Flake says if FBI finds Kavanaugh lied, nomination is over

Sens. Jeff Flake and Chris Coons said in an interview that aired Sunday that if the FBI investigation into sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh finds that the judge lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his testimony on Thursday, his nomination likely would not move forward.

“If Kavanaugh is shown to have lied to the committee, nomination’s over?” Scott Pelley of CBS’s “60 Minutes” asked Flake, an Arizona Republican, and Coons, a Delaware Democrat, who are friends.

“Oh yes,” Flake said, nodding.

Coons added, “I would think so.”

Just as Republicans on the Judiciary Committee were about to favorably recommend the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Friday, Flake had a change of heart.

Flake voted for Kavanaugh to move out of the committee, but said he would not vote for the nominee on the Senate floor without an FBI investigation of the sexual assault and misconduct allegations made against him. Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations.

Flake made his decision after a dramatic confrontation with two female protestors, Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, who blocked the door of his elevator before the committee meeting.

Hours later, Flake tapped Coons on the shoulder, and the two retreated to a private anteroom. An hour of frantic behind-the-scenes negotiations ensued, ending when Flake emerged and dropped the bombshell that he wanted an FBI investigation before he would vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on the Senate floor.

Asked if he would have done that if he were running for reelection, Flake, who has announced his retirement from the Senate, immediately said, “No. Not a chance.”

“There’s no value to reaching across the aisle,” Flake said, elaborating on his answer. “There’s no currency for that anymore. There’s no incentive.”

When asked what he thought the chances were that after the FBI wraps up its investigation, “we are going to be in exactly the same place,” Flake responded: “There is a chance that that will happen,” but added he does think progress can be made.