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McCaskill raises familiar topics as she sits down with Kavanaugh

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill meets with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in her Washington office.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill isn’t signaling her opinion after her first meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

But as she’d advertised, the Missouri Democrat says her questions on Tuesday centered on three topics: protecting access to health care, curbing corporate power and addressing the explosion in campaign money from undisclosed donors.

McCaskill did not disclose Kavanaugh’s answers.

She added she expected to be “hearing more about how he approaches these issues during his upcoming confirmation hearing.”

The 45-minute meeting took place in McCaskill’s Senate office in Washington, as Kavanaugh made the rounds to various senators who likely will cast crucial votes this fall on his confirmation.

McCaskill – who faces a tough re-election bid – has been under pressure for weeks. Conservatives are lobbying her to back Kavanaugh, who they hope will overturn some court decisions – notably the 1973 ruling legalizing most abortions. Progressive groups are calling for her to oppose Kavanaugh, because they want to keep some of those controversial court decisions in place.

McCaskill’s Republican rival, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, backs Kavanaugh and has made his confirmation a centerpiece of his bid to oust her. Several outside groups are running TV ads calling for McCaskill to vote for his confirmation.

McCaskill has emphasized that she has voted for most of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees. She did not support his earlier nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed last year.

Meanwhile, at an unrelated Senate hearing Tuesday, McCaskill made a passionate pitch to protect provisions of the Affordable Care Act, notably its insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions. She has said she’s concerned about how Kavanaugh views the ACA.

Follow Jo on Twitter:@jmannies

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.