What You Need to Know: Brett Kavanaugh's WSJ Op-Ed

Kavanaugh nomination advances to final Senate floor vote

UPDATE @ 10:55 a.m.:

The Senate voted 51-49 to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to a final vote on the Senate floor, likely to be voted on this weekend. 

LIVE UPDATES: Kavanaugh vote: Senate takes procedural vote on nomination today

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, voted Friday to clear the way for a floor vote, while Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, voted to block the nomination.

The vote took place one day after Portman, Brown and other senators reviewed a confidential series of FBI interviews on whether Kavanaugh assaulted a woman in 1982 when both were teenagers.

In a statement after the vote, Portman said he has known Kavanaugh for 18 years and described him “as a fair, smart, and independent judge, and he has the qualifications and experience necessary to ably serve on the Supreme Court.”

Portman said he “reviewed the supplemental FBI report three times to ensure I was fully briefed on its findings. As I’ve said previously, my job is to assess the facts before us and the fact remains that no evidence exists to support the allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh.”

Brown spent an hour Thursday evening reading through the FBI interviews of 10 people – including at least one woman who claimed Kavanaugh engaged in sexual misconduct against her while they were students at Yale.

After reading the report, Brown said he “strongly supported a thorough investigation and I believe the FBI should have been allowed to do its job without political pressure or restrictions.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the only Republican to vote against Kavanaugh while Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the only Democrat to support Kavanaugh.

In a floor speech Thursday evening, Portman warned that the vitriolic confirmation hearings would discourage Americans from entering public service.

“How many good public servants have we possibly already turned away by this display?” Portman asked. “How many more will we turn away if we let uncorroborated allegations tarnish the career of a person who has dedicated 25 of the past 28 years to public service -—- and done so with honor?"

Earlier in the week, Portman defended Kavanaugh's emotional testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying "he was upset and I think that's understandable given the accusations that he has faced. He strongly believes that he was falsely accused of horrendous behavior and with regards to the latest allegations, horrific crimes."

"Put yourself in those shoes," Portman said. Citing Kavanaugh's TV interview this month on Fox News, Portman "some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and colleagues even on my side of the aisle were saying he wasn't passionate enough, emotional enough. Some of those same colleagues now say he was too emotional in the hearing."

FIRST REPORT

A procedural vote in the U.S. Senate on the Brett Kavanaugh nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is set for 10:30 a.m. Friday, with a full Senate vote expected as early as Saturday.

Still, the outcome appears to still be in doubt, as four senators — three Republicans and one Democrat — have not indicated how they will vote.

Both Ohio senators are on record. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown opposes Kavanaugh’s nomination and Republican Sen. Rob Portman is in favor.

RELATED: Kavanaugh denies allegation of sexual misconduct

Brown and both read through the confidential FBI report on Kavanaugh with Portman saying “there is no evidence to support the serious allegations” that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman when both were teenagers.

In a floor speech Thursday evening, Portman said he would support Kavanaugh’s nomination, which had been expected because they are close friends. But Portman warned that the vitriolic Senate Judiciary Committee hearings would discourage Americans from entering public service.

“How many good public servants have we possibly already turned away by this display?” Portman asked. “How many more will we turn away if we let uncorroborated allegations tarnish the career of a person who has dedicated 25 of the past 28 years to public service-and done so with honor?”

Senators React to FBI Investigation into Kavanaugh

Brown spent an hour Thursday evening reading through the FBI interviews of 10 people – including at least one woman who claimed Kavanaugh engaged in sexual misconduct against her while they were students at Yale.

Brown said he “strongly supported a thorough investigation and I believe the FBI should have been allowed to do its job without political pressure or restrictions.”

Democrats have complained that the FBI probe was limited by the White House.

Earlier in the week, Portman defended Kavanaugh’s emotional testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying “he was upset and I think that’s understandable given the accusations that he has faced. He strongly believes that he was falsely accused of horrendous behavior and with regards to the latest allegations, horrific crimes.”

“Put yourself in those shoes,” Portman said. Citing Kavanaugh’s TV interview this month on Fox News, Portman “some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and colleagues even on my side of the aisle were saying he wasn’t passionate enough, emotional enough. Some of those same colleagues now say he was too emotional in the hearing.”

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