Published 8:49 PM EDT Sep 27, 2018
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, who perhaps more than any other on the Senate Judiciary Committee could determine whether that panel recommends the confirmation of embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, asked no questions at Thursday's explosive hearing.
Flake, R-Ariz., spoke for only one minute and said little. His brief, but likely vital appearance, near the end of the daylong hearing lent a cliffhanger quality to a nomination still hurtling toward a dramatic finish.
Addressing Kavanaugh, Flake said he wanted to hear from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused the judge of sexually assaulting her in 1982.
"She came at great difficulty for her and offered compelling testimony. You've come and done the same," he said. "I'm sorry for what's happened to you and your family. I'm sorry for what has happened to hers. This is not a good process, but it's all we've got."
Flake said he wanted everyone to remember that the committee is composed of 21 imperfect senators who must wrestle now with what to make of two very different accounts.
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"In the end, there's likely to be as much doubt as certainty going out of this room today," Flake continued. "And as we make decisions going forward, I hope that people will recognize that. And in the rhetoric that we use and the language that we use going forward, that we'll recognize that there is doubt. We'll never move beyond that and just have a little humility on that front."
Flake is one of 11 Republicans on the committee and is seen as one who might not recommend Kavanaugh's nomination to the Senate as a whole.
That wouldn't necessarily sink the nomination, but could be a sign that other GOP senators might not support Kavanaugh in a full vote.
Republicans can lose only one of their members and still have enough votes to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
READ MORE ON THE BRETT KAVANAUGH CONFIRMATION:
- Roberts: Kavanaugh swung ... and missed the most important part of his defense
- Brett Kavanaugh denies allegations; Christine Blasey Ford certain it was him
- Valdez: Kavanaugh hearing is just the latest reminder of how misogynist we are