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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrats are getting their requested FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh, setting up a week of tension as investigators launch a time-limited probe into the allegations that surfaced in recent weeks.

Driving the news: Jeff Flake publicly changed his course on the Kavanaugh nomination after being personally challenged by a pair of sexual assault survivors.

The tale of the tape from this riveting day in D.C.:

9:26 a.m: Flake said he was a yes on Kavanaugh.

9:30 a.m.: On his way to the Judiciary Committee vote, Flake was confronted by two sexual assault survivors, who refused to allow his elevator door to close. Their quotes were captured on live video:

  • Ana Maria Archila to Flake: “What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit on the Supreme Court."
  • Maria Gallagher to Flake: “Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me, that you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do to their bodies."

The senator then reached the Judiciary Committee hearing, where he didn't speak and looked shaken.

12:17 p.m.: Flake left the room, and eventually others joined him, including his Democratic friend Chris Coons of Delaware.

  • As the minutes passed, reporters began to realize that the result looked less certain.
  • Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein also went to that room, returning and leaving several more times.

1:51 p.m.: Flake returned, and Grassley allowed him to speak:

  • Flake said he wanted a week delay on the final floor vote to allow for a limited FBI probe into the Kavanaugh allegations.
  • Grassley started the vote, which passed 11-10, with Flake voting yes.

3:35 p.m. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said there will be a supplemental FBI investigation lasting no more than a week.

The key questions: What if the week ends with the investigation ongoing, or if the probe uncovers new evidence outside the existing claims?

Between the lines: Such a delay presents both peril and promise for Kavanaugh. On the one hand, it means investigators will likely talk to Mark Judge. On the other hand, if a probe doesn't turn up new evidence, it gives senators on the fence an easier time voting yes.

The big picture: All eyes are now on Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.

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Go deeper

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.

3 hours ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to form team to solve consulate dispute

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right) meet in Washington. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by then President Donald Trump in 2019. Senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.

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