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  • Supreme Court

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Friday she will support Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, likely securing his confirmation over the weekend.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted against moving forward with the nomination and later said she would oppose Kavanaugh in the final vote. She was the first Republican to break with the party and join most Democrats in opposing Kavanaugh.

Another potential swing vote, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), voted yes on Friday’s motion to end the debate over Kavanaugh. He later said he would vote for confirmation barring some sudden, unexpected development. He was instrumental in delaying the vote to allow for a renewed FBI probe this week.

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  • Supreme Court
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) walks to the Senate floor on Friday.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) walks to the Senate floor on Friday. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

The Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh advanced Friday in a narrow 51-49 vote, but there are no guarantees the final vote, expected as early as Saturday, will have the same outcome.

The final result is largely in the hands of a single person, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted against moving forward with the nomination and later said she would oppose Kavanaugh in the final vote. She was the first Republican to break with the party and join most Democrats in opposing Kavanaugh.

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Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) walks to the Senate floor for a cloture vote on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) walks to the Senate floor for a cloture vote on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told reporters Friday he would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, “unless something big changes.”

Flake’s decision leaves two senators — Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) — who have not announced how they will vote this weekend. On Friday morning, Flake, Collins and Manchin voted yes on advancing the controversial nomination.

Collins is expected to disclose her final decision in a floor speech at 3 p.m. EDT Friday; Manchin has not indicated when or if he plans to announce his vote in advance.

President Trump is praising the Senate for pushing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh past a key procedural hurdle.

Trump tweeted Friday: "Very proud of the U.S. Senate for voting "YES" to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!"

The chamber voted 51-49 to move forward with Trump's nominee. A final vote on Kavanaugh's nomination could occur over the weekend.

Former Vice President Joe Biden accused President Trump’s Republican allies in Congress of choosing “party over country” as he campaigned in Orange County for Democrats running for the U.S. House.

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In a speech highly critical of China’s behavior around the world, Vice President Mike Pence laid out an increasingly confrontational approach to Beijing, signaling tougher actions to come to combat what President Trump sees as a threat to the American economy and his political authority.

Demonstrators protest Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
Demonstrators protest Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill on Thursday. (Nicholas Kamm)

Capitol Police have begun arresting about 300 demonstrators protesting Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination as they stage a sit-in on the floor of a Senate office building's atrium. 

At a signal from organizers, the group began holding up signs and chanting. Others who were watching on upper floors unfurled banners that said: “We believe Christine Ford.” 

Ford is the California college professor who testified last week at a Senate hearing that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh also testified and denied the allegations. 

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  • Midterm Election
(Butch Comegys / Scranton Times-Tribune)

Former Vice President Joe Biden plans to campaign Thursday in Orange County for five of the California Democrats who are battling to capture U.S. House seats now held by Republicans.

Biden, one of the top potential candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, was also holding a private fundraiser Thursday in Los Angeles for American Possibilities, his political action committee.

His afternoon rally at Cal State Fullerton follows a similar event last month in Anaheim, where former President Obama campaigned for six California Democrats in fiercely contested House races.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.)
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Two key Republican senators today expressed confidence in a confidential FBI report into sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

"It appears to be a very thorough investigation,” said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of the GOP lawmakers who has been on the fence concerning the controversial nomination.

Another wavering Republican, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, agreed, telling reporters that he saw no additional corroboration of the allegations against Kavanaugh in the report.