McConnell confident Kavanaugh will be confirmed

Majority leader says don't 'get rattled'

By DAVID SIEGEL, CNN
Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader McConnell said Friday that Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, will be confirmed despite the allegation of sexual assault against him.

Taking the lectern Friday morning at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, McConnell promised a conservative crowd that Kavanaugh would become Justice Kavanaugh "in the very near future," assuring them that Senate Republicans would "plow right through" his confirmation.

The Kentucky Republican praised Kavanaugh as a "stunningly successful individual" and urged the audience not to "get rattled" by the fallout of allegations from Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s when they were both teenagers. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.

As of Friday, Republican staffers from the Senate Judiciary Committee were currently negotiating with Ford's legal team to work out the conditions of her testimony.

McConnell's comments come just weeks before a midterm election that could change the balance of power in both the Senate and the House.

Throughout the 2016 election season, Republicans turned the Supreme Court into a focus of the campaign trail. On Friday, McConnell called his controversial decision to leave late Justice Antonin Scalia's seat open for more than a year "the most consequential" of his 34-year career in the Senate.

He also raised the possibility that he may hold the Senate in session during October -- the final days for candidates to hit the campaign trail -- unless Senate Democrats were willing to cut a deal on federal judicial confirmations. Senate Democrats are defending seats in 10 states that Trump won in 2016.

"Our friends on the other side who have a number of incumbents running for re-election this year are going to want to ... recess," McConnell said. "That, my friends, is how we're dealing with obstruction."

He plans to keep the judiciary in the forefront of the 2018 campaign.

"If we can hold onto this Senate majority for two more years, we are going to transform the federal judiciary with men and women who believe in this vision of America," McConnell said.

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