US President Donald Trump ordered a new FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against his Supreme Court pick Friday, as the Senate delayed a vote on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to make way for the probe. However, Republicans have slim majorities in both the committee and the Senate and can't afford defections in the face of near-unanimous Democratic opposition.
In a dramatic turn of events earlier Friday, Sen.
Although Gallagher and Archila had both kept their personal experiences with assault mostly private for years, they say that Flake's initial announcement that he would vote to approve Kavanaugh stirred them to action.
The Kavanaugh senate confirmation hearing has divided women across the country. Senator Flake had announced earlier in the day he supported Kavanaugh's nomination, prompting a woman to angrily confront him as he entered a Capitol elevator.
Later in the day, Trump ordered the FBI to reopen its investigation into Kavanaugh's background and the Senate, by voice vote, took an initial step to move ahead with the nomination. Kavanaugh told the Senate panel that he had gone through six background checks, "six separate FBI background investigations over 26 years".
Mr Kavanaugh is accused by Christine Blasey Ford of sexually assaulting her decades ago.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee's senior Democrat, called Kavanaugh's testimony unseemly for a judicial nominee.
The letter comes after emotional testimony from Ford and Kavanaugh about the allegation at a committee hearing Thursday. Jeff Flake's office in Phoenix, and a sit-in at Sen. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote if the Senate is evenly split. I'm a conservative, he's a conservative judge. She's accused Kavanaugh and Judge of "abusive" behavior toward women and of being present at a party where she was raped. He submitted a calendar into evidence that he was not with Ford the night that the alleged incident took place.
Kavanaugh was one of the lawyers working with independent counsel Ken Starr and helped author the report that led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. Other Republicans and Democrats came in and out.
The surprising twist came when Arizona Republican Jeff Flake asked for a one-week delay in the floor vote, to allow for a one-week FBI investigation into Ford's claims.
Flake later said he knew his Republican colleagues Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME - key swing votes on Kavanaugh - would feel more comfortable moving ahead if there were an Federal Bureau of Investigation review.
She begged Flake to look her in the eye. She is running for re-election in a state that voted heavily for Trump.
He said he would stick to his promise to support Kavanaugh's nomination in the committee vote, but under one condition: That there be an FBI investigation of Ford's allegations. He does not have the veracity nor temperament for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in our nation. Donnelly, like many other Democratic lawmakers, called for the FBI to investigate the allegations.
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