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Senators spar during Kavanaugh hearing

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) got into a heated exchange over whether lawmakers have access to documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's time when he worked in the White House Counsel's office

Posted: Sep 6, 2018 8:22 AM
Updated: Sep 6, 2018 8:22 AM

A number of key senators in both parties are sounding positive about Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, a clear sign that President Donald Trump's nominee stands a strong chance of winning a pivotal seat on the highest court in the land.

"Not so far," Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, told CNN Wednesday afternoon when asked if anything she's heard so far would be considered disqualifying.

"No, I haven't seen anything from that standpoint," Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said when asked if he's heard anything that would lead him to vote no. "He's handled himself very professionally."

The two red-state Democrats, who face tough re-election battles this fall, cautioned that they would wait until this week's hearings to conclude to ultimately make a decision. But they are hardly the only swing votes who may provide critical support to ensure Kavanaugh's confirmation to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. One swing-vote senator is likely to support Kavanaugh, something that would almost certainly ensure his confirmation, a source with direct knowledge told CNN.

To win confirmation, Republicans can only afford to lose one of their own if all Democrats vote against Kavanaugh. But not only are there signs that some Democrats may ultimately support Kavanaugh, but no Republicans appear to be wavering either. The two most likely GOP defectors, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both have sounded positive about Kavanaugh.

And Collins suggested she wasn't concerned when asked Tuesday evening about Democratic complaints over the Trump administration's decision to withhold more than 100,000 pages of documents from the Senate Judiciary Committee over claims of privilege.

"I don't really understand their level of outrage when they had already made clear they were going to vote against any nominee that the President put forward," Collins told CNN, echoing Republican criticism of their Democratic counterparts.

Other GOP senators are unlikely to defect, including some of the most persistent Trump critics, like Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.

Asked if he would register his long-standing objections with Trump by opposing Kavanaugh, Flake said: "I don't think who nominates him should be disqualifying. ... Some people want me to become a liberal because I disagree with President Trump. I disagree with him mostly because I'm a conservative; conservatives believe in the rule of law."

The vote over Kavanaugh comes at a crucial juncture in the campaign season -- and presents a huge risk for Democrats no matter what they do. If the vulnerable Democrats support Kavanaugh, they are likely to infuriate their base and could turn off their most die-hard supporters in an election where turnout will be critical. But if they oppose Kavanaugh, they would undercut their arguments of being bipartisan-minded senators in states with a large number of Republican voters.

The votes of several other Democrats also will be heavily courted, including Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, who is another endangered senator and voted last year to confirm Trump's other Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch. Moreover, Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jon Tester of Montana are both under scrutiny, though they both voted against Gorsuch even as they're locked in difficult re-election battles this fall.

Sen. Doug Jones, the Democrat from Alabama who won his special election after Gorsuch was confirmed, was non-committal when asked about Kavanaugh on Wednesday.

"I'm still going through my process," he told CNN.

Other Democrats voiced criticism at the process so far, including Manchin, who lashed out at both parties for their handling of this Supreme Court fight and other recent battles.

"Both sides have been deplorable in how they've handled themselves," Manchin said. "That's what makes people sick."

Manchin also took a shot at Republicans for refusing to even meet with then-President Barack Obama's Supreme Court choice, Merrick Garland -- and at some of his Democratic colleagues for announcing their opposition to Kavanaugh before he was nominated.

"Anybody who announces how they're going to vote before a President makes their appointment, there's no commonsense or reasoning in that whatsoever," Manchin said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 292811

Reported Deaths: 6613
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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