What Just Happened With the Kavanaugh Vote?

by on September 28, 2018 · 2 comments

in Civil Rights

Bi-Partisan Group of Senators Agree to Delay Kavanaugh Vote One Week on Senate Floor for FBI Background Investigation; Trump Still Has to Authorize It

If you’re wondering ‘what just the heck happened?’ in the Senate Judiciary Committee vote this afternoon – here,

IN BRIEF:

Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley had scheduled a vote on Judge Kavanaugh this afternoon at 1:30 pm ET. But there were some last-minute ‘backroom’ discussions going on involving Republican Jeff Flake and Democrats. Earlier in the day, Flake had announced he intended to confirm Kavanaugh.

But something was up. Nearly half an hour late, Grassley gaveled the committee hearing to order, as all the Senators had finally taken their seats. Before any vote, Flake was given the floor – and in an impassioned speech to “unify the country”, he stated he agreed to pause the Senate floor vote on Kavanaugh for one week in order to allow an FBI background investigation into the allegations in front of the committee – if a vote was taken today on the committee level to send a positive recommendation to the Senate floor.

Several Democratic senators spoke, agreeing with Flake.

A vote was quickly taken, and Kavanaugh was confirmed by a party-line vote of 11 to 10. The meeting quickly ended.

The extreme Republican partisanship exhibited yesterday by Sen. Lindsay Graham and others – and even by Judge Kavanaugh – was gone by today. Even Graham said he’ll go along with a FBI investigation.

So, there is reason to think this all will result in an investigation by the Bureau, an investigation whose scope is unclear.

President Trump still has to authorize a re-opening of the FBI investigation – and right after the committee vote, he stated to the media in very measured and non-combative terms he’ll agree to whatever the Senate wants. Clearly Trump doesn’t understand the process (the order MUST come from the White House) but Graham was on his way to explain it all to him.

Flake and a couple of other Senators – like Sen. Lisa Murkowski from Alaska who supports Flake’s call for a re-opening – can stall a final vote on Kavanaugh on the Senate floor – because the vote is so tight. Right now, it’s 50 Republicans and 49 Democrats and independents. This could force Senate leader McConnell and others like Graham to convince Trump to make the authorization.

If Trump refused to reopen it, Flake and others could halt the confirmation vote entirely.

The one-week FBI investigation would give the agency sufficient time – many agree – to interview key witnesses, like Mark Judge, the others at the infamous Maryland house where Dr. Christine Blasey Ford says the sexual assault by Kavanaugh occurred, plus others. If reopened, it would not be a criminal investigation, but a background check. Yet witnesses, like Judge’s former girlfriend, could give agents other leads to follow.

It’s unclear at this point how wide the scope of the investigation would be. Would it include interviews with the other women who have stepped forward with accusations against Kavanaugh?

Also, what happens if Judge refuses to be interviewed by the FBI? The agents would have to return to the Judiciary Committee for a subpoena, it is understood.

If the Senate floor vote is delayed one week, that means it will possibly be held Saturday, October 7.

So, stay tuned and hang on, this could be a bumpy next week.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

retired botanist September 28, 2018 at 1:36 pm

It will be bumpy indeed, but sadly just a paper tiger, imo, regardless of scope. If there is any light or ethical nano dot to this turn of affairs, it is at least some small, if begrudgingly offered, acknowledgement of Dr. Ford’s effort and civic duty to request that our elected officials do their feckin’ jobs! Senator Whitehouse gets the gold star today- Ted Cruz gets the dunce hat!

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie September 28, 2018 at 4:10 pm

Trump orders FBI supplemental investigation into Kavanaugh.
In a tweet on Friday afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement on behalf of President Donald Trump.
According to the statement, Trump has “ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file.”

“As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week,” the statement continued. https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/kavanaugh-senate-committee-vote/index.html

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