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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Brett Kavanaugh appears likely to be confirmed to the Supreme Court within the next day or two.

Driving the news: Sens. Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Joe Manchin will vote "yes," while Lisa Murkowski is a "no." That puts Kavanaugh at 51 expected votes.

What happened: Collins delivered her decision in a 45+ minute speech on the Senate floor:

  • "Interest groups have also spent an unprecedented amount of dark money opposing this nomination. One can only hope that the Kavanaugh nomination is where the process has finally hit rock bottom." (Worth noting: Dark money group Judicial Crisis Network has spent millions in favor of Kavanaugh.)
  • "I listened carefully to Christine Blasey Ford's testimonybefore the Judiciary Committee. I found her testimony to be sincere, painful, and compelling. I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life. Nevertheless, the four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred." 
  • “I have been alarmed and disturbed, however, by some who have suggested that unless Judge Kavanaugh's nomination is rejected, the Senate is somehow condoning sexual assault. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
  • "The facts presented do not mean that Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time, but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations failed to meet the more likely than not standard."
  • "My fervent hope is that Brett Kavanaugh will work to lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court so that we have far fewer 5-4 decisions and so that public confidence in our judiciary and our highest court is restored."

The bottom line: This is the second time in three decades that a woman's public accusation of sexual misconduct failed to derail a man's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

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Biden introduces top national security team

President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Tuesday at an event introducing the incoming administration's top national security officials, where he told the story of his stepfather being the only one of 900 children at his school in Poland to survive the Holocaust.

What they're saying: "At the end of the war, he made a break from a death march into the woods in Bavaria. From his hiding place, he heard a deep rumbling sound. It was a tank. But instead of the iron cross, he saw painted on its side a five pointed white star," Blinken said.