Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the US Supreme Court looked like a done deal Friday - after the Senate narrowly voted to push forward with his nomination and key senators who had been on the fence announced that they would back him.
The Senate advanced Kavanaugh's nomination, 51 to 49, Friday.
The protesters' campaign came just a day after an hours-long demonstration ended in hundreds of arrests.
Two-thirds of successful nominees were confirmed by at least 75% of the Senate, excluding those confirmed by a voice vote.
Republicans control the Senate by a meager 51-49 margin.
Grassley later returned to the reporters to clarify his remarks, adding that it was also hard to recruit male senators.
Trump took the brutal battle to a new stage earlier Friday when he dismissed female anti-Kavanaugh protesters who have cited their own experiences of sexual assault as "elevator screamers". They're focused on the allegations against Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the 1980s.
Collins said the FBI investigation appeared to be thorough. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Kavanaugh's most ardent supporters.
"I will be a "no" tomorrow", Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, said on the Senate floor. "Our original report must be read in conjunction with the foregoing".
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Mr. Manchin was less enthusiastic than Ms. Collins, saying he has "reservations" about Judge Kavanaugh. Susan Collins of ME and Jeff Flake of Arizona voted yes, as did Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Senator Joe Manchin, the only remaining undecided Democrat, said he would finish reading the report on Friday morning.
All of Manchin's Democratic colleagues in the Senate are likely to vote no on Kavanaugh. If confirmed, Kavanaugh could tip the court's balance toward conservatives for a generation.
Kavanaugh's path to the court seemed unfettered until mid-September, when Ford accused him of drunkenly sexually assaulting her in a locked bedroom at a 1982 high school gathering.
Judge Kavanaugh denied the claim - and allegations that he drank to the point of memory loss at the time - in a feisty confrontation with senators.
"I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been".
The full Senate voted to advance Kavanaugh for a confirmation vote, slated for Saturday afternoon. You do not get to say you believe her, but not that part.
Trump mocked Ford on Tuesday during a political rally in Mississippi. That fury was reflected openly by thousands of boisterous anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators who bounced around the Capitol complex for days, confronting senators in office buildings and even reportedly near their homes. Senators were allowed to read it behind closed doors in a secure location in the Capitol, without taking notes or making copies. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she would spell out how she plans to vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation later Friday. If so, that could be enough for a Trump victory. "So, I don't think she has any regrets".
Democratic Leader Harry Reid, when he was majority leader in 2013, grew frustrated by Republicans' record use of the filibuster.
"What we know for sure is the Federal Bureau of Investigation report did not corroborate any of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters about the document, which was sent to Congress overnight.