Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated Tuesday that the GOP was full steam ahead in putting on the Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who faces allegations for sexual misconduct.
“I believe he’ll be confirmed, yes,” McConnell said at a press conference at the Capitol, when asked if he had the votes.
Earlier in the press availability, McConnell said he was “confident we’re going to win.”
But first, Kavanaugh will sit through another hearing in front of the Judiciary Committee Thursday, where one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, will also testify about her account that the judge groped her when they were both teenagers.
Asked if his language made it seem like he would not approach Blasey Ford’s testimony seriously, McConnell noted that few people were willing to testify under oath about the matter.
Regardless, all signs point to Republicans moving quickly after the hearing, to confirm Kavanaugh as quickly as next week.
“It is our plan to move forward in the very near future,” McConnell said.
Republicans left their weekly caucus lunch hinting that the Senate may work through the weekend to keep Kavanaugh’s nomination moving through the confirmation process.
“I am planning to be here until next Tuesday,” Sen Johnny Isakson, (R-GA) told reporters.
If the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Kavanaugh Friday, the earliest the Senate could begin floor votes on his nomination is Monday, which could potentially set up a final vote for Tuesday. The Judiciary Committee will need to give notice by this Tuesday if it plans to meet to vote on his confirmation Friday.
Democrats have bashed Republicans for rushing the process of scrutinizing the allegations against Kavanaugh, which also include those from a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were in college.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also questioned Republicans’ plans to bring in a female outside lawyer to question Blasey Ford at Thursday’s hearing.
“It’s sort of very interesting that our Republican colleagues, who want to rush this through, are afraid to question Dr. Ford themselves and have to put a surrogate there,” Schumer said.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has defended the move as a way to “depoliticize” the process, as opposed to how “Democrats politicized the Anita Hill thing.”
Judiciary Republicans were also dealing with the fact that they have no women among the committee’s 11 GOP members. (Among the Democrats on the committee are four female senators.)
While a handful of GOP senators had initially called for the confirmation process to slow down for Blasey Ford’s allegations to be heard, most of those senators are now suggesting they’re leaning towards voting for his confirmation, barring any major revelations.
One of those senators, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) told he reporters he had cleared his schedule Thursday to watch the hearing, but that he was going into it with “positive feelings” towards Kavanaugh. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) — who had supported the move to bring Blasey Ford in front of the committee — praised Kavanaugh’s appearance on Fox News to defend himself Monday evening.
The Republican senator who is perhaps giving the strongest signals that she’s still on the fence on Kavanaugh is Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
“We need to be able to listen,” Murkowksi told the New York Times Monday about Thursday’s hearing. “We have to listen to what she will say on the record, under oath, and what Judge Kavanaugh will say on the record, under oath.”