A final vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is expected on Saturday afternoon.
Senators are expected to vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court starting around 5 p.m. ET Saturday. Watch live in the player above.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Friday they would vote to confirm the nominee, lining up the votes Republicans need to confirm Kavanaugh to the highest court.
Kavanaugh’s nomination has been embroiled in controversy since Christine Blasey Ford came forward last month to say that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while the two were in high school. Two other women stepped forward in the days that followed with their own allegations of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied all of the allegations, including at a hearing featuring testimony from him and Ford last week.
The fallout worsened what had already become a deeply partisan confirmation process. Republicans pointed to missing details in the accounts of accusers, while Democrats largely supported the women, and after Kavanaugh’s emotional testimony in the hearing with Ford, questioned his honesty on other issues, like his personal history with drinking.
Republican Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. Chuck Grassley had resisted Democrats’ calls for a probe by the FBI, a course of action Democrats repeatedly requested, until last week, when Sen. Jeff Flake said he could not support a full Senate vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation until a supplemental background check was conducted. Several other undecided senators Republicans needed to move Kavanaugh’s nomination forward said they felt the same way, forcing President Donald Trump to order an FBI probe last Friday.
The FBI conducted a similar investigation in 1991, when Anita Hill accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. That investigation took two days, and ultimately Thomas was confirmed to the court.
The FBI concluded its investigation into Kavanaugh late Wednesday night. On Thursday, senators were allowed to view a copy of the report in a secure location at the U.S. Capitol. Democrats were unconvinced by the bureau’s findings, saying it was an incomplete investigation because several witnesses offered by Kavanaugh’s accusers, among others, were not pursued. Republicans — including Flake — said the report offered no corroborating evidence for Ford’s claims, indicating they would go on to support Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Senators voted 51-49 on a key procedural vote Friday to end debate on Kavanaugh, lining up Saturday’s final confirmation vote. Senators could still change their support in the coming day, but continued support from Collins, Flake and Manchin would push Kavanaugh’s confirmation through.