McConnell pushing Trump toward 2 potential Supreme Court picks: report
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly told President Trump that Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman are the two possible Supreme Court nominees who are most likely to be approved by the Senate, The New York Times reported Saturday.
McConnell, according to the Times, did not back any nominee explicitly, but told Trump and White House counsel Don McGahn that Brett Kavanaugh has generated a massive number of documents during his 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and in other roles, which he fears Democrats could seize on to delay a confirmation vote.
Kavanaugh also worked as White House staff secretary for former President George W. Bush and as an assistant to independent counsel Ken Starr, whose investigation of former President Clinton ultimately led to his impeachment.
The volume of papers Kavanaugh has produced over the years reportedly reaches into the millions. McConnell, sources told the Times, advised Trump that Democrats could seize on Kavanaugh’s lengthy paper trail as a way to delay his confirmation vote until after November’s midterm elections.
Republicans fear they could lose control of Congress in the midterms and risk failing to confirm a second conservative justice to the high court.
Aides for Trump and McConnell declined to comment to the Times.
The newspaper reported that McConnell also told the president he could lose the support of Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) if he picks Amy Coney Barrett, a social conservative who some think may be willing to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Trump had not yet decided on who he will tap as his nominee as of Saturday afternoon, according to the Times.
McConnell said last month that the Senate would vote this fall on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement.
Democrats quickly charged McConnell with hypocrisy after the announcement, noting that he blocked a vote on former President Obama’s Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland in 2016, arguing that it was too close to an election.
Trump is scheduled to announce his Supreme Court nominee on Monday night.