Melania Trump calls Kavanaugh ‘highly qualified’

US Senate poised to confirm Kavanaugh to SC

One woman's elevator encounter with Arizona Republican Sen.

First lady Melania Trump weighed in publicly for the first time on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh since sexual assault allegations were made against him, saying he is "highly qualified".

Protests against his candidacy intensified after several women accused him of sexual assault in the past.

The road to final confirmation became clearer on Friday morning when Kavanaugh survived a crucial procedural vote 51-49 in the Senate and Collins and Flake lined up with their Republican colleagues - an outcome that was in doubt up until the last minute.

Despite being a key player in the most partisan confirmation process in decades, Collins said she hoped Kavanaugh, a former political operative in the George W. Bush White House, would work to depoliticize the court.

Collins - a moderate Republican from ME - said Kavanaugh was entitled to the "presumption of innocence" as the allegations against him were not substantiated with corroborating evidence.

A sharply divided Senate - reflecting a deeply divided nation - voted nearly entirely along party lines Saturday afternoon to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ferocious nature of the confirmation battle could also have an impact on the Court itself, as Kavanaugh's vehement and politicized defense of his own behavior raised questions about his temperament and whether he could genuinely be a honest broker and implementer of the law in the most sensitive cases.

Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee, under oath, that he had not heard of or discussed Ramirez's allegations before her story appeared in The New Yorker.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump said Murkowski will face political consequences for opposing Kavanaugh.

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She said on the Senate floor late Friday that Kavanaugh is "a good man" but his "appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable". "We've sort of been under assault, and everybody chose to stand up to the mob and not be intimated by these people", he said. "They're waiting to see whether or not, when a woman comes forward and says that she is a survivor of sexual assault, does this chamber, do the individuals here take her seriously?" Kavanaugh's nomination as a replacement for retiring justice Anthony Kennedy was controversial from the start - but the initial focus was exclusively on the conservative views held by the married father of two.

Murkowski, on the other hand, announced earlier Friday that she did not intend to vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Trump has been holding rallies across the country as he tries to boost Republican turnout in November's midterm elections, which will determine which party will control the House and Senate during the second half of Trump's term.

Murkowski in contrast, defied her party and voted against advancing the nomination. Capitol police led protesters away one by one.

"I think that the MS speech had great impact", he said, calling it "a very important thing". Then she took her seat, looking down with a stone-faced expression.

"My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced any type of sexual assault in their life", Manchin said.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY called the fight "a sorry epilogue to the brazen theft of Justice Scalia's seat".

"Therefore I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court".

"Professor Ford has not asked for anything of the sort".

Koegler identified himself as a close friend of Ford and her husband, saying he has known them for more than five years and had coached their son's baseball team. But she said that none of the four witness who Ford said were present could remember any such event. However, based on all of the information I have available to me, including the recently completed Federal Bureau of Investigation report, I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him.

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