Sen. Jeff Flake announces he will vote to confirm Kavanaugh nomination

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WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona announced Friday morning that he would vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” Flake, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and was a key undecided Republican vote, said in a statement.

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 27: Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) questions Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. 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. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Moments after his statement was announced Flake was immediately confronted by furious demonstrators who aggressively questioned and shouted at the senator while he waited on an elevator.

Flake’s decision is a victory for Senate Republican leaders working to push ahead with Kavanaugh’s nomination despite Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against him on Thursday. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations.

Republicans can confirm Kavanaugh without any Democratic votes, but with only a 51-49-seat hold on the Senate, Kavanaugh’s supporters can only afford to lose one GOP vote and still advance his nomination.

“Yesterday, we heard compelling testimony from Dr. Ford, as well as a persuasive response from Judge Kavanaugh. I wish that I could express the confidence that some of my colleagues have conveyed about what either did or did not happen in the early 1980s, but I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty,” he said.

“What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence. That is what binds us to the rule of law. While some may argue that a different standard should apply regarding the Senate’s advice and consent responsibilities, I believe that the constitution’s provisions of fairness and due process apply here as well.”

The Arizona Republican appeared torn after hearing Ford’s testimony alleging that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the 1980s — and Kavanaugh’s forceful denial. “This isn’t easy for anybody,” he told reporters on Thursday evening. “There’s more doubt than certainty moving ahead.”

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