In a dramatic reversal from his statement earlier this morning — as detailed by the Inquisitr — Arizona Senator Jeff Flake called for an additional, week-long investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, according to The New York Times.
Only minutes before the scheduled committee vote on Friday, Democratic Senators — led by Flake’s personal friend Senator Chris Coons from Delaware — urged Flake to reconsider his support for Kavanaugh.
When lawmakers finally took their seats, Flake told the committee that he felt the best option in front of them was to delay the full Senate vote for the Supreme Court nominee, in order to give the FBI some time to investigate.
“I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to, but not more than, one week, in order to let the FBI to do an investigation, limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there,” Sen. Flake told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I think that we ought to do what we can to make sure that we do all due diligence with a nomination this important.”
While Flake did vote along with his GOP colleagues to proceed with the full Senate floor vote for Kavanaugh, he made it clear he wouldn’t feel comfortable casting his vote in favor of the judge without further FBI investigation.
As CNBC reports, Coons assured reporters, after the committee adjourned, that the scope of the proposed FBI investigation would be limited.
“One week only,” Coons said. “Not to spread this out past the next election, not to pursue some partisan goal, but to allow a professional FBI interview with everyone who may have relevant information.”
Flake was one of the key votes that Republicans were relying on in their race to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, along with Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Despite Flake’s statement this morning about his plan to support Kavanaugh, he was clearly conflicted about the decision.
After yesterday’s hearing where both Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, testified in front of the committee, Flake told reporters, “This isn’t easy for anybody” and that “there’s more doubt than certainty moving ahead.”
Flake was also confronted by self-described survivors of sexual assault in an elevator after he made his initial decision public this morning.
Women confront Sen. Jeff Flake after he says he'll vote yes to Kavanuagh: “That’s what you’re telling all women in America, that they don’t matter. They should just keep it to themselves because if they have told the truth you’re just going to help that man to power anyway.” pic.twitter.com/T7fSpyT69E— CNN (@CNN) September 28, 2018
“Don’t look away from me!” one woman yelled. Another pleaded with Flake to justify voting in favor of someone accused of sexual assault — as Kavanaugh has been.
Flake declined to answer any of those women, but looked incredibly conflicted in the video of the incident.
Other Republican Senators were clearly displeased with Flakes reversal, including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who gave an impassioned speech about what he was as a partisan takedown of Kavanaugh yesterday.
“Someone’s got to explain this to Trump, and I guess that’s my job,” Graham told reporters with a chuckle.