Pivotal GOP senators slam Trump for mocking Kavanaugh accuser


The White House has concluded that an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe has found no evidence of sexual misconduct on the part of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture, a move that edges the Senate toward a vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation, according to CNN.

Republicans hold a slight 51-49 majority in the Senate, and with Vice President Mike Pence playing the role of tie-breaker if necessary, they would need a minimum of 50 votes to confirm Kavanaugh.

Amid complaints that some lawmakers were being confronted outside their homes, Mr. McConnell claimed on the Senate floor that the protesters were "part of the organized effort" to derail Mr. Kavanaugh's nomination.

Separately, Republican Senator Susan Collins of ME told reporters, "The president's comments were just plain wrong", and Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said they were "wholly inappropriate and in my view unacceptable".

Senators Jeff Flake and Susan Collins, both key votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, spoke out a day after Mr Trump's remarks at a MS rally.

Flake, the Judiciary Committee member who pushed to delay the vote on Kavanaugh so the FBI could investigate, later told The Washington Post that Trump's comments would not factor into his thinking on the nomination.

Agents spoke with Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh's who Ford said was in the room when she was assaulted. However, Ramirez's lawyer, John Clune, expressed skepticism that the agency would follow up by contacting witnesses that she identified.

Pressed by the interviewer, who called Trump's remarks a "personal, degrading attack", Graham then quoted a line infamously used by Clinton adviser James Carville about Paula Jones, who accused Clinton of sexual harassment as governor of Arkansas: "Drag a hundred dollars through a trailer park and there's no telling what you'll find", Carville said in 1997.

Collins and Murkowski are two moderate members of the Republican caucus, both of whom support abortion rights and have been under pressure to oppose Kavanaugh since he was nominated. The group says in a statement that at last week's dramatic Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, he showed "extreme partisan bias", demonstrating he lacks the temperament to join the high court.

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The reopened FBI investigation was prompted by reservations expressed last by Sen. 'Upstairs, downstairs, where was it?' I don't know.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump's insults of Ford marked a "new low".

Democrats wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, challenging a Tuesday tweet by GOP aides saying prior investigations never found "a whiff of ANY issue - at all - related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse".

The FBI report is confidential, and senators will be allowed to read it in a special secure room in the Capitol.

Mr. Cosko is a Democratic operative who's worked for several congressional offices over the years, including most recently for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a vocal critic of Judge Kavanaugh's.

Trump said Kavanaugh has been treated horribly.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee's top Democrat, called Mr Trump's comments "cruel", adding, "he sent a clear message to victims of sexual assault that they should not be believed".

The Senate Judiciary Committee expected to receive the report from the FBI Wednesday evening. That's the only thing I remember.

Kavanaugh is accused of sexually assaulting a woman decades ago when the two were in high school.

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