Republicans said they would push ahead in an attempt to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee for a vacant seat on the US Supreme Court.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said he believed Judge Kavanaugh would be confirmed despite allegations of sexual misconduct by two women.
He said: "We’re going to be moving forward. I’m confident we’re going to win, confident that he’ll be confirmed in the very near future. I believe he’ll be confirmed."
Mr McConnell expressed his confidence despite several Republican senators apparently having reservations about whether they would vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.
The Republicans hold a wafer-thin majority of 51-49 in the Senate, meaning only two dissenters would sink the confirmation.
Backing from several was unclear, including Jeff Flake of Arizona, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Asked if she thought there should be an FBI investigation into claims against Judge Kavanaugh, Senator Murkowski said: "Well, it would sure clear up all the questions wouldn’t it?"
Meanwhile, Mr Trump offered strong backing for Judge Kavanuagh, accusing Democrats of playing a "con game".
Mr Trump attacked a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, who claims she was a victim of Judge Kavanaugh in the 1980s.
The US president said: "She said well it might not be him, and there were gaps, and she was totally inebriated and all messed up.
"She doesn’t know it was him but it might have been him and ‘Oh gee let’s not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that.’ This is a con game being played by the Democrats."
Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee?
Mr Trump called Judge Kavanaugh "just a wonderful human being".
Mr McConnell said a female lawyer had been hired to question Judge Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, when they appear before the Senate judiciary committee on Thursday.
All the Republican senators questioning Prof Ford will be men.
The US Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled for Friday a preliminary vote on the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh.
An official schedule said the panel would meet at 9:30 am (1330 GMT) to vote on the controversial nomination, along with other candidates for posts as federal judges and draft bills.
If Kavanaugh gets the committee’s nod, his nomination would then get a vote in the full Senate.
Click Here: COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES 2019