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) ManchinStakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December Congress headed toward unemployment showdown MORE (D-W.Va.).

Manchin, a swing Democratic vote, huddled with three of the undecided Republican votes, Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBottom line The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans debate life under COVID-19 risks This week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead Senators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day MORE (Alaska) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane Flake'Never Trump' Republicans: Fringe, or force to be reckoned with? The Memo: Can the Never Trumpers succeed? Former GOP Sen. Jeff Flake says he will not vote for Trump 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 GrassleyGOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill State Department scrutiny threatens Pompeo's political ambitions Senators offer bill to prevent relief payments from being seized by private debt collectors 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.