Dem senator: Trump's Supreme Court pick shows he's 'terrified of Robert Mueller'

Dem senator: Trump's Supreme Court pick shows he's 'terrified of Robert Mueller'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyBipartisanship alive and well, protecting critical infrastructure Overnight Defense: Senate sends 7B annual defense bill to Trump's desk | US sanctions Turkish officials over detained pastor | Korean War remains headed to Hawaii | Senators reassure allies on NATO support Dem strategist: It's 'far-left thinking' to call for Nielsen's resignation MORE (D-Ore.) on Monday laid into President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE for nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, saying he did so to protect himself in the ongoing Russia probe.

Merkley suggested Trump picked Kavanaugh because of the judge's past writings that argue a president should be shielded from ongoing investigations.


Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies Bernie Sanders socialism moves to Democratic mainstream Democrats embracing socialism is dangerous for America MORE (D-N.J.) also criticized the selection for the same reason. 

On PBS NewsHour, the 2020 hopeful told host Judy Woodruff that Trump "literally selected the one person who has a pretty good written record of saying, 'Hey, if you're a president under investigation, I don't think you should be allowed to be under criminal investigation."   

Trump tapped Kavanaugh, 53, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring at the end of the month.

Prior to serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh worked as a White House aide under former President George W. Bush and for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated former President Clinton in the 1990s.

In his legal writings, Kavanaugh has argued the president should be shielded from the demands of criminal and civil investigations because they interfere with his official duties.

Even before Trump's nomination of Kavanaugh, Democrats had expressed concerns over the nominee's role in any decisions involving special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Some lawmakers suggested Trump's nominee would have a conflict of interest in any court cases related to the investigation.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), argued Sunday that the Supreme Court may ultimately have to weigh in if Trump refuses to comply with a subpoena in the Mueller investigation, as his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has suggested.

Leonard Leo, who took a leave from the conservative Federalist Society to aide Trump with the Supreme Court pick, dismissed Democratic calls to delay the confirmation process until after Mueller concludes his investigation as a "red herring."