Jeff Flake & Chris Coons: compromising on Kavanaugh

After delaying the Kavanaugh vote, the senators talked to 60 Minutes about give-and-take in politics: "Our nation can't survive if it doesn't exist"

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This week on 60 Minutes, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, calls Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, a "hero" for pushing for a delay in the final vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Not everyone agrees with that characterization.

"There are a lot of people who are quite angry," Flake told correspondent Scott Pelley in the video above. Flake also said that, after he and Coons agreed on the need for a limited FBI investigation of the sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh, protestors planned a demonstration in front of his house.

He said the objection to his decision comes from the "tribal nature" of politics today.

"It becomes, you know, shirts and skins, us versus them. There's no room for compromise or doubt," he said.

Coons thinks politicians are also manifesting division within the federal courts, with judges being labeled as "red jersey" or "blue jersey," based on the president who appointed them.

"That can't be the case for our federal judiciary if it's going to continue to be a respected, gold-standard judiciary around the world," Coons said.

Coons: Senate needs more bipartisan trust

Though Coons and Flake often disagree politically and almost always cast opposite votes in the Senate, Coons told Pelley their willingness to work together came from a place of trust.

"[H]earing each other — our common faith and our common enthusiasm for making a difference in the world — helped us trust each other," Coons said. "And there's not enough of that in the Senate. And there's not enough of that in our country."

Coons said he looks to another friendship between a Democrat from Delaware and a Republican from Arizona: that of former Vice President Joe Biden and late Sen. John McCain. While they disagreed on policy, they respected each other, Coons said.

But doesn't he fear the Senate of Biden and McCain no longer exists?

"It has to exist," Coons said. "Our nation can't survive if it doesn't exist."

The videos above were edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.