WASHINGTON – A U.S. senator whose vote will be crucial to deciding Brett Kavanaugh’s bid for a Supreme Court seat said on Friday she will support the nominee, all but ensuring he will sit on the highest U.S. court despite accusations of sexual misconduct against him.
“I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” said Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine. “The allegations fail to meet the ‘more likely than not’ standard,” she said.
Watch her speech:
RIGHT NOW: Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is speaking on the Senate floor. Collins — a key vote — just voted to advance Brett Kavanaugh's nomination.
Posted by KWGN Denver on Friday, October 5, 2018
A final confirmation vote could come as soon as Saturday.
Collins’ decision leaves opponents of Kavanaugh hoping for an unlikely scenario of at least two other senators who had previously backed him to change their minds and declare they will vote against him.
A sharply partisan battle over Kavanaugh became an intense political drama when university professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school in Maryland in 1982.
Two other women also made accusations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh in the 1980s. He angrily denied the accusations.
Watch her comments after the speech:
Sen. Susan Collins on the Kavanaugh vote: “I will be voting ‘yes’ on proceeding to the final confirmation vote, and I will announce my intentions on how to vote later today.”
— CNN (@CNN) October 5, 2018
Earlier on Friday, Senate lawmakers backed Kavanaugh by 51 to 49 in a procedural vote that moved the Republican-controlled Senate toward a definitive decision.
(Reporting by Amanda Becker and Richard Cowan; Additional reporting by David Morgan, Ginger Gibson, David Alexander, Eric Beech, Lisa Lambert and Kevin Drawbaugh; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Frances Kerry)
This is a breaking news story and will updated as developments occur.