Joe Manchin, a Democrat, to Vote Yes to Confirm Brett Kavanaugh

Representative Image

Representative Image

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is acknowledging he "might have been too emotional" in Senate testimony but says he can be counted on to be an "even-keeled" judge.

The White House specifically requested Federal Bureau of Investigation interviews with four people: Kavanaugh's high school friends Mark Judge and P.J. Smyth; Leland Keyser, who Ford claimed was at the party where the alleged assault took place; and Ramirez, whose lawyers provided a list of more than 20 additional witnesses to interview.

A hefty police presence added an air of anxiety, as did thousands of noisy anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators who gathered outside the Supreme Court and in Senate office buildings. More than 300 were arrested on Thursday.

Two Republican "no" votes could sink the nomination.

With Republicans controlling the chamber by a narrow 51-49, Collins' "yes" vote essentially assured a minimum of 50 votes for Kavanaugh.

Republicans appear to be cruising to a 51-49 victory for Kavanaugh's confirmation vote, which could come as early as Saturday.

"Collins and Flake voted yes, while Murkowski voted no after changing her mind on the way to the Senate hearing and deciding that Kavanaugh, whom she called 'a good man", wasn't the right man for the job.

It's not a huge surprise that Manchin voted for Trump's nominee considering he's running for reelection in a state the president won by almost 42 percentage points over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Still, Collins said, the allegations "fail to meet the "more likely than not" standard", and "I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court". If you have an objection to how the FBI conducts its investigation, take it up with Director Wray. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Kavanaugh's most ardent supporters. If the Senate goes forward with the vote on Saturday, Kavanaugh's confirmation process will have lasted 88 days, which is the eighth-longest and the longest since Reagan nominated sitting Justice William H. Rehnquist to replace Warren Burger as chief justice in 1986. "Our original report must be read in conjunction with the foregoing". A spokesperson for Murkowski did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

In a statement on his decision to vote for Kavanaugh, Manchin expressed "reservations" against supporting him given the serious nature of the allegations against him, but said that based on the "information" available, he feels the Supreme Court nominee is a "qualified jurist".

West Virginia's Joe Manchin, the other undeclared Democrat, spent time looking at the report and said he would resume reading it on Friday. Republicans said the new interviews offered no corroboration of Ford's claim and said Kavanaugh had been thoroughly vetted.

Most Democrats opposed Trump's nomination of Kavanaugh from the outset. If confirmed, Kavanaugh could tip the court's balance toward conservatives for a generation. The sharply partisan battle became an intense political drama when Ford and two other women emerged to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the 1980s when he was in high school and college.

At one point, Murkowski told reporters it was "the most hard evaluation of a decision that I've ever had to make". Kavanaugh wrote that his testimony "reflected my overwhelming frustration at being wrongly accused".

Mr Trump mocked Dr Ford on Tuesday during a political rally in MS, further angering Democrats and women campaigning for an end to sexual violence.

If Manchin had voted no, would that have sunk Kavanaugh?

In the Capitol, however, both senators won praise from their colleagues.

Another, Republican Lisa Murkowski, said she had not made up her mind on her final vote but suggested she might oppose Mr Kavanaugh.

Initially, it was unclear whether that meant he would support Trump's nominee to the nation's highest court. Instead, she said, he cut a judicious path through thorny issues, showing respect for precedent and an aversion to judicial adventures.

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