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Flake will wait to hear Kavanaugh, Ford testimony before deciding vote

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a member of the Judiciary Committee, responds to reporters' questions on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh amid scrutiny of a woman's claim he sexually assaulted her at a party when they were in high school, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said he would listen to testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman accusing him of sexual assault before deciding which way he would vote.

“I do not know how I will assess the credibility of these witnesses – these human beings – on the grave matters that will be testified to, because I have not yet heard a word of their testimony,” Flake said during a Senate floor speech on Wednesday.

“Given these limitations, I will have to listen to the testimony before I make up my mind about the testimony.”

Flake will be among the group of senators in the Senate Judiciary Committee who will witness the Thursday testimony. The committee is set to vote on whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate on Friday.

The Arizona senator has said in the past that he would not be comfortable voting on Kavanaugh’s nomination until Ford was heard.

The vote will come as three women have accused Kavanaugh of varying degrees of sexual misconduct.

The woman who will testify on Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford, said Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed at a Maryland party they attended in the early 1980s, clumsily tried to remove her clothing and put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. She was the first woman to come forward with claims against Kavanaugh.

Deborah Ramirez also alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a dormitory party that involved drinking and thrust his genitals in her face while both were freshmen at Yale University.

The third woman, Julie Swetnick, alleged she witnessed Kavanaugh “consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women in the early 1980s.”

Kavanaugh has denied all of the allegations.

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