The embattled Democrat is fighting for survival in a state where Trump defeated Clinton by more than 40 percentage points.
Sen. Joe Manchin is in a tough spot. A Democrat, Manchin is seeking reelection in West Virginia, a state that went for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by more than 40 percentage points.
As such, Manchin’s apparent reelection strategy is to attempt to be all things to all people. Manchin only opposed two of President Trump’s first 12 Cabinet nominees, and he was the only Democrat to stand and applaud Trump’s “Make America Great Again” reference during his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
So when he told The Daily Beast that he thought Attorney General Jeff Sessions should resign if he lied about meeting with Russian officials, it caught some by surprise:
Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, told The Daily Beast on Thursday that Jeff Sessions should resign as attorney general if he lied about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador during the 2016 election. Manchin was the only Democratic senator to vote confirm Sessions as attorney general. Manchin said, “If you lie to the committee, absolutely. If you lie to the committee and you’re under oath, and you’re going to be the attorney general, if you’re going to be any function of government… the people have to have trust in you.” He continued, “I voted for him because I did trust him, absolutely. And I’ve said, point blank, when it came out about the Mike Flynn investigation, I called Jeff and said, ‘Jeff, you should recuse yourself—get the heck out of the way!’ And he said he would take the matter into consideration. And I said, ‘you better do more than take it under consideration—you should do it.’” He concluded: “If it comes down to he lied, then there’s no way that Jeff can continue on.”
And then Manchin spoke exclusively to conservative site Breitbart, this time singing a different tune:
“From my end, until I see the facts, anything and everything is premature until you see the facts–and that is what I am looking for,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D.-W.V.), who said he had not spoken to Schumer about this issue.
“You are not guilty, you know, until the facts come out, so let the facts come out.”
Politics is, without a doubt, a “survival of the fittest” environment. Time will tell if Manchin’s pandering to mainstream and conservatives audiences within his own state will pay off or come to bite him in the end.
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