Trump's Supreme Court Pick Isn't Planning on Recusing Himself from Russia Probe Cases: Report
Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's pick to be the next Supreme Court Justice, will not tell Congress that he plans on recusing himself from cases involving the president or the ongoing Russia investigation, according to a new report from ABC News.
The report comes ahead of Kavanaugh Senate hearings, where his relationship to Trump and the dark cloud of the Russia investigation is expected to be a major focus. Many have expressed concern about Trump being able to nominate a Supreme Court Justice amidst while he appears to face serious legal jeopardy.
Any serious questions regarding the president's standing with regard to criminal investigations or prosecutions may eventually find its way before the Supreme Court — and critics of the president say appointing Kavanaugh essentially lets him choose the judge in his own case.
The issue is particularly relevant in the case of Kavanaugh, who has espoused views that are very favorable to the executive branch and the power of the presidency.
Some have suggested, therefore, that it would be both prudent and morally right for Kavanaugh to pledge to recuse from any cases involving the investigation that has hung over the period of his nomination process. These calls gained steam last week when Michael Cohen, the president's former lawyer, implicated him in campaign finance crimes while pleading guilty in federal court.
ABC News reports:
Kavanaugh will “pledge to be independent-minded in the event he has to make such a consideration, as all justices do," a White House official involved with the process told ABC News. It's unlikely such an assurance will placate Democrats' concerns, though their ability to block the nomination remains limited.
Supreme Court nominees don’t typically engage in hypothetical scenarios, and it is not entirely surprising that Kavanaugh would decline to offer a firm pledge to recuse himself in any case, although other nominees have done so on specific matters. But Democrats will no doubt seize on such a moment in the hearings to try to validate their claims that Trump picked Kavanaugh with an expectation he would protect him from legal jeopardy.