Reporting by Kathryn Watson, Alan He, John Nolen, Emily Tillett and Grace Segers
The general consensus so far from Republicans who have viewed the FBI report about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's background is that it yields no new information or additional corroborating information. Democrats, however, are blasting the report as severely incomplete.
Senators have been taking turns Thursday reviewing the report after demands for a more thorough investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against President Trump's nominee. The White House received the report early Thursday, and transmitted it to the Senate Judiciary Committee, before each member of the Senate has a chance to review a single copy in person on Capitol Hill. Republicans still plan to begin voting on Kavanaugh on the Senate floor Friday, with final votes Saturday.
Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley claimed the report reveals nothing the committee did not already know and reveals no "contemporaneous evidence" to support the allegations.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said "the most notable part of this report is what's not in it."
While senators will only have one copy of the report to review in a secure room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol, the White House says that senators have "ample time" to review the seventh background inquiry into Kavanaugh's record. Senators on both sides are expected to view with report in one-hour increments in an effort to limit the possibility of potential leaks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a motion Wednesday for a cloture vote on Kavanaugh for Friday. Those close to the situation now anticipate a confirmation vote to come some time Saturday. Precise scheduling will come from McConnell.
Read below for developments as they happen:
Brett Kavanaugh's teacher calls him "core of integrity"
Fort Worth teacher Mark Rist remembers Kavanaugh from Georgetown Prep as "very gentle," and Rist said when he first heard Christine Blasey Ford's allegations, he first thought "this cannot be true," CBS Dallas / Fort Worth reports.
Not wanting to get into the political thing, [my] thought was simply... this cannot be true." Rist said students from Georgetown Prep socialized with students from several other small private schools in the area, and he heard a lot of gossip as a lunch room monitor and resident advisor. "That's one of the reasons that I found the allegation... less credible," Rist told CBS Dallas / Fort Worth. "Simply because they all knew each other... if any of those kinds of things had happened, that would spread like wildfire."
Rist also said Mark Judge "wouldn't keep his mouth shut about anything."
Rist told CBS Dallas / Fort Worth that Kavanaugh was clearly focused on his studies and his future. "Brett was one of the few who played sports who was also at the top of his class."
Rist left Georgetown Prep after a couple years and later spent almost three decades at Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth. He'd all but forgotten about Kavanaugh until his former student made national news. "I didn't know the name. And then as soon as I saw the face, it looked familiar."
Rist left Georgetown Prep near the end of June 1982, so he admits if the alleged assault had happened after that, he would not have heard about it.
Rist said he is not defending his former student, but he says his memories of the nominee don't match the accusations. "The core of him is integrity -- without trying to sound political -- but the core of him was integrity. And that's the Brett Kavanaugh that I know."
4 women arrested outside Sen. Flake's Arizona office
Four women were arrested Thursday afternoon in a protest outside Sen. Jeff Flake's Phoenix office, CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV reports. They face misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing.
There were dozens of protesters outside Flake's office Thursday. About half a dozen women at the protest dressed up in costumes from the TV series "The Handmaid's Tale," KPHO-TV reports.
Kavanaugh's "drinking buddies" write op-ed against confirmation
Three Yale classmates and "drinking buddies" of Kavanaugh wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post, published Thursday night, urging the Senate not to vote for his confirmation. "We each asserted that Brett lied to the Senate by stating, under oath, that he never drank to the point of forgetting what he was doing," wrote Charles Ludington, Lynne Brookes and Elizabeth Swisher.
The trio write that they "drank too much in college as well," but they believe Kavanaugh lied under oath about it.
"None of this is what we wanted, but we felt it our civic duty to speak the truth and say that Brett lied under oath while seeking to become a Supreme Court justice," the op-ed said. "That is our one and only message, but it is a significant one. For we each believe that telling the truth, no matter how difficult, is a moral obligation for our nation's leaders. No one should be able to lie their way onto the Supreme Court. Honesty is the glue that holds together a society of laws. Lies are the solvent that dissolves those bonds."
Senate procedural vote set for 10:30 a.m. Friday
The Senate will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Friday, and a procedural vote will be held at 10:30 a.m. to limit the debate on Kavanaugh's nomination. If the procedural vote receives a majority, then the Senate will move forward on a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination.
If the Senate uses the whole alloted time of 30 hours of debate, then the vote for Kavanaugh will be at 5:30 p.m. Friday. If there is a tie, then Vice President Mike Pence will cast the tie-breaking vote.
Kavanaugh writes Wall Street Journal op-ed
The Wall Street Journal late Thursday published an op-ed by Kavanaugh titled "I am an independent, impartial judge." Kavanaugh admitted he "might have been too emotional at times," but he said he and his family faced "vicious allegations."
Kavanaugh wrote that his testimony "reflected my overwhelming frustration at being wrongly accused, without corroboration, of horrible conduct completely contrary to my record and character."
Kavanaugh insisted he will be the same judge he has always been, and he pledged to have an "open mind in every case and always strive to preserve the Constitution."
The op-ed was published just hours before a procedural vote will take place in the Senate. That vote could set up a vote on his nomination as soon as Saturday.
Murkowski meets with Alaskan sexual assault survivors
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key swing vote in Kavanaugh's confirmation, met with dozens of sexual assault survivors from her home state of Alaska today.
The American Civil Liberties Union had flown down 130 women to speak with Murkowski. They met with the senator in groups of 18 women.
According to CBS News' Nicole Sganga, the women have been invited to watch the procedural vote in the Senate Friday morning.
"Why would she invite us to watch the vote if she planned on voting yes?" one woman told Sganga.
Sen. Daines will not be in the Senate on Saturday regardless of Kavanaugh vote
Republican Sen. Steve Daines told The Associated Press that he will be attending his daughter's wedding on Saturday, regardless of whether there is a vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation or not.
Because the margin between Republicans and Democrats is so narrow, Republicans may have to change the schedule of the vote to ensure there is a majority to confirm Kavanaugh.
In any case, Vice President Pence will be in Washington this weekend, should his vote be needed to break a tie in the Kavanaugh vote.
Capitol Police arrest 302 protesters
Capitol Police announced Thursday evening 302 people had been arrested for "unlawfully demonstrating" in Senate office buildings.
At around 3:30 p.m., 293 people were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating in the Hart Senate Office Building. Nine other people were arrested in the Dirksen Senate Office Building for demonstrating in front of Sen. Susan Collins' office.
"The individuals arrested are being processed on site and released," Capitol Police said in a statement.
Sen. Collins has finished reading the FBI report
Republican Sen. Susan Collins, one of the few senators who has not declared her vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation, told reporters Thursday evening she had finished reviewing the FBI report. She said she would not be making an announcement about her decision Thursday.
Undecided Sen. Manchin says he has more reading to do
Different senators have different views on whether the first procedural vote and the vote to confirm should be the same. Sometimes senators vote to move a nomination forward even if they are planning to vote no in the end. For moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, who is considered to be a potential key vote, Friday's procedural vote and the confirmation vote are likely to be the same, his aides tell CBS News.
Protesters gather in Hart Senate Office Building
Dozens of protesters gathered in the Hart atrium on Thursday afternoon to express opposition to Kavanaugh's confirmation. Leaders urged protesters from Maine to go to Sen. Susan Collins' office, and those from Alaska to go to Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office. Both are Republicans who are considered swing votes on Kavanaugh's nomination.
Sen. Menendez uses colorful language in his criticism of FBI report
New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, who is facing an unexpectedly difficult reelection challenge at home, expressed his disapproval of the FBI investigation in a video posted to his Twitter. The video was unmarked and may have been staged by his office.
"Just read the FBI report on Kavanaugh - if that's an investigation, it's a bulls--t investigation," Menendez said in the video.
The federal government dropped charges of corruption against Menendez after a hung jury was unable to convict him earlier this year.
Sen. Grassley criticizes reporters for perceived bias on Kavanaugh
Sen. Grassley criticized reporters during a press conference with Judiciary Committee Republicans, saying the media had revealed its bias in its coverage of the Kavanaugh confirmation process.
"I would never use the words "fake news"...but I want to show where some of you have bias," Grassley said in a raised voice. He said that protesters who were both for and against Kavanaugh's confirmation had gathered outside his office for the past two weeks.
"One time, the people that were for Kavanaugh wanted to be interviewed and they were denied," Grassley claimed. "That's a bias you people should not be proud of."
Republicans maintain they didn't give FBI a list of people to interview
Republicans on the committee said that they did not compile a definitive list of those the FBI should question and interview as part of their supplemental inquiry into allegations against Kavanaugh.
"We did not come up with a list of people that the FBI should interview. The FBI was requested to conduct an investigation into any and all credible accusations of Kavanaugh. The FBI made the decision from there as to who to interview," Sen. Mike Lee explained.
Sen. John Cornyn added the FBI had "all the permission they need to interview who they think is necessary."
"There is no corroboration, we've done the best we could under the circumstances given the incredible mishandling of Dr. Ford's allegations by the ranking member of the committee," said Cornyn of Christine Blasey Ford's claims of sexual assault.
Sen. Cornyn: "Time to quit these antics"
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas issued a warning to Democrats standing in the way of Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation: "It's time to quit all of these antics, these hijinks, this circus-like atmosphere."
He said that any vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation is an "endorsement of the mishandling of this confirmation process" and a "vote for abusing the confirmation process and a good person."
"It will be a vote for the shameful intimidation tactics employed as part of an orchestrated smear campaign," he added.
Sen. Grassley slams Senate Democrats for "demolition derby" of confirmation process
Senate Judicary Committee chair Chuck Grassley called out his Democratic colleagues for creating a "downhill slope" and "demolition derby" of a confirmation process with Judge Brett Kavanaugh. "They've just about destroyed a good person to be on the Supreme Court," said Grassley at a press conference on Thursday.
Grassley defended his leadership of the hearing process, saying he tried to commit to a "fair and thorough process." From his standpoint, however, Grassley said he feels "very good where this nomination is right now."
"Hopefully we're 48 hours from having a new person on the Supreme Court," he added.
Democrat Sen. Heitkamp says she's a "no" on Kavanaugh
North Dakota Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says she will be a "no" on Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court according to WDAY News in North Dakota. Heitkamp informed the local ABC station of her decision as senators continue to weigh the FBI's latest report on Kavanaugh's record.
"The process has been bad but at the end of the day, you have to make a decision," Heitkamp told WDAY. "I will be voting no on Judge Kavanaugh."
Heitkamp was one of three Democrats to support Justice Neil Gorsuch in his Supreme Court confirmation process last year.
In a separate statement, Heitkamp said lawmakers need to do their due diligence to take the "politics out of the Supreme Court."
"We live in a very divisive time, but we can change that. Both sides horribly handled the process around this nomination. We must learn from these mistakes," she said. Hetikamp said in addition to Kavanaugh's conduct in his youth, she questioned the judge's "temperament, honesty and impartiality" following his performance at Thursday's hearing.
"These are critical traits for any nominee to serve on the highest court in our country."
Here are other crucial votes to watch for in the coming days.
Judiciary Democrats say it's "impossible" to take FBI probe seriously
All 10 Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee slammed the FBI's supplemental investigation of assault allegations, saying it was "impossible" to take it seriously when so many key witnesses have been left out of the process.
"The documents delivered by the FBI suggest this investigation was controlled and directed by the White House," Democrats said. They added that the investigation does a "disservice" to Ford as a survivor .
Sen. Coons says he has more questions than answers
Sen. Chris Coons, the Delaware Democrat who helped talk Sen. Jeff Flake into calling for the FBI review, said the report left him with "more questions than answers."
Coons said the FBI's review "did not met" his expectations. Coons said while he and Flake agreed the confirmation "needed a pause" they are "both coming at this from different perspectives."
"Senator Flake wants a conservative Supreme Court Judge. I do not," he said.
Sen. Booker says he saw "hints of misconduct" in FBI report
Democratic Sen. Cory Booker said after reading the FBI report it contained "hints of misconduct" by Kavanaugh.
"It's very frustrating, even the things I read. I heard the chairman of the committee say there are no hints of misconduct, in plain English what I just read there are hints of misconduct," Booker said, referring to what Sen. Grassley told reporters after he read the report Thursday morning.
Sen. Collins calls the investigation "very thorough"
After reading the FBI report, Maine Sen. Susan Collins -- who is considered to be one of the key swing voters for Kavanaugh's confirmation -- said that "it appears to be a very thorough investigation."
She added that she will go back later Thursday to read the FBI interviews.
Sen. Corker repeatedly says no corroboration in FBI report
Sen. Bob Corker told reporters there is no corroboration in the FBI report, according to CBS News' Rebecca Kaplan. Corker said the report is 46 pages, and nine pages focus on Kavanaugh.
Corker said he plans to vote yes on the judge to the highest court in the land.
Sen. McConnell: Kavanaugh allegations "have not been corroborated"
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, taking to the Senate floor, blasted how Democrats have handled the process and claimed the allegations against the nominee "have not been corroborated."
This is America, McConnell said, lamenting how a nominee's reputation could be destroyed by mere allegations. McConnell called this a "shameful" spectacle that has been an "embarrassment" to the Senate.
"The facts do not support the allegations levied at Judge Kavanaugh's character," McConnell said.
Republicans are still on track to begin voting Friday, with final votes Saturday.
Sen. Schumer: I disagree with Grassley's statement that there was no hint of misconduct
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he disagrees with Grassley's statement there was no hint of misconduct found in the FBI report.
But Schumer refused to take any questions from reporters to expound on that statement. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, too, refused to take any questions.
Sen. Feinstein: Most important part of report is what's not in it
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the most important part of the report is what's not in it, citing people the FBI did not interview.
Feinstein said she could not talk about the report in detail, "But what I can say is the most notable part of this report is what's not in it."
Feinstein, however, said she had read "some" but "not all" of the report.
Few details on how Trump was briefed
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders did not go into details about how the president was briefed on the report, who briefed him, or how many pages the report was.
Senators enter SCIF to review report
CBS News' John Nolen reports that the following Republican members have entered the secure room in the Capitol to review the FBI's findings as of 9 a.m. Thursday morning:
Sen. Roger Wicker
Sen. John Cornyn
Sen. Mike Lee
Sen. John Rounds
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith
Sen. Jon Kyl
Sen. David Perdue
Sen. Mitch McConnell
Sen. Orrin Hatch
Sen. Chuck Grassley
Sen. Deb Fischer
Sen. Jim Inhofe
Sen. John Barrasso
Sen. Susan Collins
Sen. Bob Corker
Sen. Grassley on FBI report: "There's nothing in it that we didn't already know"
In a statement from Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley, the senator said after receiving a staff briefing on the FBI's report, "There's nothing in it that we didn't already know."
"These uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by Judge Kavanaugh, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations. There's also no contemporaneous evidence. This investigation found no hint of misconduct and the same is true of the six prior FBI background investigations conducted during Judge Kavanaugh's 25 years of public service," he added.
"It's time to vote. I'll be voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh," Grassley urged.
White House's Raj Shah warns of "lasting impact" of Kavanaugh allegations
Speaking to reporters Thursday at the White House, deputy press secretary Raj Shah said the allegations against Kavanaugh could have a "lasting impact" on his reputation.
"I'm also concerned about the impact on the court. I'm concerned about the impact on future potential nominees. So yeah it's going to have a lasting impact, it's very unfortunate," he said.
He added that the process has "ruined people's lives," slamming Senate Democrats for pursuing a "scorched-earth" strategy.
Shah meanwhile said the White House remains "fully confident" that the Senate will be comfortable with voting to support Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court. He said that as part of their investigation, the FBI reached out to 10 people and interviewed nine.
Trump tweets Kavanaugh allegations have impact on voters
"The harsh and unfair treatment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is having an incredible upward impact on voters," tweeted Mr. Trump in his first official comment following the release of the FBI's report.
He added, "The PEOPLE get it far better than the politicians. Most importantly, this great life cannot be ruined by mean & despicable Democrats and totally uncorroborated allegations!"
The president followed up his tweet by urging "due process" throughout the final confirmation process.
"This is a very important time in our country. Due Process, Fairness and Common Sense are now on trial!"
What are Senators reviewing?
Fran Townsend, former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush and CBS News national security analyst, tells "CBS This Morning" senators will be looking at a record of their interviews with witnesses known as a 302 form.
Townsend explains the record is more of a summary than an official transcript of the interview which will include the list of questions they asked and the answers they received from witnesses. This report is then collated into the overall background report, creating a narrative that pulls other reports together into Kavanaugh's background. The FBI's latest investigation dealt purely with the allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, and not his history of excessive drinking.
Townsend said while she doesn't personally believe the investigation can be credible and complete without an interview of Dr. Ford, it shows just how constrained the bureau was with regard to the scope of their investigation. She contends the FBI could have asked Ford for her therapist notes and official polygraph test results to better corroborate her testimony.
She said without Ford's interview, it could potentially further impact the FBI's credibility in the process.
As Senate reviews report, White House says ball is in their court
CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett cites two sources familiar with the process that the White House is now deferring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on final timing and process, but is now telling Republican senators that the ball is in their court regarding a final vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation.
McConnell filed a motion Wednesday for a cloture vote on Kavanaugh, setting in motion the procedure that would usher in the first vote sometime Friday and the vote on the full Senate floor Saturday. If senators stick to the current timeline, a procedural vote would come early Friday morning and a final confirmation vote Saturday morning -- approximately 30 hours after the procedural vote is gaveled out.
Ford's attorneys "disappointed" in cloture filing
In a statement from Kavanaugh accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's attorneys, the legal team admonished the FBI's investigation for failing to include an interview with Ford or other witnesses who could corroborate her Senate testimony.
"We are profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward, those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth," the statement added.
What is a cloture vote?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a motion Wednesday for a cloture vote on Kavanaugh's nomination, essentially setting in motion the procedure and process that would jump start the voting process to confirm the next Supreme Court justice.
By invoking cloture, McConnell is ending debate over changing the Senate Rules in order to hold a vote sometime Friday and a vote by the full Senate on Saturday.
Senate rules require one intervening day between filing cloture and taking a procedural vote on cloture. Thursday would be that intervening day. Final confirmation vote on Kavanaugh would occur 30 hours after the cloture vote.
There are up to 30 hours of debate if senators want to use it. It is not assigned to a either party. If Republicans choose not to speak on the floor, Democrats can use all 30 hours if they choose. Both sides would have to agree to yield back a certain amount of time to shorten the debate from 30 hours.