Johnson: I would meet with SCOTUS nominee

Sen. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonOvernight Healthcare: Senate GOP to start writing its healthcare bill Senate staff to draft health bill during recess Divisions emerge in the Senate on pre-existing conditions MORE (R-Wis.) suggested Thursday he would be willing to meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, though it won't change his position. 

"I have no problem with meeting with people," he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I'll have to say, I'm not sure what the point will be."

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Johnson, considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection, is the latest Republican to split with Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellFranken explains why he made an exception to diss Cruz in his book The Memo: Trump returns to challenges at home Overnight Energy: Trump energy nominees face Congress | OPEC to extend production cuts MORE (R-Ky.) and say he would accept a meeting if the White House reaches out. 
 
So far, that hasn't happened. "No one has tried to set up a meeting," Johnson said. 
 
Johnson has said he believes the court seat should remain vacant until next year, though he would be willing to vote if Republican leadership decides to move forward with the nomination.
 
 
Portman and Ayotte, however, suggested Wednesday they would use the meetings to explain why they think Justice Antonin Scalia's seat should remain vacant until the next president is sworn in. 
 
Republican senators, including Johnson, have been under an onslaught of pressure from Democrats and outside groups to reverse their position and support taking up Obama's nominee. 
 
Obama and Vice President Biden endorsed former Sen. Russ Feingold, who is hoping to unseat Johnson, earlier Thursday. 
 
Johnson isn't the only Republican senator who suggested Thursday they would be open to meeting with Garland. 
 
Separately, Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchGOP leaders launch internal review into leak Insurers: GOP should keep pre-existing condition protections DOJ pitches agreements to solve international data warrant woes MORE (R-Utah) said Thursday he would agree to a meeting, though it wouldn't change his position. He also spoke with Garland Wednesday.