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) ManchinOvernight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Trump moves to ease Obama water rule | EPA document contradicts agency over water rule data| Manchin to be top Dem on Senate Energy panel Coal supporter Manchin named top Dem on Senate Energy Committee Schumer to Trump: Future infrastructure bill must combat climate change MORE (D-W.Va.).

Manchin, a swing Democratic vote, huddled with three of the undecided Republican votes, Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsLobbying World Senators want assurances from attorney general pick on fate of Mueller probe 5 themes to watch for in 2020 fight for House MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate advances Trump energy pick after Manchin flips The Senate must reject Bernard McNamee’s nomination for FERC Overnight Defense: Congress pauses to mourn George H.W. Bush | Haspel to brief senators on Khashoggi killing | Soldier is fourth to die from Afghan IED blast MORE (Alaska) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakePence casts tie-breaking vote for Trump appeals court judge Dem: 'Disheartening' that Republicans who 'stepped up' to defend Mueller are leaving Flake: Republican Party ‘is a frog slowly boiling in water’ 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 GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by Amgen — House passes bill to stop drug companies overcharging Medicaid | Incoming Dem chairman open to 'Medicare For All' hearings | Bill to reduce maternal mortality rates passes House House passes bill to keep drug companies from overcharging Medicaid Pence casts tie-breaking vote for Trump appeals court judge 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.