Flake Requests FBI Investigation, Throwing Kavanaugh Confirmation Back in Doubt

Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/Shutterstock
September 28, 2018

By Carlo Versano

The confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, which seemed increasingly likely on Friday morning, was thrown back into doubt after key swing vote Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) requested a one-week delay on a floor vote so the FBI could complete a background investigation. With that caveat, the Senate Judiciary Committee, on a straight party line, voted to approve, 11-10.

President Trump, reacting practically in real time, said he has not thought "even a little bit" about a replacement for Kavanaugh. As for an FBI investigation, Trump said, "I'm going to let the Senate handle that."

Protesters flanked the Dirksen U.S. Senate Building Friday morning, adding another layer of drama and tension after Thursday's fiery hearings featuring Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Prof. Christine Blasey Ford.

After huddling with Democrats ー and being confronted by demonstrators ー Flake, who had just hours earlier indicated he was a "yes," said that while he supported the nomination, it was under the condition that there be a one-week delay for a full investigation. "We owe them due diligence," Flake said of Kavanaugh's named accusers, three women in total.

The implication, though not explicit, was that Flake's statement had the support of Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME). Without the three of them, the floor vote would fail. Murkowski later said she would support the delay.

As of Friday afternoon, the Committee does not have enough "yes" votes to confirm Kavanaugh.