Bucking party, Murkowski charts her own path on Kavanaugh

"I believe that Judge Kavanaugh is a good man".

Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a fellow moderate and friend of Collins, became the only Republican to say she opposed Kavanaugh. If the cloture votes hold, Republicans may go ahead and vote in Daines' absence and confirm Kavanaugh on a 50-49 vote.

Trump, himself accused by numerous women during the 2016 presidential election of sexual misconduct, tweeted his approval for the Senate vote on Friday, saying, "Very proud of the U.S. Senate for voting "YES" to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!".

With the political world holding its breath, Collins spoke of a lack of "corroborating evidence" to back up Ford's claims that Kavanaugh was the man who assaulted her more than three decades ago.

Their statements of support brought the number of senators supporting Kavanaugh to 51 in the 100-member chamber.

"We will be ill-served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness, tempting though it may be", Collins said in remarks that also addressed the sexual-abuse allegations against Kavanaugh.

Collins voted to end debate on Kavanaugh's confirmation, paving the way for a final vote. It's widely thought that Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court would give Republicans a win that lasts at least a generation. Kavanaugh has denied all the accusations.

His confirmation would also allow Trump to hit the campaign trail ahead of the November 6 congressional elections bragging that he has kept his 2016 promise to mold a more conservative American judiciary.

Bash also asked the lawyer how Ford responded when President Donald Trump mocked her during a rally.

Manchin is the only Democrat who's likely to vote in favor of Kavanaugh.

Earlier on Friday, Senate lawmakers backed Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, by 51 to 49 in a procedural vote that moved the Republican-controlled Senate towards a definitive decision.

"Millions of Americans, millions of women are watching us today", said New York Sen.

Protesters occupy the Senate Hart building during a rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Thursday.

She made the remarks hours after Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, said that sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh weren't strong enough to persuade her to vote no.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY called the fight "a sorry epilogue to the brazen theft of Justice Scalia's seat".

There are few events that can pull a parent away from their own daughter's wedding, but for Republican Sen.

Murkowski sat solemnly during the roll call and whispered "No" when it was her turn to vote. "Watching [Ford], I could not help but feel that some people who wanted to engineer the defeat of this nomination cared little, if at all, for her well-being", she said. If confirmed, Kavanaugh could tip the court's balance toward conservatives for a generation.

Immediately after that speech, Mr Manchin announced his support, calling Mr Kavanaugh a "qualified jurist" who "will not allow the partisan nature this process took to follow him onto the court".

She has been noticeably warm toward Kavanaugh since Trump nominated him in mid-July, despite her promise that she would not consider a nominee who is hostile to Roe.

Kavanaugh would replace the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was a swing vote on issues including abortion, campaign finance and same-sex marriage.

  • Tracy Klein