Senators vote on Kavanaugh's nomination

By Brian Ries, Meg Wagner, Jessie Yeung, Veronica Rocha and Paul P. Murphy, CNN

Updated 1:11 PM ET, Sun November 25, 2018
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2:17 p.m. ET, October 2, 2018

Trump: "It's a very scary time for young men in America"

President Trump, stopping to speak to reporters while departing the White House, said that it's a "scary time in America" for young men.

Answering questions about his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is under FBI investigation after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman when they were both in high school, Trump said...

“It’s a very scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent … It’s a very scary time for young men in America, when you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of."

Trump's comments echoed remarks his son Donald Jr.'s made in an interview with the Daily Mail on Monday. When he was asked if he is more afraid for his sons or his daughters in the wake of the reaction to the allegations against Kavanaugh, Trump Jr. said: "I mean, right now, I'd say my sons ... When I see what's going on right now, it's scary."

Trump also made similar comments last week when he was asked about his message to young men in America.

"Somebody could come and say 30 years ago, 25 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, he did a horrible thing to me. He did this, he did that, he did that and, honestly, it's a very dangerous period in our country," Trump said during a news conference last week in New York.

Watch more:

1:39 p.m. ET, October 2, 2018

Trump says "a lot" depends on Kavanaugh's FBI investigation, draws line on lying to Congress

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Trump said Tuesday his Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh is "doing very well" but said his fate will depend on an ongoing FBI investigation.

"A lot is going to depend on what comes back from the FBI in terms of their additional — number 7 — investigation," he said on the South Lawn.

He added later: "The FBI is working, they’re working very hard, and let’s see what happens."

He expressed optimism a vote on Kavanaugh could come by the end of the week, citing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"Hopefully as Mitch said they’ll have a vote by the end of the week and it will be a positive vote," he said.

Kavanaugh, he said, is "fighting very hard for his reputation, for his family."

Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn, Trump also drew a line on lying to Congress.

"I don’t think you should lie to Congress and there are a lot of people over the past year who have lied to Congress," he said. "For me, that would not be acceptable."

1:29 p.m. ET, October 2, 2018

Murkowski won’t say if she would be ready to vote Friday if FBI report not done

From CNN’s Manu Raju

CNN’s Manu Raju just asked Senator Lisa Murkowski if she would be ready to vote if FBI report not done by Friday.

"I don’t know what the status of the FBI report and I think what we need to do is wait for the FBI to conclude its report," she answered.

A protestor then intruded on gaggle, and she escaped onto an awaiting senators-only elevator where none other than Senator Susan Collins was on.

1:22 p.m. ET, October 2, 2018

Top committee Democrat suggests the FBI report shouldn't be made public

From CNN's Liz Landers

Senate Judiciary ranking member Dianne Feinstein told reporters that she doesn’t know if the FBI investigation has been expanded to include all of the witnesses that Democrats would like to see

“We don't know at this point. That’s why we wrote the letter asking for the names of people who would be covered. And of course, it would be given to us on a classified basis but at least we would know” she told reporters.

Feinstein indicated that she's had many women approach her about stories of sexual misconduct and confidentiality, saying, it's "not an easy subject." 

"I think the investigation ought to be closely held," she reiterated.

When asked how the American people will have confidence in the investigation if it's not made public, Feinstein said, "Well, let's see... I can't say because I don't know what the investigation will say." 

"I believe it's too soon. It's Tuesday and we have to put all the facts together," she said. "I don't take it lightly, so we need to do our due diligence," she said."

Whether the Kavanaugh report will ever seen seen by the public is becoming a key issue. The White House ordered the FBI to do a supplemental background investigation. When the FBI completes its work, it sends what it has collected back to the White House. The White House then adds that information to the nominee's background file, which is then sent to the Senate. Only then can senators see it, and only senators and a limited number of staff have access to it.

In other words, don't expect some big public report. There will likely be efforts to make the information public — especially by whichever side it helps. But it's not a clean process of public release.

12:53 p.m. ET, October 2, 2018

The Supreme Court returned yesterday — with one empty space

When Chief Justice John Roberts opened the Supreme Court's annual session on Monday, he declared from the bench, in traditional fashion, that the prior term was officially "now closed" and the new 2018-2019 term was "now convened." 

It was the language of a fresh start. But there's a hole on the bench.

The eight justices, painfully aware of what has transpired at the Capitol across the street with President Donald Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, are haunted by history.

The associate justices repositioned their tall black chairs on the two sides of Roberts, in their new order of alternating seniority without Kennedy. Four justices sat to Roberts's right (Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Neil Gorsuch). But to his left, there were only three justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan). 

At the end of the bench, where the new justice would sit, was an empty space and idle microphone.

12:33 p.m. ET, October 2, 2018

Lindsey Graham: If Kavanaugh's not confirmed, Trump should re-nominate him

Sen. Lindsey Graham — the Republican senator who accused Democrats of trying to destroy Brett Kavanaugh's life during the Thursday Senate hearing — just released a new statement about the judge's nomination.

"I can only imagine how awful this entire process has been for Judge Kavanaugh and his family," Graham said. “I would again ask every senator who believes Judge Kavanaugh is a highly qualified, capable nominee to the Supreme Court to not quit on him. It is incredibly important we do not legitimize these smears and attempts at character assassination for the good of the Court, the future of the Senate, and the character of our nation."

Graham said he believes Kavanaugh will be confirmed — but he encouraged Trump to re-nominate Kavanaugh if he's not as a way to appeal the Senate's verdict.

Here's Graham's full statement:

12:15 p.m. ET, October 2, 2018

Catholic University dean suspended for tweet about Kavanaugh accuser

From CNN's Geneva Sands

Catholic University Dean Will Rainford was suspended last week for the remainder of the semester over "unacceptable" tweets he sent about some of the allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh (Those made by Julie Swetnick).

"The tweets called into question the validity of some accusations of sexual assault made against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Of deepest concern to me is that they demonstrated a lack of sensitivity to the victim," said University President John Garvey in a public letter. 

Rainford, who led the School of Social Service since 2013, has since deleted his Twitter and Facebook accounts, but the student newspaper The Tower took a screen shot of one of the tweets. 

It read:

"Swetnick is 55 y/o. Kavanaugh is 52 y/o. Since when do senior girls hang with freshmen boys? If it happened when Kavanaugh was a senior, Swetnick was an adult drinking with&by her admission, having sex with underage boys. In another universe, he would be victim & she the perp!"

On Thursday, Rainford issued an apology, writing that he tweeted a message that "unfortunately degraded" Swetnick.

11:52 a.m. ET, October 2, 2018

Jeff Flake: "I just hope that we find facts"

Sen. Jeff Flake, speaking at an event with Sen. Chris Coons, addressed the Brett Kavanaugh FBI investigation at the top of their joint interview.

Flake, a Republican, on Friday requested the FBI investigate the allegations against Kavanaugh before the Senate votes on his nomination. That request ultimately propelled its launch.

"My hope is that as they interview these individuals, then they’ll immediately follow up on other leads they might have. So we don’t know exactly where it is in terms of what it will take. I just hope that we find facts. And I have an open mind just as I had in the hearings," Flake said.

He added: "We’ll see what they come back with. I don’t want to prejudge it."

Coons, a Democrat who is good friends with Flake, said Kavanaugh's and Christine Blasey Ford's testimonies two gave them "completely opposite sets of facts and conclusions."

"And if the nomination was forced forward, with no more further investigation," Coons said, it "would have a lasting impact on the credibility of the court."

11:32 a.m. ET, October 2, 2018

One of Kavanaugh's friends was arrested in the 1985 bar incident, police report shows

From CNN's Majlie de Puy Kamp and Maegan Vazquez

A 1985 altercation in a Connecticut bar that allegedly involved Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh led to the arrest of one of his close friends at Yale, a copy of an unredacted police report on the incident provided to CNN shows.

In the New Haven, Connecticut, police department report, a man named Dom Cozzolino said Kavanaugh had thrown ice on him and Kavanaugh's friend Chris Dudley had thrown a glass that hit him in the ear.

Dudley denied the allegations, according to the police report, "and Mr. Kavanaugh didn't (want) to say if he threw the ice or not. "

A newly obtained unredacted version of the report states Dudley "was transported to Union Ave detention facility by prisoner conveyance..." and a large "A" on the report indicates Dudley was arrested, according to New Haven's police chief Anthony Campbell.

It's not known whether Dudley was ever charged with a crime.