Immediately following the end of Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing today in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate’s four key swing votes have shuttered themselves inside an office in the Capitol building, after angrily shooing reporters away.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia were spotted going into an office on the Capitol.
The three Republicans, who together are largely considered the deciding votes behind Kavanaugh nomination, are planning to attend the GOP conference meeting Thursday evening, according to an aide.
However, before the greater Republican meeting they wanted to get some private whispering done with Manchin, a centrist Democrat who voted to confirm Trump’s last Supreme Court Nominee, Neil Gorsuch. At this point, there’s almost no political reason for anyone with a D next to their name to vote to confirm Kavanaugh, but if anyone does, it’s probably going to be Manchin.
Collins, Murkowski, and Flake, on the other hand, are the sort of Republicans who always make a big show of standing up to Trump on stuff (but almost never actually do), so Democrats are looking to them to potentially neutralize the GOP’s 51-49 majority on the Senate if it does come to a vote next week. Flake also sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, meaning he has an inside view on what might happen tomorrow morning, when the Committee as a whole votes on Kavanaugh during its 9:30 a.m. Executive Business Meeting.
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Murkowski has previously noted some form of support for a full FBI investigation of the primary allegations against Kavanaugh.
Regardless, whatever the four mavericks were talking about is staying between them, for the time being. Murkowski in particular didn’t really want to be overheard.
Murkowski angrily tried to order a reporter from the hallway when she arrived.
“Go,” she shouted out pointing to the end of the hallway.
I’ll update this post if any reporter successfully manages to eavesdrop on them.
Update: 8:11 PM 9/27/2018
CNN caught Manchin as he was coming out of the meeting.