Hear Kavanaugh discuss independent counsel

Judge Brett Kavanaugh two years ago expressed his desire to overturn a three-decade-old Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of an independent counsel, a comment bound to get renewed scrutiny in his confirmation proceedings to sit on the high court.

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 9:59 AM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 10:28 AM

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the video showing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's desire to overturn a 1988 Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of an independent counsel "deeply, deeply troubling."

"Considering everything we know about Judge Kavanaugh's expansive view of executive power and accountability, the fact that Morrison v. Olson, of all the cases in the history of the Supreme Court, is the first case he could think of overturning is deeply, deeply troubling," the New York Democrat said Wednesday.

The remarks from Schumer signal Democrats plan to use this as an opportunity to call for Kavanaugh to commit to recusing himself from weighing in on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Schumer was referencing recently resurfaced comments that Kavanaugh made two years ago expressing his desire to overturn a three-decade-old Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of an independent counsel, a comment bound to get renewed scrutiny in his confirmation proceedings to sit on the high court.

Speaking to a conservative group in 2016, Kavanaugh bluntly said he wanted to "put the final nail" in a 1988 Supreme Court ruling.

Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, also told reporters if Kavanaugh is confirmed, he should recuse himself from ruling on any cases involving the Mueller investigation that come before the Supreme Court.

"This to me is more of a reason why there's an urgency in either rejecting this nominee or making sure that this nominee, if we go forward, commits to recusing themselves from any of the issues that come before the Supreme Court," Booker said.

That decision, known as Morrison v. Olson, upheld the constitutionality of provisions creating an independent counsel under the 1978 Ethics in Government Act -- the same statute under which Ken Starr, for whom Kavanaugh worked, investigated President Bill Clinton.

The law expired in 1999, when it was replaced by the more modest Justice Department regulation that governs special counsels like Mueller.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley downplayed the video showing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's desire to overturn the independent counsel ruling.

"I don't think it carries much weight at this point," he said on Wednesday.

While the White House did not directly respond to the news, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah slammed Democrats for talking about the remarks in a series of tweets Wednesday.

"The Dem attacks on Kavanaugh's 2016 speech today are laughable, and show a total lack of understanding. There is a clear legal difference between the Independent Counsel statute and the Special Counsel regulation. Let's not play fast and loose," he said in the first tweet.

He also accused Democrats of hypocrisy, pointing to comments made nearly two decades ago where Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin criticized an independent counsel.

"That's why Senator Durbin had this to say about the Independent Counsel: 'Our form of government is grounded on the premise that unchecked power is tyranny. The independent counsel is unchecked, unbridled, unrestrained, and unaccountable,'" he said in another tweet.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 145636

Reported Deaths: 3745
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto973199
Hinds9668197
Harrison6898109
Jackson6178119
Rankin5319100
Lee487695
Madison4666106
Forrest371386
Jones346788
Lauderdale3355144
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Washington3122107
Lamar283449
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Panola215849
Marshall209650
Leflore201490
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Lincoln186865
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Tate165451
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Pike160658
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Scott150729
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Leake131943
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Wayne116223
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Newton103629
Tallahatchie96327
Clarke88853
Clay87127
Jasper81222
Walthall75328
Stone73114
Calhoun72913
Montgomery72125
Carroll70614
Lawrence70314
Yalobusha70027
Noxubee69717
Smith69616
Perry65426
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57616
Jefferson Davis55017
Humphreys52918
Amite51814
Benton48717
Quitman4816
Webster42114
Kemper41918
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34211
Franklin3265
Choctaw3117
Sharkey30717
Issaquena1124
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 239318

Reported Deaths: 3532
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31391491
Mobile19562361
Tuscaloosa12813154
Madison12741146
Montgomery12198235
Shelby1000577
Baldwin847398
Lee764466
Morgan634348
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Marshall607954
Etowah606565
Houston517038
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Limestone413744
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Elmore400762
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Walker3588108
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Jackson307624
Colbert301941
Blount285539
Autauga268641
Franklin247833
Coffee239715
Dale230354
Dallas224531
Russell22053
Chilton219638
Covington216833
Escambia197431
Chambers173749
Tallapoosa173391
Pike157514
Clarke156319
Marion136535
Winston129923
Lawrence124836
Geneva12028
Pickens119418
Marengo119124
Barbour117010
Bibb116217
Butler114441
Randolph100921
Cherokee100824
Hale94531
Clay90223
Washington90219
Fayette87316
Henry8496
Lowndes79129
Monroe78111
Cleburne75714
Macon72321
Crenshaw70730
Bullock69119
Conecuh68314
Perry6756
Lamar6508
Wilcox63118
Sumter57122
Choctaw41913
Greene41418
Coosa3374
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