Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, lined up behind the judge.
Arizona Republican Sens.
The Senate vote on confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is certain to be close, even if the outcome is no longer suspenseful. That’s not conclusive evidence of what they will do on Saturday, but it sure looks better for Kavanaugh’s chances than if they had voted against ending debate on the nomination. Once it was clear that Collins would be voting “yes”, the site was inundated with donations. Flake soon followed suit.
When it was her turn, Murkowski stood up, paused, and whispered “no”, her voice barely audible. Manchin voted yes minutes later.
“I do not believe these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court”, Collins said.
The 2008 vice presidential nominee said she would not seek the Republican nomination for the White House by entering what is already a crowded field. But unlike health care, this time Murkowski was alone.
In the pivotal moment Friday, Collins, perhaps the chamber’s most moderate Republican, proclaimed her support for Kavanaugh at the end of a Senate floor speech that lasted almost 45 minutes.
To cheers of supporters at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Trump declared it an “historic night”, not long after signing the paperwork to make Kavanaugh’s status official.
Collins insisted that her procedural vote for Kavanaugh in the morning had nothing to do with the decision she made in the afternoon, which was delivered through her floor speech and dispersed in writing to inboxes soon after that. The Crowdpac was created in hopes to sway Collins’ vote. “The allegations failed to meet the more-likely-than-not standard”, Collins said. Angus King, I-Maine, who spoke before him, criticizing the judge’s demeanor in his aggressive testimony last week before the Judiciary Committee. White House Counsel Don McGahn, who helped salvage Kavanaugh’s nomination as it teetered, sat in the front row of the visitors’ gallery for the vote with deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah. She told the Senate that she decried the confirmation process as a “caricature of a gutter-level political campaign” marred by “over-the-top rhetoric and distortions” of Kavanaugh’s record. Rolling Stone points out that Collins “won reelection in ME with 67 percent of the vote in 2014, but her home state support has dropped in recent months”.
Most obviously, that Murkowski is nearly certainly a “no” on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Before the sexual accusations grabbed the Senate’s and the nation’s attention, Democrats had argued that Kavanaugh’s rulings and writings as an appeals court judge raised serious concerns about his views on abortion rights and a president’s right to bat away legal probes. But she said the Federal Bureau of Investigation had found no corroborating evidence from witnesses whose names Ford had provided. Friday, that’s exactly what he did.
Asked by reporters aboard Air Force One what message he had for women across the country who feel the nomination sends a message that their allegations of sexual assault aren’t believed, Trump disagreed with the premise, saying women “were outraged at what happened to Brett Kavanaugh” and “were in many ways stronger than the men in his favor”.
As protesters chanted “Shame!” and “November is coming!” police took several dozen protesters down the steps and put them in plastic flex-cuffs.
The vice president can vote in the event of a Senate tie.
“This is a great day for America”, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News late Friday, congratulating his colleagues for “refusing to roll over under all of this intense pressure”.
Democrats also challenged Mr Kavanaugh’s honesty, temperament and ability to be nonpartisan after he fumed at last week’s Judiciary hearing that Democrats had launched a “search and destroy mission” against him fuelled by their hatred of Mr Trump.