Speed Reads

he said, he said

Manchin insists he offered to become an independent in case it would help Democrats 'publicly'

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has more to say following what he called a "bulls---" report he's planning to leave the Democratic Party if Democrats don't agree to reduce the size of their spending package.

While speaking to reporters on Thursday, Manchin said that "what is true is that I have told the president, [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and even the whole caucus that if it is 'embarassing' to them to have a moderate, centrist Democrat in the mix and if it would help them publicly, I could become an independent — like [Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)", per The Hill. "Then they could explain some of this to the public saying it's complicated to corral these two independents, Bernie and me." Sen. Angus King of Maine is also an independent.

According to Fox News' Kelly Phares, Manchin, like Sanders and King, said he would still caucus with Democrats under that proposed arrangement.

"I'm not threatening to leave. Why would I? I'm very secure in my positions and honestly, I'm not the one stressed out," Manchin added, writes The Hill.

On the other hand, however, David Corn, the reporter who broke the story of Manchin's possible party swap for Mother Jones, stands by his account. "The sourcing was impeccable," Corn told Politico. "Even if he had told me it was bulls--- the story still would have run."