Update, 2:30 p.m.: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) struck a deal with Democrats on the committee, declaring, as he voted Thursday afternoon to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the floor of the Senate that he would not support Kavanaugh in the floor vote unless there was an FBI investigation, lasting no more than one week, into the sexual misconduct claims already before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The gambit, which requires Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s approval, will only succeed if the other undecided senators — including Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — also withhold their votes. Without those three, and absent and Democratic senators crossing the aisle, McConnell lacks the votes to confirm Kavanaugh.
Moments before the Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on whether or not to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and just minutes after Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced he would support Kavanaugh’s nomination, Flake was confronted inside an elevator on Capitol Hill.
The senator was pelted with questions about the urgency to advance the nomination from a barrage of angry and disappointed women and men holding camera phones up to capture his reaction. “I need to go to the hearing,” Flake told them.
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 28, 2018
The outgoing Arizona was confronted again as he tried to exit the elevator. Sobbing, a woman who said she was a victim of assault, asked Flake to look her in eye and tell her she didn’t matter. “That’s what you’re telling all of us,” the woman said. “That’s what you’re telling me right now.”
A sexual assault survivor just confronted Jeff Flake (who just announced he's voting for Kavanaugh): "Don't look away from me! Look at me and tell me that it doesn't matter what happened to me, that you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land" pic.twitter.com/Jix2BI090B
— David Mack (@davidmackau) September 28, 2018
Flake, hands in his pockets, averted his eyes. “Look at me when I’m talking to you,” the woman said. “You’re telling me that my assault doesn’t matter. That what happened to me doesn’t matter and that you’re going to let people who do these things into power. That’s what you’re telling me when you vote for him.”
The senator didn’t answer. He headed into the committee meeting, where he voted against a last-minute motion from Democrats to subpoena Mark Judge, an old friend of Kavanaugh’s and the alleged witness to Christine Blasey Ford’s assault, and in support of a motion scheduling a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination at 1:30 p.m.
Four of the committee’s 10 Democrats, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), walked out of the meeting in protest.