The procedural vote this morning for Brett Kavanaugh will be in about a half-hour from this post, so by lunchtime we ought to know where things are going. The one thing I do know is as of this morning, Mitch still doesn't have the votes. Three Republicans and Democrat Joe Manchin are still in play. Mitch needs two of the four.
Murkowski: Murkowski was scheduled to go back in to review the FBI report late Thursday evening. While she wasn't spotted by CNN, two senators she is friendly with were -- Sens. Jim Risch of Idaho and John Hoeven of North Dakota. Murkowski reviewed the report multiple times on Thursday and largely avoided reporters.
Collins: Collins gave GOP leaders an early boost when she said the FBI report appears to be "very thorough." But she declined to weigh in on the nomination itself through the day, and went back to review materials multiple times. She completed her review of the materials Thursday night. In past votes of this magnitude, she will put out a lengthy statement and give a floor speech laying out her decision before the vote.
Flake: Flake gave another boost to GOP leaders saying he didn't hear "additional corroboration" of the Kavanaugh allegations in the first staff briefing. But he too largely went silent and avoided reporters the rest of the day. Sources with knowledge of how he approached the day tell me he is not as skittish as some were reporting about his final decision. But he did want to make sure he went thoroughly through the report he was essentially responsible for existing.
Manchin: "Heidi made her decision. I'll make mine." That's what Manchin said when asked about the decision by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, another red state Democrat who voted for Justice Neil Gorsuch, to oppose Kavanaugh. The cross-current pressures are intense between his party, his state, and the nominee himself. He will review the material again this morning before making a final decision, he told reporters.
My gut says we will not be saved by these Republicans. Even if Manchin votes no, if the others vote yes it's meaningless. I in fact suspect all four will vote for cloture this morning to proceed with Kavanaugh's confirmation after a "lengthy and difficult process" or whatever.
The same votes will be made to confirm on Saturday afternoon, and then that's it. 52-48 to confirm.
The consequences to America will be dire. Our only hope after that is to vote out Republicans across the board starting in November.