The prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, spoke at an overnight meeting where all 51 Republican senators were present, two people briefed on the session said.
“Mitchell spelled it out and was clear with senators that she could not take this anywhere near a courtroom,” one source told Fox News. She told them she would not charge the Supreme Court nominee and reportedly said she wouldn’t even seek a search warrant.
Mitchell’s opinion could sway fence-sitting senators ahead of a critical Senate Judiciary Committee vote set for Friday afternoon.
It is not necessary for Kavanaugh to secure majority approval of the committee in order to advance to the full Senate, but a favorable recommendation could bode well for his imperiled nomination — and vice-versa.
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake announced Friday morning he will support Kavanaugh, saying, “I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty.”
With that, 48 Republican senators have now pledged to vote for Kavanaugh at the scheduled full Senate vote on Tuesday. The outstanding Republicans are Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mike Enzi of Wyoming. Enzi is expected to vote in support of Kavanaugh, but has said he won’t announce his position until he votes.
But Collins, Murkowski, Flake and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin could vote in a bloc. The source told Fox News that Collins, Murkowski and Flake huddled with Manchin on the sidelines Thursday evening to discuss the nomination, right before the GOP lawmakers were briefed by Mitchell. They spoke for approximately 30 minutes.
“It’s a tough one. She offered good testimony, and so did he,” Flake, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, said Thursday night, before announcing his support. “If you’re making an allegation, you want there to be some corroboration. Where is the burden? It’s like impeachment. You don’t know.”
Republicans, including President Trump, have stressed that none of the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh made in the last several days have first-hand corroboration.
Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations leveled against him by Ford, calling the process a “national disgrace” and a “circus.”
“The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process,” Kavanaugh said in his opening statement. “But you have replaced advise and consent with search and destroy.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced late Thursday a full Senate vote for Tuesday.
“I think we’re going to go ahead,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said. “I worry about every one of these votes.”