By Ronald J. Hansen | Arizona Republic
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake sided with Senate Democrats Friday to try to force a one-week FBI investigation of the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Flake agreed to send Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate, but would not support a floor vote for Kavanaugh without allowing the investigation to happen.
The Arizona Republican had indicated earlier in the day his support for the judge, but pushed the nomination in a new direction after meeting privately at length with U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, who is a close personal friend.
“This country is being ripped apart here,” Flake said. “I do think we can have a short pause and have the FBI investigate. … It would be short and limited in scope to the current allegations here.”
President Donald Trump signaled he was open to a delay. Senators should do “whatever they think is necessary” to get to a vote on Kavanaugh, Trump told reporters before meeting with President Sebastian Pinera of Chile.
The development added even more drama to a process in which Flake has reluctantly played a crucial role.