US Senate poised to confirm Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh

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Murkowski suggested she will oppose President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee this weekend after she became the only GOP senator to oppose advancing Kavanaugh's nomination during a tense, high-stakes Senate floor vote.

"Therefore I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court". She said: "Thank you, Senator Collins, for standing by your convictions and doing the right thing to confirm Judge Kavanaugh".

Mr Kavanaugh's nomination has been hit by accusations of sexual misconduct.

Just ahead of the procedural vote on Friday, Collins announced she will reveal how she plans to vote on Saturday during a speech scheduled for 3pm ET on Friday.

In the pivotal moment Friday, Collins, perhaps the chamber's most moderate Republican, proclaimed her support for Kavanaugh at the end of a Senate floor speech that lasted almost 45 minutes.

Democrats railed against the nomination in Senate floor speeches Friday night and Saturday morning, and protests opposing Kavanaugh are expected throughout the day on Saturday.

Confirmation of Kavanaugh would give Trump a clear win in his drive to cement conservative dominance of the high court, a bitter outcome for Democrats who could not get their own liberal nominee confirmed due to Republican delaying tactics in 2016. Kavanaugh vehemently denied all those claims. As moderates who support abortion rights, their joint opposition could have been enough to sink Kavanaugh, whose nomination was thrust into uncertainty following sexual assault allegations.

His confirmation would also allow Trump to hit the campaign trail ahead of the November 6 congressional elections bragging that he has kept his 2016 promise to mold a more conservative American judiciary.

As protesters in a Capitol Hill hallway shouted "Shame on you", Manchin told reporters an FBI investigation that did not find corroborating evidence of Ford's accusations was thorough.

Federal Bureau of Investigation report 'shows no Kavanaugh misconduct'
The groundswell was overwhelming, he said , with hundreds of lawyers from more than 150 law schools signing on within hours. Protesters gathered in the Hart Senate Building atrium after US Capitol Police barricaded the front of the Capitol.

"Millions of Americans, millions of women are watching us today", said New York Sen.

The Alaska senator was the only Republican Friday to vote against moving forward on Kavanaugh, calling it a "very, very difficult" decision.

"Very proud of the US Senate for voting "YES" to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!" the president tweeted.

Manchin, walking into the secure room to view the Federal Bureau of Investigation background report, said he was "still undecided" and "will probably be undecided until I walk in the door" to vote. Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom Kavanaugh would replace, retired this year after decades of being a swing vote on the court.

Ford wrote Koegler an email saying that the person who assaulted her was the president's "favorite for SCOTUS", he said.

"What left wing groups and their Democratic allies have done to Judge Kavanaugh is nothing short of monstrous", Republican Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa declared before the vote.

In a statement on his decision to vote for Kavanaugh, Manchin expressed "reservations" against supporting him given the serious nature of the allegations against him, but said that based on the "information" available, he feels the Supreme Court nominee is a "qualified jurist".

Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the GOP leadership, said he would be "very surprised" if Murkowski switches her vote. Kavanaugh's nomination as a replacement for retiring justice Anthony Kennedy was controversial from the start - but the initial focus was exclusively on the conservative views held by the married father of two.