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Trump hasn't thought about a replacement for Kavanaugh 'even a little bit'

While senators were crowding in back rooms, whispering behind palms, and staging "high drama" machinations, President Trump was meeting with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera. When he emerged from his summit, his plans for the Supreme Court had been thrown out of whack.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Friday to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. But the vote was delayed roughly 20 minutes while members of the committee wheeled and dealed — apparently all focused on the waffling of Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), who'd had a very difficult elevator ride earlier in the day.

Flake voted with his party to advance Kavanaugh's nomination on the "understanding" that the full floor vote would be delayed by at most one week to allow the FBI to investigate the multiple sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh. The proposal, which was not voted on in committee, is not binding, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated that a floor vote could be held as soon as Tuesday. Flake suggested that he would not be willing to vote to confirm Kavanaugh without an investigation, and hinted that other Republican senators felt the same way.

Trump, speaking to reporters alongside Piñera, seemed uncharacteristically calm about the whole thing. "I'm going to let the Senate handle that," Trump said, when asked if he'd push for an investigation — despite the fact that the White House would have to request an FBI probe. He additionally said that Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), thought to be two senators who would side with Flake, simply "have to do what they think is right. They have to be comfortable with themselves."

Still, Trump said, he hasn't thought about naming a replacement for Kavanaugh "even a little bit." Read the case for the GOP to dump Kavanaugh here at The Week.