Senate Democrats demand Kavanaugh nomination pause after Trump implicated by Cohen

August 22, 2018

Democratic senators demanded Wednesday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation be put on hold, saying he’s too tainted by President Trump’s potential legal troubles.

Sen. Mazie Hirono, Hawaii Democrat, said she canceled a meeting with Judge Kavanaugh after the guilty verdict against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and guilty plea by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, saying they are black marks against the president particularly after Mr. Cohen implicated the president in his plea, suggesting he was complicit in potential campaign finance violations.

She said Mr. Trump is now an “unindicted co-conspirator” and doesn’t deserve a hearing for his nominee to the high court.

“We cannot abandon common sense in this dangerous time in our democracy,” she said.

Ms. Hirono said Mr. Trump, “purposely selected [Judge Kavanaugh] to protect, as we say in Hawaii, his own okole.”

Okole is a Hawaiian term for buttocks.

Democrats have alleged Judge Kavanaugh has a broad view of presidential powers and authority, which could benefit the president if he is indicted.

In one law review article, he said a sitting president shouldn’t be subject to a civil or criminal investigation.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, called Tuesday’s Cohen plea and Manafort convictions “a game changer” in the Kavanaugh confirmation, saying the president shouldn’t be allowed to pick someone who would effectively serve as a juror, should the case reach the high court.

And Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, said the Judiciary Committee should push back Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, slated for early September, in light of “bombshell convictions of key Trump cohorts.”

Sen. Thom Tillis, North Carolina Republican, pushed back against calls to derail Judge Kavanaugh, saying these are the same allegations Democrats made against Justice Neil M. Gorsuch last year in an attempt to delay his nomination.

“The Mueller investigation doesn’t hinder President Trump’s constitutional power to nomination Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The deputy attorney general who oversees the Mueller probe has told the president on many occasions he is not under investigation,” Mr. Tillis said.

Update hourly