Kavanaugh mentioned in an announcement Monday that the allegation was “utterly false” and he can be prepared to talk with lawmakers to refute it.
Republicans maintain a slim 51-49 majority within the Senate, which means they will afford to lose solely certainly one of their very own if each Democrat finally ends up voting in opposition to Kavanaugh (if it turns into 50-50, Vice President Mike Pence may step in and solid the tie-breaking vote).
Earlier than the latest allegations, a couple of red-state Democrats had indicated openness to supporting Kavanaugh. At the very least three of them — Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — are calling for the Judiciary Committee to analyze the allegations additional.
Republican leaders within the Senate seem like steadfast in persevering with with the nomination course of. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa mentioned in an announcement Monday that he is working to arrange telephone calls with Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
For now, all eyes are on the strikes of some key Republican senators.
Here is the place they stand:
Sen. Susan Collins
A reasonable Republican from Maine, Collins is usually a carefully watched senator on key votes, particularly after she lined up with GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona to sink their occasion’s effort to repeal the Inexpensive Care Act final yr.
Her feedback add stress to Republicans on the committee, which she shouldn’t be on, who’re deciding how one can navigate the rising requires Kavanaugh to reply extra questions.
Collins met with Kavanaugh on Friday after experiences emerged a couple of girl accusing him of sexual assault at a celebration after they have been youngsters. At that time, Ford had not gone public together with her allegations, solely sending a letter earlier this summer time to her congresswoman, Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, who then gave the letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the highest Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
Collins mentioned she had learn the letter final week and requested Kavanaugh about it of their assembly on Friday. Whereas he denied committing assault, as he is finished publicly, Collins mentioned he “was very emphatic” of their dialog.
Requested by CNN on Sunday whether or not she believed Ford’s account in The Put up, Collins mentioned she “was very shocked” by the report however added, “I do not know sufficient to create the judgment at this level.”
“What’s puzzling to me is the Democrats, by not bringing this out earlier, after having had this info for greater than six weeks, have managed to solid a cloud of doubt on each the professor and the choose,” she mentioned. “In the event that they believed professor Ford, why did not they floor this info earlier in order that he might be questioned about it? And in the event that they did not imagine her and selected to withhold the data, why did they determine on the eleventh hour to launch it? It’s actually not honest to both of them the way in which it’s was dealt with.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Murkowski informed CNN late Sunday night time that the Judiciary Committee might must look into the allegations and probably delay its vote this week. Whereas she considers Kavanaugh’s authorized background “very strong,” she mentioned it will solely be honest for the American public to get extra solutions. “So if there are extra questions that must be requested and answered, then I believe it will be acceptable to permit for that point,” she mentioned.
“Having mentioned that, I have not had the chance to dig additional into this,” she added.
Delaying the vote to overview the matter additional “could also be one thing the committee must look into,” she mentioned. Murkowski shouldn’t be on the committee however her vote on the Senate flooring holds important sway.
She had not but taken a place on which method she would vote, saying she’s nonetheless having conversations together with her constituents. Like Collins, Murkowski spoke with Kavanaugh on Friday.
“You could have allegations on the market that whereas they’re very previous — I grant you that — appear … to enter honest quantity of element,” she mentioned, noting that Ford had already taken a lie-detector take a look at understanding she can be topic to a large amount of scrutiny. “I do not wish to prejudge anyone, however I’m one who you are taking critically allegations of, of sexual assault. I do not know whether or not there may be any there there, however it’s my job together with 99 different members of the Senate to find out if there may be.”
Sen. Jeff Flake
Certainly one of Trump’s biggest critics within the Senate, Flake, of Arizona, is one other no-guarantee vote for Republicans on controversial points, although he has tended to aspect along with his occasion ultimately on key votes. His determination to not run for re-election has additionally allowed him better flexibility in going in opposition to his personal occasion at instances.
As a member of Judiciary Committee, the place there is a slim 11-10 Republican majority, he may have an effect on the end result of the vote. And he is saying he needs to listen to Ford’s story earlier than transferring ahead with the scheduled vote on Thursday.
“I’ve made it clear that I am not comfy transferring forward with the vote on Thursday if we’ve got not heard her aspect of the story or explored this additional,” mentioned Flake.
Even when the committee experiences an unfavorable advice to the complete Senate, Kavanaugh’s nomination may nonetheless transfer ahead. His nomination may be delivered to the ground by Republican leaders with no committee vote — a controversial step however doable.
Sen. Bob Corker
Corker, one other Trump critic and a key Republican vote for Kavanaugh who’s retiring on the finish of his time period, mentioned he believes that Kavanaugh’s accuser ought to be heard out earlier than there’s a committee vote, in keeping with spokeswoman Micah Johnson.
His workplace has but to reply to CNN’s request for added remark.
CNN reported that Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Judiciary Chairman Grassley need — and plan — to maneuver ahead with Kavanaugh’s nomination because it presently stands.
They’re too far alongside on this course of to not, and so they each assume very extremely of him, particularly after his hearings earlier in September.
To drag him would throw affirmation of anybody else previous the midterm elections and create new potential hurdles at a time when the Senate is not assured to be in Republican palms within the subsequent Congress.
What issues is what particular person Republican senators say they must be happy. If these considerations might be addressed, issues will keep on monitor — whether or not this week or within the weeks forward. If they can not, then, and solely then, there are actual issues.
Grassley mentioned Monday that he had requested Feinstein this weekend to hitch him in scheduling follow-up calls with Kavanaugh and Ford. “So far, they’ve refused,” he mentioned. “However as a vital step in evaluating these claims, I am going to proceed working to set them up.”
Republicans, in keeping with sources, hope to have the calls both Monday or Tuesday, CNN reported. Whereas they “hope” they will nonetheless have the committee vote on Thursday, they acknowledge that may slip.
CNN’s Phil Mattingly, Manu Raju, Ted Barrett, Ariane de Vogue, Steve Brusk, Greg Clary, Sunlen Serfaty, Kristin Wilson and Elizabeth Landers contributed to this report.