Flake: No, the FBI doesn't need to look into Kavanaugh's drinking; Update: Report this afternoon?

It’s Ford (and Ramirez) or bust for Jeff Flake, at least according to his stance at the moment. CNN’s Manu Raju caught up with the retiring Republican earlier today, who arranged for the one-week delay to get the FBI to do a supplemental background check on Brett Kavanaugh. The report matters more to Flake than the deadline despite Mitch McConnell’s insistence that the vote will come on Friday. However, Flake says he’s satisfied with the approach taken by the FBI thus far, and that he doesn’t want it straying into issues of teenage and college drinking, not even if it involves complaints that Kavanaugh misled Congress about it:

In other words, Flake’s not terribly interested in having the FBI interview the “dozens of potential sources of information” about which NBC News breathlessly reported. It appears that Flake isn’t as interested in the allegations from Deborah Ramirez either, which he only mentions in passing. If that’s a bit surprising, remember that those allegations has significant issues from the start — especially Ramirez’ admission that she didn’t settle on Kavanaugh as the perp until six days of consultation with a Democrat attorney a few weeks ago. Flake wants to settle that matter too, but for most observers, it’s the Ford allegations that need to be addressed most.

It’s interesting but not that surprising that Flake won’t insist on an FBI interview with Ford herself. Her attorneys are demanding one, along with interviews of almost twenty other people, but Ford has already testified under oath. The FBI can follow up on that testimony, which should have been reasonably complete as is. In fact, it seems very curious that Ford’s attorneys would insist on another interview where her recollections might change even more than they already have. These demands seem intended to cause even more delays in the process rather than to shed any more light on the issues, especially after watching how they manipulated the process to delay the second hearing as much as possible in order to give time for more allegations to emerge.

It’s good to see that Flake is insisting on sticking to the terms of the original deal — an FBI look into Ford’s allegations, followed by a floor vote. But will Flake vote to confirm if the FBI report leaves us where we were on Thursday — unsubstantiated allegations on one hand and vehement, comprehensive denials on the other? Flake said that Trump’s earlier “appalling” remarks about Ford won’t impact his vote choice, but … if the report is a wash, I wonder.

As for the timing of the vote, Mitch McConnell told the Senate today that it’s full speed ahead. He may be expecting the report today or tomorrow, which will allow for at least the procedural vote on Friday. Whatever happens, though, no one intimidates Cocaine Mitch:

“I think it’s safe to say the national spectacle the professional left has created around Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process has now reached some kind of fever pitch,” the Kentucky Republican said in remarks on the Senate floor.

“It has been 17 days since Dr. Ford’s confidential correspondence was leaked to the press. Seventeen days of a feeding frenzy on Judge Kavanaugh and his family unlike anything we have seen in recent memory,” he said.

McConnell said that since Ford’s original letter became public, “a literal mudslide of wild, uncorroborated accusations have poured out.”

“This mudslide has been actively embraced, urged on and capitalized upon by Democrats inside this chamber and [by] far-left special interests outside,” he added. …

“The Senate will vote on this nomination this week,” he said.

We’ll see what Michael Avenatti has to say about that … as soon as he unlocks his Twitter account again.

Update: Bob Corker says he’s been told to get ready for the big finish today:

That would make both Flake and McConnell correct.