As vote looms, Kavanaugh makes final argument


Carrying signs that read "Women must be heard" or simply "Kava Nope", protesters marched from Washington's District Court to the steps of high court, chanting along the way.

Trump, who Tuesday scornfully mocked Ford's Judiciary panel testimony, tweeted that Kavanaugh's "great life can not be ruined by mean" and "despicable Democrats and totally uncorroborated allegations!"

The Senate is split 51 Republicans to 49 Democrats and independents. "There's nothing in it that we didn't already know".

Kavanaugh's op-ed follows recent comments from retired Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens on the confirmation process.

Much of the focus Thursday will be on the reactions of three Republicans whose votes are considered key to Kavanaugh's fate: Flake, Collins and Lisa Murkowski, Alaska.

A second undeclared Republican, Susan Collins of ME, also expressed satisfaction with the probe, calling it "a very thorough investigation" and paid two visits to the off-limits room where the document was being displayed to lawmakers.

Democrats complained that the investigation was shoddy, omitting interviews with numerous potential witnesses, and accused the White House of limiting the FBI's leeway. Incumbent Democrats Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Jon Tester in Montana have both said they will vote against Kavanaugh.

Ms Feinstein said the White House may have limited the probe.

California university professor Christine Blasey Ford testified last week that Kavanaugh groped her and attempted to take her clothes off in what she believed was a rape attempt when they were teenagers decades ago. The majority staff on the committee interviewed - under penalty of felony - individuals likely to have knowledge of claims against Kavanaugh.

Late in the day, with Collins praising the reach of the brief FBI investigation and Flake indicating he had seen nothing incriminating in the results, the pro-Kavanaugh forces appeared closer to the prize.

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The man noticed Ludington, Kavanaugh and the others looking at him and - according to Ludington - aggressively asked them to stop. The Republicans have allowed a one-week FBI investigation to go ahead and then the Senate will vote on his nomination.

He added: "It's time to vote".

Friday's vote is a procedural one to end the debate, and some fence-sitting senators could conceivably vote to advance Kavanaugh's nomination but still hold out their support ahead of a final confirmation roll call over the weekend.

"This process has been ruled by fear and anger and underhanded gamesmanship for too long", McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor.

"Heidi Heitkamp just sided with liberals Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to obstruct President Trump and oppose the exceptionally qualified Judge Brett Kavanaugh", said Jake Wilkins, a spokesman for the North Dakota GOP, in a statement, referring to the Democratic leaders of the Senate and House.

She and other Democrats blamed the White House, speculating that the president's aides issued orders preventing Federal Bureau of Investigation agents from talking to certain people. There are plenty of Trump nominations for the coming weeks, however.

Kavanaugh explained that he met with "65 senators and explained my approach to the law". As the women yelled at him from the hallway, Hatch waved and told them to "grow up" as he entered an elevator surrounded by aides.

For his part, Kavanaugh testified he was "100 percent certain" none of the alleged incidents of sexual misconduct occurred. The FBI interviewed only 10 people.

They include three people Blasey Ford says were in the house at the time of the party. "I tried to yell for help", Ford said, adding that Kavanaugh and a friend of his, Mark Judge, were "drunkenly laughing during the attack".

As they mulled Kavanaugh, a Democrat up for re-election in a state which traditionally votes Republican came out against the nominee.

The editorial was published on the eve of a pivotal vote in his confirmation.