Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and several Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings for the U.S. Supreme Court should be delayed, after longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen accepted a guilty plea that implicated the president in a campaign finance crime.
Casting President Donald Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator to Cohen’s crimes, Democrats say Kavanaugh’s nomination should be deferred until special counsel Robert Mueller completes his investigation, particularly because matters relevant to the probe could reached the high court.
“This president who is an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal matter does not deserve the courtesy of a meeting with his nominee, purposefully selected to protect, as we say in Hawaii, the president’s ‘okole,” Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii said Wednesday.
‘Okole is a Hawaiian expression meaning “butt.”
Hirono went on to say that she would cancel her pending meeting with Kavanaugh. In addition to their public confirmation hearings, Supreme Court nominees meet with most senators to answer further questions in a private setting. (RELATED: This New Memo Shows Brett Kavanaugh Pulled No Punches On Bill Clinton’s Lewinsky Testimony)
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, also a member of the Judiciary Committee, echoed Hirono’s remarks on Twitter Wednesday.
After bombshell convictions of key Trump cohorts—& identification of President Trump as an unnamed, unidicted co-conspirator—Judiciary Committee must postpone Kavanaugh nomination hearing.
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) August 22, 2018
Democrats have taken Kavanaugh’s muscular views on executive power to suggest that he would side with Trump if the Supreme Court is ever asked to enforce a subpoena against him arising from Mueller’s investigation.
They also claim Kavanaugh’s apparent criticism of the Supreme Court’s 1974 Nixon v. U.S. decision indicates he would insulate Trump against the special counsel, though his conservative supporters say those remarks were taken out of context and note the judge has since praised the decision.
A spokesperson for GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said that the panel has processed Supreme Court nominations under similar circumstances in the past, and cast Wednesday’s statements are a bad faith delay tactic.
“There are no plans to delay the hearing for Judge Kavanaugh,” the spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Remember that Justice Breyer’s confirmation occurred while President Clinton’s records had been subpoenaed by a grand jury. Obviously we are nowhere close to that situation today.”
“Calls to delay the hearing are just the latest delay tactic by opponents of a highly-qualified nominee,” the spokesperson added.
Speaking during Wednesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders styled the Democratic effort a “desperate and pathetic attempt” to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
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