‘Absolutely nothing’ to prove claims against Kavanaugh, confirmation to proceed - Senate GOP

A previously undecided Democratic Senator, Heidi Heitkamp, said she would vote against Kavanaugh, citing "concerns about his past conduct" and questions about his "temperament, honesty and impartiality" after his angry, defiant testimony a week ago to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and five other Senate Republicans called for the vote after Senators from both sides of the aisle spent the day reviewing the FBI's background investigation into Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

Blasey Ford testified last week that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party in the early 1980s while they were in high school.

The reports are not expected to be made public.

Ford's allegations were accompanied by unverified and salacious claims from two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, with the latter accusing Kavanaugh of gang rape in a sworn statement before walking back on the claim in a TV interview. Sen.

President Donald Trump, pushing to get his nominee for a lifetime job on the top USA court, said in a Twitter post on Thursday after the FBI finished its investigation that the allegations against Kavanaugh were "totally uncorroborated".

"The most notable part of this report is what's not in it", the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein of California, said.

Sen. Joe Donnelly of IN, another red-state Democrat, has said he will vote no on Kavanaugh.

Republicans see Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation saga as a shot in the arm to their efforts to maintain control of the Senate, claiming their base is being energized by the Democrats' treatment of the Supreme Court nominee.

"I've now received a committee staff briefing on the FBI's supplement to Judge Kavanaugh's background investigation file", he said.

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Lawyer Alan Abramson said he represented a friend of Ramirez's who was hoping to share an account of a conversation the two had in the early 1990s about an incident in her freshman year. But privately, the White House restricted the Federal Bureau of Investigation from delving deeply into Kavanaugh's youthful drinking and exploring whether he had lied to Congress about his alcohol use, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.

Democrats claimed throughout the week that the FBI's additional background check was not sufficient due to its limited scope.

The eyes of the polarized nation are riveted on three Republican and one Democratic senator who aren't saying, so far, whether they are ayes or nays on the politically fateful question of whether Brett Kavanaugh should sit on the Supreme Court.

Flake, the third Republican swing vote, said there was "no time and no place for remarks like that".

Accused by Republicans of running a smear campaign, Democrats' anti-Kavanaugh efforts seem to have united and galvanized Republican voters ahead of November's midterm elections. Senator Murkowski called Trump's speech "wholly inappropriate" and "unacceptable". Mimicking Ford, he said, "I had one beer!"

With Republicans clinging to a 51-49 Senate majority and five senators - including three Republicans - still publicly undeclared, the conservative jurist's prospects of Senate confirmation could hinge largely on the file's contents.

McConnell said the Senate can not become known for destroying the reputations of nominees based on uncorroborated allegations from 40 years ago. "I think that what they've done is clearly try to unleash a bunch of false charges to destroy Judge Kavanaugh", she told Fox's Brian Kilmeade.

Speaking to reporters after reviewing the FBI report, Collins said it "appears to be a very thorough investigation".

The three senators criticised Mr Trump after he mocked Prof Ford at a rally on Tuesday for not recalling some details of the alleged assault.

Ford accused Kavanaugh of pinning her down, trying to remove his clothing and covering her mouth when she screamed.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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