Passion, chaos as Kavanaugh confirmation vote nears

McConnell takes key step toward vote on Kavanaugh nomination

That is because U.S. Sen.

It is not a done deal, however.

Republicans need a simple majority of 51 to invoke cloture and move forward with the final vote tomorrow.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke forcefully on the Senate floor Thursday morning, explaining why he's moving for a vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Eastern time Friday. Manchin said Friday he would not speak about his decision until the final vote occurs.

A vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation is expected on Saturday after the FBI completed a supplemental background investigation of Kavanaugh and the new claims against him. Kavanaugh has denied all allegations against him.

"As I am sure you are aware, the handling of the results of BIs for judicial nominees is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Senate Judiciary Committee and the White House", the letter read.

The 53-year-old judge said in an op-ed that he knows his "tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said" during testimony last week to the Judiciary Committee.

"I'm sick and exhausted of seeing women's experiences not be given weight", demonstrator Christine Zagrobelny, 29, a software engineer from New York City, said outside the Supreme Court.

Senator Chris Coons, who pressed for the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe of the allegations, told ABC News on Friday the judge "crossed a line in terms of judicial behaviour and temperament" with his attack on Democrats at the hearing, something "undecided senators should be weighing very carefully".

Kavanaugh denied claims by former schoolmate Dr Christine Blasey Ford that he attempted to rape her during a party in the 1980s. The judge also defended his behavior by pointing out that his high school and college years were being scrutinized while his family faced "vile and violent threats".

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After critics blasted Kavanaugh's September 27 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee as overtly emotional and more, even Republican Justice John Paul Stevens admitted "there's merit to that criticism", the Palm Beach Post originally reported.

"But I think that his performance during the hearings caused me to change my mind", Stevens said in Florida.

Protesters marching arm in arm from the Supreme Court to Senate office buildings Thursday wore shirts that said "Believe women" while chanting "Hey hey!"

Capitol Police said the 300-odd detainees were processed on site and released after being charged with offenses such as obstructing a public space or unlawful demonstration.

Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley stops to speak briefly with the media at US Capitol on 3 October 2018.

"Putting aside for the moment the possibility that Brett Kavanaugh was a sexual predator in his youth, he is still unfit to be on the Supreme Court".

A previously undecided Democratic senator, Heidi Heitkamp, said she would vote against Kavanaugh, citing "concerns about his past conduct" and questions about his "temperament, honesty and impartiality" after his angry, defiant testimony a week ago to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There's nothing in it that we didn't already know".

Mr Flake and Ms Collins are joined by a third undecided Republican, Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska. Among them were three of the chamber's moderate Republicans, Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat up for re-election in conservative West Virginia.

Further complicating matters for the Republican leadership, Senator Steve Daines was set to be at his daughter's wedding on Saturday and has said he will not miss the ceremony.

There does remain some suspense about the timing of the final vote.

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