MORE than 300 people were arrested in Washington, DC as part of protests against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the lead up to the vote which could see him secure confirmation.

Kavanaugh has been at the centre of a storm of sexual misconduct allegations after Christine Blasey Ford alleged he molested her in a locked room at a 1982 high school gathering.

US Capitol Police said 302 anti-Kavanaugh protesters were arrested outside the Senate and Capitol building – among them was comedian Amy Schumer, a distant relative of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and model Emily Ratajkowski.

Despite this, the Senate has pushed Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court past a key procedural hurdle.

The chamber voted 51-49 to move forward with President Donald Trump’s nominee, with a final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination expected over the weekend.

There is no guarantee that the senators who supported moving forward will back Kavanaugh on the final vote.

Republican senator Susan Collins, who voted to advance Kavanaugh, said she will announce her decision on confirmation later.

Trump praised the Senate, tweeting: “Very proud of the U.S. Senate for voting “YES” to advance the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!”

This comes after a confidential new FBI report into sex-abuse allegations against Kavanaugh which Republicans say exonerates him of the accusations.

Democrats complained that the investigation was shoddy, omitting interviews with numerous potential witnesses, and accused the White House of limiting the FBI’s leeway.

Those not interviewed in the reopened background investigation included Kavanaugh himself and Ford. “What we know for sure is the FBI report did not corroborate any of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters about the document, which was sent to Congress overnight. On the Senate floor, he witheringly called the accusations “uncorroborated mud”.

Kavanaugh has acknowledged he “might have been too emotional” when testifying about sexual misconduct allegations as he made a bid to win over wavering Republican senators on the eve of the crucial vote.

He got an additional boost late on Thursday from Trump, who praised his nominee’s “incredible intellect” and said the protesters’ “rage-fuelled resistance is starting to backfire at a level nobody has ever seen before”.

Earlier, Senator Jeff Flake, a formerly undecided Republican, told reporters “we’ve seen no additional corroborating information” about the claims.

Republican Susan Collins also expressed satisfaction with the probe, calling it “a very thorough investigation”.

White House spokesman Raj Shah rebuffed Democrats’ complaints. He said the FBI reached out to 10 people and interviewed nine, including “several individuals at the request of the Senate, and had a series of follow-up interviews.”

Committee chairman Chuck Grassley issued a statement around midnight that listed the 10 people interviewed by the FBI, although not all of them were named.

Six of the witnesses involved Ford’s claims, including a lawyer for one of them, and four were related to Deborah Ramirez, who has claimed that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when both were Yale freshmen, which Kavanaugh denies.

Grassley said the FBI concluded “there is no collaboration of the allegations made by Dr Ford or Ms Ramirez.”

Trump, who on Tuesday scornfully mocked Ford’s Judiciary panel testimony, tweeted that Kavanaugh’s “great life cannot be ruined by mean” and “despicable Democrats and totally uncorroborated allegations”.