Jeff Flake remains conflicted on Kavanaugh nomination ahead of Friday vote



Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing with professor Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault in 1982, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (Jim Bourg/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS)

By Niels Lesniewski | CQ-Roll Call

Sen. Jeff Flake, a member of the Judiciary Committee, sounded very conflicted Thursday evening following a meeting of the Senate Republican Conference on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

While the plan is for the judiciary panel to meet to markup the nomination Friday morning, the Arizona Republican did not commit to vote for Kavanaugh in committee.

Flake said much of what he and other senators were trying to work through is what the burden of proof or standard of evidence should be in reviewing the testimony of both Ford and Kavanaugh.

“This isn’t a criminal case. This is advise and consent. It has a political element as well,” he said. “It’s like impeachment. They say that you don’t know where it starts and where it ends, but it’s a decision you have to make. We’re doing the best we can.”

Flake was asked about how he would come to a decision, given that he thought both Ford and Kavanaugh were credible, despite having opposite views of what took place.

“That’s the difficult question, and that’s what we’re wrestling and that’s what we’ve been wrestling with all day, a lot longer than all day,” he said.

Flake seemed skeptical of the idea of delaying the process, however.

“You look at what more time has done in the past couple of days in terms of just ludicrous allegations, some of which have been recanted,” Flake said. “Others … were anonymous to begin with. And what does that do to the accused?”