Practically in the same breath Tuesday morning, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough both praised Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s “character” and argued that by choosing him to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, Donald Trump proved himself to be “the most self-serving” president of our time.
The Morning Joe host was referring to a 2009 article Kavanaugh wrote for the Minnesota Law Review that argued for Congress to pass a law exempting sitting presidents from “criminal prosecution and investigation.” As many observers have acknowledged, this position could have major implications on the outcome of the Russia investigation.
Noting that Kavanaugh wrote the article “at the dawn of the Obama administration,” Scarborough said, “It would be the least self-serving thing for a conservative jurist to write, which I think actually speaks, given the hysteria surrounding Barack Obama’s presidency, actually speaks to the content of the judge's character.”
“Make no mistake of it, that this is the reason—I mean, I will make no mistake of it, everybody else draw their own conclusion—you can narrow it down, you can boil it down, Donald Trump is the most self-serving, self-interested politician, certainly of our time, that's ever been in the White House,” Scarborough added. “That's why he has selected Judge Kavanaugh, because of this single 2009 article, and why he upset a lot of conservatives along the way, to protect himself.”
The host’s remarks echo those of some of Trump’s most vocal Democratic critics in the Senate. After Kavanaugh was announced Monday night, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) declared, “This seems to be the most self-serving person he could choose to protect himself from this criminal investigation,” and even referred to Kavanaugh as Trump’s “get out of jail free card.”
“He believes a president can only be indicted after he leaves office and should not be subjected to civil suits while in office,” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told supporters Monday night. “I do not believe a person with those views should be given a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.”
And Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted that Kavanaugh believes presidents like Trump are “above the law.”
Scarborough not only wondered aloud if Democrats will make Kavanaugh’s views on presidential power an issue in the upcoming confirmation hearings but also if they will ask him to “recuse himself on any questions pertaining the indictment of Donald Trump, since there is a possibility that that’s why he got this seat, if he gets it.”
The issue of recusal also came up during an interview with Alan Dershowitz on The View Tuesday morning. Dershowitz, who has a new book that makes the case against impeaching Trump, said Kavanaugh might very well “have to recuse himself” in cases involving the possible prosecution of the president given his past writings.