Republicans aim to confirm Brett Kavanaugh this weekend

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"Going forward, you can count on me ... to be hardworking, even-keeled, open-minded, independent and dedicated to the Constitution and the public good".

A previously undecided Democratic senator, Heidi Heitkamp, said she would vote against Mr Kavanaugh, citing "concerns about his past conduct" and questions about his "temperament, honesty and impartiality" after his angry, defiant testimony a week ago to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

He got an additional boost late on Thursday from President Donald Trump, who praised his nominee's "incredible intellect" and scoffed at detractors during a campaign rally in Minnesota. "That's the only thing I remember", he said.

The bad news for Republicans: Recent polls show that a majority of women do not think Kavanaugh should be confirmed. After critics blasted Kavanaugh's September 27 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee as overtly emotional and more, even Republican Justice John Paul Stevens admitted "there's merit to that criticism", the Palm Beach Post originally reported.

If the procedural vote passes, the Senate could move to a final vote as early as Saturday, one month before the November 6 midterm elections.

The report, sent by the White House to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the middle of the night, was denounced by Democrats as a whitewash that was too narrow in scope and ignored critical witnesses.

Also interviewed was Tim Gaudette, who, according to Judge Kavanaugh's calendars, hosted a party in July 1982 that Democrats say could have been the get-together where the assault happened, and Chris Garrett, a Kavanaugh friend who Ms. Blasey Ford says is the person who introduced her to Judge Kavanaugh.

He noted that his subsequent rebuttal was "forceful and passionate".

The protest began at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Barrett Prettyman Courthouse - where Kavanaugh now sits as a judge - and will culminate at the Supreme Court. Police arrested around 300 people at the protests, including actors Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski.

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"When the noise fades, when the uncorroborated mud washes away, what's left is the distinguished nominee who stands before us", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.

Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy said on Twitter that with each senator being given one hour to review the report before a "rushed vote", the confirmation process controlled by Republicans is "just about power politics".

Collins said the FBI investigation appeared to be thorough.

She paid two visits to the off-limits room where the document was being displayed to politicians. Alaska's Lisa Murkowski said she'd read the report.

The Kavanaugh confirmation has been compared to that of Clarence Thomas in 1991, when Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment.

"We had many fears that this was a very limited process that would constrain the Federal Bureau of Investigation from getting all the facts", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday morning.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the most notable part of the report "is what's not in it".

Earlier, White House spokesman Raj Shah rebuffed Democrats' complaints, saying, "What critics want is a never-ending fishing expedition into high school drinking". One senator said it was a "cover-up" and a "complete embarrassment". Some said there were notes on interviews with nine people, though others said 10. They accused the White House of limiting the FBI's leeway.

The 51-year-old Wray, like Kavanaugh, attended Yale Law School in the 1980s-he was two years behind him-and joined the Federalist Society while attending.

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