Senate Republicans wrapped up a day of intense testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his sexual assault accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, determined to move forward with his nomination.
Leaving a late meeting in the Capitol after the hearing Thursday, Republicans indicated that they planned to move forward with a Judiciary Committee meeting Friday to consider his nomination, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) confirmed that the Judiciary Committee would vote at that time. Members also left the meeting with the understanding that the plan was for a procedural vote on the Senate floor on Saturday.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said a vote on a motion to proceed on Saturday would show that they had a majority to confirm Kavanaugh.
There are a still a number of key senators who remain publicly undecided on the nomination. Republicans said no whip count was taken at the GOP caucus meeting. Separately, a group of undecided lawmakers also met, according to CNN.
Among the members who signaled they were still undecided were Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), according to reporters who caught them after the meeting.
Murkowski just left saying she wants to go home, have dinner and think about things.
Didn’t respond when asked if she’d made her decision.
— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) September 28, 2018
Jeff Flake is still undecided
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) September 28, 2018
If no Democrats vote for Kavanaugh, Republicans can lose just one vote from their caucus and still confirm him. However, at least one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) indicated he was still undecided on the nomination, suggesting Republicans may have wiggle room to lose another vote.
Seb. Bob Corker (R-TN), another closely watched GOP vote, put out a statement shortly after the meeting announcing his support for Kavanaugh.
The late-night huddle was the culmination of an emotional day. Blasey Ford testified first and said that she was “100 percent” sure that Kavanaugh was the man she says groped her while she was locked in a bedroom at a party when they were both teenagers.
Kavanaugh oscillated between a defiant condemnation of Democrats for “character assassination,” and tearful reflections on his family and how they had handled the scrutiny of his allegations. He was often combative when questioned by Democrats.
Many Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee signaled during Kavanaugh’s testimony that they would stand firmly behind Kavanaugh. Though all Republicans on the committee deferred to outside counsel to question Blasey Ford, nearly all of them used their full allotted time to question Kavanaugh. The outside counsel only questioned Kavanaugh for about five minutes.
During Kavanaugh’s testimony, several Republicans made clear that they fully supported Kavanaugh, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) arguing that Kavanaugh faced “the most unethical sham I’ve ever seen in politics” and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) declaring that Kavanaugh “is not a monster.”