Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has acknowledged he "might have been too emotional" when testifying about sexual misconduct allegations as he made a bid to win over wavering Republican senators on the eve of a crucial vote to advance his confirmation.
In angry and defiant testimony before the Senate, Kavanaugh denied Christine Blasey Ford's accusation, as well as allegations by two other women of sexual misconduct in the 1980s.
If Kavanaugh is confirmed by the Senate in a vote planned on Saturday, Trump will have succeeded in placing his second justice on the top U.S. court and fulfilled his pledge to solidify its conservative majority.
Republicans say nine people were interviewed.
The Left has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of being a drunken, conservative, Irish Catholic rapist. Now I don't say that from the standpoint of counting votes.
The North Dakota Republican Party quickly attacked Heitkamp for opposing the nomination, arguing the decision aligns the vulnerable senator with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Kavanaugh was called back to testify about claims by Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.
In the Senate, the savage national debate over power and who to believe has above all been about the math.
The FBI declined to comment on the investigation or its timing.
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Emboldened, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Thursday a procedural vote on Kavanaugh will be held on Friday with a final vote as soon as Saturday.
West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito - like Ford, a graduate of the Holton-Arms School - has said she supports Kavanaugh.
In a letter to President Trump, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Judiciary Committee ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein discussed their understanding that "conducting background investigations on nominees has always been the FBI's standard practice, and it is common for such background investigations to be reopened when new information about a nominee becomes known".
"It smacks of a whitewash", Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal told reporters, saying the report should not give political cover for Republicans to vote for Mr Kavanaugh because "it is blatantly incomplete".
The shift has bolstered Republican hopes of saving their Senate majority in the November 6 elections. But this statement arrived after a long introduction in which Kavanaugh span the same narrative we heard during his testimony.
The FBI inquiry began last week at the direction of the White House after Republican Sen. Meanwhile, truth in testimony aside, 48% oppose Kavanaugh's nomination to 41% in favor.
In an earlier tweet, Shah said the White House is "fully confident" that the Senate will confirm Kavanaugh, whose nomination has been roiled by the allegations of three women about his behavior more than three decades ago. Kavanaugh has said stories of bad behavior while drinking are exaggerated.
Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the accusations, which became the focus of an FBI investigation.
The 85-year-old Iowa Republican appeared at the briefing with four other Judiciary Committee Republicans, all of whom defended Kavanaugh and the integrity of the FBI investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against the judge - a probe that's been widely decried by Democrats as unfairly limited by the White House.