Jeff Flake Says Kavanaugh Vote Should Be Delayed While FBI Investigates

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Speaking in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday afternoon, Jeff Flake called for a one week delay in the vote on Brett Kavanaugh so that an FBI investigation can take place.

His speech seemed to take many of the other committee members by surprise. The committee went into recess shortly after Flake spoke up.

Flake said he would vote “yes” to Kavanaugh in the Judiciary Committee, but only on condition that the vote in the full senate be delayed. He proposed a sort of “gentlemen’s agreement,” not a binding amendment.

Essentially, Flake said that he would agree to have Kavanaugh’s nomination be passed out of the committee, as long as he received assurances that the FBI would investigate Kavanaugh before the full Senate was allowed to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

“I will only comfortable moving on the floor until the FBI has done more investigation than they have already,” he continued. “It may not take them a week. I understand that some of these witnesses may not want to discuss anything further but I think we owe them due diligence.”

The senator’s request came as a surprise to many, since he said earlier that he would vote yes on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Senator Klobuchar said afterwards that Flake was “one senator standing up” for an agreement between Democrats and Republicans.

Flake Says He Wants to Heal the Country’s Wounds

Flake said that the Kavanaugh hearings had “ripped the country apart” and that he wanted to move things forward and heal the rift. Speaking to the committee, he said,

“The Democrats who have been justifiably uncomfortable in moving this ahead could feel better, I’m not expecting them to vote yes, but not to complain that an FBI investigation has not occurred….I think we can have a short pause and make sure the FBI can investigate.”

Flake said that his suggestion was the result of long negotiations with his Democratic colleagues. Senate insiders said that without Flake’s support, Republicans don’t have enough vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

Flake said that he understands that ultimately, the president would have to authorize an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh.

Speaking to reporters after Flake’s speech, Lindsey Graham tried to clarify what, exactly, Flake had called for. He praised Flake as an honest, “good guy” who was seeking to make peace among his colleagues and trying to get some Democrats to buy in. Graham said, “We’re not playing a game of opening this up and it goes on forever. What he [Flake] has said is, I would feel better if we opened this up and looked at it further.” “I think Jeff [Flake] feels good about Kavanaugh, he just wanted to make sure the process is fair.” He added, “Jeff is a really good guy.”

Speaking to reporters after Flake’s statement, President Trump said, “I’m going to let the Senate handle that. They’re doing their job and they’re really professional…I’m sure it will all be very good.”

Earlier on Thursday, Flake Was Confronted by Protesters Angry About His Stance on Kavanaugh

Several women who described themselves as survivors of sexual assault confronted Jeff Flake earlier on Thursday morning. The women cornered Flake in an elevator and confronted him about his statement that he would support Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. You can watch that confrontation here.

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