But after huddling outside the hearing room, Flake stunned the Senate Judiciary Committee by asking that the vote by the full Senate on Kavanaugh be delayed up to a week so that a long-demanded FBI investigation can take place into the sexual assault allegations against the embattled federal judge.
CNN offered an alternate angle of the confrontation, in which Flake can be seen to be visibly affected by Archila and Gallagher's pleas.
"Look at me and tell me that it doesn't matter what happened to me", said 23-year-old Maria Gallagher, a volunteer with a liberal advocacy group.
"I would just urge my colleagues to recognize that, in the end, we are 21 very imperfect senators trying to do our best to provide advice and consent", Flake said. You're telling me that my assault doesn't matter.
Respectfully, Flake responded, "I need to go to the hearing".
In the afternoon, Kavanaugh defended himself fiercely and, at times, angrily: He refused to attack Ford or her motivations in bringing the accusation forward, but swore to his innocence, brought forward corroborating evidence, and laid into Senate Democrats for turning the occasion into a media circus by bringing the accusation forward publicly just days before a scheduled vote. "I'll be saying more as well".
Christine Braley Ford is already pushing for removal of the one-week time limit senators agreed to Friday on a new FBI investigation of her allegation that Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually molested her 36 years ago at a high school party.
Senator Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, reportedly supports Senator Flake's position that the full Senate vote needs to be delayed to allow the FBI to investigate Dr. Ford's claims.
Speaking to the AP by phone after the confrontation, Gallagher said she didn't intend to tell Flake about her assault - she had never told anyone before. Another woman nearby also disclosed that she is a survivor of sexual assault, expressing her frustration with the Senate Judiciary Committee's process.
In his speech, Flake showed compassion for both Kavanaugh and Ford, repeatedly referring to them as "human beings".
Trump told reporters Friday during a meeting with the President of Chile that undecided Republican senators "have to do what they think is right" and "be comfortable with themselves" on the Kavanaugh vote.
According to reports, Senator Chris Coons, a progressive who had counted on Flake's "no" vote, wept when he learned the news of Flake's intention.
Archila, a 39-year-old Colombia native, is co-executive director of the Centre for Popular Democracy, a progressive advocacy organisation, in NY.
"I was sexually assaulted and nobody believed me", the other woman, Maria Gallagher, told Flake.
"Did you feel like he wanted to kind of hope the elevator doors closed?" Look at me and tell me that it doesn't matter what happened to me.
Flake said he had to go to a hearing.
Archila, 39, appeared to block Flake from closing the elevator door. "This is about the future of our country, sir", one of the women said. "Look at me and tell me that it doesn't matter what happened to me".