Flake proposes one-week delay in final vote to let FBI investigate as Committee votes to confirm; Update: Murkowski agrees; Update: So does Manchin; Update: Trump defers

Oh brother. The idea itself is defensible if Democrats agree to his timetable up front, but to offer it at literally the last minute before the Committee votes?


After he was browbeaten by activists on camera this morning?

It’ll look to all the world like a failure of nerve under pressure rather than a carefully considered compromise, which is the one thing politics in 2018 won’t tolerate. It’s good that he’s retiring, really, as he’s not cut out for this business. This is a land of wolves now, and Flake is not a wolf.

Sen. Flake says, “It would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI continue to do an investigation, limited in time and scope, to the current allegations that are there.”

He’ll vote to advance the bill to the floor with that understanding.

I’m unclear on how much leverage he has here. Is he “suggesting” this timetable or does he have a buy-in already from Collins and Murkowski? If the latter two are prepared to confirm Kavanaugh now then it doesn’t matter if Flake wants a delay or not. He can vote no on Monday and the GOP will still confirm the nominee with 50 votes.

If he does have a buy-in, then open up a bottle of the hardest stuff you’ve got. We’re in for another week of this.

The Committee just voted, 11-10, to send Kavanaugh’s nomination to the floor so we’re still on track for a procedural vote tomorrow. But the pressure on Collins and Murky is now even more intense than it was, if that’s possible. Updates are coming. Stand by.


Update: Here he is making the case for a delay.

Update: I’m tempted to say that Flake did Collins and Murkowski a favor by being the one to propose this idea, which will make him the lightning rod for it on the right, but I’m not sure that’s true given the manner in which he did it. If he had proposed it early this morning, that would have been one thing. To announce that he was voting to confirm, then have that run-in with the activists in the elevator, then make frowny faces during the hearing before finally caving right before the vote will only underscore the sense that this was a failure of nerve by Collins and Murky too if they join him.

Update: Pretty safe prediction:

If it’s borne out, Kavanaugh’s confirmed and Democrats lose their “WHY WASN’T THERE AN INVESTIGATION?” talking point afterward.


Update: Choose your own adventure.

Update: It might be falling apart already:

It would be reeeeally stupid of Democrats to start pushing against the one-week deadline before Collins and Murky have even committed to it. If they’re not willing to accept a time limit for this sh*tshow then just vote on Monday to confirm.

Update: There’s the buy-in. Unless McConnell can keep Collins onboard with a Monday vote *and* flip Joe Manchin to yes, there’ll be no confirmation on Monday:


Update: Publicly, the president is fine with it. Publicly.

Update: Manchin also wants a delay, which all but cinches it. Does this mean he’ll vote yes with Flake and Murkowski a week from now if the FBI interviews turn up nothing incriminating?

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