In response to a question about Sen. Jeff Flake's request for a one-week investigation, Sen. Lindsey Graham insisted that Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination would go forward, while praising Flake as "a really good guy."
"I think what Jeff is trying to do is end this the best he possibly can, to accommodate some people on the other side, and to bring the committee together if possible," Graham said to reporters. "This is democracy."
When pushed again on why Flake seemed to change his mind, Graham repeated, "This is called democracy ... Jeff's a really good guy. I wouldn't have done it. Jeff is trying to be fair."
However, Graham insisted that both he and Flake felt confident in Kavanaugh's nomination, and that the process would push forward.
"A week is enough time for (Flake), maybe less ... We're not playing this game of opening this up and it goes on forever."
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn says there will still be a motion to proceed vote in the Senate tomorrow, with an agreement for a supplemental background check for no longer than one week.
Sen. John Kennedy says there will be a statement issued soon, presumably by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, about the path forward with the nomination.
Kennedy said this as he departed the meeting in McConnell’s office with GOP leadership and some Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Barbara Van Gelder, attorney for Mark Judge, says: “Mr. Judge asked not testify publicly. If the FBI or any law enforcement agency requests Mr. Judge’s cooperation, he will answer any and all questions posed to him.”
Christine Blasey Ford said Mark Judge was also in the room when she was allegedly assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh.
On Friday morning, Sen. Jeff Flake announced he was "prepared to support (Kavanaugh's) nomination." Then, he disappeared from the hearing room for almost an hour and reemerged asking for an FBI investigation.
We're not sure what happened behind closed doors, but there was a stand-out live-on-air moment this morning. Minutes after Flake announced his support, he was confronted in a Senate office building elevator by two women who say they are sexual assault survivors.
"I was sexually assaulted and nobody believed me," the second woman, Maria Gallagher, told Flake. "I didn't tell anyone and you're telling all women that they don't matter, that they should just stay quiet because if they tell you what happened to them you are going to ignore them.
Archila, the co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, later told CNN that she was sexually assaulted when she was 5 years old. She said she was "profoundly disappointed" in Flake. "I thought that he was someone who was willing to take a stand, that was on the side of justice, and I thought of him as someone who was able to recognize the humanity across political lines," Archila told CNN.
The second woman, Maria Gallagher, a recent college graduate, told CNN she felt "nauseous" and "upset" upon hearing of Flake's decision.
This was the first time she's related her story out loud or publicly, Gallagher said.
"It's not something that I ever want to or like to share with people," she said, adding, "But I thought it was important that he knows, and that promoting Brett Kavanaugh is telling victims of sexual assault that no one wants to hear you."
Sen. Jeff Flake was at the center of today's drama over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The Arizona Republican started his day with a statement saying he'd vote yes, but then ended a committee meeting by saying he'd vote to move the nominee to the Senate floor -- only if the main vote is delayed for an FBI investigation.
Between then, he was confronted by protesters, huddled privately with one of his Democratic friends and went missing for a committee meeting for more than an hour.
Here's the play-by-play of how Flake's day unfolded:
- Around 9:30 a.m. ET: Flake releases a statement saying he will vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
- A minute later, at 9:31 a.m. ET: As Flake is trying to get into an elevator to head to the committee meeting, two women confront him. They tell him they were victims of sexual assault and say his decision to back Kavanaugh sends a message that women's voices don't matter. Flake is visibly uncomfortable. He quietly listens to the women.
- Soon after that: Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat who is good friends with Flake, gets emotional when he learns of Flake's decision. CNN asks him for comment, and he tears up. “We each make choices for our own reason. I’m struggling, sorry," he says.
- 12:16 p.m. ET: During the committee hearing, Flake stands up and approaches Coons. The two walk out together. Several other Democrats follow.
- 1:30 p.m. ET: The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote, but Flake still isn't in the room. He's been out of the meeting room for more than an hour at this point.
- 1:51 p.m. ET: Flake begins speaking to the committee. He says he will vote to move Kavanaugh out of the committee and to the floor of the Senate as long as the main vote will be delayed by up to one week to allow for an FBI investigation.
- 1:53 p.m. ET: The committee votes 11-10 to send Kavanaugh to the floor.
- After the meeting: Flake says he would only vote yes on the floor if there is a delay and an additional FBI investigation.
Key moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin says he supports Sen. Jeff Flake’s call for a delay.
He said in a statement, “I applaud Senator Jeff Flake’s decision to rise above the partisan circus on display during this entire process. It took courage to take a stand and call for a one-week FBI investigation to get to the bottom of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. This has been a partisan and divisive process. The American people have been pulled apart by this entire spectacle and we need to take time to address these claims independently, so that our country can have confidence in the outcome of this vote. It is what is right and fair for Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, and the American people.”
After the adjournment, committee chairman Chuck Grassley declined to answer most questions, including whether he liked Jeff Flake's proposal of a delay to allow an FBI investigation.
When asked if he was disappointed by what happened, however, he replied, “Why would you be disappointed when you move a nominee out of Committee? You’re moving forward."
Outside of Republican Sen. John Cornyn's office in Austin:
And outside of Cornyn's office in Houston:
Outside Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham's office in Charleston, South Carolina:
In Salt Lake City:
Outside Republican Sen. Bob Corker's office in Nashville:
In Los Angeles:
Outside Republican Sen. Susan Collins' office in Portland, Maine:
Outside Republican Sen. Pat Toomey's office in Philadelphia:
And in Washington, outside the Supreme Court.