Hundreds of protesters against US President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee have been arrested in Washington as the pick inched closer to winning confirmation.
Republicans declared that an FBI report had exonerated Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault allegations.
But Democrats said the five-day inquiry was “incomplete” because it was limited by the White House.
The Senate will hold a procedural vote on the nominee on Friday.
The likelihood of Judge Kavanaugh winning a full Senate vote appeared to increase on Thursday after two Republicans whose backing will be essential gave a positive account of the FBI inquiry.
If confirmed to the lifetime position on America’s highest court, the 53-year-old is expected to help conservatives dominate the nine-member panel, which has the final say on issues such as abortion, gun control and voting rules.
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As the vote neared, the judge defended his neutrality in a Wall Street Journal editorial titled, “I am an independent, impartial judge”.
Addressing his angry testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he branded the allegations against him an “orchestrated political hit”, he wrote: “I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said.”
What happened at the protests?
Thousands of mainly female demonstrators marched through the nation’s capital on Thursday, starting at the appeals court where Judge Kavanaugh currently presides.
They converged on Capitol Hill and held a rally outside the Supreme Court, chanting: “Kavanaugh has got to go!”
Police rounded the protesters up in a Senate office building after they sat down and refused to budge.
They said 302 people were detained in total, with comedian Amy Schumer and model Emily Ratajkowski among those arrested.
There was another protest in front of Trump Tower in New York City.
What was the reaction to the FBI report?
President Trump and his fellow Republicans declared the FBI report had cleared their nominee, as they sounded increasingly confident Judge Kavanaugh would win confirmation.
Senators said the FBI had spoken to five witnesses connected to accusations by Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges a drunken Brett Kavanaugh pinned her down, tried to remove her clothing and covered her mouth when she tried to scream at a house in 1982.
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Federal agents are also said to have spoken to four other witnesses involving a separate accusation by Deborah Ramirez, who claims the nominee exposed himself to her when they were both were at Yale University. He denies both allegations.