sources, said the investigation could be completed Wednesday."

McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that “We’ll have an F.B.I. report this week, and we’ll have a vote this week.”

For a confirmation vote to be held by Saturday, a petition for cloture, or a vote to end debate on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, would have to happen on Wednesday.

The vote on the cloture petition would be taken on Friday and if it passes, a vote on the nomination would take place on Saturday, after up to 30 hours of debate on the nomination.

Update 5:55 a.m. EDT Oct. 3:

Attorneys for two of the women who have accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct say they have not been contacted by the FBI concerning the agencies reopened background investigation of the Supreme Court nominee.

Lawyers for Dr. Christine Ford said they sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray to find out why they had not yet been contacted for an interview for the investigation some say is expected to conclude on Wednesday or Thursday.

Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when the two were teenagers.

John Clune, an attorney for Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to publicly accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, said he had not heard back from the FBI about a witness list he provided the agency. Clune said the 20 people of the list could help corroborate Ramirez’s story.

Clune said Ramirez was interviewed by the FBI on Sunday.

Update 5:22 a.m. EDT Oct. 3: President Donald Trump mocked Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford at a campaign rally in Southaven, Mississippi, on Tuesday night.

"How did you get home? 'I don't remember,'" Trump, imitating Ford, told the crowd, according to The Associated Press. "How did you get there? 'I don't remember.' Where is the place? 'I don't remember.' How many years ago was it? 'I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.'"

Ford, who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, said Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denied the claims.

Michael Bromwich, Ford’s lawyer, said Trump’s words were “a vicious, vile and soulless attack” on his client.

"She is a remarkable profile in courage," Bromwich wrote on Twitter. "He is a profile in cowardice."

Original report: Three former clerks for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sent a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about their concerns over the sexual assault and lewd behavior allegations against him, according to news reports.

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In a letter to committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking member Dianne Feinstein clerks Will Dreher, Bridget Fahey and Rakim Brooks -- who all previously said Kavanaugh was "great" -- said they wanted to "clarify" their previous remarks about "positive experiences with the Judge as a boss and a mentor on the D.C. Circuit," The Huff Post reported.

The clerks said they wanted to clarify what they thought about Kavanaugh now, because committee members had used their positive words about the nominee from letters they sent before the serious accusations arose, and made it seem like the previous remarks were their response to the allegations.

"We write to clarify, like many Americans, we have been deeply troubled by those allegations and the events surrounding them and were encouraged by the initiation of a formal FBI investigation, which we believe is warranted," the trio said in the letter.

They also said they hoped the investigation would be “independent and thorough.”

Three women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct or lewd behavior when he was in high school and college.

Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the charges, but the White House authorized a new weeklong FBI investigation into the allegations Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already said he plans to hold a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination before week's end.