US Senate braces for Kavanaugh vote after mass arrests

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Flake frustrated some in the GOP by siding with his Democratic colleagues and insisting that they should not have a full vote on Kavanaugh until there was a week-long FBI investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.

"The issues of sexual assault and sexual abuse are just very raw right now for Alaskans, and because the rates are so high, more and more people are finding their voice to say, 'Stop ignoring us, '" Johnson says.

A final confirmation vote is expected Saturday afternoon.

"I think what Susan did today was rise to the occasion when the stakes were so high", said Sen.

Democrats, meanwhile, solidified their caucus's opposition to Kavanaugh, an appellate judge whose elevation to the Supreme Court could cement a decidedly conservative majority for decades.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate.

With Collins voting yes, Kavanaugh's confirmation is all but certain. This was a cloture vote, ending floor debate on the nomination. But it wasn't clear at the time that she would be a "yes"' for the nominee.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh becomes emotional as he testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018.

Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July to succeed retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, a move that triggered an intense partisan battle over the court's future well before the first allegation of misconduct surfaced from Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a suburban Maryland home when they were teenagers. Given the opportunity to speak to these allegations before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh displayed no sensitivity to the rights of women who come forward with allegations of sexual violence.

Flake's "yes" vote - combined with his comments Thursday that the FBI's supplemental investigation had been thorough and provided no corroborating evidence of the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez - suggest he will nearly certainly be a "yes" on final confirmation.

Supreme-Court-Kavanaugh-52
The U.S. Supreme Court is seen at near sunset in Washington Thursday Oct. 4 2018. ASSOCIATED PRESS

"Fairness would dictate that the claims (by Ford) at least should meet a threshold of "more likely than not" as our standard", she said during her floor speech.

More than 100 women flew from Alaska to Washington, D.C. with the ACLU this week to lobby Murkowski in person, demanding that she listen to sexual assault survivors and vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation.

"I have extended this as a courtesy to my friend", she added.

The nomination now hangs on the decisions of Collins, Murkowski, Flake and Manchin.

Dianne Feinstein of California, the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, said Kavanaugh's testimony at last week's dramatic hearing should "worry us all", citing what she called "a hostility and belligerence that is unbecoming" of a Supreme Court nominee.

The nominee has repeatedly denied he assaulted anyone.

That is because U.S. Sen. Murkowski sat solemnly during the roll call and whispered "No" when it was her turn to vote. Brett Kavanaugh will, in all likelihood, be elected to the Supreme Court tomorrow evening.

"This is all going to work out", Daines told reporters Friday morning at the Capitol. "There are things in here that really make me angry".

Which leaves Collins and Manchin. Her announcement left only one Democrat undecided: West Virginia's Joe Manchin. But he said he will because he considers Kavanaugh a "qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution".

GOP Senator: Send Criminal Referral Regarding Kavanaugh Accuser Swetnick
These are details that resemble Ford's story so closely it raises suspicion (of Swetnick, not of Kavanaugh). Kavanaugh was not arrested for the incident after police spoke with him.

Did Trump say ‘thanking’ or ‘thinking’ to this reporter?
During the Washington, D.C. event, Trump spoke to several female reporters in a manner that drew criticism online. Vega later tweeted about the president's attempts to push her question.

Chinese and U.S. warships in South China Sea close encounter
The Chinese defence ministry said it opposes the USA warship's entry into the waters "around China's islands and reefs". Meanwhile, China has canceled two high-level security meetings with U.S. defence officials in the past week.

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