Trump’s Supreme Court Crime Spree
If one of Trump’s larger crimes involved leaning on Anthony Kennedy to resign & greasing the skids for a pliable stooge in Brett Kavanaugh, Americans & Congress have an absolute right to know
During the confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh, over 4500 tips about sexual assault, gambling and other issues came into the FBI, including several now known to have come from highly credible sources. Instead of investigating them, we learned this week, Chris Wray’s FBI handed them over to the Trump White House…where they died.
At the very least, this calls into question the legitimacy of Kavanaugh’s seat on the Supreme Court. A seat he gained after Neil Gorsuch was given a seat for which President Obama had nominated Merrick Garland, putting an asterisk next to Gorsuch’s seat as well.
The summer of 2018 was a particularly dicey time for Donald Trump and the Republican Party. They’d made it through over 400 days in 2016 and 2017 by a whisker: had President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland gone through, he could have joined the four “liberals” on the Court and reversed dozens of hard-right decisions stretching from Citizens United and Shelby County all the way back to Buckley and Bellotti.
The Court could have reversed their own previous court-manufactured doctrines that corporations are “persons” and billionaires’ money was “free speech,” blown up Chief Justice Robert’s proclamation that there was no longer racism in America so it was fine to gut the Voting Rights Act, and even cemented into law for generations women’s right to get an abortion and gay people’s right to marriage.
But while they’d managed to block filling Antonin Scalia’s pivotal seat on the Supreme Court with Merrick Garland, they were concerned they could lose control of the Senate in the upcoming November midterm elections.
That confronted them with the dismal prospect of not being able to confirm another rightwing judge to make bulletproof the Court’s radical turn to the right that started with the appointment of Lewis Powell in the 1970s.
And if anything happened to any of the other rightwing justices — particularly Clarence Thomas, who was ethically compromised and elderly himself — they could again face the possibility of losing the Court and reversing 40 rightwing years of rewriting both US laws and the Constitution.
The man who’d taken Powell’s seat, Anthony Kennedy, was in great health and both mentally and physically fit, but he had taken the liberals’ side more often than the GOP liked on cases having to do with upholding abortion rights, gay rights, affirmative action and capital punishment.
After all, when it comes to domestic policy Supreme Court justices, particularly when in the majority, arguably have greater power than the president. While the president can sign a bill into law, justices on the Supreme Court can alter or even strike down that law or interpret it in a way wholly inconsistent with the intent of the legislature that passed it.
Replacing Kennedy with a young, pliable (or blackmail-able) tool of the rightwing billionaire class would not only guarantee that previous radical decisions would stand, but let future voting, environmental and political corruption rulings move even harder to the right.
Coincidentally, Donald Trump and his family, particularly Don Jr., had a long and financially rewarding relationship with Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin, who’d headed up the part of Deutsche Bank that was involved in over a billion dollars’ worth of loans that ended up in the Trump family’s properties and pockets.
To this day, nobody knows how much or what kind or pressure Trump put on Kennedy. The idea that he was blackmailing Kennedy or protecting Kennedy’s kid from legal problems is still rated “Unproven” by Snopes. Not wrong, not impossible, not a lie or even wild speculation; just “unproven.”
Whatever was up, Kennedy resigned that summer and Trump nominated a guy who has so many questionable things in his past that he may be even more easily “influenced” by Trump and the big money interests who own the GOP than was Kennedy.
All the way back in 2006 Brett Kavanaugh was deeply in debt with virtually no liquid assets, a $62,026 a year salary and five-figure credit card debt…but somehow managed to come up with a $245,000 down payment on a $1,125,000 home in the tony Chevy Chase suburb of Washington, DC. The mortgage payments on the house were $55,200 a year, more than Kavanaugh took home from his job advising George W. Bush on…possibly…torture policies in the Middle East and his later job on the federal bench.
To this day, nobody knows where the money came from and Kavanaugh’s written answers to the senate were, to be charitable, evasive. Just like nobody knows how deeply or even criminally involved Justin Kennedy may have been with the Trump family around the same time his bank was being prosecuted for laundering money for the Russian mafia.
The Trump White House blocked the release of hundreds of thousands of documents from Kavanaugh’s time working for the Bush White House, and Kavanaugh gave evasive and easily challenged answers to where the money was coming from that supported his lifestyle and, apparently, his drinking and gambling problems.
And now both The New York Times and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse are reporting that the FBI under Trump’s FBI director, Christopher Wray, didn’t even bother to seriously investigate any of the credible allegations of sexual assaults, gambling and drinking problems, or actual corruption on the bench that came into the Bureau.
Which raises a series of unanswered questions. Each one may have an entirely innocent answer, but the fact that they all remain unanswered is a flag itself.
Why did FBI Director Chris Wray refuse to let the FBI investigate more than 4500 allegations, several clearly credible, about then-SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh assaulting women, having money problems, and being deeply involved in gambling?
And why is Wray still FBI director?
Who paid off as much as $200,000 of what may well have been Kavanaugh’s bad gambling debts just before his 2018 nomination, and another, similar batch of debts around the time he was first put on a federal court?
Who put up the money in 2006 for him to buy a $1.2 million house when he was deeply in debt? How did he come up with enough cash to put two kids in a $10,500-a-year private school, and pay the $92,000 initiation fee for membership in a fancy country club?
Why has there been no serious investigation of the possibility that Justice Anthony Kennedy was essentially blackmailed by Donald Trump to resign just before the 2018 midterm elections when the Republicans were close to losing control of the Senate?
How deeply was his son, Justin Kennedy, involved with his employer, Deutsche Bank, loaning over $1 billion to Trump around the same time the bank was laundering Russian mob money?
Why was Kavanaugh’s alleged participation with Dick Cheney’s torture operations being run out of the Bush White House never investigated? Is Kavanaugh compromised by that or other Bush crimes he may have facilitated?
Every day brings new revelations of the Trump administration’s four-year crime spree of proportions never before seen in America.
Five of Trump’s cabinet officers were referred to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution by their own departments’ Inspector Generals (Bill Barr decided not to prosecute any of them), and the Trump family — particularly Ivanka and Jared Kushner — walked away with over a billion dollars of income and loans from their time in the White House.
If one of Trump’s larger crimes involved leaning on Anthony Kennedy to resign and greasing the skids for a pliable stooge in Brett Kavanaugh, the American people have an absolute right to know and Congress needs to dig as deep as necessary.
And, of course, the possibly criminal — and certainly unethical — packing of the Supreme Court in 2017 and 2018 must be undone.