Manchin is first Democratic senator to meet with Kavanaugh

Sen. Patty Murray told the story of a college friend who sought an illegal abortion. Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images

Sen. Patty Murray told the story of a college friend who sought an illegal abortion. Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

If you want a good sign of the seriousness that surrounds the confirmation fight over Brett Kavanaugh, look at how quickly the usually hard senator Rand Paul abandoned any pretense of possible opposition to Trump's second Supreme Court nominee.

The Manchin meeting could set the stage for other swing-vote Democrats to talk with Kavanaugh or even support him, despite fierce pressure from party leaders and activists.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has said that Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing and vote will take place this fall, and that he expects the new justice to be seated by the next Supreme Court term, the first Monday in October.

Trump nominated Kavanaugh, 53, as Supreme Court justice on July 9, calling him a man with "impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law". He has also asked West Virginia residents to send him questions for the nominee. Supreme Court - seemingly eliminating one of the Republicans most likely to join Democrats in blocking the appointment. Democrats can sink Trump's nominee if they hold together and convince a single Republican to vote no.

"I am very concerned about his position on privacy and the Fourth Amendment", Paul told Politico's Burgess Everett in an interview. Almost all Senate Democrats are taking the position that they will not meet until Republicans agree to their absurdly overbroad and dilatory document requests.

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There are over 429,000 documents in the George W. Bush Presidential Library, alone, that could pertain to Brett Kavanaugh's record and provide a necessary insight into his legal views, especially on LGBTQ equality. Gallup, which has tested the reaction to most Supreme Court nominees since the 1990s, found that Kavanaugh's initial support was roughly comparable to that for failed 2005 nominee Harriet Miers.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavnaugh arriving for his meeting with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly of IN and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who both supported Haspel, were the others. Manchin is one of just a handful of senators whose votes are seen as in play in an increasingly partisan confirmation battle.

Democrats have countered that Kavanaugh's role in some of the defining - and polarizing - Bush administration debates should be part of the record they review while considering his nomination.

Manchin has said he regrets backing Hillary Clinton in 2016, and hinted that he could support President Trump's re-election in 2020.

The Democrats also want the National Archives to turn over documents drafted by Kavanaugh that can be "readily found" in the files of other White House officials or offices.

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