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Kavanaugh to be Confirmed After Susan Collins & Joe Manchin Say Yes; Interview with Sen. Susan Collins; Protesters Arrested Outside Capitol Building & Supreme Court; Blumenthal Talks Kavanaugh Hearings & Confirmation Vote; Trump Spoke about Kavanaugh Confirmation Vote; Kagan & Sotomayor Speak Out about Supreme Court; Schumer Speaks Against Kavanaugh Confirmation on Senate Floor; McConnell Speaks for Kavanaugh Confirmation Ahead of Vote; Senate Votes to Confirm Kavanaugh to Supreme Court. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired October 6, 2018 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:00:38] DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: You are watching CNN's special coverage of the Kavanaugh confirmation vote. I'm Dana Bash, in Washington. And I would like to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

Breaking news this hour. The votes have been pledged, the decisions defended, and now all that is left is to make it official. Just about 30 minutes from now, the Senate is expected to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, the final chapter after a week's long wrenching political battle that divided Congress and the country. Protesters outside the Supreme Court, and the capitol, as we speak.

And in the end, it was two previously undeclared, undecided Senators, Republican Susan Collins, of Maine, and Democrat Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, who sealed Kavanaugh's fate by saying they would vote yes, despite allegations of sexual assault and concerns about his temperament.

I spoke with Susan Collins just moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Ford was really clear, under oath, under pain of perjury, that she was 100 percent certain that it was Brett Kavanaugh who sexually assaulted her. So given the decision you made, do you not believe her?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R), MAINE: Let me say this. First of all, I found Dr. Ford's testimony to be heart-wrenching, painful, compelling, and I believe that she believes what she testified to. I don't think she was coming forth with a political motive. Although, I do not think that she was treated well by those who breached her confidence. But we also had a case where Judge Kavanaugh came forward and said I'm 100 percent certain that this did not happen. So here you have two people, who are each 100 percent certain of what they're saying, under pain of perjury, so then I had to look at the other evidence, and was there corroborating evidence, and that's why I pushed hard for the FBI to do a supplemental background investigation.

BASH: So do you still think it is possible that he did it? You just don't have the proof to back that up?

COLLINS: I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh was her assailant.

BASH: So --

COLLINS: I do believe she was assaulted. I don't know by whom. And I'm not certain when.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Let's get straight to CNN senior congressional correspondent, Phil Mattingly, on Capitol Hill.

Phil, gave us the lay of the land there. How is this going to play out? We think we know the outcome but what are the mechanics to get there.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dana, we know the outcome, we know it is going to be a 50-48 to one vote but we don't know necessarily know how the process will play out. There are protesters, not just outside, where there's more than 100 of which have been arrested, but also inside the Senate gallery. I was in there watching Senator John Cornyn giving his final floor speech. Several protesters have popped up. Keep an eye on that, how the process will actually work.

Senators are starting to file in to the chamber now. What we have been told is every Senator has been asked to be at their desk. In other words, this is going to be a formal roll call. We saw it yesterday morning with the procedural vote. But, Dana, you know as well as anybody, it is pretty rare that we have this where each Senator sits at their desk and stands when their name is called and casts their vote. We expect the vote to last 20 to 30 minutes, at which point Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed.

But I think a bigger question for a lot of Senators is they know what the outcome will be is what happens next, what happens for this institution and what happens next for the one across the street, the Supreme Court, and what happens next in this conversation. What I can tell you is, Dana, over the course of the entire night, Democrats were going to the floor decrying the process. Some of them reading letters from sexual assault survivors, trying to reflect the overall conversation. And Republicans are taking the opposite tact, decrying what Democrats say led them into.

Take a listen to what the Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE). Any regrets about the process, the divisive nature of this? SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R-IA), CHAIRMAN, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:

Well, that we couldn't keep on the qualifications of a man going to be on the Supreme Court. I think it should have been focused on that. And for two months, it was. And when that didn't work, they dug up everything they could, including the legitimate accusation of sexual assault.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:05:18] MATTINGLY. Now, Dana, I ran into a Senator in the subway on the way over here. And asked him, obviously, looked pretty grim, do you feel we're at rock bottom right now, given how difficult this process has been, and he looked at me and he said, "Do you think we can go any lower," and he just walked away.

BASH: Boy is that telling.

Thank you for sharing that story.

I have to say, so as you were speaking, next to you on the screen was Senator Jon Kyl, of Arizona, and it is a reminder that Senator John McCain is not here. Because Jon Kyl was appointed to fill his seat after he passed away. We haven't seen him in a while.

We will get back, of course, to the Senator floor.

While that suspense might be over, Phil alluded to the fact that the fight is really just beginning. Protesters are still making their voices heard, gathering outside the capitol and the Supreme Court.

That is where CNN's Tom Foreman just saw police detaining some of them.

Tom, that is going on?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Dana. The police have basically managed to reclaim the plaza here in front of the capitol. A couple of hours ago, hundreds of protesters just came flooding up this way, many of them made it up on to the capitol steps. The police went up and started arresting them. They secured that area. And a very short while ago, they just pushed everyone back here to the barricade at this point. So most of them have gone back to the Supreme Court.

Many of them though, I will tell you, Dana, came in today, resigned to the fact that they could really do nothing about this vote. Many of them thought even yesterday that it was probably going to go through. So the message we have heard over and over again, among the protesters, is to say, to each other, and to anyone who will listen, pay attention in a month, show up at the midterms, make your voices heard. That's how they think they can have an impact now, in the face of this battle, which they desperately wanted to win, and it looks like they have clearly lost -- Dana?

BASH: What a scene. And I'm sure it is only going to get more raucous. Tom, thank you so much for that report.

I want to go to Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Senator, thank you for joining me.

It has been a bitter fight to say the least, as we have just heard. It is going to get even more intense, if that is possible. In the end, everything that Congress has gone through -- I guess let's just start maybe with the hope for a positive moment. Do you think that it is possible for the country, and where you're standing right now, the Senate, to have a lesson learned from this? Because everybody, from the Republican chairman of your committee, to the Judiciary Committee, across the board, says that it is completely dysfunctional.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D), CONNECTICUT: There are a lot of lessons to be learned. And the country wants us to work together, far better than we have. Work across party lines. But I must say, this day is the saddest and angriest of my time in the United States Senate. The Republicans have confirmed a dangerous and deeply-flawed nominee, only by breaking all of the norms and rules. The damage done today will be endured, through our court, to the country, and to this institution of the United States Senate. So there's a lot of work to do in restoring those norms and rules that have been so badly shattered.

BASH: I want to ask you, Senator, about something that your Republican colleague, Susan Collins, said in her lengthy speech yesterday on the Senate floor. She talked about the fact that in this country, people should be presumed innocent. And although this is not a court of law -- we made that very clear over the past couple of weeks -- you are an attorney by training. You were an attorney general in your home state of Connecticut. That notion of being innocent until proven guilty is probably coursing through your veins every day. So given that, doesn't Senator Collins have a point, that there was no proof, so should Judge Kavanaugh be given the benefit of the doubt? What is your response to that.

BLUMENTHAL: The presumption of innocence is central to our judicial system, our sense of fairness, and our Constitution. But there was a lot of powerful and credible proof here. Not only the testimony, absolutely riveting, and powerful, from Dr. Blasey Ford, but the polygraph test she took, the prior consistent statements that she made to her therapist and her husband and to friends, well before she even knew about the nomination. And of course, other corroborating witnesses that were never interviewed. That point is tremendously important. Corroborating evidence would have been available if the investigation had not been straight-jacketed and curtailed by the White House. So the presumption of innocence is central, but there was a lot of powerful proof here. And the investigation into why that investigation was curtailed, in other words, why the United States Senate was deprived of those corroborating witnesses' interviews is something that we need to undertake here.

[15:10:29] BASH: If you think that Judge Kavanaugh, probably soon to be Justice Kavanaugh, is so flawed, do you support the idea of impeachment proceedings? Because you know, the Senate constitutionally does have something that they could do about it if you Democrats take control of the House and Senate potentially.

BLUMENTHAL: What I believe is our next step is to uncover all of the facts and the evidence as to why the investigation was so curtailed. Who dictated the number of witnesses, the identity of those individuals, and the scope of time that was so very circumscribed, in effect straight-jacketed on this occasion? And I want to see all of the facts and evidence that are still in those documents that have been concealed from the very start. Millions and millions of pages of documents that the White House, in effect, refused to disclose. Eventually, all that facts and evidence will come out. And that is where the focus ought to be. But I also think we need to move on to protecting the rights that may be in jeopardy. Health care. People who suffer from pre-existing conditions now are at greater risk of the law being overturned and other essential rights.

BASH: Senator -- Senator, one Democrat, one of your fellow Democrats, is expected to vote yes, Joe Manchin, of West Virginia. Do you believe that Brett Kavanaugh is so flawed that Joe Manchin should lose his seat, that he shouldn't be re-elected in West Virginia for making the decision that you say is so wrong?

BLUMENTHAL: Every one of us have to make our own decisions. I support Joe Manchin. I respect him. We all differ from each other from time to time. And I think that a vote for Judge Kavanaugh ignores centrally something that both Democrats and Republicans should respect, which is temperament. The lack of temperament demonstrated by Judge Kavanaugh when he appeared before the Judiciary Committee, angry, bitter, self-pitying, I hope would be persuasive to Joe Manchin, as well as my Republican colleague, along with his deeply- flawed ideological position that would roll back health care rights and women's reproductive rights, and worker and consumer rights. But I respect Joe Manchin.

BASH: Senator Richard Blumenthal, thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

BASH: And as we go to break, a quick programming note. Senator Susan Collins will be my guest tomorrow on "STATE OF THE UNION." Tune in for that, 9:00 a.m., and 12:00 p.m. Eastern.

And coming up, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor saying the court's legitimacy depends on staying above the political fray. Are they sending a message directly to Brett Kavanaugh?

Plus, first lady, Melania Trump, speaking out overseas. Her comments on the "Me Too" movement, Judge Kavanaugh, and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:17:55] BASH: Welcome back. I want to get straight to President Trump who spoke moments ago as he was leaving the White House heading to a campaign rally in Kansas City (sic).

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are already looking forward to the vote. He will be a great justice of the Supreme Court. People have felt that for 10 years. They thought that he is just an extraordinary person, a great talent, and I think he is going to make us all very proud.

I also feel very strongly that, in the end, maybe the process, it was really unattractive, but the extra week was something that I think was really good. I thought it was really good. I think a lot of very positive things happened in the last week. It didn't look that way. But in the end, that's what happened. It was uncorroborated. It was so many different things. He is going in looking very good.

But I will have further comment later. I want to go, I want to watch the vote. I am heading --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Excuse me. I'm heading out to Kansas. Kris Kobach is running for governor. Steve Watkins is running for Congress. We have a big crowd, and I look forward to it.

We will be watching in a little while. We will be watching on television, the vote, and the votes are very -- this is a very exciting time.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Any time you have a chance to put a Supreme Court justice in position and, in this case, I think he is going to be a great, great Supreme Court justice for many years, it is a very exciting time. We are going to Kansas but we will see you in a little while after the vote.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: Say it again.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: I thought that Susan was incredible yesterday. You could see how hard she worked, how hard she was working. She didn't stop. And I know for a fact, because I spoke with her, she didn't stop. And she gave an impassioned, beautiful speech yesterday. And that was from the heart. That was from the heart. And I have great respect for Susan Collins, And I always have.

Thank you. Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:20:17] BASH: That was President Trump, leaving for Topeka, Kansas, not Kansas City, Kansas. Here in the nation's capital, we are joined here on the set with the dream team, Supreme Court analyst, Joan Biskupic, and Supreme Court reporter, Ariana De Vogue, White House reporter for the "New York Times," Julie Hirschfeld Davis, and our own chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Let's unpack what the president just said.

Look, we can focus and should focus on the Supreme Court now. We are like 10 minutes away from this vote. But he has a pep in his step. With good reason.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

BASH: He had a good week.

BORGER: He did have a good week. He had what may be one of best weeks of his presidency, if not the best week. I mean, he had this, number one, good economic numbers, trade deals that a lot of people thought he couldn't do. He did have that story in "New York Times" about his history with the tax code with his father, which was, shall we say, a revealing and not positive piece, which they are running again tomorrow. But if you take all things into account here, he is able -- he was able to energize his base, in a big way, perhaps saving control of the Senate, which a lot of people didn't think was in danger, but maybe adding to the seats on the Senate. On the flip side, the Democrats will be energized, too. We will have to see how that works out. But all in all, we weren't talking about Russia all week. We were talking about the Supreme Court and his legacy, his greatest legacy, at this moment, in his presidency, will be these two justices.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: He ran on it. Remember, he said, even if you don't like me, even if you can't stand Donald Trump, vote for me because I will give you the Supreme Court, and here he is, within two years of his inauguration, with a second justice. And as we all know, but some of our audience might not, this is a seat for life. Long after Donald Trump has passed away, and many of us have moved on, Brett Kavanaugh, at only age 53, and Neil Gorsuch, his first appointee, who is even younger than Brett Kavanaugh, will probably still be sitting.

(CROSSTALK

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And I think -- sorry. Beyond the substance of beyond the fact that he is getting this vote and he is getting it, and the way he wanted and has gotten all of these other accomplishments this week, this is a vindication of his approach, very bare-knuckled, very partisan, somewhat divisive, very divisive this week and a lot of other areas. People would sort of hold their nose, a lot of Republicans, on Capitol Hill, and a lot of Republican voter, would say, we are not sure we really like that style, but that approach really worked. We saw Mitch McConnell really pushing this forward, in the face of some really strong reservations among Democrats and some people in his own party, and here we have the results, that he has the votes. It was not an attractive process. But this is the sort of political battle that Donald Trump loves to stoke, and loves to win.

(CROSSTALK)

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: -- and who adopted that was Brett Kavanaugh, we saw Brett Kavanaugh after those allegations, we saw something that was where he came out fighting and the president really appreciated that, and said so.

BASH: And I'm glad you brought that up. Because too women who you are both all familiar with, and particularly are reporters here who cover the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. This timing, I don't know if it was ironic on purpose, probably, you know, a combination of everything. They came out yesterday and had something pretty rare to say about what they expect on the Supreme Court. And frankly, they're concerns about the temperament and tone of the court. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELENA KAGAN, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: There has been a person who people, who found the center, where people couldn't predict in that sort of way.

It is not so clear that, you know, I think going forward, that sort of middle position, you know, it is not so clear whether we will have it.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: When the political parties adopted that language as their own, they have now superimposed that on the court. So Originalists get identified as the choice of a certain group of politicians. Not Originalists, the choice of another group. Of a different party. And I think that institutionally has hurt the court a lot. And may continue to do so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: I wonder how the political debate is affecting the court. And Sonia Sotomayor there was really brutally honest, saying, yes, it does. We're humans. And we, of course, are affected by the way that the parties are, from her perspective, imposing political views on what they view as constitutional views, and views of the law.

What do you both make of those, you know, the fact that they came out in general.

[15:25:23] BISKUPIC: First of all, this was an event at Princeton. Long planned. They are very aware of what is happening here. And exactly what Elena Kagan said when she posits, I'm not sure if we have a middle anymore, she knows there's no middle right now.

(CROSSTALK)

BISKUPIC: There's no middle right now. And she is desperately hoping that one can be created, because she is, of course, on the losing side. She is with the four Democratic appointees, the liberal side, outvoted now by five Republican --

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: And that's the key. That is really the key. That is the most important thing. What Sotomayor said was important, but you're right, what Kagan said about the reality that once this vote happens, that swing vote, who retired, Justice Kennedy retired, is gone. It's gone. And it is a conservative court.

DE VOGUE: And it is a conservative court for decades and decades, and there's, I mean, there's -- I thought it was very interesting, when she said the swing vote enables us not to look owned by one side or the other. And that is going last now, is going to last now through decades. And she is going to be --

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: You know what this does, though, I guess the question I should ask you guys, Justice Roberts is in a very tough spot now, because he looks like he moves to the center, and he is an institutionalist and wants to preserve the court.

BASH: We will have time to talk about it after the vote.

BORGER: OK.

BASH: But I want to go quickly to the Senate floor, to the Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Because they refuse to have an independent investigation of the facts before the hearing in order to inform the questioning. Because they hired an outside prosecutor to question Dr. Ford as if she were on trial. Because the White House kept the FBI investigation on a short leash, dictating the scope and even the kinds of questions the FBI was allowed to ask. Because Republican Senators, sensing after Dr. Ford's testimony, that a debate about the truth and facts was not working, adopted a cynical new strategy to shout, pound the table, and portray Judge Kavanaugh as a helpless victim of some unseen partisan conspiracy. Because the president of the United States, because the president of the United States, stooping to new depths, even for him, chose to stand before a crowd of thousands, and cruelly ridicule a survivor of sexual assault. And because this grossly distorted biased unfair process, run by the Republican majority, the Senate, is about to elevate a nominee who doesn't belong on the nation's highest bench.

Now, why doesn't Kavanaugh belong on the bench in the nation's highest court? Judge Kavanaugh doesn't belong on the bench because he obscured his views, shrouding his jurisprudence in smoke so thick the American people will never know what he really believed. Judge Kavanaugh doesn't belong on the bench because he was chosen by a president and a far-right organization, both dedicated to overturning and undermining Roe v. Wade, and he did not a thing to refute the presumption that he would want to overturn it, too. Judge Kavanaugh doesn't belong on the bench because he was chosen by far-right organizations that are bent on repealing health care protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. And he did nothing to refute the presumption that he would too. Judge Kavanaugh doesn't belong on the bench because he believes that presidents should not be subject to investigations of any kind while in office, the distortion of our founding principle that no person is above the law. Judge Kavanaugh does not belong on the bench because his jurisprudence is deeply skeptical of environmental protection, consumer protection, worker's rights, civil rights, LGBT rights, and rights of treaties and agreements with Native Americans, and a host of other hard-earned rights.

[13:30:00] Judge Kavanaugh doesn't belong on the bench because he has repeatedly misled the Senate, putting into serious doubt his credibility. And a judge must be credible, believable, and honest, above all. Judge Kavanaugh doesn't belong on the bench because he is an extreme partisan. Something we have seen from his earliest days in his career, and we reconfirmed when he gave one of the bitterest, most partisan testimonies ever presented by a nominee. Judge Kavanaugh doesn't belong on the bench because of his injudicious demeanor. His partisan screed will go down ignominiously in history, and made it clear it would be virtually impossible for him to rule impartially on the Supreme Court. Judges must be temperate, judicious, even-handed. Judge Kavanaugh is anything but.

Republican leaders knew before he was nominated that Judge Kavanaugh was a very flawed choice. But once President Trump selected him, Republicans decided they had to rush him through. They became a steamroller over truth, fairness and our traditions of bipartisan cooperation. Any means necessary, to reach their desired end. They blame Dr. Ford and Democrats for Judge Kavanaugh's flaws. They were intent on shrouding the truth, because they knew that if the truth came to light, Judge Kavanaugh would be exposed as a truly flawed nominee.

So my colleagues, my fellow Americans, what is the appropriate response? Our country needs to have a reckoning on these issues. And there's only one remedy, change must come from where change in America always begins, the ballot box. So to Americans, to so many millions who are outraged by what happened here, there's one answer, vote. If you believe Dr. Ford, and other brave women who came forward, and you want to vindicate their sacrifice, vote. If you believe the Supreme Court should uphold women's rights, vote. If you believe the Supreme Court must protect health care and our pre-existing conditions that are protected now, vote. If you believe the Supreme Court should defend workers, consumers, the environment, civil rights, native population, vote. If you believe the Supreme Court should be a check on an over-reaching president, vote. If you believe the process here in the Senate was a sham and you believe Americans deserve better, vote. If you believe that Supreme Court justices should conform to the highest standards of character, impartiality, temperament and, above all, honesty and credibility, vote.

I understand. I share the deep anguish that millions of Americans are experiencing today. But I say to you, my fellow Americans, there's one answer. Vote.

I yield the floor.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, giving his closing argument, the closing argument for the Democratic Party, of why they believe that Brett Kavanaugh is absolutely the wrong choice for the Supreme Court, and any time, but particularly, for, as we were talking about before, he started to speak, the key swing vote that tips the balance, that very -- let me actually go to Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: "It was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity." Those are the words of Henry Clay. Mr. President, Kentucky's own. They underscore that the decision United States Senators will make today will echo in the history of our nation.

The very survival of our constitutional form of government requires an expert and independent judiciary. Without fair and impartial courts of justice, as Alexander Hamilton put it in the "Federalist Papers," "All the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing." The courts guard our rights. And the Senate guards our courts.

[15:35:49] That, Mr. President, is why today is such an important day. That is why the vote we take this afternoon, a vote to confirm a new associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States represents one of the most consequential decisions a Senator ever makes. The members of this body are duty-bound to ensure that we confirm justices of the Supreme Court who are men and women of the highest character and the most superlative qualifications. So fortunately, that is just the sort of nominee who stands before us today.

Twelve weeks ago, the president nominated the jurist who has been described by legal peers of all political stripes as a superstar, a serious scholar, and who is legendary for his preparation, and possesses the qualifications, the temperament, and the judicial philosophy to be an excellent associate justice. The president nominated a brilliant student of the law. Those who taught and knew the nominee at Yale say, quote, "It is hard to name anyone with judicial credentials as strong as Judge Kavanaugh." They describe a true intellectual, a leading thinker, and a wonderful mentor and teacher. And those he has mentored, a diverse group of bright young lawyers who clerked for Judge Kavanaugh, talk about his work ethic, his unflinching honest advice, and his fundamental humility. For 12 weeks, the Senate has seen that this is not empty praise. We have seen the legendary preparation of a tireless judge. We have seen the patience of a committed mentor and teacher. We have seen the humility of a true intellectual who let his record speak for itself. Each of us has seen this for ourselves.

Every Senator who came into this process with an open mind has seen that very same Brett Kavanaugh firsthand. We have seen his brilliance. His pain-staking thoroughness on display in the 300-plus opinions he issued on the D.C. circuit. For 12 years, Judge Kavanaugh excelled on the bench that many experts see as the second most important court in our nation. We have seen his geniality and kindness firsthand in the private meetings with the nominee. Precisely, the collegial approach that is so necessary on the court. We have seen his professional excellence as we reviewed more pages of documents pertaining to Judge Kavanaugh's career than for any other Supreme Court nomination in our history. Pages that depict a meticulous and dedicated public servant.

And yet, we have now studied the results of seven, seven FBI background investigations, inquiries that have produced no evidence whatsoever to corroborate any prior misconduct, but rather are consistent with all we know about this nominee's sterling character.

This historically tall mountain of evidence adds up to one clear message. Judge Brett Kavanaugh is among the very best our nation has to offer. He will make the Senate and the country proud. He will serve with distinction on our highest court. He unquestionably deserves confirmation, and the country deserves such a Supreme Court justice.

[15:39:57] Now, Mr. President, as I have explained, the stakes are always high, always high where a Supreme Court confirmation is concerned. But this time, this time, stakes are higher. A lot higher than they have been in the past.

I can't sum this up better than our friend and distinguished colleague, the senior Senator from Maine put it in her historic, historic remarks yesterday. This is what the senior Senator from Maine said: "It is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy." She said, "When passions are most inflamed, it is when fairness is most in jeopardy."

We all know the events of recent weeks have stained -- strained the country's comity and fanned the flames of partisan discord. But even more critically, our very commitment to the basic principles of fairness and justice is also being tested. Basic principles of fairness and justice being tested right here.

A vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh today is also a vote to send a clear message about what the Senate is. This is an institution where the evidence and the facts matter. This is an institution where the evidence and the facts matter. This is the chamber in which the politics of intimidation and personal disruption do not win the day. This is the body whose members themselves uphold the same commitment to American justice that we seek in the judges we examine.

A vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh today is a vote to end this brief, dark chapter in the Senate's history, and turn the page toward a brighter tomorrow.

The chamber we are privileged to occupy is often called the world's greatest deliberative body for good reason. We are called the world's greatest deliberative body for a good reason. When the rubber meets the road, when the hour is critical, when a historic precedent needs to be set, the United States Senate most often finds its way to doing what is right. Today, we can honor that history. We can vote to turn away from the darkness. We can vote to set a precedent about fairness and judgment that will define this body for the better. We can vote to confirm an excellent Supreme Court justice who will make the Senate and the American people proud.

I yield the floor.

BASH: Senate majority leader -- let's listen in. The vice president of the United States presiding over the confirmation vote, the final vote of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Under the previous question, all post-cloture time has expired. The question is on the nomination.

Is there a sufficient second?

(SHOUTING)

PENCE: Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

(SHOUTING)

PENCE: Is there a sufficient second?

There's a sufficient second.

The clerk will call the roll.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Alexander?

(SHOUTING)

(GAVEL)

PENCE: The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

(SHOUTING)

(GAVEL)

PENCE: The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

(SHOUTING)

(GAVEL)

(SHOUTING)

[15:45:06] PENCE: The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

(SHOUTING)

PENCE: The Sergeant at Arms has restored order in the gallery.

(SHOUTING)

(GAVEL)

PENCE: The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

The clerk may continue.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Baldwin?

(SHOUTING)

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Barrasso?

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO, (R), WYOMING: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Bennet?

SEN. MICHAEL BENNETT, (D), COLORADO: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Blumenthal?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D), CONNECTICUT: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Blunt?

SEN. ROY BLUNT, (R), MISSOURI: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Booker?

Mr. Boseman?

Mr. Brown?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN, (D), OHIO: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Burr?

SEN. RICHARD BURR, (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Cantwell?

Ms. Capito?

Mr. Cardin?

Mr. Carper?

Mr. Casey?

SEN. CASEY, (D), PENNSYLVANIA: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Cassidy?

Ms. Collins?

(SHOUTING)

(GAVEL)

PENCE: The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

(SHOUTING) PENCE: Continue.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Coons?

Mr. Corker?

Mr. Cornyn?

(CROSSTALK)

(GAVEL)

PENCE: The Senator will suspend.

(GAVEL)

PENCE: The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

(SHOUTING)

(GAVEL)

PENCE: The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

Resume.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Cornyn?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, (R), TEXAS: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Cortez Masto?

SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ-MASTO, (D), NEVADA: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Cotton?

Mr. Crapo?

Mr. Cruz?

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Daines?

Mr. Donnelly?

Ms. Duckworth?

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, (D), ILLINOIS: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Durbin?

Mr. Enzi?

SEN. MIKE ENZI, (R), WYOMING: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Ernst?

Ms. Feinstein?

Ms. Fisher?

(CROSSTALK)

(GAVEL)

PENCE: The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

Continue.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Flake?

SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R), ARIZONA: Aye.

Mr. Gardner?

SEN. CORY GARDNER, (R), COLORADO: Aye.

Ms. Gillibrand?

Mr. Graham?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Grassley?

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R), IOWA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Harris?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D), CALIFORNIA: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Hassan?

Mr. Hatch?

Mr. Heinrich?

Ms. Heitkamp?

Mr. Heller?

Ms. Hirono?

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO, (D), HAWAII: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Hoeven?

SEN. JOHN HOEVEN, (R), NORTH DAKOTA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Hyde-Smith?

No. UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Inhofe?

SEN. JAMES INHOFE, (R), OKLAHOMA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Isakson?

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON, (R), GEORGIA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Johnson?

SEN. RON JOHNSON, (R), WISCONSIN: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Jones?

SEN. DOUG JONES, (D), ALABAMA: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Kaine?

SEN. TIM KAINE, (D), VIRGINIA: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Kennedy?

Mr. King?

SEN. ANGUS KING, (I), MAINE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Klobuchar?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D), MINNESOTA: No.

Mr. Kyl?

Mr. Lankford?

Mr. Leahy?

Mr. Lee?

SEN. MIKE LEE, (R), UTAH: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Manchin?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Aye.

(CROSSTALK)

(GAVEL)

[15:50:04] PENCE: The clerk will suspend.

The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

(SHOUTING)

(GAVEL)

PENCE: The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

(SHOUTING)

(GAVEL)

PENCE: The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the gallery.

(SHOUTING)

PENCE: The clerk may continue.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Markey?

SEN. ED MARKEY, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. McCaskill?

Mr. McConnell?

MCCONNELL: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Menendez?

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ, (D), NEW JERSEY: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Merkley?

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY, (D), OREGON: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Moran?

SEN. JERRY MORAN, (R), KANSAS: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Murkowski?

Mr. Murphy?

Ms. Murray?

Mr. Nelson?

Mr. Paul?

SEN. RAND PAUL, (R), KENTUCKY: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Perdue?

SEN. DAVID PERDUE, (R), GEORGIA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Peters?

SEN. GARY PETERS, (D), MICHIGAN: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Portman?

SEN. ROB PORTMAN, (R), OHIO: Aye. UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Reed?

SEN. JACK REED, (D), RHODE ISLAND: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Risch?

SEN. JAMES RISCH, (R), IDAHO: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Roberts?

SEN. PAT ROBERTS, (R), KANSAS: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Rounds?

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS, (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Rubio?

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Sanders?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Sasse?

SEN. BEN SASSE, (R), NEBRASKA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Schatz?

Mr. Schumer?

SCHUMER: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Scott?

SEN. TIM SCOTT, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Shaheen?

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN, (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Shelby?

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY, (R), ALABAMA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Smith?

UNIDENTIFIED SENATOR: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Stabenow?

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW, (D), MICHIGAN: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Sullivan?

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN, (R), ALASKA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Tester?

SEN. JON TESTER, (D), MONTANA: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Thune?

SEN. JOHN THUNE, (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Tillis?

SEN. THOM TILLIS, (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Toomey?

SEN. PAT TOOMEY, (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Udall?

SEN. TOM UDALL, (D), NEW MEXICO: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Van Hollen?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, (D), MARYLAND: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Warner?

Ms. Warren?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Whitehouse?

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, (D), RHODE ISLAND: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Wicker?

SEN. ROGER WICKER, (R), MISSISSIPPI: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Wyden?

SEN. RON WYDEN, (D), OREGON: No.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Young?

SEN. TODD YOUNG, (R), INDIANA: Aye.

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI, (R), ALASKA: With my friend the Senator from Montana, Senator Daines, who is walking his daughter down the aisle this afternoon, if he were present and voting, he would have voted aye. I have voted no. The pair will not change the outcome of the vote. I therefore withdraw my vote.

PENCE: The Senator has that right.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Senators voting in affirmative -- Alexander, Barrasso, Blunt, Boseman, Burr, Capito, Cassidy, Collins, Corker, Cornyn, Cotton, Crapo, Cruz, Enzi, Ernst, Fischer, Flake, Gardner, Graham, Grassley, Hatch, Heller, Hoeven, Hyde-Smith, Inhofe, Isakson, Johnson, Kennedy, Kyl, Lankford, Lee, Manchin, McConnell, Moran, Paul, Perdue, Portman, Risch, Roberts, Rounds, Rubio, Sasse, Scott, Shelby, Sullivan, Thune, Tillis, Toomey, Wicker, Young.

Senators voting in the negative -- Baldwin, Bennet, Blumenthal, Booker, Brown, Cantwell, Cardin, Casey, Coons, Cortez Masto, Donnelly, Duckworth, Durbin, Feinstein, Gillibrand, Harris, Hassan, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Hirono, Jones, Kaine, King, Klobuchar, Leahy, Markey, McCaskill, Menendez, Merkley, Murray, Nelson, Peters, Reed, Sanders, Schatz, Schumer, Shaheen, Smith, Stabenow, Tester, Udall, Van Hollen, Warner, Warren, Whitehouse, Wyden.

[15:55:49] PENCE: Mr. Murphy?

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Murphy, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

BASH: And we have been watching, and we are still watching a dramatic, historic moment in the United States. And, of course, on the floor of the United States Senate, you saw Senators, until just a minute ago, sitting in their desks, standing to announce how they're going to vote on Brett Kavanaugh, whether he should or should not be confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. Now it's clear that the Senators are waiting for some who are not yet there, which is why the vote is not finished. We don't have the formal vote tally. He's not formally confirmed, but he is all but confirmed.

As we wait for that to happen, for the Senators who are missing to come in and cast their votes, I want to go straight to Phil Mattingly, up on Capitol Hill, who was in the chamber.

As this vote was starting, the vice president and the chair, Phil, and obviously, a coordinated attempt to disrupt. You witnessed it. What did you see?

MATTINGLY: Yes, that's exactly right, Dana. Over the course of the last couple hours, the Senators were giving speeches. Occasionally, protesters would pop up and shout a couple of times, "I do not consent," and then be pulled out. But right as the roll call vote was called --