Moderates shrug off call to delay Kavanaugh over Cohen plea
© Anna Moneymaker
Senate moderates are brushing aside attempts by Democratic leadership to link Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the political fallout sparked by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE's former lawyer Michael Cohen's guilty plea. 
Democratic leadership and 2020 White House contenders have seized on Cohen referring to the president as an unnamed co-conspirator in his guilty plea and talk of a potential pardon for Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortGates sentencing set for next month Yovanovitch says John Solomon's columns were used to push false allegations Trump bemoans 'double standard' in Stone conviction MORE, Trump's former campaign manger, to reignite their argument that Kavanaugh's nomination should be delayed. 
"I repeat my plea: We should delay the hearing of Judge Kavanaugh, at the very minimum, until the full record on everything he has said and done on executive authority is made public," Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action MORE (D-N.Y.) said from the Senate floor. 
But Democratic calls to delay Kavanaugh's hearing or link him with the political fallout from Cohen and Manafort appear to be falling flat with the group of moderate senators who will make or break the nomination. 
"We might have a different opinion after we've gathered our information and have met with him but ... as for right now it's about getting the information out of the Judiciary Committee so I can make a good decision," he told The Hill. 
And GOP senators considered swing votes — or those who are vocal critics of Trump — are similarly distancing themselves from linking the two issues. 
"I do have the opportunity to sit with him so that's what I'm going to do," she said. 
Murkowski will be the final Republican senator, aside from Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDonald Trump's 2020 election economic gamble 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (Ariz.), who is battling brain cancer in Arizona, to meet with Kavanaugh. 
"Obviously I'm inclined. I've met with him," Flake, a member of the Judiciary Committee, told The Hill. "He's certainly qualified, but we'll have hearings." 
Democrats are powerless to prevent Kavanaugh's hearing from going forward without help from Republicans. 
Though the decision ultimately rests with Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyBooker, Sanders propose new federal agency to control drug prices GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse Johnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, progressives had hoped that they could use the escalating legal troubles of Trump's orbit to sway a few Republican senators into helping hold up Kavanaugh's nomination as they get more documents from his work in the George W. Bush White House. 
Democrats are signaling they view the fight over executive authority — and if Kavanaugh would help protect Trump from any court case spinning out of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE's investigation — as a potent issue given the Cohen plea deal and the separate conviction of Manafort.
Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Democratic senators introduce bill to push ICE to stop 'overuse' of solitary confinement Pentagon watchdog declines to investigate hold on Ukraine aid MORE (D-Ill.) noted that Kavanaugh gave him an unsatisfactory answer during their meeting about his views on indicting and investigating a sitting president and predicted the questions would come back up. 
"That's what he gave me. That's the best that he could give me. ...He'll face that question again, I'm sure, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing," Durbin said, referring to questions about a Minnesota Law Review article where Kavanaugh appeared to argue against indicting a sitting president and warned that an ongoing criminal investigation would be a distraction. 
But pressed if he thought Democrats' argument was getting through to swing-vote senators in both party, Durbin suggested maybe they needed to hear from home-state voters. 
"Maybe a trip home will change their views. Maybe it will change ours," he said. "But I think it [the hearing] should be postponed at least until this documentation is produced."