The Latest: Procedural vote scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):
The Senate is poised to take a key procedural vote at 10:30 a.m. Friday on whether to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled the vote as part of the process toward a final confirmation vote this weekend.
Kavanaugh has not yet locked up the votes needed. Key undecided senators spent hours Thursday in a secure briefing room pouring over the FBI’s report on allegations of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
While most Republicans say the findings of the FBI affirmed their support for Kavanaugh, three senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have yet to announce how they will vote.
Two Republican “no” votes could sink the nomination.
Republican Sen. Steve Daines says he’s going to attend his daughter’s wedding back home in Montana on Saturday regardless of a possible weekend Senate vote on embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Daines told The Associated Press Thursday in a statement that two things are going to happen this weekend: There’s going to be a new Supreme Court justice and Daines is going to walk his daughter down the aisle.
Daines has supported Kavanaugh throughout a confirmation process that’s turned increasingly bitter following sexual misconduct allegations against the nominee. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
The senator’s spokeswoman, Katie Schoettler, says Daines read the FBI report on the allegations and saw no evidence corroborating claims made by Christine Blasey Ford and two other women.
U.S. Capitol Police say 302 people were arrested Thursday for illegally protesting inside Senate office buildings against the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
The protesters had originally planned to protest on the Capitol steps. But after police blockaded the steps, protesters headed to the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building.
The vast majority of the arrests — 293 — took place on the Hart atrium floor. Another nine people were arrested for another demonstration on the fourth floor of the adjacent Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Videos posted on social media showed comedian Amy Schumer, who spoke earlier at an anti-Kavanaugh rally, apparently being arrested. Model Emily Ratajkowski said on Twitter that she was also detained and arrested.
Sen. Susan Collins says she has finished reading an FBI report on sexual allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but she still isn’t saying how she’ll vote.
Collins visited the secure room where the report is held several times Thursday. Leaving for the last time around 6:15 p.m., she said she had “finished reading and reviewing all of the interviews” but would not comment any further. The report is a series of interviews conducted by the FBI.
The Maine Republican is one of a handful of undecided votes on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Her vote could decide his fate.
Collins would not tell reporters whether she is still undecided or when she will announce her decision. A key procedural vote is expected Friday.
A member of Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team says FBI interviewers are focusing on the wrong date.
The FBI has interviewed people who, calendar entries show, were present for a July 1, 1982, gathering of high school students, including Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
But Ford has never believed the assault occurred that night because some of those listed as having been present are people she knew well and would have remembered.
The legal team member, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private investigation, says Ford also would have told the FBI that the evening she was assaulted was just a regular night for everyone else and there was no reason they’d have remembered it.
Neither Ford nor Kavanaugh was interviewed for the reopened background investigation.
— Eric Tucker
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is quoted as saying that Brett Kavanaugh shouldn’t be confirmed to the high court because of Kavanaugh’s potential political bias.
It’s rare for a retired justice to weigh in on a pending nomination.
The Palm Beach Post reports that Stevens, in remarks to a group of retirees in Florida, suggested Kavanaugh lacked the temperament for the lifetime appointment.
Stevens, who’s praised Kavanaugh before, says he’s changed his mind about Kavanaugh for reasons unrelated to Kavanaugh’s “intellectual ability.”
Stevens is quoted as saying, “I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind.”
He says commentators have argued that Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony last week showed a potential for political bias.
And the newspaper says Stevens says he thinks “there’s merit to that criticism and I think the senators should really pay attention that.”
The 98-year-old Stevens was nominated to the court by Republican President Gerald Ford and served from 1975 to 2010.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says Democratic criticism of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is — in his words — a “demolition derby.”
Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley says Democrats have “just about destroyed a good person” by questioning Kavanaugh about sexual assault allegations against him.
Grassley and other Republicans say a confidential FBI background report sent to the Senate doesn’t corroborate the allegations.
But Democrats say the report actually raises more questions about Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school. A second woman says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her in college.
Kavanaugh denies the accusations.
Capitol Police have begun arresting about 300 protesters who staged a sit-in on the floor of a Senate office building’s atrium.
They’re demonstrating against the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
At a signal from organizers, the group began holding up signs and chanting. Others who were watching on upper floors unfurled banners that said “we believe Christine Ford.”
She’s the California college professor who testified last week at a Senate hearing that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh also testified and denied the allegations.
As police started to empty the Senate office building’s atrium, those protesters willing to be arrested sat down and began loudly chanting. Police have surrounded the protesters and are leading them off a few at a time wearing plastic cuffs
A spokesman for West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin says the Democrat won’t immediately say how he’s going to vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Manchin spokesman Jonathan Kott says there will be “no decision likely” until Friday. That’s the day when there’s a procedural vote scheduled on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (HYT’-kamp) says questions about Brett Kavanaugh’s temperament ultimately led her to decide that she’ll vote against his Supreme Court nomination.
But Heitkamp — a Democrat in a tight re-election race — also says she believes Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford “without hesitation.”
Ford is the California college professor who’s accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulted her in high school when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
And Heitkamp says a new FBI background report on Kavanaugh has “created inconsistencies” with some of the nominee’s statements.
Heitkamp says Kavanaugh’s harsh exchange with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar when she asked him at a Senate hearing last week whether he’d ever blacked out from drinking was the moment when she “really began to question his judicial temperament.”
It’s going to be a “no” vote on Brett Kavanaugh from North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp (HYT’-kamp), one of the few Democratic senators who’d been undecided on the Supreme Court nominee.
Heitkamp says in a statement that “there are many extremely qualified candidates” for the nation’s highest court and she’s ready to work with President Donald Trump “to confirm a nominee who is suited for the honor and distinction of serving this lifetime appointment.”
But there’s no sign Trump is abandoning Kavanaugh, and a procedural vote is set for the Senate on Friday.
Heitkamp has come under pressure over where she stood on Kavanaugh’s nomination. She’s facing a tight re-election race in a state that Trump won by a large margin in 2016. Her opponent is a GOP congressman, Kevin Cramer, and the race is seen as critical for Republicans’ chances to keep the Senate.
When anti-Kavanaugh protesters outside the Supreme Court heard the news about Heitkamp, they let out a huge roar.
About 3000 demonstrators have gathered outside the Supreme Court to protest Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the nation’s highest court.
The protesters include a loud contingent from Maine, and they’re calling on Susan Collins, a key Republican senator, to vote against Kavanaugh.
Collins said Thursday that the FBI appears to have conducted a “very thorough investigation” of the sexual misconduct claims against Kavanaugh.
A procedural vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination is set for Friday. He denies the allegations.
Lawyers for Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford have given FBI Director Chris Wray the names of people they say the FBI should contact to corroborate her account of having been sexually assaulted as a teenager by Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh denies the claim and is awaiting a Senate vote on his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Ford wasn’t interviewed by the FBI as part of its supplemental background investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct dating to Kavanaugh’s high school and college years. That report has been turned over to the Senate.
Lawyers for the California college professor say in their letter to Wray that the FBI hasn’t interviewed any of the people whose names they’ve provided. That includes Ford’s husband and others who, the lawyers say, Ford told about the alleged assault.
A lawyer for a former girlfriend of a key figure in the assault allegation against Brett Kavanaugh says the FBI didn’t respond to her client’s request to present evidence as part of the FBI’s background investigation into Kavanaugh.
Elisabeth Rasor is a former girlfriend of Kavanaugh prep school classmate Mark Judge.
Rasor’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, sent an affidavit last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee questioning Judge’s background, but didn’t hear back from the FBI.
Judge has denied any recollection of Christine Blasey Ford’s account that he witnessed Kavanaugh’s alleged assault on her. Kavanaugh denies the accusation.
In the document, Rasor says Judge had confessed that he and several Georgetown Prep classmates had sex with an inebriated woman. Rasor says Judge didn’t provide the names of the other classmates.
The Supreme Court confirmation fight is bringing in record donations for the Republican Party.
That’s according to a GOP official, who says the Republican National Committee and its associated groups raised more than $3 million in digital donations this past weekend — the most it’s ever raised online.
And last Saturday was the GOP’s highest single-day online fundraising haul. The official wasn’t authorized to publicly discussing the fundraising details and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The party says the fundraising is being propelled by donors anger over how allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have played out. The White House says the drama is “energizing” the GOP’s base.
Kavanaugh denies the allegations, and Senate Republicans have set a procedural vote on the nomination for Friday.
—Associated Press writer Zeke Miller.
A key undecided Republican senator on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says the FBI appears to have conducted a “very thorough investigation” of the sexual misconduct claims against Kavanaugh.
But Maine’s Susan Collins says she wants to read the report for herself.
Collins is among the few wavering senators who could decide whether Kavanaugh is confirmed for a seat on the high court.
That group includes fellow Republican Lisa Murkowski, who tells reporters she’s heading to the secure room in the Capitol complex where the FBI report is available to be read.
Other Republicans who’ve left a briefing on the report says there’s nothing in it to corroborate the allegations against Kavanaugh. He denies the accusations.
Senate Democrats say the investigation was incomplete and may have been limited by the White House.
A procedural vote on his nomination is set for Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the FBI’s background investigation of Brett Kavanaugh didn’t corroborate any of the sexual misconduct allegations against the Supreme Court nominee.
McConnell says the FBI didn’t uncover information from any witnesses to corroborate the claims against Kavanaugh, including from people his accusers named as eyewitnesses. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
McConnell says senators won’t be “hoodwinked” by those who have tried to “smear” Kavanaugh’s reputation.
The FBI’s confidential report was delivered to the Senate overnight. Senators have to read it in a secure room in the Capitol complex.
Senate Democrats says the investigation was incomplete and may have been limited by the White House.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein of California, says it appears the White House had “blocked the FBI from doing its job.”
Senate Democrats are criticizing the White House for what they say is a limited FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (FYN’-styn), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says the most notable part of report into sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh “is what’s not in it.”
Kavanaugh denies the accusations.
Feinstein says the report made available to senators on Thursday is “very limited” and she says “it looks to be a product of an incomplete investigation.”
Feinstein says the White House may have limited the probe.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says he disagrees with a statement by the committee’s GOP chairman that the report found “no hint of misconduct” by Kavanaugh.
Schumer is calling for the report to be made public as well the directive the White House gave the FBI ordering the investigation.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says there’s nothing new in the FBI’s supplemental background investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
And she says the White House is eager for the Senate to vote on the nomination.
Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
Sanders tells reporters that “we didn’t learn anything new and based on what we knew before, we felt very confident.”
She’s declining to say whether the president has read or been briefed on the FBI report. But Sanders says “the president’s aware and feels very confident in his selection and his support” of Kavanaugh.
Sanders said earlier on Fox News Channel that the politics Democrats have injected into the process has “upended our judicial system” and energized Republicans.
President Donald Trump is tweeting that “Due Process, Fairness and Common Sense are now on trial!” as the Senate considers the fate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Trump is citing the latest FBI report on Kavanaugh and says, “If we made it 100, it would still not be good enough for the Obstructionist Democrats.”
The White House says it received the FBI’s supplemental background investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh, and that the report has gone to the Senate.
Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
Trump wrote earlier that “this great life cannot be ruined by mean & despicable Democrats and totally uncorroborated allegations!”
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says the FBI found “no hint of misconduct” in its background investigation of sexual misconduct claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Sen. Chuck Grassley says he’s received a briefing from staff on the confidential report. And the Iowa Republican says in a statement that “there’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know.”
He says the FBI couldn’t find any people who could “attest to any of the allegations” against Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
The FBI report was given to the Senate overnight. Senators are reading it Thursday in a secure room in the Capitol complex, but aren’t expected to discuss specific details of what they learn.
Grassley said it’s time to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Some senators might need to wait until Friday for the chance to see the FBI report on sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
A Democratic senator says lawmakers are being told that time slots for reading the report are getting full.
Illinois’ Tammy Duckworth tells reporters that “it’s so backed up I might have to wait until tomorrow. They’re so swamped.”
Senators are expected to begin reviewing the confidential FBI report on Thursday in a secure room in the Capitol complex.
Kavanaugh denies the allegations of sexual misconduct when he was in high school and college.
The White House says it has received the FBI’s supplemental background investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and senators have enough time to review it and vote.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley tweeted early Thursday he also had received the file.
White House spokesman Raj Shah says senators “have been given ample time to review this seventh background investigation” into Kavanaugh, who denies accusations of sexual misconduct when he was in high school and college.
Shah says the White House is “confident the Senate will vote to confirm” Kavanaugh.
Democrats argue Republicans have been rushing to confirm him.
The full Senate is preparing to weigh in on Kavanaugh’s nomination with an initial vote on Friday.
The Senate Judiciary Committee says it’s received an FBI report on sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley tweeted early Thursday, “Supplemental FBI background file for Judge Kavanaugh has been received.”
Because the report is confidential, senators will not be allowed to talk about what’s in it.
Republicans agreed to ask the FBI for an additional background check on Kavanaugh after his first accuser, Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford, testified last week that he sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denies the accusation.
Ford’s attorneys have said she wasn’t contacted for an interview. But the FBI spoke to a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, who claims Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were in college. Kavanaugh says that accusation is false.
The full Senate is preparing to weigh in on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court with an initial vote on Friday.
In setting the voting process in motion, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is likely to call for a final vote over the weekend.
Allegations of sexual misconduct when Kavanaugh was in high school and college have rocked President Donald Trump’s effort to put the conservative appeals court judge on the high court. Kavanaugh denies the accusations.