The Briefing Room: Sen. Collins to vote 'yes' on Kavanaugh

Sen. Collins said that she will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, making it more than likely that he will be confirmed Saturday.
19:00 | 10/05/18

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Transcript for The Briefing Room: Sen. Collins to vote 'yes' on Kavanaugh
And. Hi there are welcome to the briefing room on ABC news political director Rick Klein joined here by Terry Moran and Tara pulmonary and you just heard the moment. Where senator Susan Collins essentially made Brett Cavanaugh the next justice of the Supreme Court. Her impassioned and long statement on the senate floor explaining her reasoning. Apologies moments later by an announcement from senator Joseph match in the last undecided senator that means that he has now 51 votes on the senate floor and judge Cavanaugh will be justice Kavanagh. Howard replace some of the key highlights from Susan Powell's of the other big developments throughout the David Terry your thoughts on on how this all wound down this pretty extraordinary three week span from Christine. Plus board it is an extraordinary shredded it represents a slightly different way of treating. Someone who came forward an allegation of sexual misconduct against spring court justice actually cover the Clarence Thomas one of that one day just. Ignored Anita Hill altogether and discredit their from the get go in this one there is a great big show listening seriously to her and then ignored her and and it does seem. That. What just at what now justice Cavanaugh will do. Is bring with him into the Supreme Court this toxic atmosphere that we've been living in and bring the Supreme Court more than it has right now. This hyper partisan enmity. In the country that now is gonna be lodged for millions of Americans who will believe doctor Ford and didn't think Brickell and allowing us from court. Right into the heart of the court itself. Alice plays Susan Collins what she said as he seek picked apart the arguments against against Brett Cavanaugh. On policy grounds a lot a lot of discussion about precedent in the just in the decisions that. She feels like justice Kavanagh may or may not make butts up particular to Christine block before take a listen to two Susan Collins. The facts presented. Do not mean. That president that hurt has served four. Was not sexually assaulted that night. Or at some other time. But they do lead me to conclude. That the allegations. Failed shouldn't be. Being more likely than not standard. Their core I do not believe that these charges. Ten air leap where bad. Jack's cabin friends serving on the court. So I don't know there's going to be much of a constituency for that argument probably but it did seem like Susan Collins was trying to find that middle grounds here to say. I believe what Christine glossy Ford says and in the sense that if she was telling interest is being earnest. But there wasn't enough. Friday he didn't single so far as out Lindsey Graham said where he actually said she had a problem and suggested that she may have confused their identities as she didn't. Really. You know defend cap a nine in terms the Christine lousy corporate it was such a small piece. And that's almost 45 minute speech which is basically her this is why and doing it speech. This is why am voting for him. And so very little bit about his judicial temperament as well she made one reference to it saying that the EDA said get great ratings for his judicial cut government. But for the most part that was one thing that a lot of senators were were really hung up on of the fact that he was. So ardently against the Democrats calling out the clintons George Soros claiming this isn't. A broad conspiracy sounding conspiratorial himself instead of judicial Ali insurance so. You know she really kind of went into the nitty gritty spent a lot of time talking that his. His Pena ends and times when he's made act surprising. Act rulings. But really couldn't talk about that the really big issues when you come down to which for the testimonies of Christine glossy Ford and his judicial temperament she kind of. Glossed over us yeah and it's constant sound to meet its Susan Collins was going to be a yes from the beginning they took her awhile to kind of get back to a point of being. Being powerful with this but it comes down to pretty pure partisanship here gonna have 51 votes. Up fifty of them are gonna belonged to Republicans one was a Democrat as one Republican Lisa Murkowski. Who came out earlier today against the the procedural motion for cloture but Terry it is gonna fall upon partisan lines is very partisan body confirming a partisan judge. It is an in this is as partisan. Confirmation for Supreme Court justice as we've had in a 130 years or something and I think the temperament was something that. That she evaded 44 reason because she doesn't really was she has a reputation as somebody doesn't get in the muck and mire of the partisan fight it's one of things that. Winds her reelection in Maine which has. A lot of independent minded voters. But I do think that that temperament argument hold for a lot of a lot of whole Americans because it he think about it this way. There are many different personalities and Supreme Court but my hunch is when Chief Justice John Roberts Gibbs wore an angry. He doesn't curse that Democrats. That was hidden bargains with the re angry doesn't he doesn't care is that Republicans and this is Supreme Court justice. Essentially just. The mask slips and outcomes is very good partisan rage. I think a lot of lawyers will practice before the court are gonna take that into consideration as they think okay out of what fashion argument he gets that vote. You're going to be scrutinizing his arguments as well to look for that sort of partisanship will he have to recuse himself in certain cases. I think he'll be scrutinize on a higher level from this point or he does come and whether or not with the Astra from Christine Monte force hasn't but certainly from his top partisan. And he did feel it necessary to read that op Ed in the Wall Street Journal pseudo apology known and thus doesn't really doesn't go that far saying maybe there I said some things that they shouldn't have said. I want to get some reaction out from the White House right now from our Catherine falters whose. Who's over there first of all the good anywhere the White House know how Collins was planning on voting to fort she walked up there and in any instant reaction from White House officials. Literally right is asking that question I got it Twitter notification from. Sarah Sanders that says thank you senator Collins for standing by your convictions in doing the right thing. To confirm judge town and eyes she told us earlier that all lines in the west wing. We're going to be on that speech I was just out there walking by our offices about ten minutes ago and staffers have their eyes. Lewd to that speech Sobel forehands that optimistic but more cautiously. So when Sarah was asked earlier if they have that she said. We hope so but I have to say this has been. A roller coaster ride these past two weeks for the White House ever since these allegations came out they've really had no plan B they were sticking by him all along the president's in the nation's he has supported him. All the way through publicly it was a little unhappy according to our sources after that first Fox News interview but was. Happier wit him after that it what Terry was describing that busily partisan. Remarks in that hearing so we know that everybody in the west wing was watching dawn of a reaction yet I'm looking at my front of the Twitter notifications we don't have a reaction yet from the president you can expect him a two way and optimistically. Honest for. Yet it would appear that things are on track for a final vote tomorrow up on Capitol Hill. I want to reinvent Siegel in a moment but first I wanna play a little bit from senator Jeff flake he was so key. To what happened over the last week it was his last second decision a week ago today two to cut this deal for an additional FBI investigation he's been talking publicly almost every day about how tortured this process is for him. How personally he feels he raised the temperament issue that Terry talked about this is what he said outside the capital a little while ago about his vote. The report glad that we and you kind of a yes Moscow and something big changed two. What would that. But anyway glad we had a better process this a difficult decision for. If anything he'll be confirmed tomorrow. We also are the are hearing from from senator Joseph mansion of West Virginia who. His Saad taken taken it upon himself to to announce that he is going to actually support the nominee. We'll. Yeah credits from there at that the capital we you know mansion is going to be a yes but let's ask that Ben Siegel to break it down even run around the Catholic come up with senator flake earlier. It does seem to be kind of winding down at this point what's your sense of what the reaction in the immediate fallout is from the announcement just moments ago. Well Rick some of the political intrigue seems to be winding down around his vote and how. And how this'll pan out tomorrow looks like just capitalize on a glide path to the Supreme Court. But I think the big question after that is what does this mean. You know following the confirmation disease energy. Remain in the atmosphere for Democrats particularly those who are. Motivated women who come out it's protest here in Washington and around the country about this nomination right over my shoulder here. I can hear Brian Fallon the former Clinton Campaign. Spokesman who's been leading this group anti Kavanagh group they're promising to keep the protests going. And I think one of the big questions I have now be what will the reaction be a senator Collins in Maine. There's an there's a congressional race in the second district and main Bruce Pollack when. He's thought to be safe he's a Republican. But Democrats really like. The challenger there Jared gold and he sort of doesn't really fit the mold is a former marine tattoos. A Republican who used to be eight to Susan Collins now a Democrat in the state house. Democrats you would like him as a candidate. He does really well in November I got a bad that you a lot of Democrats will be wondering and it's and and Republicans to what what that means for Susan Collins is up for reelection in just two years. Oh yeah I'm thinking of one person right now. I think the person who leaked. The that the account of Christine Blase force because two weeks ago. The polls showed that which are about blue way not just NASA may be the senate to. Posted Democrats were hugely enthusiastic Republicans not so much so that is the recipe for a way right now because of what. What Brett Cavanaugh did in the hearing polls are undeniable the Republicans are are coming forward with the with their enthusiasm one person. Or perhaps it was several decided that this would be a good political play because they were not able either not competent upper couldn't get the country's attention. To beat Kavanagh. In the open in the hearings on the issues they care about they said this a war and instead it blew up and if it. I'm thinking about another person Michael have a nice guys I mean he was out there with out with another accuser and Susan Collins. Basically said that Michael other ninety's it claim his his client's claim had no merit whatsoever. It in you sought Republican after Republican attack on an bodies client. Reverses going after Chris he was deported gave a lot of Republicans license the pile on. Right you're seeing this and already in and then pulling it they're meant but my source said Don that say that. In a red cent eight states there's a lot of enthusiasm but in that some of the congressional white collar area as there's less enthusiasm obviously but it's certainly ginned up there. Ginned up the base but the question is we still are five weeks away from the mid terms and will it actually sustain itself and until that. And captain follows I want to get your your thoughts on the president's role in all of this because he did stick by his guy. He double down on his nominee. And then he made the turn against Christine glossy Ford even this week. Seeming to mock her on her to the holes in her memory and her recollection. That to me was a strategic decision that was bigger than Brett Kavanagh that was about. Revving up the base if this is just about Brett Cavanaugh I think he might have pulled back a little bit let the process work out but he decided to put his foot on the gas and it. It would appear based on what Terry's talking about with the Republicans being -- lot and Kavanagh is likely confirmation all the certain confirmation. That gamble pays off for him. Absolutely and you saw the way he shifted during this process in the beginning he's that I. Want to listen to four and I'll listen to her testimony her testimony was credible in an earlier this week. A got on stage and was openly mocking her his supporters. I'm act at those rallies were all riled up about it holding up those signs behind him that said women for trump and I think what's. Telling about this not these at these rallies and how it's a political players are Jordan Phelps was on the trail. Earlier this week and talked to so many of the supporters and voters specifically. About. It's the Kavanagh allegations we'll have any effect I think we're disqualifying she could. Find one person out those Allen as she talked to who said that those would be disqualifying so definitely a strategic play there though. At the time when he did and make those remarks some sources I was talking to. Inside the White House were a little nervous. About those swing it's but it doesn't sing and made a difference. And one note we should make something that we noticed about Susan Collins and that speech shot. They were too may be unfamiliar to a national audience faces right behind her. Those were those were sent senator Shelly Moore capital from West Virginia and senator city high Smit from Mississippi. And that. Does not appear to be a coincidence and in our colleague Trish turner has some reporting Ben Siegel if you can talk to this about that this scene on the senate floor including the decisions. Have a couple of women in that camera shot. We'll be senators have assigned seats on the floor. It's than usual because from from any votes not thought the whole chamber isn't technically isn't usually there. But you had a packed room you had some of these female senators not in their assigned seats but behind. Senator Collins when she was speaking and then you had many Republicans coming up tick. To congratulate offer their support to senator Collins after the speech so at this very politically delicate moment you saw Collins is female colleagues coming and rallying behind her. Literally right behind her as she was delivering this decisive. Announcement. Optics folks optics at all at all it all does matter. I wanna talk a little bit about the pop the political fallout potential political baucus is a couple of interest in cases that a developed out of this. First of all Lisa Murkowski and the if she's up for reelection for another four years should the the worry immediately but separate Pailin. On Twitter today it says that she can see Lisa Murkowski senate seat from her house 20/20 two. Out there are so whether she seriously doubt that are not Lisa Murkowski got an outstanding but there are two other races that that I didn't want to talk about briefly first of all its start with Heidi I can't yesterday I thought he made a pretty extraordinary statement I don't remember many cases guys where. You how politicians say look. I know that this may be signing my political death warrant and I me lose my seat over this but I can't look myself in the Mir. And know that I'm this way she came out against this nomination it would have been an easier thing politically in North Dakota State that went. Overwhelmingly. Four president trump Brett Cavanaugh polling very well. It's pretty hiking at down by ten plus points in some polls she decided to say no I am gonna do what I consider the right thing North Dakota and sent me here for this reason. Interesting yes she basically nailed the coffin I mean we'll see what happens but I if there's any sort of post backlash but. Her brother was on Rachel Maddow as violence that you know might my sisters and she can't brush her teeth and look at herself in the marriage doesn't do it she feels a conviction. Sheen she likely knew although mansion said that he wasn't sure I was gonna vote the last minute but he. Public again how he was going to be at yellow included sort of pitchers all. On to that she could have easily been the 52 vote and not the kind of a free vote and right no one known would have thought much about it we just say it's politics that's not how should be at this. Results on Dickinson he offered mansion and you know it's interesting with these really personal story is. I have been. You know talking to people Lawton who Dorgan politics and they say I don't understand why can't see the personal. Cited his story they can only see as a political the votes the Democrats using this woman. Instead of seeing just the story of a woman and a man and what may have happened when he six years. And that did seem to register for Heidi hi camp and if there is a political silver lining she is down double digits so. Did this may have been almost a free vote for her she may have resigned herself to what's happening out of there's still plenty of time that our night and so. Just authentic. Just be your own self and I think voters really appreciate that now that might not win her us and it's again in north North Dakota. But you'll be able look yourself in the mirror and who knows some of those. Might like that that's right and I think she's got a potential argument against Kevin Cramer that the Republican in that race is kind of found sits and in politics things about never seen glossy Ford. But I I do the other side of this of course is Joseph mansion as you mentioned it mean he is going to be the 51 vote. Not the deciding vote which I think is probably critical for Democrats here because he Kavanagh would be confirmed without him. But in West Virginia a state where president trump won by forty points folks I mean this is this is the beating red heart of the heart of trump country. Joseph matches up for reelection in a month he's up and a lot of the polls he's a very popular former governor everyone sort of knows in there. And despite all the pressure that Democrats have a flight he's decided he's going to vote for Dutch capital the only Democrat to do so. Why doesn't stating he's up but he's not a bio Lott. And aside from that the controversies. Around to trump the man trumped the person. Trump the president allegedly looked at big smile on his face got to read this guy's got to the Supreme Court justices you know unemployment at its lowest level in fifty years he's winning trade wars that he started with Mexico and Canada. Japan's comer to the table China's next. It things are going his way. And so for voters to get riled up enough to throw the bum out because they're so dissatisfied with the way things are going. That's difficult and mansion I think doesn't want to rock the bodies incumbent stick with the program and sale in. That's right in he had the opportunity to show some independence from the Democratic Party he can't be labeled as easily as Chuck Schumer stooge when your voting against that way the Chuck Schumer want advocates and it gives him that chance. Right and we solid the health care bill he voted with the Democrats and not with the Republicans and services lets you set a chance for him to show that he is a reliable vote when. When need actress Jane. A whole lot happened this week guys we're gonna continue to follow it and the final vote tomorrow one note. Before we close here exciting news to announce our colleague Tommy Imus over and Africa traveling with the First Lady has an exclusive interview with our. I sat down earlier today that battle the whole range of conversations wide ranging interview he fascinating. You see that next week including a next Friday night on 20/20. And that's it from here that's it for today's briefing room for Terry Moran entire primary I'm Rick Klein catch us next time.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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