Republicans aim to confirm Brett Kavanaugh this weekend

Republicans aim to confirm Brett Kavanaugh this weekend

But Republicans moved forward with plans for a key procedural vote today and a final vote tomorrow on confirming the conservative federal appeals judge for a lifetime job on the top USA court.

The FBI's report on its Brett Kavanaugh investigation is the hottest document in Washington, but there's only a single copy for 100 senators to share. They're also questioning the impartiality of FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was two years behind Kavanaugh at Yale-as an undergraduate and at Yale Law School. One senator said it was a "cover-up" and a "complete embarrassment".

One of the senators hinted he was open to supporting Mr Kavanaugh as party leaders set a pivotal preliminary vote for 10.30am local time on Friday.

Prof Blasey Ford testified last week at a dramatic Judiciary Committee hearing that when she was 15, a drunken 17-year-old Kavanaugh pinned her down, tried to remove her clothing and covered her mouth after she screamed.

At a rally Tuesday night in Mississippi, Trump made fun of Christine Blasey Ford's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The letter says that in his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Kavanaugh "displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for election to the highest court of the land". "I might have been too emotional at times", he wrote in the op-ed headlined "I am an Independent, Impartial Judge".

Republicans have a narrow 51-49 Senate majority, and vice president Mike Pence will be available to cast a tie-breaking vote.

A senior Senate Republican aide said there was growing confidence that Republican Senators Susan Collins and Flake and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin - all swing votes - would support Kavanaugh.

Democrats complained that the investigation was shoddy, omitting interviews with numerous potential witnesses, and accused the White House of limiting the FBI's leeway.

Democrats assailed the probe as an incomplete vetting constrained by a White House determined to push through the lifetime appointment of Trump's man.

Notably absent was Kavanaugh's other named accuser, Julie Swetnick, or anyone connected to her claim of seeing him grope women while drunk at parties. But The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday that Leland Keyser was being pressured by "allies" of Dr. Ford to change her statement on the allegation against Kavanaugh.

"The report ignores some of the absolutely crucial witnesses", said Democratic Sen. When Ford's allegations first became public, for instance, Kavanaugh appeared on Fox News with his wife, in a move that made him look like an under fire political candidate.

Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, also took issue Wednesday with the decision not to interview Ford and Kavanaugh, both of whom testified at a high-stakes hearing last week, suggesting that the White House had prevented the Federal Bureau of Investigation from contacting them. Republicans say the probe was thorough and reinforces their support of President Donald Trump's nominee. Senators who wanted to read the reports went back throughout the day.

Some said there were notes on interviews with nine people, though others said 10.

Moreover, the inquiry focused mainly on the account of Ford, the research psychologist who alleges that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high school students in the Washington suburbs. Mr Kavanaugh and Prof Ford were not interviewed.

"It's not like a typical type of investigation, where the FBI has wide latitude to pursue facts and evidence and information as necessary to develop a case or develop information for national security purposes, that type of thing", Campbell said.

"I want to make it clear to these people who are chasing my members around the hall here or harassing them at the airports or going to their homes".

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