Supreme Court nominee in unusual plea as US Senate nears vote

Brett Kavanaugh

But Republicans moved forward with plans for a key procedural vote on Friday and a final vote on Saturday on confirming the conservative federal appeals judge for a lifetime job on the top U.S. court.

"Members of both parties, as well as a handful of staff, are expected to alternate hour-long viewing time slots, a Democratic aide said". Republicans have a slim 51-49 hold on the Senate.

While Republican leaders were not saying they had nailed down the support needed, backing from two of those three would ensure Mr Kavanaugh's confirmation because every other Republican was poised to back him. A report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University said ME is the top state in the nation for television ad spending related to Kavanaugh's confirmation. About 20 minutes after the vote, his office released his schedule, which included an 11:25 a.m. departure for the Big Apple.

A briefing regarding the FBI's investigation, which is looking into allegations of sexual misconduct made against Kavanaugh, "would be unprecedented and irregular", McConnell said in a letter to the Democratic lawmaker. Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted not to move the nomination ahead.

McConnell made the short comment Friday to reporters as he walked to the Senate floor as the chamber opened. "If I need to be in two places at once to walk my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day and to be the final vote to put Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, he's offered me use of his plane", Daines said in a statement to Fox News Friday.

So far all three remain undecided, although each of them voted in favor of Kavanaugh during Friday's procedural vote.

Similarly, Republicans said the Federal Bureau of Investigation found nobody to support assault claims by Deborah Ramirez, who was a classmate of Kavanaugh's at Yale University in the 1980s.

The Senate is poised for a crucial vote Friday on whether to advance Kavanaugh's nomination. If confirmed, he would deepen conservative control of the court. Christine Blasey Ford, a Palo Alto University professor, said he tried to rape her in high school, and Deborah Ramirez said he exposed himself to her when they were college classmates.

Under pressure from wavering Republicans, GOP leaders agreed to an extraordinary Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week that mesmerized the nation as Ford nervously recounted her story and said she was "100 per cent" certain that Kavanaugh was her attacker. "The request was for an investigation into current credible allegations against Judge Kavanaugh", reads the opening paragraph of the document compiled by Chairman Grassley's staff.

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Kavanaugh wrote that his testimony "reflected my overwhelming frustration at being wrongly accused".

The 53-year-old judge said in an op-ed that he knows his "tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said" during testimony last week to the Judiciary Committee.

Dianne Feinstein of California, that committee's top Democrat, said Kavanaugh's testimony at last week's dramatic Judiciary panel hearing should "worry us all", citing "a hostility and belligerence that is unbecoming" of a Supreme Court nominee.

Kavanaugh said he was grateful to participate in the process leading up to his initial hearing - but harshly criticized the turmoil that followed.

The Kavanaugh fight has riveted Americans weeks before November 6 elections in which Democrats are trying to take control of Congress from the Republicans.

Kavanaugh's nomination has been imperiled by accusations of sexual misconduct.

"Anybody who pushes back on the fact that Doctor Ford wasn't given ample opportunity to make her case and state her case has been living in a cave", she said.

Trump mocked Ford on Tuesday during a political rally in Mississippi.