Dem senator cancels Kavanaugh meeting amid calls for confirmation hearing to be postponed
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said Wednesday that she would cancel a meeting with President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, after Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, implicated the president in a hush money scheme.
“I am canceling, I will be canceling, my appointment with Judge Kavanaugh because I choose not to extend a courtesy to this president who is an un-indicted co-conspirator … of meeting with his nominee,” she told reporters.
Hirono also blasted Kavanaugh as “a nominee who is being nominated because the president expects him to protect [Trump].”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), meanwhile, said that Cohen’s implication of Trump in a plot to pay women accusing him of affairs constituted an effort to “influence the outcome of an election” and prevented any consideration of Kavanaugh.
“The President of the United States has been implicated in a criminal plot to violate campaign finance laws & influence the outcome of an election. Under no circumstances should we be considering his nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in just one week,” he tweeted.
“Kavanaugh hearing must be immediately postponed so Judiciary Committee can continue vital investigation of Trump campaign criminality & obstruction of justice,” he added.
Kavanaugh hearing must be immediately postponed so Judiciary Committee can continue vital investigation of Trump campaign criminality & obstruction of justice.
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) August 22, 2018
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Ed Markey (Mass.) made similar calls for a delay in Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Booker told reporters that Kavanaugh’s nomination should be put on hold until the special counsel’s investigation concludes, adding that the Senate Judiciary Committee should instead focus on “the matter of the president being credibly implicated, or alleged to be a criminal coconspirator” in campaign finance law violations.
“What I want right now is for us to, when it comes to Kavanaugh, to wait until this Mueller probe is done before we move forward,” the New Jersey Democrat said.
Cohen pleaded guilty on Tuesday to bank and tax fraud charges, telling the judge that a “candidate” had directed him personally to make two payments to either keep someone quiet or buy the rights of their story.
The comments align with Cohen’s payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and his payment to secure the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s account of an alleged affair with Trump.
The payments are now being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office as to whether they constituted an unreported campaign contribution to the Trump campaign.
Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the court in July upon the announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement.
Jordain Carney contributed to this report.