Key Senate vote today on Kavanaugh nomination: Here's what to know

Procedural Senate vote coming Friday morning

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (WDIV)
Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (WDIV)

The U.S. Senate will meet Friday for a key procedural vote on whether to advance federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled the vote as part of the process toward a final confirmation vote this weekend.

  • The Senate vote is expected at 10 a.m. Friday -- watch it live here.
  • Three senators' votes remain unannounced -- read more about this here
  • If a simple majority of the upper chamber votes in favor then the Senate will be able to advance to a final confirmation vote as early as Saturday.
  • Republican Sen. Steve Daines told the Associated Press he's going to attend his daughter's wedding in Montana on Saturday regardless of a possible weekend vote.
  • If the vote fails, it would deal a major blow to the nomination and put the possibility of confirmation into serious doubt.
  • If at least 50 senators vote to move forward with the nomination on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence can step in to break a tie, allowing for a final Senate vote as early as Saturday. 

Enough votes?

Kavanaugh has not yet locked up the votes needed for his nomination. The Associated Press reports key undecided senators spent hours Thursday in a secure briefing room pouring over the FBI's report on allegations of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

While most Republicans say the findings of the FBI affirmed their support for Kavanaugh, three senators -- Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska -- have yet to announce how they will vote.

Two Republican "no" votes could sink the nomination.

The FBI report

The FBI was given one week, after Kavanaugh's and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford's testimony, to investigate sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh that date back to the early 1980s. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley said Thursday he received a briefing from staff on the confidential report. The Iowa Republican said in a statement that "there's nothing in it that we didn't already know."

Grassley said the FBI couldn't find any people who could "attest to any of the allegations" against Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

The FBI report was given to the Senate overnight Wednesday. The Associated Press reports Senators were still reading it Thursday in a secure room in the Capitol complex. They were not expected to discuss specific details of what they learn.

Grassley later indicated it was time to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination. The Senate meeting was set for Friday morning. 

Meanwhile, reports say some Senators may not actually see the FBI report until Friday. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said lawmakers were told time slots for reading the report are getting full.
She told reporters on Thursday that "it's so backed up I might have to wait until tomorrow. They're so swamped."

Watch moments from Kavanaugh's and Ford's testimony: 

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