Updated: September 28, 2018 at 5:59 p.m.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote.U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia -- a key and as-of-yet-undecided vote in the Kavanaugh confirmation process -- says he supports a GOP Senator’s call for an FBI investigation of allegations of sexual assault waged against the Supreme Court nominee.
Manchin's support of an investigation into allegations against Kavanaugh came moments before Senate Republicans agreed to delay a vote on the nomination until the investigation is completed.
As of Friday afternoon, national news outlets were reporting that five Senators were undecided or had been unclear on how they would vote for Kavanaugh. Sen. Manchin, who is up for reelection in November, is one of those five.
Hearings held by the Senate Judiciary Committee over the past two days have focused on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school. Other women have also come forward with similar allegations. Kavanaugh denies having ever committed any form of sexual misconduct.
In a statement issued Friday afternoon, Manchin called Kavanaugh’s confirmation process “partisan and divisive.” Manchin said he supports Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake’s call for a week-long FBI investigation -- but he stopped short of announcing whether he would vote for the embattled nominee.
"The American people have been pulled apart by this entire spectacle and we need to take time to address these claims independently, so that our country can have confidence in the outcome of this vote. It is what is right and fair for Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, and the American people," Manchin said.
Senate Republicans have agreed to delay a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court in order to conduct an FBI investigation next week into allegations of sexual assault brought against the nominee. President Donald Trump has ordered a limited investigation as part of Kavanaugh’s background check to be completed by this time next week.
President Trump is scheduled to visit West Virginia Saturday to campaign for Manchin’s opponent in the midterms -- Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.