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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) ManchinElection Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B Poll: Dems lead in Indiana, West Virginia Senate races, tied in Nevada McConnell defends Trump-backed lawsuit against ObamaCare MORE (D-W.Va.).

Manchin, a swing Democratic vote, huddled with three of the undecided Republican votes, Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns Susan Collins and the mob mentality Graham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiEx-Florida lawmaker leaves Republican Party Murkowski not worried about a Palin challenge Flake on Kavanaugh confirmation: To see GOP 'spiking the ball in the end zone' doesn't seem right MORE (Alaska) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMnuchin pulls out of Saudi conference The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns On The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference 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 GrassleyTrump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight Dems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October American Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review 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.