Melania Trump calls Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh 'highly qualified'

US Senate poised to confirm Kavanaugh to SC

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With just hours before the vote, more than 1,000 protesters, mostly women, broke through barricades and staged a raucous sit-in protest on the US Capitol steps, just feet away from the imposing doors to the Rotunda.

The US Senate is expected to confirm conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice on Saturday-offering President Donald Trump a big political win and tilting the nation's high court decidedly to the right.

The announcements Friday by Republican Susan Collins of ME and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia came after weeks of shocking accusations, hardball politics and Capitol protests.

Collins told a rapt Senate that she does not believe that sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh rise to a level to "fairly prevent" him from serving on the high court.

Capping a venomous struggle that transfixed Americans when it veered into claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted women in the 1980s - claims he fiercely denied - the 53-year-old conservative's nomination was on track for afternoon approval.

Republicans control the Senate by a meager 51-49 margin, and announcements of support Friday from Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of ME, along with Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, locked in the needed votes.

"I think that the MS speech had a great impact, yes - I think it was a very important thing", Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to a political rally in Topeka, Kansas.

Anti-Kavanaugh protesters have broken through barriers and entered the steps of the US Capitol ahead of the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court vote.

Throughout the day, Trump also kept his focus on the opposition, saying Kavanaugh had withstood a "horrible, disgusting attack" that "nobody should have to go through".

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Comedy crew The Chaser have out-Jonesed Alan Jones by projecting his phone number onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House. Earlier in the day, Racing NSW also brought forward the barrier draw "to circumvent any security risks that may exist".

"Believe me I struggled with it for a long time", Collins said after her speech. She said on the Senate floor Friday evening that Kavanaugh is "a good man" but his "appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable".

While she respects her colleagues' support for Kavanaugh, Murkowski said, "I also that think we're at a place where we need to think about the credibility and integrity of our institutions".

The fundraiser crossed the $3 million threshold at about 11 a.m. EDT Saturday.

Gillibrand says that after the way Anita Hill was treated by the Senate during the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, "we said it would never happen again". Thank you for standing with women and survivors. Murkowski said she'd use an obscure procedure that lets one senator offset the absence of another without affecting the outcome. Flake announced Friday morning that he would support Kavanaugh's confirmation, reiterating his statement of support the previous week.

"I think for Central Pennsylvania, for the majority of the viewers in your tv area, I don't think it's going to change a whole lot". Protesters were also heard shouting from the Senate gallery during the roll call. "And my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced any type of sexual assault in their life".

"It's turned our base on fire", declared Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

A recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll showed in fact that the Republicans have narrowed the enthusiasm gap with Democrats in the past few weeks. "You can bet it's going to be an impact and have instantaneous affect because they can overturn any federal or state or local law they deem unconstitutional", said Jon Price, history and political science professor at Penn State York. "I do hope that Judge Kavanaugh will not allow the partisan nature this process took to follow him onto the court". Her attorney Lisa Banks said Ford doesn't have any regrets about coming forward.

"I don't always agree with his tweets, and I tell him that and give him my honest opinion and honest advice", she said.

Koegler identified himself as a close friend of Ford and her husband, saying he has known them for more than five years and had coached their son's baseball team.

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