Posts tagged with "Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona)"

Flake: Mueller protection bill has votes to pass Senate

December 3, 2018

Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) said on November 30 that he believes legislation protecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller—and prevent President Donald Trump from carrying out another Nixon-style Saturday Night Massacre—could pass the Senate, if Republican leadership would agree to bring it up for a vote, The Hill reported.

“I do believe the votes are there on the floor if we can just get a vote, and that’s what I’m calling, let’s just have a vote,” Flake told CNN, asked about a measure that would protect Mueller from being fired without good cause.

The legislation—originally drafted by Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Christopher Coons (D-Delaware), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)— has been given the cold shoulder for months by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).

At a press conference last week, McConnell characterized it as “A solution in search of a problem,” adding that “The president is not going to fire Robert Mueller.”

“I don’t know how we can be sanguine about what’s going on over at the Department of Justice in terms of the Mueller probe. It’s important to protect it,” Flake added on Friday. 

Flake, joined by Coons and Booker, appeared on the Senate floor twice in November, attempting to get a vote,  and has been blocked both times. Flake is pledging to oppose all of Trump’s judicial nominees until he gets a vote on the bill, rankling his colleagues who have made confirming the president’s picks their top priority.

Flake and Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) are joining all 49 Democrats to oppose Thomas Farr’s district judge nomination— denying him the 50 votes needed to let Vice President Mike Pence break a tie.

“We need to protect the special counsel; it’s important. Confirming judges is important,” Flake, who is retiring at the end of this Congress, said, according to The Hill report. “I want to confirm more judges … but this has to be priority now. And you have to take a stand. I have leverage because we have a narrow majority on the Judiciary Committee, so I’m using it.”

Research contact: @jordainc

Collins refuses to be final naysayer on Kavanaugh, ensuring SCOTUS nomination

October 8, 2018

In a déjà vu moment for the Trump administration, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) once again supported her GOP colleagues—and disappointed liberals nationwide—on a crucial vote on October 5.

Just as she had promised to say “nay” on both the healthcare and tax reform bills—and then waffled at the last minute—Collins said on Friday afternoon that she would vote to seat nominee Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court after she previously admitted to serious doubts about his honesty and allegations against him of sexual assault.

As late in the process as October 4, Collins had insinuated that she might not be a swing vote, saying that the supplemental FBI investigation, which probed the allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, was “very thorough.”

Earlier in the day Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) had announced her intention to vote against an administrative motion to move forward Friday morning—later calling the cloture vote “a mistake.” Had Collins also supported that same position, Kavanaugh would not have had the support on the floor to win the October 6 vote.

A small handful of legislators — Collins, Murkowski, Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) had been considered potential swing votes on Kavanaugh up until Friday morning. But both Flake and Manchin both voted “yes” to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the floor, leaving Collins as the only possible outlier.

However, referring to the “outlandish allegation” made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Senator Collins said that certain fundamental issues, including the “presumption of innocence,” should come into play.

She also noted that nobody had corroborated Ford’s statements during the abbreviated and circumscribed FBI investigation started on September 28. “None of the individuals Professor Ford says were at the party has any recollections at all of that night,” she said, explaining her decision to vote for Kavanaugh.

Research contact: @thomcraver

Trump denies reports that he is limiting the FBI’s Kavanaugh probe

October 2, 2018

Following a compromise deal made on September 28 by the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to a request by Republican Senator Jeff Flake (R), the Federal Bureau of Investigation has reopened its background investigation of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Already limited to a one-week period, the probe has been further circumscribed by instructions from U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a report by the Huffington Post.

Although the FBI will be permitted to interview Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford, who testified before the Judiciary Committee last week—as well as  a second accuser, Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Denise Ramirez— the agency will reportedly leave the nominee’s third accuser alone upon request from the White House.

In addition, according to an NBC News report, the FBI will specifically not be able to question Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates about his drinking habits, even though alcohol plays a role in all three accusers’ claims about the nominee, who denies ever drinking to the point of not remembering certain events.

Ranking Member of the committee Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California.) lashed out on Twitter at the possibility that constraints had been placed on the investigation

Trump tweeted late Saturday night that he was not limiting the FBI in its investigation and that NBC News had got the story wrong. He said, “NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people. Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!

Trump told reporters on Saturday that the agency has “free rein” to do “whatever they have to do, whatever it is they do.”

“They’ll be doing things that we have never even thought of,” Trump said. “And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine.”

Research contactsara.boboltz@huffingtonpost.com

Flake urges one-week delay for FBI probe of allegations against Kavanaugh

October 1,  2018

On Friday, September 28, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 along party lines to advance Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS nomination to the entire Senate for a vote. However, the floor vote may be delayed for as long as one week.

After hearings on September 27 that comprised credible accusations of sexual assault made by Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford—and strong denials from the  nominee—the committee now is considering a variety of demands to conduct a more thorough investigation of the allegations through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A member of the committee, Republican Senator Jeff Flake (Arizona) voted with his GOP colleagues, but then called for a delay so that the FBI could investigate the accusations against Kavanaugh.

In addition, the American Bar Association, Yale University, and three Republican governors —Larry Hogan of Maryland, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, and John Kasich of Ohio—called for a probe into the charges.

In a letter sent to committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-California) on the evening after the September 27 hearings,  Robert Carlson, the president of the American Bar Association called on the committee to halt the confirmation vote until “after an appropriate background check into the allegations made by Professor Ford and others is completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others),” he said, “is simply too important to rush to a vote. Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court. It must remain an institution that will reliably follow the law and not politics.

The call for a pause is significant, The New York Times said,  not just because of the bar association’s clout in the legal community, but because an A.B.A. committee had said unanimously a month ago that Judge Kavanaugh was “well-qualified” for the Supreme Court, its highest possible designation. Judge Kavanaugh and his supporters had noted that distinction in arguing for his nomination to be approved by the Senate.

Meanwhile, 48 members of the faculty of Kavanaugh’s alma mater, Yale Law School, sent a letter delineating concerns about “a rush to judgment.” They noted “Where, as here, a sexual assault has been alleged against an individual nominated for a lifetime appointment in a position of public trust, a partisan hearing alone cannot be the forum to determine the truth of the matter. Allegations of sexual assault require a neutral factfinder and an investigation that can ascertain facts fairly.  Those at the FBI or others tasked with such an investigation must have adequate time to investigate facts. Fair process requires evidence from all parties with direct knowledge and consultation of experts when evaluating such evidence. In subsequent hearings, all of those who testify, and particularly women testifying about sexual assault, must be treated with respect.

In addition, three Republican governors—John Kasich of Ohio, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Phil Scott of Vermont—called for the GOP-controlled Senate to slow down Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and a fourth called the accusations against him “disturbing.”

According to a report by the Huffington Post, Baker and Kasich both weighed in on Twitter. Baker described the allegations as “sickening” and said there should be no Senate vote until an independent investigation is complete. Kasich, who is in his final year as governor and is widely seen as a potential long-shot primary challenger to President Donald Trump in 2020, went further in his own statement, saying he would not support Kavanaugh’s confirmation “in the absence of a complete and thorough investigation.”

Scott made similar remarks to the Burlington Free Press. “This is a lifetime appointment,” Scott said. “And I’m not taking a position on Judge Kavanaugh himself, but we owe it to Americans to make sure that they get it right. Because this doesn’t happen every day. And it’s their obligation to do so. So take your time. Investigate.”

In addition, the Huffington Post reported, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told The Baltimore Sun on September 26 that the accusations were “disturbing” and gave him “great pause.”

He noted,“There are credible charges and big concerns. They need to be heard,” he said after an event in Montgomery County. “They ought to take whatever time it takes to make sure these accusers are heard and he has a chance to respond to them.”

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)—who, as a committee member, had adamantly defended the nominee during the hearings on September 27—told CNN after the committee vote that he did not think the delay was necessary, but “this is democracy.” He added, “If Jeff feels better about it, I’ll feel better about it,”

Currently, according to Fox News, 56% of U.S. voters would delay the full Senate floor confirmation process on Kavanaugh to allow for more investigation of the allegations against him; and 31% would not delay.

Rsearch contact: @foxnewspoll