Hatch lobbies colleagues to support Gorsuch nomination to US Supreme Court

The New York Times said Gorsuch "privately expressed dismay on Wednesday over Mr. Trump's increasingly aggressive attacks on the judiciary, calling the president's criticism of independent judges "demoralizing" and 'disheartening'".

Having blasted a federal judge who temporarily blocked his controversial immigration decree - calling him a "so-called judge" - Trump renewed his attacks Wednesday on the appellate court panel now weighing his ban on refugees and visitors from seven mainly Muslim countries, calling the judges "so political".

The senator said Gorsuch told him it was "disheartening" and "demoralizing" to see Trump disparage the judge who temporarily blocked the president's restrictions on visitors from seven mainly Muslim countries and on refugees.

Blumenthal - who has called on the Republican Party to stand up to Trump's attacks - told reporters after his meeting with Gorsuch that he hoped the nominee would "be more vehement publicly" in his criticism of the president. But the Washington Post reported that Blumenthal's version of the conversation was vouched for Ron Bonjean, a member of the team guiding Gorsuch through his confirmation process. Judge Neil M. Gorsuch now finds himself caught between Democratic senators who demand that he denounce Trump's attacks on his fellow judges and a president who is notoriously intolerant of what he considers disloyalty. Blumenthal told AP on Thursday: "I've been in public life for quite a while. Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie), now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?"

"I will thoroughly review Judge Gorsuch's record, particularly his appellate decisions and his answers to questions during the hearing and those submitted in writing afterward", Casey said in a statement after Gorsuch's nomination was announced.

"This is clearly a meaningless White House orchestrated attempt to help Judge Gorsuch pretend he won't be a rubber stamp for the Trump administration", said Zac Petkanas, senior adviser at the Democratic National Committee.

Presidents are usually hesitant to weigh in on judicial matters out of respect for the Constitution, which ensures a separation of powers among the president's executive branch, Congress and the judiciary.

He added that Mr Trump would continue to "be authentic", which was "one reason he got elected". Unless Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., alters the Senate rules to allow the nomination to pass with 50 votes, Trump needs eight Democrats to vote with Republicans to clear a 60-vote threshold.

The president also criticized the three-judge panel on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that is considering whether Robart had the legal grounds to suspend the January 27 executive order.

Trump did not elaborate as to how he thought Gorsuch's comments had been misrepresented.

And we've heard no contradiction of the White House's story from Judge Gorsuch. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, recounted other conversations in which Gorsuch, now a federal appeals court judge, expressed concerns about Trump's criticism of the judiciary.

  • Carolyn Briggs