Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday that President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court because the president is “worried” about Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“Why did the president stick with Kavanaugh? Because he’s worried that Mr. Mueller will go to the court and ask that the president be subpoenaed,” the New York Democrat said, flanked by other Senate Democrats outside the Supreme Court. “And President Trump knows that Kavanaugh will be a barrier to preventing that investigation from going there….His views on this issue are more extreme than just about anyone else on that list.”
Trump announced Kavanaugh’s nomination Monday evening, after which a slew of Senate Democrats pledged to oppose his confirmation.
Democrats are most worried about the conservative, Catholic federal appellate judge’s potential to help overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case which established a constitutional right to abortion, but they have also sounded the alarm about Kavanaugh’s views on presidential indictment.
“Having seen first-hand how complex and difficult that job [of president] is, I believe it vital that the President be able to focus on his never-ending tasks with as few distractions as possible,” Kavanaugh wrote in 2009.
Special Counsel Mueller is investigating potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, and has indicted several people, including former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, on various charges stemming from his team’s work.
“I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have, and I hope a bipartisan majority will do the same. The stakes are simply too high for anything less,” Schumer promised in a statement.