Flake held up the confirmation vote for one week by asking for a brief FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations. Flake believes that the GOP would have been better served if they requested the investigation soon after Dr. Blasey Ford's claims were made public.
He also reiterated his hope that "somebody" will challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 GOP primary. There has been speculation that Flake will attempt to do that.
C-Span released these excerpts of the interview, and plans to air the entire interview this coming Saturday night (7pm, Arizona Time). The partial transcript provided by C-Span is below.
(transcript of these excerpts provided by C-Span)
Jeff Flake: "We Republicans should have called for an FBI investigation earlier." Steve Scully: Have you since talked to Justice Kavanaugh? Jeff Flake: "I've not. He did send me a voicemail. Frankly, I've looked at what's happened since he's been confirmed and to see our party kind of spiking the ball in the end zone it just doesn't seem right. Doesn't seem right. This is an impartial referee that we're putting on the Court, I thought he gave a magnanimous and appropriate speech at the White House, but the fact that there's even an event to celebrate, with only Republicans there, no Democrats, I just didn't think that that was right. So, I haven't said much about it." Jeff Flake: "Last week when I called for a delay, that was not well-received by leadership. It was not." Jeff Flake: "Leadership was not happy. They weren't, but they knew that that was the only way that they might be able to get our vote. And so, we presented it and they had to accept it." Steve Scully: "Do you think looking back that Senator Feinstein should have at least had a conversation with Chairman Chuck Grassley about the letter early on? Jeff Flake: "Yes, I do. I do. I'm not one who believes that she leaked it. I've dealt with her for a long time and I think that she did her best to protect Dr. Ford. But, somebody leaked it at some point and that was really not fair to Dr. Ford. I do think it would have been better if had sat down early on…"
Jeff Flake: "I do hope that somebody does run in the primary against the president." Jeff Flake: "I fear for the future of the party if we don't remember who we are and what principled conservatism really is. And decency, we've got to get back to it." Jeff Flake "The president is who he is and I'm not sure that's going to change but when you see him at a rally, the disturbing thing isn't so much what he says anymore, it’s the cheers from people behind him, the chants of 'lock her up' for example, that's just unseemly. And it does make me fear that it's going to be a longer process to get out of this than it should be. But we will. We have to. Anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy." Jeff Flake: "This is the president's party right now. No doubt. To win in a Republican primary around the country you have to really embrace the president's policies and condone his behavior. That's the bottom line right now, but it won't always be that way."
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