Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., right, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., participate in an interview at the The Atlantic's 'The Constitution in Crisis' forum in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

From Africa to the anteroom: Flake, Coons forge rare bond

October 02, 2018 - 1:41 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware forged their friendship in Africa, thousands of miles from the divisiveness of Washington.

Both spent formative time there in the early 1980s. As senators, they traveled to the continent multiple times together, fighting wildlife trafficking, promoting economic development, spending time with a dictator and even being chased by elephants.

Flake says it was that bipartisan bonding that made possible a conversation with Coons on Friday that resulted in a new FBI investigation into sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Flake says the trust developed on the Africa trips is how "compromises are possible."

The development delayed Kavanaugh's final vote and deflated, temporarily, partisan wrath over the nomination.

Kavanaugh denies the misconduct allegations against him.