Trump huddles with Senate leaders ahead of Supreme Court battle
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President Trump met with Senate leaders on Tuesday afternoon as he gears up to announce his Supreme Court nominee next week.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Overnight Health Care: McConnell offering bill to raise tobacco-buying age to 21 | NC gov vetoes 'born alive' abortion bill | CMS backs off controversial abortion proposal HR 1 brings successful local, state reforms to the federal level and deserves passage MORE (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage Former FBI official praises Barr for 'professional' press conference Pelosi: Barr press briefing a 'staggering partisan effort' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost The 7 most interesting nuggets from the Mueller report Government report says new NAFTA would have minimal impact on economy MORE (R-Iowa) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFive takeaways from Mueller's report Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback MORE (D-Calif.) — the top two members on the Judiciary Committee — sat down with Trump and Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence: Mueller report confirms 'no collusion, no obstruction' Melania Trump, Karen Pence say they're ready to serve four more years in White House The Turkish rupture could cause a fissure in NATO MORE at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy.
Both Schumer and Feinstein stressed after the meeting that they want the president to pick a "mainstream" nominee to fill the Court's ninth seat.
"I believe the president should pick a mainstream nominee who could earn bipartisan support for the vacant Supreme Court seat," Schumer said in a statement.
Schumer "reiterated that view in our meeting today, and told [Trump] that Senate Democrats would fight any nominee that was outside of the mainstream," he said.
Trump announced on Tuesday that he would roll out his Supreme Court nominee next week, adding that he had "outstanding candidates, and we will pick a truly great Supreme Court justice."
Trump outlined a list of 21 potential nominees during the White House campaign but has reportedly narrowed the list down to three picks, including William Pryor, a judge that conservatives hope he chooses but who would likely spark backlash from Democrats.
Grassley noted he told Trump the list was a "very good start" and advised him to "pick someone who will adhere to the law and the Constitution."
Trump's Supreme Court pick is expected to trigger a high-stakes battle in the Senate. Any nominee will need 60 votes — including the support of at least eight Democrats — to clear the upper chamber. 
McConnell told reporters ahead of the meeting that he expects Trump to nominate a "highly qualified, well-credentialed conservative jurist." 
Though Schumer has opened the door to leaving the seat vacant if Trump doesn't nominate a "mainstream" nominee, McConnell appeared to make the case on Tuesday that Democrats should work with them. 
"What we hope would be that our Democratic friends will treat President Trump's nominees in the same way that we treated Clinton and Obama," he said. 
The Supreme Court seat has been vacant since February 2016 when Justice Antonin Scalia died. Republicans refused to give Merrick Garland, Obama's nominee, a hearing or a vote. 
But McConnell said that there was a "big difference" between their strategy on Garland and what Democrats should do at "the beginning of a four-year term." 
"Under Obama, Sotomayor and Kagan; no filibusters. That's apples and apples. First term, new president, Supreme Court vacancy," he added.