(Image source from: CNBC.com)
A procedural vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation has been set up for as early as Friday by the United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday.
A Republican, McConnell filed a petition for an alleged cloture vote, which if successful would limit debate on the Kavanaugh nomination and commence the clock ticking on a final 30-hour waiting period before the Senate could vote to confirm the nominee.
According to Senate rules, after filing a cloture petition, lawmakers must wait one legislative day before proceeding to the cloture vote. That means a cloture vote could come on Friday morning at the soonest.
The news comes as the FBI's report on sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh approached completion late on Wednesday as the conflict over his choice by Donald Trump approached a new turning point.
The Senate was expected to receive the report by early Thursday. Senators were to be granted access to review it during the day on Thursday.
While the report's endings were as yet undisclosed, there was already a partisan conflict over it as Trump and the Senate Republican leadership battled to corral adequate support for a majority vote for Kavanaugh in the days in the lead.
Sources with information related to allegations against Kavanaugh told Reuters they had not heard from the FBI, suggesting its report may be narrower than was desired by some of the lawmakers who demanded it just days ago.
A college professor from California, Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her in 1982 when they were high school students, has not been contacted by the FBI, her attorneys said.
Ford, who testified last week, said she could not remember the precise date or location of the alleged assault or how she got home later but offered a detailed account of the incident.
She said a drunken Kavanaugh pinned her down, tried to take away her clothing and covered her mouth when she screamed.
Imitating Ford's testimony, Trump said: "What neighborhood was it in? I don't know. Where's the house? I don't know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don't know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember."
"And a man’s life is in tatters," Trump added.
Flake told NBC's "Today" show that "there's no time and no place for remarks like that, that discuss something this sensitive at a political rally ... It's kind of appalling."
Asked whether Trump's comments would affect her vote, Lisa Murkowski told reporters: "I am taking everything into account. The president's comments yesterday mocking Dr. Ford were wholly inappropriate and, in my view, unacceptable."
A day after the hearing, Trump had called Ford "a very credible witness" who rendered "very compelling" testimony.
Kavanaugh has denied Ford's accusation likewise allegations by two other women, all dating from the 1980s while accusing Democrats of a political "hit."
By Sowmya Sangam