Politics

McConnell Moves for Dramatic Kavanaugh Debate, Final Vote by Saturday

Republican leader's cloture motion comes as FBI completes its concluding background review and reports back to the Senate

Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured above) took a major parliamentary step late Wednesday to advance Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination toward what is certain to be a heated debate and dramatic final vote by the Senate.

“I just filed cloture on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” McConnell said in a tweet. “There will be plenty of time for Members to review and be briefed on this supplemental material before a Friday cloture vote.”

McConnell was referring to the FBI’s concluding background investigation of Kavanaugh, as Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) proposed on Friday in order to clear the way for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to move the nomination to the full Senate.

Related: Rep. Jackson Lee Intern Charged with ‘Doxing’ GOP Senators

McConnell’s motion sets up a procedural vote for Friday. The move would then limit debate on the nominee to 30 hours if it passes a floor vote. That would mean the final vote on the nomination could come as early as Saturday.

Senators will receive a copy of the FBI’s report Thursday morning and will be able to review its contents. Democrats are certain to criticize the review as inadequate because they have produced a list of nearly two dozen additional individuals they believe should be interviewed.

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They have tried every argument, parliamentary procedural objection, delaying tactic and disruption in their efforts to stretch out the Kavanaugh confirmation process beyond the November midterm election, when they hope to retake the Senate majority.

California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while he was a high school student at Georgetown Preparatory School during the 1980s. Kavanaugh was quick to deny the allegations when they first started spreading. He declared in the testimony that he will not be intimidated into withdrawing.

Related: Fiery Kavanaugh Vows He ‘Will Not Be Intimidated into Withdrawing’

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) responded to the allegations by launching an investigation, canceling the committee vote and scheduling a hearing to address the allegations.

He has said she deserves to be heard but has questioned the timing. The Democrats announced Ford’s initial accusations less than a week away from the originally scheduled vote on whether to advance the nomination. The vote eventually took place Friday, September 28, a day after a hearing on the sexual assault allegations.

Kavanaugh’s opponents among far-Left political activists have become significantly more aggressive in recent days, with Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and McConnell being confronted and treated rudely by protesters in Senate office corridors or elsewhere on the Capitol grounds.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) whose fiery condemnation Thursday of Democrats’ slash-and-burn tactics turned him into a hero for conservatives who have previously held him in lower regard, was booed Wednesday during an interview at The Atlantic Festival. Graham returned the favor, telling the audience, “Boo yourself.”

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