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Backing from senators puts Kavanaugh on track for U.S

Sen. Susan Collins R-Maine arrives to view the FBI report on sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill Thursday Oct. 4 2018 in Washington

"I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been".

A final confirmation vote is expected Saturday afternoon.

Most obviously, that Murkowski is nearly certainly a "no" on Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Collins wasn't the only senator to announce a plan to vote yes in the full vote tomorrow. Republican presidents nominated eight people to the Supreme Court while the GOP held the majority in the Senate. But it wasn't clear at the time that she would be a "yes"' for the nominee.

"An FBI investigation that did not include interviews of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation in any sense of the word", they said in a statement quoted in United States media.

The Maine moderate Republican faced heavy political pressure, including from women who came down from her home state and demanded that she side with Kavanaugh's chief accuser, California professor Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed that a drunken Kavanaugh had attacked her at a party decades ago when they were both in high school in suburban Maryland.

Collins - a moderate Republican from ME - said Kavanaugh was entitled to the "presumption of innocence" as the allegations against him were not substantiated with corroborating evidence.

As protesters in a Capitol Hill hallway shouted "Shame on you", Manchin told reporters an FBI investigation that did not find corroborating evidence of Ford's accusations was thorough.

"Nevertheless", Collins continued, "fairness would dictate that the claims at least should meet a threshold of more likely than not as our standard".

Flake was the Republican from Arizona who engineered the last-minute delay so the FBI could conduct its week-long supplemental background investigation into the Kavanaugh accusations by three women.

Mr Trump, who on Tuesday scornfully mocked Ms Ford's Judiciary panel testimony, tweeted that Mr Kavanaugh's "great life can not be ruined by mean" and "despicable Democrats and totally uncorroborated allegations!"

Initially, it was unclear whether that meant he would support Trump's nominee to the nation's highest court.

In fact, during her 21 years in the Senate, Collins has voted for judicial nominees put forward by Republican presidents almost 99 percent of the time, according to a Globe analysis of her roll call votes.

Collins also said she rejected Democratic arguments that Kavanaugh's judicial philosophy was outside the mainstream, pointing to his track record on the D.C. Circuit Court of honoring Supreme Court precedent.

The nominee has repeatedly denied he assaulted anyone.

Flake's support in a preliminary, procedural vote keeps Kavanaugh on track for a fateful vote on his nomination.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the U.S. Senate, and with the two key senators choosing to vote in favour of Kavanaugh, the confirmation looked locked in late on Friday.

Asked if he was previously questioning female senators' work commitment, Grassley said male senators actually had worse work habits. "All the sympathy I'm seeing right now for Brett Kavanuagh, while she's being mocked, while she's being demeaned", he said.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski said she was "still reviewing" her decision. "This has truly been the most hard evaluation of a decision that I've ever had to make and I've (sic) made some interesting ones in my political career".

The reason? By doing so, she will allow fellow Republican Sen.