Trump meets with Dem senator amid Cabinet speculation

Trump meets with Dem senator amid Cabinet speculation
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President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE met with Democratic Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE (N.D.) on Friday amid speculation that he might select her for a Cabinet position.

Heitkamp said in a statement after the meeting that she had a “thoughtful and wide ranging discussion” that touched on coal, oil pipelines, human trafficking, the Export-Import Bank and jobs.

“I appreciate him being generous with his time, and I look forward to working with him and all of my colleagues in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, to reach results for North Dakota and the country,” she said, making no mention of a potential administration job.

Heitkamp had left the meeting at Trump Tower in New York City on Friday afternoon without speaking with journalists assembled in the lobby, according to the pool reporters.

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A source familiar with the Trump transition team told Reuters Thursday that Heitkamp is under consideration for the secretary of Energy or secretary of Interior positions.

Heitkamp is a moderate on many policy issues, specifically pushing to protect the oil and coal industries in her state.

She was a leading negotiator last year on a congressional deal to lift the ban on crude oil exports while extending tax credits for solar and wind energy, and her spokeswoman, Abigail McDonough, said she “has a long record of working with both Republicans and Democrats.”

Heitkamp told reporters Thursday that it would be “way premature” for her to talk about potential Cabinet positions, but that she planned to talk with Trump about policy issues important to North Dakota such as energy and agriculture.

The Trump transition team also said Friday that it is premature to talk about positions for Heitkamp or for Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPolitical purity tests are for losers Former coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda MORE, another moderate Democrat from West Virginia who is rumored to be in the running for a Cabinet spot.

“A number of these meetings are advice and guidance on specific policy matters,” spokesman Jason Miller told reporters, noting that both senators “are both very highly respected political leaders who have a lot to contribute to the national conversation and how we move our country forward.”

Heitkamp and Manchin, who both hail from deep-red states, are also facing tough reelection battles in 2018.

Heitkamp’s arrival at Trump Tower earlier Friday caused buzz when she walked into an elevator with Robert Burck, the New York City performer known as the Naked Cowboy. Burck frequently sings in the Trump Tower lobby wearing little more than patriotic briefs and a cowboy hat.

— Lisa Hagen contributed to this story.

Updated: 5:08 p.m.