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.
BREAKING: As cmte. returns, Republican Sen. Flake calls for limited FBI background investigation for Judge Kavanaugh "to make sure we do all due diligence" for this nomination. pic.twitter.com/BGPUs9cLTT
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) September 28, 2018
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:
My prediction, for what it’s worth:
1) FBI report breaks no new ground;
2) Flake indicates he’ll vote yes;
3) Collins and Murkowski fall into line;
4) Kavanaugh approved by 51-49 vote.
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) September 28, 2018
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.
Flake is a complicated figure. His friends say he's trying to protect GOP and the Court by making sure the FBI box is checked, and they think if Kavanaugh emerges fine from that, he may even win over some red state Ds.. but other Rs argue Flake knows he's all but dooming the nom
— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 28, 2018
Update: It might be falling apart already:
Coons won't commit to accepting this "short" delay as the end of things. If there are more allegations, they should be investigated.
It's a scam.
— Drew McCoy (@_Drew_McCoy_) September 28, 2018
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:
BREAKING: Sen. Murkowski, key Republican vote for Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation, tells @NBCNews that she supports Sen. Flake's call for a brief reopening of FBI background investigation on Kavanaugh before a full Senate vote – @LACaldwellDC
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 28, 2018
Update: Publicly, the president is fine with it. Publicly.
"Whatever they think is necessary is OK," President Trump says of a potential delay to the Senate vote on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the US Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/Qq8vfGaNwX
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 28, 2018
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?
Manchin supports Flake’s call for an FBI probe and a week-delay to the vote
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 28, 2018