The process has taken months, starting with most senators meeting privately with President Donald Trump’s nominee followed by a week of public hearings.
After the hearings were over, allegations of sexual assault emerged after being held by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), despite initially being received by her back in July.
Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Ford of California, were brought before the committee on Sept. 24 to testify. Rachel Mitchell, a prosecutor representing Republican senators, found numerous inconsistencies with Ford’s allegation.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted the next day to advance Kavanaugh out of the committee and towards a full Senate vote, but Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) asked for a one-week FBI investigation into the allegation, a request agreed to by McConnell and other Republican leaders. Democrats had been calling for a limited investigation since the allegation emerged. Disputing claims based on anonymous sources circulating through some media outlets, the White House said that the FBI has free reign in conducting its investigation.
Floor Vote This Week
While Democrats have said they hope to keep delaying Kavanaugh’s nomination until past the mid-term elections and ultimately torpedo his chances, McConnell said on Oct. 1 that a floor vote would, in fact, happen this week.
Referring to the outcry against Mitchell, a veteran sex-crimes prosecutor, McConnell said on the Senate floor that nothing will satisfy his Democrat colleagues.
“I expect we’ll hear that the conclusions of the expert prosecutor who question both witnesses at last week’s hearing, aren’t reliable. Or that the FBI’s investigation was not infinite or endless enough for their liking. Maybe we’ll hear the real issue is not these uncorroborated allegations of misconduct after all. But rather the fact that Judge Kavanaugh—now listen to this—drank beer in high school and in college, or the fact that he was rightfully angry,” McConnell said. Many mainstream media outlets and pundits have been focusing on Kavanaugh’s drinking habits. The judge admitted in testimony he drank beer, sometimes too much, but insisted he never blacked out, or experienced loss of memory.
“Who wouldn’t be, that his good name and his family have been dragged through the mud with a campaign of character assassination based on allegations that lack any corroboration? Who wouldn’t be angry about that Mr. President? Their goal post keeps shifting. But their goal hasn’t moved an inch, not an inch. The goal has been the same all along,” McConnell added.
“And so let me make it very clear: the time for endless delay and obstruction has come to a close. Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is out of committee. We’re considering it here on the floor. And Mr. President we’ll be voting this week.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that the one-week limit was fine, but “everyone is asking it be done thoroughly and completely within that week.”