Backing from senators puts Kavanaugh on track for U.S

Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley stops to speak briefly with the media at US Capitol on 3 October 2018

Last week, Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the early 1980s. "Big day for America!" he tweeted.

Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty ImagesBrett Kavanaugh testified in front of the Senate Judiciary committee over sexual assault allegations made against him. "I hope we can say no to mob rule by voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh".

The investigation took place after Flake requested it following testimony from Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, a group that opposes Trump's judicial nominees, said Kavanaugh would join the court "with a cloud over his head".

"We think things are moving in the right direction and we are optimistic that ultimately, we will get judge Kavanaugh confirmed for the United States Supreme Court", Sen.

That procedural move starts the clock for a final vote that could come as early as Saturday.

Today's vote is not necessarily an indicator of the outcome of tomorrow's final ballot and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Republican leaders were still not sure they had the votes needed to confirm Mr Kavanaugh, Mr Trump's second nominee to the court since he took office in January past year.

Putting Kavanaugh on the court would give Republicans a victory just weeks before the November 6 election, in which Democrats have a chance to win control of the House and are making a longer shot bid for a Senate majority.

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Three key Republican senators and one Democrat have not revealed where they are leaning ahead of the Kavanaugh vote. Swetnick, who is represented by celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, alleges that Kavanaugh was physically abusive toward girls in high school and was at a house party in 1982 where she says she was the victim of a gang rape.

In another odd twist, Montana Republican Sen. Protesters have roamed Capitol Hill corridors and grounds daily, raising anxieties and underscoring the passions the nomination fight has aroused.

"We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy", said Collins, perhaps the chamber's most moderate Republican.

Support by Collins and Manchin gives Kavanaugh at least 51 votes in the 100-member Senate for an election-season victory against the backdrop conflict of the #MeToo movement and staunch conservative support for Trump. Democrat Joe Manchin voted for cloture, which meant that Vice President Pence did not have to be brought in to break a tie.

Manchin said in a written statement, "My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced any type of sexual assault in their life". Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted not to send the nomination to the full Senate. Steve Daines said he plans to attend his daughter's wedding on Saturday and might not be available to vote then.

Democrats have taken issue with the Federal Bureau of Investigation report, which they say is rushed and incomplete, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted in his unwavering support for Kavanaugh that the charges against him are "uncorroborated".

She described "uproarious laughter" by Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh's who has said he doesn't recall such an incident. They said he also seemed ready to knock down President Barack Obama's health care law and to rule for Trump if federal authorities probing his 2016 campaign's connections to Russian Federation initiate legal action.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegation, as well as those from two other women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. He was nominated by Trump to succeed retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was seen as a swing vote on the court.

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