In a major development, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said Friday that she supported Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)’s proposal to delay Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote by a week to allow the FBI to investigate sexual assault allegations against him.
Asked by reporters if she supported the newly unveiled proposal by her Republican colleague, Murkowski replied with a simple, “yes.”
The Alaska senator, considered a key swing vote, said she was “on the way to talk to her colleagues” in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office about the next “steps we need to take.”
“I think it’s important that we do our due diligence,” Murkowski said.
Shortly after, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), another crucial vote, announced that he, too, supported the FBI probe.
Neither Murkowski nor Manchin had signaled how they intended to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Flake had released a statement Friday morning announcing his intention to support the Supreme Court nominee. But after speaking at length with his Democratic colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he introduced this new proposal.
Though Flake voted to move Kavanaugh’s nomination out of committee, he said he did so with the “understanding” that the floor vote would be delayed until an FBI probe was conducted.
Christine Blasey Ford testified Thursday that Kavanaugh attempted to remove her clothes and force himself on her at a small high school gathering in the summer of 1982.
McConnell must now decide if he wants to move forward with a request for an FBI investigation. After Kavanaugh and Ford spoke about the assault allegations in dramatic Thursday testimony, Republicans appeared prepared to move full steam ahead with their existing confirmation vote schedule.