Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who broke with his GOP colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday and joined with Democrats in calling for another FBI investiagtion of Supreme Court nominee Jeff Kavanaugh, told CBS's 60 Minutes that he never would have done what he did if he were running for reelection this year. "No, not a chance," he said, smiling.
Flake has served one term in the U.S. Senate and announced earlier this year that he would not run for reelection in November. Flake has been a staunch critic of President Donald Trump and compared him to the Soviet genocidal dictator Joseph Stalin.
On Friday, Sept. 28, Flake delayed the committee vote to advance Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate as he met with Democrats in a side room for nearly 90 minutes. When he emerged, Flake asked Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for a "point of order" to speak to the committee. Flake, who had previously said he would vote to support Kavanaugh, then annoucned that he would vote to move the nomination out of the committee but would only vote in the full Senate if there was another FBI investiagtion of Kavanaugh that lasted no more than a week.
“I have been speaking with a number of people on the other side,” said Flake, who initiated the private talks with the Democrats. “We had conversations ongoing for a while to making sure that we do due diligence here, and I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI continue to do an investigation, limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there and limited in time to no more than one week.”
He further said, "This country is being ripped apart here. We've got to make sure that we do due diligence.... But most of all the country needs to feel better about this. This is ripping us apart, and there are enough things ripping us apart."
On the Sunday edition of 60 Minutes, host Scott Pelley asked Flake, “Senator Flake, you’ve announced that you’re not running for reelection, and I wonder, could you have done this, if you were running for reelection?”
Flake, smiling, said, “No, no, not a chance. No, no. There’s no value in reaching across the aisle. There’s no currency for that anymore. There’s no incentive.”
Pelley then asked, “What are the chances that we are going to be in exactly this same place a week form now?”
Flake replied, “There’s a chance and we knew that, and some of our colleagues said that: ‘We’ll be back here one week from now and it will be worse. There will be more outrageous allegations that come forward.'"
"The FBI will talk to people who won’t want to talk anymore," said Flake. "We’ll be no better off. There is a chance that that will happen. I do think we can make progress."
Flake ran for a House seat in 2000 and he pledged that he would limit himself to three terms. However, after the three terms he changed his mind, saying "it was a mistake to limit my own terms. So he ran again and stayed in the House of Representative for three more terms.
In 2012, Flake ran for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). Flake won and entered the Senate on Jan. 3, 2013. His one term ends in January 2019.
While in Congress, Flake introduced legislation to provide a "pathway to citizenship" for illegal aliens. He also voted to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Act. Flake supports abortion in the cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother.