Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and a handful of his Democratic colleagues called for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing to be delayed on Wednesday, a day after Michael Cohen’s guilty plea implicated President Trump in a federal crime.
“It’s a game changer. It should be,” Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor. “A president identified as a co-conspirator of a federal crime, an accusation not made by a political enemy, but by the closest of his own confidants, is on the verge of making a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”
Kavanaugh is currently taking meetings with senators ahead of September 4, when his confirmation hearing is set to begin. But two Democratic senators said Wednesday that they’ve canceled their sit-downs with the judge. Mazie Hirono told reporters that she won’t be meeting with Kavanaugh because “I choose not to extend a courtesy to this president who is an un-indicted co-conspirator … of meeting with his nominee.”
Ed Markey said he too had canceled his meeting, tweeting that Kavanaugh’s nomination “should be considered illegitimate.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal, meanwhile, wants the hearings delayed so the Senate Judiciary Committee isn’t distracted from its investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia. And Senator Cory Booker says he wants to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight until the special counsel investigation is over. “What I want right now is for us to, when it comes to Kavanaugh, to wait until this Mueller probe is done before we move forward,” he said.
The problem, Democrats say, is not just Trump being implicated in a federal crime, but Kavanaugh’s known deference to presidential power. In a tweet, Schumer cited the judge’s “refusal to say a POTUS must comply w a duly issued subpoena” and Markey, in his own tweet, wrote that Trump’s nomination of a man who believes the president can’t be indicted is “not a coincidence.”
The problem for these Democrats is that have no say in whether the confirmation hearings will begin on September 4. White House spokesperson Raj Shah has already promised that the hearings will not be delayed and Republican Judiciary Committee member Senator Lindsey Graham still insists that Kavanaugh will be confirmed. Cohen’s plea has “zero effect” on Kavanaugh, Graham said Wednesday. “This won’t be pulled and he’ll get confirmed,” he said.