Johnson: I would meet with SCOTUS nominee

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP moves to cut debate time for Trump nominees Election security dominates hearing for Trump Homeland Security nominee Former officials offer support for Trump Homeland Security nominee 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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP moves to cut debate time for Trump nominees McConnell hits back at 'ridiculous' Chinaperson remark GOP senator: 'We were there' on immigration before talks got derailed 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.
 
Republican Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteThe Hill's Morning Report: Koch Network re-evaluating midterm strategy amid frustrations with GOP Audit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years MORE (N.H.), Mark KirkMark Steven KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (Ill.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWe must all come together to overcome the opioid epidemic Senators debate new business deduction, debt in tax law hearing Tax rules will be subject to more OMB review under new memo MORE (Ohio) — who are in reelection fights that, along with Johnson's, will help decide which party controls the Senate next year — have also said they would be willing to meet with Garland. 
 
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 Grant HatchSenators to Trump: Let Mueller finish Russia probe Conservative justices signal willingness to uphold travel ban Medical marijuana legislation gets support of key House Republican MORE (R-Utah) said Thursday he would agree to a meeting, though it wouldn't change his position. He also spoke with Garland Wednesday.