Brett Kavanaugh’s Bid For Supreme Court Justice Raises Questions About Impeachment Views
In the 1990’s, Kavanaugh was one of the primary authors of the Starr Report, an investigative account that called for the impeachment of President Clinton for lying to his staff and misleading the public after his alleged affair with White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. Today, critics worry that Kavanaugh’s prior involvement in the case may open the Senate floor to questioning concerning the standards of impeachment, specifically as they apply to President Donald Trump and his alleged collusion with Russia.
The Starr report was significant in that it pushed for a broad definition of the obstruction of justice, one which is still in question amidst Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe today.
In Clinton’s case, the Starr report claimed that the president lied to his staff about his relationship with Lewinsky, “knowing that they would relay those falsehoods to the grand jury.” The report also accused Clinton of intentionally lying to the American public in his denial of any wrongdoing.
“The president’s emphatic denial to the American people was false… it was an intentional and calculated falsehood to deceive the Congress and the American people” read the report.
Critics now worry that the same standards applied to President Trump may not go over well. The president has provided a number of misleading statements to the media in the past as well as vehemently denied any collusion with Russia, specifically with regards to the 2016 presidential election.
The Starr Report also faulted Clinton for refusing multiple invitations to testify before a grand jury, claiming that the refusal was an obstruction of justice as it greatly delayed the investigation.
Once again Trump may find himself in a similar boat, having spent months debating whether or not to accept Mueller’s invitation to give an interview, which his lawyers have specifically argued against.
While the House did not ultimately adopt these two measures as appropriate grounds for impeachment, Judge Kavanaugh’s involvement lays the foundation for relevant questioning during his confirmation hearing.
But, Republicans are still willing to give the candidate a chance, given his more recent change of heart. In 2009, Kavanaugh wrote that Congress should pass laws that would protect a president from civil and criminal law suits until they are out of office. Otherwise, “the indictment and trial of a sitting President… would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.”
Trump is set to announce his choice this coming Monday.