More than 1200 law professors sign letter opposing Kavanaugh's confirmation

As senators on Capitol Hill pore over the FBI background investigation into alleged sexual misconduct of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, questions have emerged over what limits the White House may have placed over the investigation.

In a statement Wednesday night after McConnell set the vote in motion, Ford's counsel wrote: "An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford - nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony - can not be called an investigation".

Last week Professor Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Mr Kavanaugh, 53, and another man had assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.

The reports are not expected to be made public.

The FBI report was sent to the White House and Senate just hours after Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took steps on Wednesday night to force a procedural vote on the nomination one hour after the Senate convenes on Friday.

Kavanaugh, a federal judge who also testified, has denied the allegations.

"There's nothing in it that we didn't already know", Grassley said in a written statement.

On Wednesday, at the Atlantic Festival, Graham was likewise snippy with the audience after they booed him for saying that Kavanaugh was treated "like crap" by Senate Democrats during Judiciary Committee hearings, telling the people in the crowd "oh boo yourself".

Collins said the investigation appeared to be thorough, while Flake said he saw no additional corroborating information against Kavanaugh, although he was "still reading" it.

Lawyer Alan Abramson said he represented a friend of Ramirez's who was hoping to share an account of a conversation the two had in the early 1990s about an incident in her freshman year.

Democrats have raised concerns that the investigation has been too narrow in scope, and that key witnesses have been omitted. Should Republicans get the majority of votes they need - and Vice-President Mike Pence is available to cast the tie-breaker, if necessary - that would set up a decisive roll call on his confirmation, likely over the weekend.

About 3,000 demonstrators gathered outside the Supreme Court to protest Kavanaugh's nomination, including a loud contingent from ME calling on Republican Susan Collins - another undecided senator - to vote against Kavanaugh's nomination to the country's top court.

Flake, the third Republican swing vote, said there was "no time and no place for remarks like that".

Republicans have accused Democrats of seeking to delay the confirmation of Mr Kavanaugh in the hope that they will make gains in the mid-term elections in November and stop his appointment altogether.

"I believe Dr Ford, and I believe Kavanaugh is part of a Big Old Boys club that is going to protect him no matter what", said Angela Trzepkowski, 55, from Middletown, Delaware. Heitkamp's decision left Senator Joe Manchin as the only undecided Democrat.

Prof Ford's lawyer said eight people were not interviewed who could corroborate her claims, while Ms Ramirez's lawyer said more than 20 witnesses were not contacted.

"This looks to be the product of an incomplete investigation, I don't know", Feinstein told reporters on Thursday morning.

Moderate Republican Susan Collins of ME, who also has not announced how she will vote, said it "appears very thorough".

"The harsh and unfair treatment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is having an incredible upward impact on voters", Trump said.

Flake, Collins and Murkowski all have criticized Trump for mocking Ford at a political rally in MS on Tuesday.

All 100 senators, split in the GOP's favour 51-49, have access to one copy of the file in a secure room, to prevent leaks of confidential information under the Privacy Act, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most qualified nominees to ever come before the Senate".