Murkowski and Manchin were two of the final holdouts on how they would vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation, along with Republican Sens.
Deborah Ramirez says the Senate is "looking the other way" when it comes to her accusation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were students at Yale.
The announcements Friday by Republican Susan Collins of ME and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia came after weeks of shocking accusations, hardball politics and Capitol protests.
In a September 27 hearing at which Kavanaugh later testified, Ford said Kavanaugh restrained her on a bed, groped her over her clothes, tried to remove her clothing and a swimsuit underneath them, and clamped his hand over her mouth when she screamed.
The dramatic Senate floor announcement by perhaps the chamber's most moderate Republican ended most of the suspense over a tortuous, election-season battle that had left Kavanaugh's fate in doubt for almost a month after the first accusation against him. (Republicans now have a 51 to 49 seat majority in the Senate, and they will likely keep control of the chamber in November).
"Thank you @SenatorCollins for standing by your convictions and doing the right thing to confirm Judge Kavanaugh", Sanders wrote. "I also think that we're at a place where we need to be thinking again about the credibility and integrity of our institutions", she told reporters.
In a Senate speech that was disrupted by protesters before it began and met with applause from GOP senators when it ended, Collins declared, "I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh". "I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him", Manchin said in a statement. If confirmed, Kavanaugh could tip the court's balance toward conservatives for a generation.
Feinstein has denied that her office leaked the letter containing Ford's accusation, but the senator has faced scrutiny over the optics of the allegation becoming public just as Kavanaugh appeared to be on track for a smooth confirmation. Democrats hope that the roll call, exactly a month from elections in which House and Senate control are in play, will prompt infuriated women and liberals to stream to the polls to oust Republicans. Another 101 protesters were arrested Friday, the U.S. Capitol Police said. Once it was clear that Collins would be voting "yes", the site was inundated with donations.
When asked Friday whether the Senate can move beyond this bitter battle, Shelby, who is serving in his sixth term, said: "We always do in some form, but we'll have to see". Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted against the procedural measure.
Jenna Lowenstein, a Democratic digital strategist who worked for Hillary Clinton's campaign, also said she had enlisted 75 political staffers to help elect Collins's future challenger. They said he also seemed ready to rule for Trump if federal authorities probing allegations of connections between the president's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation tried to pursue him in court.
Indeed, Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, indicated he would be open to investigating Kavanaugh after he's confirmed.
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