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Trump is currently debating whether to choose Circuit Court judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa or one of several other conservative women. But regardless of who he picks, securing meetings with Democrats is likely to do nothing to prevent her from facing a complete and utter rejection from the 47-member caucus. Even Lagoa, who 27 Democrats supported for her current position, faces no prospect of bipartisan support in such a scenario.

Manchin said he would not vote for any nominee before the election, but cracked the door open for a Trump nominee that waited until after Nov. 3 to receive a floor vote.

“I’m against the process. I want to meet with the people, it might be a person who hopefully would come to their senses and not have the vote until after the election, might be a good qualified candidate I’m inclined to support,” Manchin said.

There’s also some question of whether a nominee will want to meet with Democrats, who are already staking out unified opposition.

“I don’t think my vote’s going to count, so I doubt they’ll even want to,” said Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), the most endangered Senate incumbent. “But we’ll see.”

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) met with Gorsuch in 2017, but during his re-election campaign he said the White House snubbed his efforts to meet with Kavanaugh. Still, he said he’s “open” to meeting with a nominee this time around.

And other Democrats, particularly those on the Judiciary Committee, suggested that they would keep in line with Senate tradition and still meet with whoever Trump nominates.

“I’ve met with nominees in the past. I intend to do my job,” said Blumenthal, a liberal stalwart. “If the nominee is open to meeting with me, part of my responsibility is to have a conversation with the nominee.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) both said they’ve always met with nominees in the past when asked if they’d meet with Trump’s nominee this fall.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) declined to comment, when asked whether he’d meet with the nominee, only saying that Trump has not even announced his choice. Progressive senators like Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said it was too early to make a decision.

Democrats have few procedural tools at their disposal to stop the nomination from going through. But that’s not preventing them from using tactics like the so-called “2-hour rule” to cancel committee hearings that last more than two hours in an effort to protest Republican efforts to fill the seat. They’re also likely to delay the nomination in committee, using procedural tools to hold over the nomination for a week.

Brian Fallon, who leads the progressive legal group Demand Justice, called on Wednesday for Democrats to boycott the hearing. But there would also be a real downside to doing so: Democrats would lose out on the ability to question the nominee and shape the public’s impression of the fight.

It could be a particularly key moment for Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, whose tough questioning has previously led to viral moments.

“I have every plan to do what I’m expected to do,” said Durbin, when asked whether he’d attend the hearing. “I’m a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

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Nagorno-Karabakh: The boy who swapped his piano for a gun

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The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is over, but some families are still waiting for news of their missing relatives.

Bodies are still being counted and identified, and there is no clear information on what has happened to the missing.

Twenty-two-year-old Soghomon was fighting on the Armenian frontline against Azerbaijan. The last time his family heard from him was 1 October.

He was a soldier, but also an artist and a talented piano player.

His father and sister say they can’t give up hope that he will return.

Video by: Sofia Bettiza, Gabriel Chaim and Aren Melikyan

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Afghan car bomb kills at least 40 soldiers

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An attacker detonated an explosive packed vehicle in front of a security base in the Deh Yak district of the province.

According to a statement from the Afghan Ministry of Defense, the attacker was confronted by security forces as he tried to enter the base. No group has claimed responsibility yet.

The blast targeted a compound of the public protection force, a wing of the Afghan security forces, local officials told Reuters. It damaged civilian residences around the compound, and there could be more casualties from there, they said.

Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian confirmed that there had been a car bomb blast but did not provide further information on the target or possible casualties.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, when contacted by Reuters, did not confirm or deny responsibility.

Afghanistan has seen a spate of car bombings over the last few months, despite peace talks being under way between negotiation teams of the insurgent Taliban and the government in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Violence in the country, at war for two decades, remains unacceptably high, foreign governments and institutions say, calling for an immediate ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban.
Afghan President orders resumption of offensive operations against the Taliban in blow to Trump's deal

Another bombing on Sunday, in the eastern province of Zabul, targeting a top provincial official, killed at least one person and injured 23, said Gul Islam Syaal, the spokesman for the province’s governor.

Haji Ata Jan Haqbayan, head of the provincial council of Zabul, suffered minor injuries in the attack on his convoy.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack on Haqbayan, an outspoken critic of the Taliban.

The Trump administration’s peace deal with the Taliban was dealt a blow in May as the Afghan government announced it was resuming offensive operations against the insurgent group following a spate of deadly terrorist attacks.

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Incoming GOP congresswoman to take aim at AOC with conservative ‘squad’

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Malliotakis, who frequently attacked Ocasio-Cortez during her campaign against Democratic Rep. Max Rose, took aim again at her New York counterpart when asked about the future of the Republican Party.

“I think one of the reasons why we were so motivated to run is seeing the Democratic women being elected in 2018 that don’t necessarily reflect our values, particularly those who are self-described socialists,” Malliotakis said. “I think there’s just a stark contrast between what we’re offering and what people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are offering. And that’s something that needs to be debated in Washington.”

House Republicans more than doubled the number of women in their conference in November, bringing the number to at least 28 from 13. Democrats, who added a record number of women to their ranks during the 2018 election, have at least 89.

A number of House races still remain uncalled, including New York Republican Claudia Tenney’s challenge against Rep. Anthony Brindisi; Tenney’s lead has narrowed significantly to just 13 votes as of Friday.

Malliotakis, who will be the only Republican to represent New York City in Congress, credited House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Liz Cheney for their efforts in recruiting “qualified women who have something to share with the American people” for the gains.

“What we stand for are freedom, liberty. We love this nation. We want to see it prevail. We want to see it remain the land of opportunity, what has, in essence, attracted millions of immigrants from around the world, to pursue that American dream,” Malliontakis said. “Somebody like me, daughter of a Cuban refuge, I want to be there to be a part of the discussion, debate and provide a counterview.”

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