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Judiciary Panel Sets Friday Morning Kavanaugh Vote

Republicans on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary are moving forward with their plan to hold a vote Friday morning on referring Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to the floor for a final decision.

A party-line vote is expected when the 11 GOP and 10 Democratic members of the panel convene Friday at 9:30 a.m. after holding the nation’s attention throughout the day Thursday. It included dramatic testimony from Christine Blasey Ford on her tearful claim that Kavanaugh sexually molested her some 36 years ago and his equally emotional and powerful denial.

Republicans are likely to carry the vote to send Kavanaugh’s nomination to the floor, assuming retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) doesn’t buck committee Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and other GOP members, most notably Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.).

Related: Lindsey Graham Blasts Dems: ‘What You Want to Do Is Destroy This Guy’ [1]

Graham concluded an impassioned speech toward the end of Kavanaugh’s afternoon testimony by blasting Democrats for “the most unethical sham” he’s ever seen — and warning Republican colleagues against opposing the nomination.

He was staring at Flake as he made the latter comment.

“To my Republican colleagues, if you vote ‘no,’ you are legitimizing the most despicable thing I have ever seen in politics,” Graham said.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) is moving strongly toward voting for Kavanaugh, Fox News reported late Thursday.

Two senators not on the judicial panel, Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), announced they will support Kavanaugh on the final Senate vote. Fox News also reported late Thursday that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) is moving strongly toward voting for Kavanaugh.

A final vote could come as early as Tuesday, with procedural votes opening and closing debate on Saturday and Monday.