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Key Republican Jeff Flake will support Kavanaugh's confirmation barring big changes

Key Points
  • Sen. Jeff Flake says he would support Brett Kavanaugh's final confirmation to the Supreme Court barring any major changes.
  • Flake and two other key senators, Susan Collins and Joe Manchin, voted to advance the judge's nomination.
  • The confirmation process for Kavanaugh stalled after he faced several sexual misconduct accusations, all of which he angrily denied before a Senate panel last week.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) 
Alex Wong | Getty Images

Sen. Jeff Flake, who dramatically forced an extra FBI background check into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh last week, plans to support the appeals judge's final confirmation "unless something big changes."

The Arizona Republican made the announcement Friday, shortly after he voted to advance the judge's nomination to a final vote. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, opposed the procedural measure.

The other undecided senators, Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, voted to advance Kavanaugh's nomination on Friday. However, they could take a different stance on his final confirmation vote, which is expected to be held Saturday.

Senator Collins says she'll vote to confirm Kavanaugh

The confirmation process stalled after last-minute accusations of sexual misconduct, which he angrily denied before a Senate panel last week. His forceful rebuttals and talk of a Democratic plot against him led some Republican to express concerns about his temperament and independence.

Many GOP senators, including Flake, said the results of the additional FBI probe into the allegations did not give any more corroboration of the claims. Democrats argued the investigation was not thorough.

If the GOP confirms the 53-year-old Kavanaugh to the lifetime position, it will likely lock down a conservative majority on the top U.S. court for decades.

After the procedural vote, Murkowski said "it may just be that in my view he's not the right man for the court at this time," according to NBC News.

Manchin, running for re-election this year in a state President Donald Trump carried by more than 40 percentage points, faces pressure at home to back Kavanaugh.

Collins said she plans to announce her decision Friday afternoon.

WATCH: Sexual misconduct allegations hang over Kavanaugh. Two female senators may decide his fate

Misconduct claims hang over Kavanaugh. Female senators may decide his fate