I know this is long ... but there's no TLDR version. What happened yesterday was Shakespeare, so I'm hoping a few of you make the effort.
Almost every post on the boards is attacking Flake. He's a swamp creature, but what he, Grassley, and Reps pulled off in that hearing room was genius.
When they returned after recess .... every Republican Senator was sitting in their seat except Cruz ... nearly all of them. Only one of the Dems was in their seat, the rest were standing in the doorway or were in the hallway. A staffer whispers in Grassley's ear and he looks around, first right ... Reps all seated, then left, Dems still standing around. Then he hits the gavel, Cruz enters and takes his seat, Dems still standing around. Grassley stares at the door for a while ... knocks the gavel a few times, but much quieter than before. Flake enters, whispers something to Grassley in passing and takes his seat.
Then ... "As a point of personal privilege, I'm going to invite Senator Flake to speak. Normally we would start the vote right now." ... Dems still standing around the entrance ... and it's no big deal, no hurry, Senator Flake is speaking, it's not the vote.
Flake "I've been speaking to the other side and I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week to allow the FBI to conduct an investigation." The other side were aware that Sen. Flake was only going to vote "yes" based on an FBI investigation. The "one week" was probably news to them. They are still making their way to their seats.
Senator Flake "I will vote to advance the vote to the floor with that understanding." Then he compliments the chairman and the committee. He already knows it's over!
Grassley IMMEDIATELY calls roll (vote) you can hear some Dems say "wait ... " they are still making their way to their seats, only 3-4 of them are seated. Feinstein interrupts and grabs Sen. Grassley's arm ... "What are we voting on? Can we have a description" ..... The Dems are in complete disarray. They do not know what's happening. Sen. Grassley raises his voice, pulls away from Feinstein and says "We are voting on the motion to report the nomination to the floor .... Call the role!" Sen. Feinstein ... "but that's not my understanding" (she thought she had a different deal with Flake) Flake responds "Well my understanding is the deal that the Democrats would accept a one week investigation limited in time and scope." ... Feinstein starts to argue "Well ... " ... Then Sen. Grassley jumps in .... "we'll decide that and if there's any further discussion we'll have it after the roll .... CALL THE ROLL!"
As the roll starts .... some of the Dems are still making their way to their seats. As the 11 Reps vote yes, Sen. Feinstein grabs Grassley again ... "This is on the nominee?" she's still confused. He says "Yes", she votes "On the nominee, No." Noise in the room increases as the Dems are asking what is happening and taking their seats. Some still asking "On the Nominee?" Finally, the Chairman votes "Yes." and on hearing the roll was 11/10 declares "The nominee will be reported to the floor." It's over and the Dems are still trying to figure out what just happened, some still haven't made it to their seats. Sen. Coons (who did make it to his seat) realises that the nomination and investigation were separate and proposes that the investigation over the coming week is bi-partisan and is thanked. Feinstein then admits she was confused and thought the two were linked and seconds the bi-partisan motion for the investigation. (She has no choice)
Then Senator Graham sums it all up. "I love this committee but we're not the majority leader. Sen. Flake has said what it would take for him to support the vote, but it really doesn't matter what we say here ... because it's up to Schumer and McConnell." (In other words, any further discussion/motions regarding the investigation are pointless because it's out of our hands now) ... Next up is Leaky Leahy asking for a commitment that there is no movement on the nomination on the Senate floor ... and before Grassley can speak, Sen Flake, the guy you are hating on, jumps in and says "Let me say again, I cannot make that commitment for the Leadership ... but I would only be comfortable moving forward on the floor when the FBI has done more investigation than they have done already! It may not take them a week ... " so he's saying that he'll vote as soon as the FBI have done something, but is not committing to the week, just that he'll vote after they do something.
After a few back and forths ... Feinstein asks Flake if his "amendment includes continuing the investigation through this period of time." She is still confused. Flake responds "There is no amendment." and he's just saying that he wants the Democrats to feel comfortable as they move forward knowing an investigation has occurred and will heal the divisions. He is willing to contact the WH personally to request the investigation and it would be short and limited in scope ... sound familiar? President Trump echoes Flake and made a statement shortly after, "be limited in scope and completed in less than one week." ... Anyhow, immediately after Sen. Flake said this, Sen. Grassley bangs his gavel, invokes the 2 hour rule. The meeting is over .... no more discussion, no more delays, no threats to walk out of the room before voting .... oh, and some of the Dems are still standing and wondering wth just happened. ....
So if you want to hate on Flake, you can, but not for this. This was 5D chess. This was the plan. The Republicans all knew there was going to be an investigation. It was worked out with Flake beforehand, but it was going to be done on their terms, not the Dems. No more delays.
You can watch it all play out ... start at 4.40.00 on the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeyzYkisuws youtube.com/watch?v=aeyzYkisuws