President Donald Trump responded Friday to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision to recommend the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but enter into a “gentlemen’s agreement” to allow the FBI to investigate sexual assault allegations against the nominee for up to a week.
“I’m going to let the Senate handle that,” Trump told reporters from the Oval Office. “They’ll make their decisions, and they do a good job. Very professional.”
“I guess the vote was a positive vote, but there seems to be a delay. I’ll learn more about it,” he added, noting he had been in meetings with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera while the Judiciary Committee was holding its hearing.
JUST IN: President Trump says he'll "let the Senate handle" the Kavanaugh nomination pic.twitter.com/xRoPshuqse
— Axios (@axios) September 28, 2018
Trump was asked what he thought of Kavanaugh sexual assault accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the committee on Thursday.
“I thought her testimony was very compelling and she looks like a very fine woman to me,” he replied. “Certainly she was a very credible witness.”
The president added, “I thought that Brett’s testimony, likewise, was really something that I haven’t seen before, it was incredible. I think it was an incredible moment in the history of our country.”
Trump predicted, “I think it will work out very well for the country.”
The Judiciary Committee’s positive vote for Kavanaugh fell along party lines, with the 11 Republicans on the committee voting for Kavanaugh and 10 Democrats voting against him.
At Friday’s hearing, Flake said that based on conversations he had with Democratic senators, “I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to, but not more than, one week in order to let the FBI do an investigation, limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there.”
“I will vote to advance the bill to the floor with that understanding,” he added.
Floor votes are set by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but Flake holds the power of a vote the Republicans will almost surely need to put Kavanaugh over the top.
The Arizona senator, who had wanted to hear from Ford before making a decision, had announced earlier Friday morning that he would be voting to confirm, CNBC reported.
“I wish that I could express the confidence that some of my colleagues have conveyed about what either did or did not happen in the early 1980s, but I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty,” he said in a statement.
He added that the presumption of innocence “is what binds us to the rule of law.”
Thus far, 48 Republican senators, including Flake, have publicly committed to voting for Kavanaugh to be confirmed.
The holdouts include Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Mike Enzi of Wyoming.
Democratic senators who are considered possible “yes” votes for Kavanaugh include Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Both voted to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last year and are up for re-election in November from states Trump handily won in 2016.
A minimum of 50 senators’ votes are needed, with Vice President Mike Pence casting a tie-breaking vote for Kavanaugh to be confirmed.
A vote is now expected by the end of next week.
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