WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate — including the two senators from Texas — voted to move forward on the controversial U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were among 51 senators who backed Kavanaugh's nomination in a procedural vote Friday morning, with 49 senators voting to block the nomination. All of the votes to confirm Kavanaugh were Republican except for the yes vote from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the only Republican to vote no.
A final vote to confirm Kavanaugh will happen in the coming days.
Cornyn, in particular, was a fierce advocate on Kavanaugh's behalf. The senior senator tweeted Friday morning, without citing a specific news source, that many of the anti-Kavanaugh protestors at the Capitol on Thursday were "reportedly" paid.
Cruz, who is up for re-election, told CBS News in an interview that aired Friday morning, that Kavanaugh "absolutely" had the temperament to serve on the high court.
The Kavanaugh nomination has rocked Washington. Accused of sexual assault during his high school days, Kavanaugh launched a fierce defense at a hearing last week. Retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, forced the Senate to request an FBI investigation into the matter.
The FBI came back with a report that appeared to assuage the concerns of Flake. But Democrats and supporters of one of Kavanaugh's accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, charge that the White House actively hindered the investigation into Kavanaugh's background.
After the vote, Cornyn took to the Senate floor to explain his vote.
“Throughout the hearing, we listened to Dr. Ford and we tried to understand what she was telling us," he said. "We took her allegations seriously and treated her the same way we would want our wives or our daughters treated.”
“But we know at the end of the day there was no other witness who could corroborate or confirm what she said, even the ones she identified as having been present," he added. "The other thing about these allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh is they are completely out of character.”
In a statement after the Friday vote, Cruz said that both Kavanaugh and Ford gave "powerful testimony" that was "in conflict" with each other.
"It is the job of the Senate to weigh the evidence fairly," he stated. "Typically, when a court of law considers conflicting testimony, it looks to corroborating evidence to resolve that conflict. In this instance, Dr. Ford pointed to three specific fact witnesses. And each of the named fact witnesses, under penalty of perjury, explicitly refuted Dr. Ford's allegations."
“Last night, I read through the entire supplemental FBI report. Ten witnesses interviewed by the FBI, meticulously detailed, and not a single piece of corroborating evidence. In a fair process, that should be compelling."
Democrats and supporters of Ford argue the FBI investigation was insufficient. Neither Kavanaugh, Ford nor an assortment of other witnesses who came forward were interviewed.
Kavanaugh's defense before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week ultimately consolidated GOP support behind nomination.