UPDATE: Sen. Collins backs Flake delay, calls it a "sensible agreement."
I support this sensible agreement. pic.twitter.com/5QtenWGGqb— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) September 28, 2018
It was all set. The Republicans we’re moving the ball on the Supreme Court nomination of Bret Kavanaugh—and they fumbled the ball on the goal line. There was a bit of drama before the Senate Judiciary Committee vote this afternoon, where Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) had a lengthy discussion in a Hill anteroom with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Yes, our worst fears were realized. Even though he announced he would vote for Kavanaugh, he delivered brief remarks before the committee voter, where he said he would support a delay in the floor vote in order for the FBI to do a brief investigation.
“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 do an investigation, limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there,” he said.
I applaud Senator Flake's decision to rise above the partisan circus on display during this entire process. It is what is right and fair for Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, and the American people. pic.twitter.com/VYoyYN6XQP— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) September 28, 2018
Now, the vote was along party lines, 11-10, to send the nomination to the floor, but then more dominos began to fall. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) backed Flake’s delay on the vote. And now, Sen. Joe Manchin has decided to flake out as well (via ABC News):
Two of the outstanding undecided senators, Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, both voiced their support for Flake in the aftermath of the Judiciary Committee vote.
Spotted on her way into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office, Murkowski informally voiced her backing of the Arizona senator's actions to reporters as she walked by, according to ABC News' Ali Rogin.
In a statement, Manchin wrote that he applauded "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," Manchin continued. "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."
Now, that’s not to say that Murkowski and Manchin have announced that they will be voting against Kavanaugh, but the delay is certainly what Democrats want—and we shouldn’t be shocked if more shenanigans are pulled during this weeklong delay. It’s now in Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s court. As of now, it’s not likely he will have the votes to start the 60-hours worth of debate before the planned final vote on Tuesday. It's all on Collins.
Why wasn't Flake on a leash? Who allowed him to get in that anteroom with Democrats?