Arizona Senator Jeff Flake said on Friday that he plans to vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, barring any big changes.
With this announcement, Flake completed another step of his agonizing journey to voting "yes" on Kavanaugh.
Flake went from calling for an FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, to emphasizing that the FBI must do a "real investigation," then expressing satisfaction with the investigation because it reportedly produced "no new corroboration." Finally, he revealed today that he will vote for Kavanaugh unless something "big" changes.
The statement came shortly after Flake voted yes during a 51-49 procedural vote in the Senate to end debate and advance Kavanaugh's nomination to a final vote.
The confirmation vote, expected to take place on Saturday, will end a brutal fight over Kavanaugh's nomination to the high court. Flake is one of several closely watched moderates, along with Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, who could determine whether Kavanaugh is confirmed tomorrow.
For her part, Murkowski voted "no" during the procedural vote on Friday.
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"I believe Brett Kavanaugh’s a good man," she told reporters afterward. "It just may be that in my view he’s not the right man for the court at this time."
During a Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Flake – true to form – appeared to be publicly wrestling with his conscience in light of the evidence presented by Christine Blasey Ford, a professor who says that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.
Demonstrators confronted Flake in an elevator shortly after he said that he would vote to advance Kavanaugh's nomination out of the committee, at which point Flake reversed and called for the limited FBI investigation.
Now, Flake is back where he started – ready to help cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for decades.