Republican senators, particularly key moderate senators, have faced intense scrutiny as the vote to confirm President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh looms at the end of the week, following an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into sexual misconduct allegations against him. 'I had one beer.' How did you get home?
"What neighborhood was it in?" See, this is not the first time this has happened ... the bottom line is, I know what can happen when a woman comes forward in a political environment. I don't know. I don't know. Nope! It was one beer.
Jeff Flake, one of three Republicans crucial to Kavanaugh's being approved for the court but seen as undecided, called Trump's ridicule of Christine Blasey Ford in a MS campaign speech "appalling". He further noted that Ford had never mentioned Kavanaugh or the incident in question, adding that he had no ill-will towards his ex-girlfriend, and only wanted to "be truthful" about what he knew. "To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right".
Mr Flake added: "I wish he hadn't done it". 'How did you get there?' I don't remember.
Trump's remarks don't seem to be helping his vigorous campaign with some key lawmakers whose votes will ultimately make or break Kavanaugh's confirmation.
With just over a month to go until the consequential midterm elections across the country that will determine who controls Congress, Republicans are gambling that several of the key groups leaning toward Democrats - young people, Latinos and independents - won't show up in big numbers at the polls. Police later threatened to clear a public hallway outside her office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building and physically blocked reporters from approaching Collins as she left the office to return to the Capitol for a vote.
Last week, Flake had voted in committee to advance Kavanaugh's nomination, but then called for the FBI to reopen its investigation into the nominee. Kavanaugh vehemently denies the accusation. But Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has said Ford's account could have been examined confidentially by the committee, if Feinstein had brought it to him.
In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Trump did not back away from his rally comments, instead attacking Kavanaugh's Democratic critics.
Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake agreed.
Trump's statements on Ford have swung dramatically since her testimony. "There are facts she can not remember".
The Senate majority leader announced Monday that the full Senate would be voting to confirm Kavanaugh by the end of the week after a week-long FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct was completed. The legal experts fault Kavanaugh for failing to remain open to the necessary search for truth after being accused of sexually assaulting a girl when he was a teen and instead becoming "repeatedly aggressive with questioners". Voters will be casting ballots in November 6 elections in which Democrats are trying to seize control of Congress from Trump's party.
But those who said November's elections are "very important" oppose Kavanaugh's nomination 51 to 44 percent.
"There is no chance in the world they're going to scare us out of doing our duty", McConnell said. "They've tried to bully and intimidate us".
"In the midst of an FBI investigation, Republicans are interviewing former boyfriends of both Dr. Ford and Deborah Ramirez in a transparent attempt to discredit them".
Trump's mockery reflected a growing frustration among some in the White House, and by the president, that her story has not received the same level of scrutiny as Kavanaugh's, said a person close to the process who was not authorized to speak publicly.