Cory Booker Says Trump Indictment Questions Are Fair Game If GOP Holds SCOTUS Confirmation Hearings

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) told Rachel Maddow that constitutional questions about Trump being indicted would be fair game if Senate Republicans hold Supreme Court nominee confirmation hearings.



Rachel Maddow: I mentioned in the earlier segment that one of the people who’s considered to be a short lister for the nomination, and again, it’s all speculation at this point, but there’s a circuit court judge named Brett Kavanaugh who’s considered by a lot of people to be — have a good chance at getting this nomination. He was a clerk for Justice Kennedy, for example. He has written — he’s on the record as saying that he doesn’t think that — effectively doesn’t think that a president could be indicted, that it would be catastrophic for the country. Is that the sort of question — it’s almost impossible for me to imagine a confirmation hearing in which the questions are all about can a president be indicted, can a president fire an FBI director in order to stop an investigation into himself, can a president pardon people in order to save himself or his family from an ongoing investigation. There’s never been a confirmation hearing like that. But should we start to look at the public record of all these potential nominees to see if those opinions might be part of the reason they’re being chosen?

Sen. Cory Booker: I think we’re at a moment now where these constitutional questions are coming up. And I believe given the president’s pattern of behavior that this is going to be on his mind, that he’s going to be trying to take measures to protect himself from this investigation. So I think that is definitely — should the president appoint and the head of the judiciary committee decide — remember, he didn’t under president Obama agree to hold hearings. If he decides to hold hearings, if Grassley decides there’s no potential for a constitutional crisis or conflict of interest which I believe there is, I think it’s fair game in the hearings to go after this line of questioning.

In other words, it is going to get really ugly really fast if Trump goes through with this. The idea of Trump being federally indicted is still lower on the list of potential outcomes from the Russia scandal. Impeachment is still the most likely place where this scandal ends up with state-level criminal charges against the Trump family in New York being second.

Sen. Booker is correct about one critical point. Not only would key rights be at stake if Trump gets another justice confirmed, but also the court could reshape the view of presidential executive power to fit Trump’s unlimited definition. There should be no vote on a Supreme Court nominee until after the election.

A potentially criminal president should not get to make lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court, and if Republicans go through with this scheme, Booker was signaling that Democrats will make them pay.

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