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 McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) — the top two members on the Judiciary Committee — sat down with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence 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.
{mosads}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. 
Tags Chuck Grassley Chuck Schumer Dianne Feinstein Mike Pence Mitch McConnell

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