Why Alaska matters in the fight over Kavanaugh

The fate of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination could come down to the votes from a handful of senators, one of which is Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). CNN's Gary Tuchman traveled to a remote area of Alaska to hear the concerns of some citizens.

Posted: Oct 2, 2018 2:53 PM
Updated: Oct 2, 2018 3:23 PM

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key swing vote on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, on Tuesday expressed confidence that the FBI is conducting a thorough investigation into allegations against the nominee and indicated that she plans to "wait and see" what the review finds before making any judgment.

"I think the FBI is doing what we've tasked the FBI to do -- that's all I can ask for right now," the Alaska Republican told reporters, noting that she has spoken to White House counsel Don McGahn and has received assurances that the investigation will be allowed "to take its course."

Murkowski backed a last-minute push by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake who asked for the FBI investigation on Friday. Murkowski and Flake as well as Maine Sen. Susan Collins are seen as three key undecided GOP senators who could determine the future of whether Kavanaugh will be confirmed, given Republicans control 51 seats in the chamber to the Democrats' 49.

Murkowski said Tuesday, she is waiting to see what the probe finds.

"What I think we all need to do now is to wait and see exactly what comes back. I don't know what's going to be in it. I don't know that anybody knows what's going to be in it so I'm not going to speculate. I'm going to wait," she said.

The Alaska Republican is one of several closely watched senators, along with Flake, Collins and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who could be a pivotal vote in determining whether Kavanaugh is confirmed. With a razor thin majority, Senate Republicans can only afford to lose one GOP vote on the nomination if all Democrats vote against Kavanaugh.

Despite the fact that the FBI review of allegations against Kavanaugh has not yet concluded, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he plans to hold a vote on the nomination this week.

Flake's request came after wrenching testimony from professor Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday in which she outlined allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a social gathering in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations in his own testimony.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn, the majority whip and second ranking GOP member in the chamber, told reporters on Tuesday that he believes McConnell wants senators to have the opportunity "to review the results" of the investigation "before they have to vote."

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