In a crucial procedural vote along partisan lines, the US Senate has wrapped up the debate on the confirmation of a highly controversial President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, moving forward to the final floor vote.
The vote tally is 51-49, while the fate of full confirmation, which could be as early as Saturday, remains unclear, Xinhua reported.
Republican Senator Susan Collins, a potential key swing vote, said before the procedural vote that she would announce her final decision on Brett Kavanaugh confirmation on Friday afternoon.
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, another swing vote, voted no in the procedural voting, which she later called the cloture vote ‘a mistake’. “We will see what happen on Saturday,” said Murkowski.
Moments after the cloture voting, Trump tweeted, “Very proud of the US Senate for voting ‘Yes’ to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!”
The president said at a rally in Minnesota on Thursday night that Democrats attempted to “destroy” his Supreme Court nominee and his supporters were moving up in a bid to keep Republican control of Congress in the November 6 midterm elections.
An FBI report sent to the Senate on Thursday said that based on its one-week supplemental background investigation, there is no corroboration of sexual misconduct allegations made against Kavanaugh.
White House and Republican Senate leaders said the FBI report revealed no evidence of wrongdoing, while Democrats said the White House tied the FBI’s hands and the probe is not thorough.
The US Senate, as well as American voters, are bitterly divided over the FBI report and the qualification of the judge for sitting on the highest US court.
“At the Senate hearings on Thursday, September 27 the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land,” the letter reads. Kavanaugh called the allegations ‘a calculated and orchestrated political hit’ at the hearing.
In a Quinnipiac poll issued on Monday, 48 per cent of Americans said that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court, while 42 per cent said he should be confirmed.
Three women have come forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting or harassing them during his high school and university years. But he has denied all the accusations.
Republicans hold 51 seats in the Senate and changed Senate rules last year to end filibusters for Supreme Court nominees. If there is a 50-50 tie, Vice President Mike Pence would break it in favor of Kavanaugh.