Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday the FBI submitted a “very, very reassuring report” about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and accused Democrats of an “outrageous smear” against a qualified candidate.
McConnell, R-Ky., said the Kavanaugh confirmation has put the Senate “on trial” in the face of progressive activists trying to block the nomination by targeting key GOP lawmakers, many of whom have needed police escorts to guide them past angry protesters.
“It’s the Senate that’s on trial here,” McConnell said. “What kind of image will we convey to the public? Can we be scared by all these people rampaging through the halls, accosting members at airports, coming to their homes?”
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McConnell, R-Ky., made the charge as Democrats finished a nearby press conference condemning a supplementary background report conducted by the FBI over the past week.
McConnell set up a Friday vote to end debate on the nomination, which would be followed by a Saturday vote on confirmation.
“I’ll be proud to advance this nomination tomorrow,” McConnell said, referencing the first of the two votes.
[Related: Kavanaugh on track for confirmation. Flake: 'no additional' corroboration. Collins: 'very thorough' FBI report]
McConnell framed the Kavanaugh nomination as a battle against the politics of personal destruction, which he argued Democrats have been employing try to block the nomination.
McConnell and other key Republicans have been targeted by vocal anti-Kavanaugh progressive activists in recent days at restaurants and at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
“It’s time for us to stand up to this kind of thing,” McConnell said. “We owe it to the American people not to be intimidated by these tactics. We owe it to the American people to underscore that you’re innocent until proven guilty.”