Kavanaugh: I said things I ‘should not have said’ during Senate testimony

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But Republicans moved forward with plans for a key procedural vote on Friday and a final vote on Saturday on confirming the conservative federal appeals judge for a lifetime job on the top U.S. court.

US senators, expected to vote Friday morning on the confirmation of President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, are still highly divided along partisan lines over the results of a probe into allegations of sexual misconduct against the judge.

It was not clear whether Kavanaugh's unorthodox move was motivated by concern that his nomination was in trouble, or whether it was an early attempt to mitigate the political toll of his confirmation fight in the expectation that he will shortly take a seat on the Supreme Court that could cement a conservative majority for many years.

Despite the controversy, Kavanaugh says he is "optimistic" and still hopes to be nominated to the Supreme Court.

Ramirez's attorney also said on Thursday that she had given investigators the names of a number of people from her college days who she said could corroborate allegations she has made against Kavanaugh.

One Democratic senator facing a tough re-election in North Dakota, a state President Donald Trump won handily in 2016, announced she's against Kavanaugh.

Many Democrats-even some who said a one-week investigation would be sufficient-have criticized the report, saying not enough witnesses were interviewed.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh called himself an "independent, impartial judge" in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, defending his controversial testimony last week in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

After Kavanaugh and Ford testified in front of the committee last week, Keyser wrote a letter to the committee dated September 29 that said she did not refute Ford's claims, but "is unable to corroborate it because she has no recollection of the incident in question", according to CNN.

"I was there as a son, husband and dad", he wrote.

With Republicans clinging to a razor-thin 51-49 Senate majority and five senators - including three Republicans - still publicly undeclared, the conservative jurist's prospects of Senate confirmation could hinge largely on the file's contents.

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"The Senate set the scope of the investigation", as White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters on Thursday.

They include three people who Ford says were in the house at the time of the party.

"Make no mistake, this investigation was rigged by the White House and Senate Republicans", said Sen.

Ford, now a California psychology professor, has testified that when the drunken Kavanaugh attacked her, she believed he was trying to rape her.

It had been a smooth process by Washington's bumpy standards until Christine Blasey Ford, then other women, came forward with their accusations, setting up an epic hearing last week centered on Ford's pained recounting of her allegation and Kavanaugh's blistering denials. The report is confidential and has not been made public.

Ford, who testified before the judiciary committee in Washington on September 27, alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982, when they were high school students. Senators who wanted to read the reports went back throughout the day.

In total, the bureau said it reached out to 11 people and spoke to 10 after one witness identified by Ramirez refused to cooperate.

Ford, who testified last week at a dramatic Judiciary Committee hearing, said a drunken Kavanaugh pinned her down, tried to remove her clothing and covered her mouth when she screamed.

No Republicans have said they will vote against Kavanaugh, although four have not committed to supporting him.

Speaking to reporters after reviewing the FBI report, Collins said it "appears to be a very thorough investigation".

Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegation and further sexual misconduct claims against him from two other women.

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