Senators vote on Kavanaugh's nomination
When asked by CNN’s Ted Barrett if he was more inclined to support Judge Kavanaugh after leaving the senators briefing on the FBI report, Senator Flake responded, “we’ve seen no additional corroborating information,” and added he needs to finish reviewing the material.
Flake also said he agrees with Senator Collins’ pronouncement that the investigation was thorough.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeated this morning that the President is “confident in his selection and his support of Judge Kavanaugh,” while speaking to reporters on the White House driveway following a FOX News interview.
She wouldn’t say if the President has spoken to wavering Republicans or Democrats to shore up votes, but said, “The President has well as a number of White House officials have been engaged throughout the process. We’ve talked to a number of senators and we’ll continue to do so until the vote takes place.”
Asked if Kavanaugh has the votes for confirmation, she said, “We certainly hope so. We feel, as Chairman Grassley said a few minutes ago, we didn’t learn anything new. And based on what we knew before we felt very confident.”
Asked by CNN’s Jeremy Diamond about the dozens of leads that were not investigated by the FBI, Sanders said, “We allowed the FBI to do exactly what they do best, we haven’t micromanaged this process. We accommodated all of the senate’s requests. The President was very clear about that.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell just spoke from the Senate floor where he assailed Democrats for trying to "smear this good man, to drag him through the mud" and asked, "What did we learn? What do the facts and the evidence tell us after 7 FBI investigations?"
"The fact is that these allegations have not been corroborated. None of the allegations have been corroborated by the seven investigations. Not in the new FBI investigation. Not anywhere," he said.
McConnell added, "The facts do not support the allegations levied at Judge Kavanaugh's character. Instead, many of the facts actually support Judge Kavanaugh's strong unequivocal denial."
CNN’s Jeremy Herb caught up with Senator Susan Collins, a crucial swing vote, after the senators briefing on the FBI report.
She did not indicate how she would vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation but said of the FBI report “it appears to be a very thorough investigation.”
She added she would read the report in full later today.
CNN's Manu Raju reports that this comment from Collins is "hugely significant" as it suggests that she is satisfied with how this investigation went, making it clear she's siding with the Republicans on that key question about whether or not this investigation was done thoroughly and completely.
"She believes it has," Raju just said. "Now, what does that mean for her vote? We don't have final answer on that yet."
The FBI report, according to congressional sources and as well as sources briefed on the documents, includes not only the interview summaries but also information that came in to the FBI’s tip line.
CNN has reported on a number of individuals from Yale who said they had reached out to the FBI to report information but had not been subsequently contacted by the FBI.
One source says the FBI report is more than 1,000 pages.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, speaking after he was briefed on Brett Kavanaugh's FBI report, said that going into this process Democrats had "many fears" that the investigation's parameters would "constrain the FBI from getting all the facts."
"Having received a thorough briefing on the documents," Schumer said, "those fears have been realized."
Schumer added that he disagrees with Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley's earlier assessment that the investigation "found no hint of misconduct."
He also criticized the process of reviewing the document itself, stating, "The fact that there's only one document in there for 100 senators is another example of constraining the ability of all senators and the American public to see the whole truth and nothing but."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Commitee, said at a press availability after viewing Brett Kavanaugh's FBI report that "the most notable part of this report is what's not in it. As we noted by the white house, the FBI did not interview Brett Kavanaugh. Nor did the FBI interview Dr. Blasey Ford."
She added, "It looks to be a product of an incomplete investigation that was limited, perhaps by the White House. I don't know."
"Democrats agreed that the investigation's scope should be limited," Feinstein said. "We did not agree that the White House should tie the FBI's hands."
Multiple senior GOP aides expressed confidence Wednesday night that Kavanaugh was on the path to confirmation -- though all acknowledged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell still hasn't received any commitments or assurances from the undecided senators.
The expectation, aides say, is barring some significant new disclosure in the FBI inquiry, they'll make it over the vote threshold to get Kavanaugh confirmed.
"We've made sure they got what they needed," one of the aides said. "Now we move forward."
In other words, the week-long delay is almost over. The FBI supplemental background check is officially on Capitol Hill. The first vote is scheduled for Friday.
This is moving forward, one way or another.
Programming note: Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and a number of Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an 11 a.m. ET press conference where they will share reactions to the FBI's supplemental background check for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
We'll likely carry it live here or, when it's time, refresh this page and it should appear in the video player up above.
[Note: We said it was 10 a.m. ET in a previous version of this post. It will be at 11 a.m. ET. Sorry about that.]