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Moderate Republicans remain undecided on Kavanaugh after hearing

Senate Republican moderates remain undecided on how to vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after nearly eight hours of testimony Thursday before the Judiciary Committee, according to Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  Susan Collins and the American legacy MORE (D-W.Va.).

Manchin, a swing Democratic vote, huddled with three of the undecided Republican votes, Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins says systemic racism isn't 'a problem' in Maine Biden, Cunningham hold narrow leads in North Carolina: poll GOP sees path to hold Senate majority MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiAlaska Senate race sees cash surge in final stretch Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day MORE (Alaska) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump fights for battleground Arizona Flake cuts ad for Biden: 'Character' matters What a Biden administration should look like MORE (Ariz.), in a Capitol hideaway office before the entire GOP conference met to discuss how to proceed on the controversial nominee.

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Manchin said it did not appear that Collins, Murkowski or Flake had decided how to vote on Kavanaugh, who vigorously denied allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that he attempted to sexually assault her when they were both in high school.

“Everyone’s trying to get some answers to a few things and we’ll go from there,” Manchin said after meeting with his GOP colleagues. “We’ve talked and we’re still talking. There’s no decisions made on anything, I can assure you of that."

“There are some concerns that people have, and they’re going to try to close the loop,” he told reporters.

“We’re friends. We talk. There’s no decisions on anything. No one told me they made a decision and we’re all still looking and talking and comparing,” he added.

Republican senators who convened with Collins, Murkowski and Flake during a meeting of the entire Senate GOP conference — which followed the smaller meeting that Collins hosted in her hideaway office — said the moderates gave no hint of how they would vote.

One Republican in the room said “there was no indication given in the meeting.”

Rachel Mitchell, the sex crimes prosecutor whom Republicans hired to handle the questioning of Ford, did not make any recommendation about how to vote.

Instead she walked GOP lawmakers through the facts of the case and her perspective of the testimony.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyBarrett confirmation stokes Democrats' fears over ObamaCare On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Grassley: Voters should be skeptical of Biden's pledge to not raise middle class taxes MORE (R-Iowa) said the panel will meet at 9:30 a.m. Friday to debate the nomination but declined to commit to holding a vote on Kavanaugh.

Grassley said he wasn’t sure how Collins, Murkowski or Flake, a member of the Judiciary Committee, will vote.

Republicans hold 11 seats on the committee and Democrats hold 10, so Flake’s defection would prevent the panel from voting Kavanaugh out with a favorable recommendation.