Grassley Schedules Kavanaugh Vote For Friday Morning 

Following an intense week of salacious claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has scheduled the confirmation vote for Friday morning at 9:30 a.m., following Thursday's planned testimony by both Kavanaugh and accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. 

Thus far, Kavanaugh has been accused of groping one woman, flashing his penis to another, and participating in a gang-bang operation in college by a yet-to-be named client of attorney Michael Avenatti. 

Earlier Tuesday, Chairman Grassley wrote to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to "respectfully decline" her request to postpone Thursday's hearing, after assuring to provide Ford with a "safe, comfortable, and dignified opportunity to testify." 

"Besides being unfair to Dr. Ford, whose attorneys asked for a public hearing one week ago, delaying the hearing further would be unfair to Judge Kavanaugh and his family. He has asked the Committee repeatedly for the chance to testify as soon as possible. He has categorically denied the allegations that have been made public. He did this in a transcribed interview with several Senate investigators." 

Kavanaugh appeared on Fox News Monday night to emphatically deny decades-old sexual misconduct allegations levied at him by several women at the 11th hour - telling host Martha MacCallum that he wasn't "going to let false accusations drive me out of this process..." and also that he was a virgin until after high school. 

"I did not have sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter. The girls from the schools I went to and I were friends."

Securing the swing vote

Earlier Tuesday we reported that moderate GOP senator Susan Collins would be the key decider in Kavanaugh's appointment, as several Senate colleagues of Collins' are waiting for her to announce her stance on Kavanaugh before announcing their own positions - while Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (NY) has asked that centrists within his caucus "keep their powder dry on Kavanaugh" until they know where Republicans stand. 

Senate Republican aides think that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will likely vote the same way as Collins, who thus far has played a more vocal role in the debate over Kavanaugh. -The Hill

That said, things are looking good for Kavanaugh - as Collins has said that while she will wait until after Thursday's testimony to make her decision, she did not think Kavanaugh would overturn Roe v. Wade. 

Collins, a Maine Republican who supports abortion rights, said her discussions with Kavanaugh persuaded her that he believes “the concept of precedent is rooted in Article III of the Constitution, and he clearly reveres our Constitution."

Collins told reporters in Washington that the nominee “also believes that it is not sufficient -- since I asked him this directly -- for five sitting judges to believe that an earlier decision was incorrectly decided. He said it would have to be grievously wrong and deeply inconsistent." -Bloomberg

"Roe was decided in 1973, and it was reaffirmed 26 years ago in Planned Parenthood v. Casey," Collins said. "So there’s been a reliance on Roe for 45 years, and he says that that matters."

Trump chimes in

Earlier Tuesday while doing a press conference with Colombian President Ivan Duque, Trump said that Democrats were playing a "con" game with Kavanaugh, and that his latest named accuser, Deborah Ramirez, has a lot of problems with her story. 

Reporter: "Should the second accuser be allowed to testify on Thursday?"

Trump: I look at the second accuser, the second accuser has nothing. The second accuser doesn't even know - se thinks maybe it could have been him, maybe not. She admits that she was drunk. She admits time lapses. This is a person and this is a series of statements that would take one of the most talented - one of the greatest intellects, from a judicial standpoint, in our country - going to keep him off the United States Supreme Court? 

Turning to Kavanaugh and his family's reaction, Trump said "These are legitimate people. They're not in the world of "con" and the world of "obstruct" and the world of "resist."" 

You know, I said something this morning - he has a chance to be one of the greatest justices ever in the United States Supreme Court. What a shame. And what a shame it is for so many other people whose world that isn't. That's not his world, and it's not their world. These are legitimate people. They're not in the world of "con" and the world of "obstruct" and the world of "resist." 

He never thought this was even a possibility. He's startled. He can't believe this is happening. His wife is devastated. His children are devastated. I don't mean they’re like "oh gee, I'm a little unhappy." They're devastated. 

Trump then pivoted to the Democrats behind the anti-Kavanaugh push, singling out Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (NY) in particular for one of his famous impressions:

And it's because these Democrats and they know, they know. When I see Schumer who never even saw this woman "I believe her 100 percent" and I see these other Senators that I deal with on a daily basis. I know them better than they know themselves. It's just a game to them. But it's a very dangerous game for our country