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"This country is being ripped apart here," Flake told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
28 September, 2018
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
- With just minutes to go until the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Kavanaugh's confirmation, Flake entered closed-door talks with other senators to discuss terms of a possible FBI investigation.
- Flake said he will vote against Kavanaugh unless a one-week FBI investigation takes place.
- Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who's remained undecided on Kavanaugh, says she will support Flake.
<p>In a dramatic turn of events, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told the Senate Judiciary Committee he would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court only if the Senate asks the FBI to conduct a one-week investigation into allegations sexual assault.</p><p>It was an unexpected development that followed meetings with Democratic senators that occurred just minutes before the confirmation vote was scheduled to take place. </p><p>Flake, who announced today before the meeting that he would vote yes on Kavanaugh, said it would be "<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2018/sep/28/kavanaugh-senate-committee-vote-live" target="_blank">proper</a>" to delay the Senate vote "for up to, but not more than one week." </p><p>"I'm not expecting [Democrats] to vote yes... but not to complain that an FBI investigation has not occurred," Flake said. "This is what I'm trying to do. This country is being ripped apart here. We've got to make sure that we do due diligence."</p><p>The committee voted to approve Kavanaugh's nomination, effectively sending the vote to the Senate floor. Now, the question of whether an FBI investigation will take place lies in the hands of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. </p><p>McConnell hasn't said whether he will order an FBI investigation. However, Flake said that he would vote against Kavanaugh if an investigation doesn't take place. Reportedly, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has said she will stand with Flake in demanding an investigation. Susan Collins (R-ME), another undecided senator, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/kavanaugh-senate-committee-vote/index.html" target="_blank">could follow suit.</a> </p><p>McConnell seems pressed to pursue an investigation. Why? Because Republicans need 51 votes to confirm Kavanaugh, and a defection by any one of the undecided senators could jeopardize Kavanaugh's chances of ascending to the Supreme Court.</p><p>President Donald Trump told reporters he would support whatever the Senate decides, adding that he thought Christine Blasey Ford's testimony was compelling. "I thought her testimony was very compelling, and she looks like a very fine woman to me," Trump told reporters. "Brett's testimony was, likewise, really something that I hadn't seen before."</p>
Protestors confront Flake<p> Earlier this morning, just minutes after announcing that he'd support Kavanaugh at today's committee vote, Flake stepped into an elevator. But before the doors could close, two women confronted Flake and made an impassioned plea for him to vote against Kavanaugh. </p><p> "On Monday, I stood in front of your office," one of the women, Ana Maria Archila, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/28/us/politics/jeff-flake-protesters-kavanaugh.html" target="_blank">told</a> Flake. "I told the story of my sexual assault." </p><p> "I told it because I recognized in Dr. Ford's story that she is telling the truth," she said, her voice breaking. "What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit on the Supreme Court. This is not tolerable. You have children in your family. Think about them!" </p><p> Watch the full video of the confrontation below: <iframe width="1245" height="529" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Y195wZ-zr5s" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </p>
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kavanaugh christine blasey ford brett kavanaugh jeff flake mitch mcconnell senate vote confirmation vote supreme court politics
The U.S. government has shut down 18 times in the past four decades, but this most recent instance has proven unique.
22 January, 2018
Trump at the White House via Mark Wilson/Getty
<p dir="ltr"><span>The Senate voted to end the three-day government shutdown on Monday after Democrats agreed to extend government funding by three weeks in exchange for a pledge by Republicans to </span><span>allow an immigration bill to reach the floor in February.</span></p><p dir="ltr">The agreement marks the first time Democrats have received a hard deadline for a vote on an immigration bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also promised to allow debate on the floor and an open amendment process.</p><p dir="ltr"><span>But the vows of the majority leader fall short of what Democrats had initially demanded: an immediate vote on protections for Dreamers — undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. </span>Some lawmakers seemed to express frustration at the compromise.</p><blockquote> <p dir="ltr"><span>“Well I think the first thing he needs to do is strengthen his statement from last night,” </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/22/us/politics/government-shutdown.html?mtrref=www.google.com"><span>said</span></a><span> Senator Angus King of Maine, an independent who typically votes with Democrats. “‘I intend.’ I would much rather he say, ‘I commit’ or ‘I will move.’”</span></p> </blockquote><p dir="ltr"><span>Among the Democratic senators who voted against extending government funding were potential 2020 presidential candidates like </span><a href="http://thehill.com/people/cory-booker"><span>Cory Booker</span></a><span>, </span><a href="http://thehill.com/people/bernie-sanders"><span>Bernie Sanders</span></a><span>, </span><a href="http://thehill.com/people/elizabeth-warren"><span>Elizabeth Warren</span></a><span>, </span><a href="http://thehill.com/people/kirsten-gillibrand"><span>Kirsten Gillibrand</span></a><span>, and </span><a href="http://thehill.com/people/kamala-harris"><span>Kamala Harris</span></a><span>. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>The shutdown is the country’s 18th since the modern budget era began with the passing of the </span><span>Budget Act of 1974, and it’s unique for a couple reasons.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>For one, it’s the first time we’ve seen a shutdown where one party has controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House, and federal employees were furloughed — sent home without pay.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODQxMDk2MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTkzODQ5N30.R0Wqwxjpmq4fIfe-vAiOHQsmhoAlwMFBK1ar5fYte70/img.jpg?width=980" id="58b4c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f5cb6320345d566a42bcd10b58822d54" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"><br></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>But more remarkable about the shutdown was the <strong>lack of involvement and clear direction from the White House</strong>. Prior to the shutdown, Republican leaders had attempted to force Democrats to choose between negotiating solutions for either DACA or CHIP, a <span>health insurance program that provides services to </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/time-to-stop-using-9-million-children-as-a-bargaining-chip-90293">8.9 million</a><span> children.</span></span></p><blockquote></blockquote><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Senate?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Senate</a> Democrats have a choice to make. This should be a no-brainer... <a href="https://t.co/zdUFXxclZ9">pic.twitter.com/zdUFXxclZ9</a></p> <p>— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) <a href="https://twitter.com/SenateMajLdr/status/954409393507876864?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></p> <p><script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"> </p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-7f89c941-2056-adbc-6adb-4171d60348e0"><span>But the Republicans’ plan was criticized by none other than their party leader, President Trump.</span></span></p><blockquote></blockquote><p dir="ltr" lang="en">CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!</p> <p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/953984671674662912?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 18, 2018</a></p> <p><script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"/> </p><p dir="ltr">As <a href="https://theconversation.com/shutdown-under-a-unified-government-blame-trump-90423" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> notes, “the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/18/politics/trump-chip-funding-republicans/index.html">president’s tweets</a> made many Republicans nervous that the president might not support the deal that congressional leaders had fashioned to fund the government and CHIP.”</p><blockquote></blockquote><p dir="ltr" lang="en">"You probably think it’s the same old story, but its not. We’ve never seen anything like this in modern times." <br/><br/>We're live from Russell Rotunda tonight - tune in <a href="https://twitter.com/MSNBC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MSNBC</a> <a href="https://t.co/6RFp84vJTB">pic.twitter.com/6RFp84vJTB</a></p> <p>— Kasie DC (@KasieDC) <a href="https://twitter.com/KasieDC/status/955230511554813952?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 22, 2018</a></p> <p><script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"/> </p><p dir="ltr">Speaking about the president’s role during negotiations, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer <a href="https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/22/full-text-schumers-speech-government-shutdown-over-355293" target="_blank">said</a>:</p><blockquote> <p dir="ltr"><span>“Since our meeting in the Oval Office on Friday, the president and I have not spoken, and the White House refused to engage in negotiations over the weekend. The great deal-making president sat on the sidelines. Despite and because of this frustration, I've been having conversations with the Republican leader over the weekend about a path forward.”</span></p> </blockquote><p dir="ltr"><span>It wasn’t just democrats who expressed frustration over the absence of President Trump in the negotiations. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “I’m looking for something that President Trump supports, and he’s not yet indicated what measure he’s willing to sign.”</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>Other Republicans also commented on the <span id="docs-internal-guid-7f89c941-205d-3fca-8a51-5ab76afed03a"><span>president’s absence</span></span>.</span></p><blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“I just don't think it helps for him to be involved at all,” Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/22/politics/trump-policy-shutdown-analysis/index.html" target="_blank">said</a> of Trump on Sunday night. “The White House really hasn't been involved from what I've seen.”</p> </blockquote><p dir="ltr"><span>The White House has said President Trump’s stance on immigration has been clear from the start. </span>But others feel his cabinet is influencing his decision-making or lack thereof. </p><p dir="ltr"><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODQxMDk2MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxODM3Mjc4Mn0.LtTCJg64voXrowkM1siljikvgcKpnwkSbhY2gjNlLj8/img.jpg?width=980" id="01774" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="01e7da85a4e737f02fc28fb007cbead8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Getty Images/<a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/search/photographer?family=editorial&photographer=Mark+Wilson" id="photographer" rel="nofollow">Mark Wilson</a></em></p><p dir="ltr">Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Sen. Lindsey Graham said:</p><blockquote> <p dir="ltr"><span>“The White House staff I think is making it very difficult. I've talked with the President, his heart is right on this issue. I think he's got a good understanding of what will sell, and every time we have a proposal it's only yanked back by staff members.”</span></p> </blockquote> <p><script src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"/> </p><p dir="ltr">Republican strategist Alex Conant elaborated upon a similar idea in an <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/21/us/politics/trump-government-shutdown.html" target="_blank">interview</a> with <em>The New York Times:</em></p><blockquote> <p dir="ltr"><span>“There’s a real sense that there’s a disconnect between the president and his staff on immigration issues, and people on all sides are seeking to exploit that disconnect. This is what happens when you have a president who is not clear and consistent on what he will accept: It emboldens all parties to take positions that they won’t compromise.”</span></p> </blockquote></script></p>
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