Published 3:36 PM EDT Sep 28, 2018
WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that pushed Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to a full Senate vote ended with a flurry of drama and uncertainty on Friday.
Many, even senators in the room, were left confused after the meeting ended abruptly after a rapid-fire vote on Kavanaugh's appointment to the high court. One senator who holds a deciding vote over Kavanaugh's future requested a delay and that the FBI investigate.
That request seemed to remain hanging when the meeting ended.
One thing is for certain: Kavanaugh's bid for the Supreme Court is moving to the Senate floor.
Here is a quick breakdown of what happened at the end of that meeting, and what happens now.
What did the committee vote on?
The committee voted along party lines, 11 Republicans voted "yes" and 10 Democrats voted "no," to move Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., was a deciding vote on the committee and will likely remain that way during a full Senate vote. He requested, as a condition of his support, a weeklong delay and an FBI investigation.
The vote was delayed multiple times today because of ongoing discussions with between Flake, Democrats and a number of key Republican senators, who could hold the deciding votes on Kavanaugh's future.
The drama left many without a clear understanding of how key senators would vote.
How did they get to that point?
Flake, who had been undecided, announced he will vote to advance Kavanaugh's nomination to the floor despite leaving Thursday's emotional hearing regarding accusations of sexual assault "with as much doubt as certainty."
"Our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence," Flake said in a prepared statement released shortly before the committee's meeting. "That is what binds us to the rule of law."
But Flake said he wants the full Senate vote delayed for a week in order to have the FBI conduct further investigation. That decision will be left up to Senate leaders and the president.
Why did the meeting end so abruptly?
Shortly after voting to move Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination to the Senate floor, the Senate Judiciary Committee continued discussions about a possible one-week FBI investigation into sexual assault claims levied against Kavanaugh.
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As Flake, discussed his hope that the FBI investigation would take place before the full Senate voted on Kavanaugh's nomination, committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, cut him off by invoking the two-hour rule and adjourning the meeting.
The rule, Senate Rule XXVI, is an archaic rule dictating how long Senate committees and subcommittees can meet when the Senate isn't in session. The rule states no Senate panel can meet for more than two hours, or past 2 p.m., without the permission of the Senate.
What happens now and who can call for the FBI investigation?
Only the White House can force the FBI to undertake such a probe. But if Flake and other Republicans demand it, President Donald Trump may have no choice.
Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called the arrangement "a gentlemen's and women's agreement" rather than a formal amendment, which left the committee's Democratic leader, Dianne Feinstein, flabbergasted.
Republicans didn't seem to be looking forward to the next steps: "Someone's got to explain this to Trump," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters.