(CBS) — The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to advance Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, but U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) said he won’t vote to confirm Kavanaugh on the Senate floor until the FBI conducts an investigation into allegations of sexual assault.
The vote comes one day after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford told senators she was “100 percent” certain Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while the two were in high school. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations.
Flake said he believed it would be proper to delay the floor vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination no more than one week to allow the FBI to conduct an investigation “limited in scope” into the allegations against Kavanaugh.
“This country is being ripped apart here, and we’ve got to make sure we do due diligence,” Flake said. He added that he would be more “comfortable” with an FBI investigation.
The committee voted to continue to a floor vote in the Senate, which fell along party lines, 11-10.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) later backed Flake’s call for a delay on a full Senate vote. Without their yes votes, the Senate cannot confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court if all Democrats vote no.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham pointed out, however, that the burden of delaying a vote would be on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
It would be up to the White House to arrange an FBI investigation. President Donald Trump said Republican lawmakers “have to do what they think is right” on the Kavanaugh vote.
“I’m gonna let the Senate handle that,” Trump said. “Whatever they think is necessary is okay.”
The president said Ford’s testimony against Kavanaugh on Thursday was “very compelling,” but said he is not considering replacing Kavanaugh as the nominee.