By LISA MASCARO, ALAN FRAM and MARY CLARE JALONICK
Senate Republicans have pushed Brett Kavanaugh’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination past a procedural hurdle, but a confirmation vote remains delayed for at least a week amid a new FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the move late Friday after a tumultuous day on Capitol Hill.
The leader says all 51 Republican senators supported the motion to proceed with Kavanaugh’s nomination. But it was approved by voice, without a roll call to put senators on record.
In fact, GOP senators were slowing Kavanaugh’s final confirmation for at least a week. President Donald Trump agreed with their request to launch a “supplemental” FBI investigation into the allegations.
McConnell calls Kavanaugh “most qualified and most impressive” and says, “This is a nomination that deserves to move forward.”
Earlier in the day Friday, U.S. Capitol Police arrested 88 people for unlawfully demonstrating in Senate office buildings as they were protesting Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Police say 81 people were arrested Friday morning outside a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting in the Dirksen office building. Seven more were arrested Friday afternoon in a separate protest at the Hart building.
All were charged with unlawfully crowding or obstructing, then processed and released.
Kavanaugh’s nomination has sparked heated debate inside and outside the Capitol as the Senate considers allegations that he sexually assaulted an acquaintance while both were teenagers. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.
• A lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford is praising the efforts of several senators who successfully pushed for a new FBI investigation of Ford’s sexual assault claim against Kavanaugh.
Debra Katz says Ford “welcomes this step in the process” and appreciates the efforts of Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and others. Senate Republican leaders agreed Friday to ask for the investigation and delay a final vote on Kavanaugh after Flake requested it. Flake is a crucial swing vote on the nomination.
President Donald Trump later ordered the investigation, saying it should be limited in scope and last no longer than a week. Katz says there should be no “artificial limits as to time or scope” on the investigation.