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Montana's Sen. Tester to vote against Kavanaugh

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, right, speaks with Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, left, before a meeting of the committee, Friday, Sept. 28, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):

Note: This is a live feed and subject to breaks and pauses in coverage. This event was expected to begin at 10 a.m. ET. If you are watching on our mobile app please click here.

12:40 p.m.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester says he will join other Democrats in voting against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Tester is up for re-election this year in his deeply Republican home state. But he said he has concerns about Kavanaugh's positions on privacy issues, campaign finance and about a California professor's claim that he sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers. Kavanaugh denied Christine Blasey Ford's allegations in a hearing Thursday.

Tester said he has requested a meeting with Kavanaugh "numerous times" but the White House wouldn't commit.

The Montana senator said his office had received "thousands of calls and emails from Montanans" about Kavanaugh, a majority of which were opposed to his confirmation.

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11:45 a.m.

Anita Hill says one of the things that stood out to her from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's testimony was how emotional and angry it was compared with the "calm" words coming from the woman accusing him of sexual assault when they were teenagers.

Kavanaugh denies the accusation.

Hill gave Senate testimony in 1991 about her allegations of sexual harassment by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Hill — speaking Friday in Houston — says Kavanaugh "was able to express a real anger, an aggression, as well as a lot of emotion."

She said no woman nomination to the high court "would ever have the license to express (herself) in that way."

Hill says she was impressed with the calm and careful testimony of Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

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11:40 a.m.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas says it is "cruel" and "indecent" for Democrats to seek public testimony from Mark Judge, a high school friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Judge has told the committee in a signed statement that he doesn't recall the events described by Christine Blasey Ford.

She accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teens. Kavanaugh denies the accusation.

Ford has told senators that Judge was in the room during the alleged assault. Democrats have asked for the committee to subpoena Judge, but Republicans have voted down the request.

Cornyn says Judge admits to being a recovering alcoholic and is a cancer survivor. Cornyn says Democrats are ignoring that and seeking to "drag Mr. Judge into this circus-like atmosphere" and subject his battles with addition to public ridicule.

In Cornyn's words: "That is cruel. That is reckless. That is indecent."

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11:39 a.m.

Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly, D-Inn., says he'll vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Donnelly is a moderate Democrat who voted for President Donald Trump's first nominee to the high court, Neil Gorsuch (GOR'-suhch).

Donnelly is up for re-election this year in Indiana, which is a strongly Republican state.

His decision comes after a hearing Thursday when a California professor testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh also testified and denied Christine Blasey Ford's allegations.

Donnelly says Ford's allegations are "disturbing and credible" and should be investigated by the FBI, which Trump and Senate Republicans say isn't needed.

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11:34 a.m.

The dean of Yale Law School is calling for additional investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate votes on his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dean Heather Gerken said in statement Friday that she agrees with the American Bar Association that more investigation is needed. Gerken said proceeding with the confirmation process without more review is not in the best interest of the Supreme Court or the legal profession.

Kavanaugh received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination Friday afternoon. A vote in favor will send the nomination to the full Senate.

Kavanaugh denies allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that he assaulted her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh says he's never sexually assaulted anyone.

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11:10 a.m.

CNN cameras caught an extraordinary scene of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake being confronted by two protesters as he waited in an elevator to take him to the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.

Moments earlier, Flake had announced he'd vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Flake stood looking downcast as one of the women said to Flake: "Tell me, I'm standing right here in front of you, do you think he's telling the truth to the country?"

The senator listened for nearly two minutes until the elevator door closed. He told the women he had put out a statement and would have more to say before the committee.

CNN's Jim Scutto said: "I don't think we've witnessed a moment like that in recent memory."

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10:50 a.m.

"Feels like Alice in Wonderland."

That's what a top Democrat says about the Senate Judiciary Committee in moving forward with Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Vermont's Patrick Leahy is denouncing the way that majority Republicans have handled Kavanaugh's nomination. Leahy says the committee has lost its independence and become, in his words, "an arm, and a very weak arm, of the Trump White House."

The committee has set a vote for later Friday on whether to recommend the nomination to the full Senate.

Leahy says Kavanaugh has been "credibly accused of sexual assault" and the committee has failed to conduct a meaningful investigation.

Christine Blasey Ford testified Thursday that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teens. Kavanaugh says the accusation is "categorically" false.

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10:30 a.m.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein says the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh is "a real test" for the Senate and the nation "to see how we treat women, especially women who are survivors of sexual assault."

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee says that 27 years after the Clarence Thomas hearings, Republicans appear to have a new strategy for handling sexual assault allegations.

She says, "The Republican strategy is no longer 'attack the victim.' It is to ignore the victim."

Feinstein says she's disappointed the committee is set to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination less than a day after emotional testimony by Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when both were teenagers. He denies the allegation.

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10:25 a.m.

The wife of Justice Clarence Thomas is praising Sen. Lindsey Graham for his criticism of Senate Democrats for their treatment of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Ginni Thomas says on her Facebook page "Thank you, Senator Graham, for speaking for so many of us!"

Thomas included a link to video from Graham's fiery comments Thursday when he called the Democrats' actions the "most despicable thing" he has seen in politics.

The link says Graham "exposes Democrat Kavanaugh sham."

Ginni Thomas is a conservative activist who once worked for congressional Republicans. She made headlines in 2010 when she called Anita Hill and asked Hill to apologize for making sexual harassment allegations about Clarence Thomas after he had been nominated to the Supreme Court.

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10:15 a.m.

Several Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have walked out of a hearing on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Kamala Harris of California, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island left after the GOP chairman set a vote on the nomination for 1:30 p.m. Friday.

That was approved by a committee vote. Democrats say Republicans are rushing the confirmation.

During that vote, Hirono yelled: "''I strongly object! What a railroad job! No, no, NO."


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10:05 a.m.

Republicans have blocked Democratic efforts to subpoena a high school friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh who's been described as a witness to an alleged assault involving Kavanaugh about three decades ago.

The Senate Judiciary Committee's vote to subpoena Mark Judge has been defeated in a party-line vote, with all 11 Republicans on the panel voting against the motion and all 10 Democrats voting for it.

Democrats say Judge has never been interviewed by the FBI or questioned by a member of the committee, and that committee has a responsibility to subpoena Judge before it votes on whether to recommend Kavanaugh to the full Senate.

Kavanaugh denies the allegation.

The committee chairman, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, has read a statement from Judge that says he doesn't recall the events described by Kavanaugh's accuser and "never saw Brett act" in the way that he's accused of.

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10 a.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote at 1:30 p.m. on whether to recommend Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate.

The chairman, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, announced the vote as the committee began its meeting.

Kavanaugh has just picked up a key vote of support from a committee Republican, Arizona's Jeff Flake.

Republicans have slim 11-10 majority on the committee. With Flake's support, Kavanaugh's nomination is expected to clear the committee and go to the full Senate.

The Senate could begin taking procedural votes over the weekend ahead of a final confirmation vote early next week.

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9:55 a.m.

Emotions in the Capitol are running high over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

Soon after Republican Sen. Jeff Flake announced he'd vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, he was cornered by two women as he got into an elevator to head to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Through tears, the women implored him to change his mind about his Kavanaugh vote.

The women were seen in TV footage blocking the Arizona senator from closing the elevator door. One woman begged Flake to look him in the eye. She said: "Look at me and tell me that it doesn't matter what happened to me."

Another woman said Flake was allowing someone who "violated someone" to serve on the Supreme Court. Both women cried as they spoke to him.

Eventually a member of Flake's staff said they needed to go and the doors closed. A committee confirmation vote is set for 1:30 p.m.

Kavanaugh has denied that he sexually assaulted a woman when they were teenagers. The committee on Thursday heard emotional and sometimes combative testimony from both Kavanaugh and his accuser.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -It'll be a "yes" vote on Brett Kavanaugh from one of the most closely watched Republican senators who's determining the fate of the Supreme Court nominee.

The announcement from Arizona's Jeff Flake that he'll vote to confirm Kavanaugh virtually ensures that the nomination will advance to the full Senate from the Judiciary Committee.

The committee is expected to vote Friday — and if the nomination advances to the full Senate, then senators could begin voting as early as Saturday.

Flake says he wishes he could express the confidence in Kavanaugh that some of his other GOP colleagues have. But Flakes says in a statement he still has "much doubt" after the committee's explosive hearing Thursday.

Kavanaugh has denied Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Flake says that without evidence to corroborate Ford's story, he believes "our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence."

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