Key senators undecided as Senate poised to vote on Kavanaugh

McConnell takes key step toward vote on Kavanaugh nomination

McConnell takes key step toward Kavanaugh vote

In his testimony, Kavanaugh complained about "a calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election".

During the hearing where he defended himself against sexual misconduct allegations from Christine Blasey Ford and two other women, Kavanaugh denied the accusations and launched into a lengthy attack on Democrats.

During an interview Friday morning on NPR, White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec echoed that view, saying: "We are confident Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed".

"His performance in the hearings changed my mind", said Stevens, a lifelong Republican.

On Thursday, thousands of protesters marched on the Supreme Court and the Hart Senate Office Building bearing signs that said "Believe Survivors" and "Kava-Nope" while chanting against the candidate.

More than 300 people were arrested at the protests, including the comedian Amy Schumer, who is a second cousin of Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer, and model Emily Ratajkowski.

Kavanaugh's testimony was a disturbing and disrespectful break from judicial norms, she said.

"This investigation found no hint of misconduct", Senate Judiciary Committee chairperson Chuck Grassley said in a statement.

Under rules approved a year ago, 50 votes are needed for a majority in the procedural vote, which will be followed by a debate on the nomination before a final, definitive confirmation vote.

Republicans hold 51 seats in the Senate and changed Senate rules past year to end filibusters for Supreme Court nominees.

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But crucially, two key Republican senators who are yet to say how they will vote - Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of ME - made positive comments about the probe, which was taken by some to be a sign that they were leaning towards a "yes".

Trump, himself accused by numerous women during the 2016 presidential race of sexual misconduct, wrote on Twitter that the Federal Bureau of Investigation report showed that the allegations against Kavanaugh were "totally uncorroborated".

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., listens to reporter's questions on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018 in Washington.

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

Feinstein is the top Democrat on the committee and made her remarks as the Senate opened for a key test vote to advance Kavnaugh's nomination. "Those fears have been realised". Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell said there would be "plenty of time" for senators to review the material before Friday's cloture vote. Just a single copy of the report was produced, and that was not made public.

The op-ed comes as some have questioned whether he can remain politically neutral on the court after the Democratic Party launched a vicious smear campaign against him that dominated national headlines for almost three weeks.

It was a day when you could not tell who was winning by watching them. Kavanaugh has been accused by three women of sexual misconduct while he was a student at Yale and Georgetown Preparatory, an elite Jesuit high school.

Democrat defector Mr Manchin represents a traditionally Republican state that Mr Trump won by a landslide.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski - the other undecided Republican - joined them in there at one point, meaning the three lawmakers holding Kavanaugh's fate in their hands were in the room at the same time.

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