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Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

In an interview with The Atlantic's McKay Coppins, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said his decision to call for a one-week FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was motivated by a desire to preserve the credibility of two institutions: the Supreme Court and the Senate.

The big picture: Flake is a conservative who still plans on voting for Kavanaugh if the FBI investigation doesn't turn up any new evidence. But he said that the Supreme Court is "the lone institution where most Americans still have some faith," and that confirming Kavanaugh without an investigation would risk damaging its long-term credibility.

With respect to the Senate, Flake said there is "no market for reaching across the aisle." The Kavanaugh saga has driven an already-divided country deeper into chaos, and the toxic relationship between Democrats and Republicans in Congress is only making things worse.

"Just these last couple of days—the hearing itself, the aftermath of the hearing, watching pundits talk about it on cable TV, seeing the protesters outside, encountering them in the hall. I told Chris [Coons], 'Our country’s coming apart on this—and it can’t.'"
— Sen. Jeff Flake

Go deeper

29 mins ago - Health

FDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill

The Merck Cherokee Plant in Riverside, Pennsylvania. Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Tuesday voted 13-10 to endorse an antiviral pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat adults at high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, despite concerns over its effectiveness and safety.

Why it matters: Oral antiviral drugs designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be key pandemic-fighting tools, if proven effective, especially as new variants emerge. If authorized, the Merck drug, known as molnupiravir, would be the first treatment of its kind to be made available in the United States.

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 6 wounded

Screengrab: CBSN

Three people dead and six others are wounded after a shooting at a high school in Michigan according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Driving the news: The alleged shooter was a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School and has been arrested, per police.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.