Brett Kavanaugh: US senators to begin reading Federal Bureau of Investigation report

United States President Donald J. Trump speaks with members of the media prior to boarding Marine One for his departure from the White House

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken a key procedural step to begin voting on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Graham doubled down on his recommendation that Trump renominate Kavanaugh if the Senate fails to confirm him, which the SC senator said would turn November's midterms into a referendum on the vacant Supreme Court seat.

At a White House briefing, Trump's spokeswoman Sarah Sanders defended his remarks in MS and said he was not concerned the comments may have jeopardized the votes of key senators.

Separately, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told reporters, "The president's comments were just plain wrong".

Kavanaugh's nomination hangs in the balance a week after Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh when they were both in high school.

On Tuesday, Mr Flake said he was "very troubled" by the tenor of Judge Kavanaugh's "partisan" testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

The poll was based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,462 adults, conducted from September 24 to September 30 -after Kavanaugh and Ford testified before the Senate about the sexual assault allegations - and featured a 3 percent margin of error at 95 percent confidence level.

Republicans and Democrats remain bitterly divided on whether to approve Mr Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court judge.

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Its nine justices are appointed for life and have the final say on some of the most contentious issues in USA public life, from abortion, to gun control, to voting laws. A showdown rollcall over confirmation seemed likely over the weekend. The goal: to shed light on Ford's accusation that Kavanaugh pinned her down and groped her in 1982. 'How many years ago was it?' I don't know.

White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday echoed the president's newly aggressive approach.

The lack of interviews raises "serious concerns that this is not a credible investigation and begs the question: what other restrictions has the White House placed on the FBI?" Christine Blasey Ford, the woman whose claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her sparked the probe, had not been contacted as of Wednesday, her attorneys said.

Officials said Trump is seeking to boost Hyde-Smith as close as possible to the 50 percent threshold and lend momentum for a possible runoff. Before casting the decisive vote in favour of Kavanaugh, Flake asked the panel to request the Trump administration to pursue an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe of the explosive allegations against Kavanaugh.

The court's nine justices are appointed for life and have the final say on some of the most contentious issues in USA public life, from abortion to gun control and voting laws.

McConnell said in a letter Wednesday to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that he believes Democrats would only use such a briefing to delay Kavanaugh's confirmation.

The Arizona senator is a closely watched swing vote as Republicans can potentially only afford one defection if they are to confirm their nominee. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) also have yet to announce how they will vote. "I had one beer", said the President of the United States, imitating the testimony of, again, a woman who detailed having been sexually assaulted by his Supreme Court pick.

As he flew aboard Air Force One to the MS rally, Trump was also enraged by stories in The New York Times about Kavanaugh's high school and college years and alleging tax avoidance efforts by the president and his family, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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