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A friend of Christine Blasey Ford told FBI investigators that she felt pressured to clarify her original statement regarding an alleged sexual assault involving Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

A round of Senate voting is expected Friday, with the final vote likely Saturday.

The White House reviewed new interviews conducted by the FBI in its investigation of sexual assault allegations against the man US President Donald Trump wants to secure a conservative majority on the court for the coming decades.

"This is all being done because they're afraid they're going to lose Roe v Wade", he said, referring to a 1973 judgment that paved the way for legal abortion in the United States, which analysts say is imperiled if conservatives gain a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court. At stops over the past week in West Virginia, Tennessee and Mississippi, Trump painted Democrats as villains who had to be stopped for trying to sink Kavanaugh's nomination.

"It smacks of a whitewash", Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal told reporters, saying the report should not give political cover for Republicans to vote for Kavanaugh because "it is blatantly incomplete".

The Republican leader filed a motion setting up a Friday vote on whether to limit debate on Kavanaugh and move forward.

Ford testified last week at a dramatic Judiciary Committee hearing that when she was 15, a drunken 17-year-old Kavanaugh pinned her down, tried to remove her clothing and covered her mouth after she screamed.

Many Democrats-even some who said a one-week investigation would be sufficient-have criticized the report, saying not enough witnesses were interviewed.

Kavanaugh took an unusual step to boost his nomination Thursday evening, writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal expressing regret for the heated tone of his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, including comments decrying Democratic attacks that was seen by some wavering senators as too partisan.

The self-defence came too late for John Paul Stevens, a retired Supreme Court justice who on Thursday said he once believed Kavanaugh to be a fine judge.

"I was subjected to wrongful and sometimes vicious allegations", he wrote.

Trump's fellow Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin.

But crucially, two key Republican senators who are yet to say how they will vote - Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of ME - made positive comments about the probe, which was taken by some to be a sign that they were leaning towards a "yes". Feeding the anxiety was an unusually beefy presence of the U.S. Capitol Police, who were keeping demonstrators and frequently reporters at arm's length by forming wedges around lawmakers walking through corridors.

"Make no mistake, this investigation was rigged by the White House and Senate Republicans", said Sen.

Notably absent was Kavanaugh's other named accuser, Julie Swetnick, or anyone connected to her claim of seeing him grope women while drunk at parties. "From their own public statements, we knew that to be false, and nothing in this report changes that".

One person who evidently did not was Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

In his testimony, Kavanaugh complained about "a calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election". Only senators and authorized staff will be able to read them.

He said the investigation was thorough, and for the witnesses interviewed "it's a cross between an endoscopy and a colonoscopy". "I can't get up in the morning and look at the experience I've had and say yes to Judge Kavanaugh".

Administration officials declined to detail who had spoken with investigators, but some of the people involved, or their lawyers, have talked on their own about whether or not they have given interviews to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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