‘Somebody’s got to explain this to Trump, so I guess that’ll be my job.’
That was South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s response to reporters following a Friday vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee that advanced the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh—with a twist.
Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who is not seeking re-election, moved the Kavanaugh nomination along but not in the manner that appeared certain only minutes prior. Flake conditioned his vote on the allowance of a one-week delay of the Senate floor vote, during which time the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be instructed to probe sexual-assault allegations leveled against the 53-year-old federal appellate judge, who is defending himself against allegations that he assaulted Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor from California, when they were both teenagers in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
Both Ford and Kavanaugh delivered impassioned testimony in front of the committee on Thursday.
The full Senate had been expected to have a procedural vote on the nomination on Saturday, with a final vote following early next week.
Flake’s condition complicates the matter. With a Republican majority of 51-49, Kavanaugh can afford no more than one GOP defection. In the event of a tie, Vice President Mike Pence would be expected to cast the decisive vote. That said, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be the controlling factor in whether the envisaged delay occurs.
President Donald Trump, following the committee vote, told reporters he hasn’t considered an alternative to Kavanaugh.
The political machinations of the Kavanaugh confirmation can be convoluted to the neophyte and Washington pro alike, with some senators during the judiciary committee hearing voicing some confusion about what precisely they were voting on during Friday’s roll call.
Perhaps that explains why Graham thought Trump would need a detailed explanation of the twists and turns.