Manchin rebuffs Dem effort to delay Kavanaugh confirmation hearings

Manchin rebuffs Dem effort to delay Kavanaugh confirmation hearings
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: Trump ends talks with California on car emissions | Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal | Climate PAC backing Inslee in possible 2020 run Dems face tough vote on Green New Deal Gabbard cites ‘concerns’ about ‘vagueness’ of Green New Deal MORE (D-W.Va.) is breaking with calls from party leadership to delay Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings in the wake of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s guilty plea.

Asked about calls on Wednesday from his Democratic colleagues, including Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDon’t look for House GOP to defy Trump on border wall GOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win MORE (D-N.Y.), to delay Kavanaugh's hearings, Manchin interjected “that’s not right.”

“We do our job. Let’s do our job. ... Delaying is not going to help anything,” he said.

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Manchin noted that Democratic leaders had not looped him in on the strategy that was announced earlier on Wednesday, a day after Cohen pleaded guilty to tax and bank fraud and campaign finance violations in federal court in New York.

“I have no clue. No one has discussed this with me at all. They know my feelings on this, you know? We’ve got a nominee that the president has put forward. We have an advise and consent job,” Manchin told reporters. 

Manchin, who is running for reelection this year in a state won by President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE in 2016, has not said how he will vote on Kavanaugh's nomination. The West Virginia lawmaker was among three Senate Democrats who voted to confirm Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, last year.

His comments Wednesday came as Senate Democrats seized on news of Cohen's guilty plea from the previous day to try to delay Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, which have been planned to start on Sept. 4.

Lawmakers noted that Cohen implicated President Trump when entering his guilty plea this week, saying the president directed him during the 2016 election to pay a pair of women who have claimed to have had affairs with Trump in 2006.

Trump slammed Cohen's decision to enter the guilty plea on Wednesday while falsely claiming in a Fox News interview that hush money payments arranged by Cohen did not break the law.

Republicans have dismissed Democrats' efforts to delay the confirmation hearings over the plea.

"Calls to delay the hearing are just the latest tactic from opponents who decided to vote 'no' weeks ago, frantically looking for anything that sticks. The hearing will begin as planned on September 4," said George Hartman, a spokesman for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - What to watch for as Mueller’s probe winds down Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Drug pricing fight centers on insulin MORE (R-Iowa).