Sens. Flake and Coons discuss drama that led to call for FBI probe: ‘It was quite a moment’


WASHINGTON – GOP Sen. Jeff Flake had a message for his friend Democratic Sen. Chris Coons on Friday when they left a meeting on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination together, just before the Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote.

“He said very intently, ‘This is tearing our country apart.’ We have to do something,” said Coons, a Delaware Democrat.

Their meeting would lead to the advancing of Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate – but the circuit court judge now faces an FBI inquiry into the sexual assault allegations against him.

In their first interview together since reaching that remarkable compromise, the two senators described on “60 Minutes” Sunday how they agreed on a limited, week-long FBI probe.

Coons and Flake met in a tiny hallway outside the Senate meeting, and as other members of the committee got involved in the discussions, the two squeezed into “literally a phone booth that we can barely fit in” to continue discussions with another senator, Coons said.

“It was quite a moment,” Flake said.

Coons had been talking to friends and colleagues about taking a “one week pause, one week only.”

“I was, principally, concerned about helping my friend listen to his doubts and his conscience,” Coons said of Flake. “And I cannot tell you how grateful I am. Jeff’s the hero here.”

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