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Trump picked Kavanaugh for SCOTUS to avoid Russia probe consequences: MSNBC legal analyst

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Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor at Slate, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that President Donald Trump may have appointed Brett Kavanaugh because of past statements about the protection the president should have from prosecution.

“I want to clarify one thing: in the article where he talked about this, he didn’t say as a Constitutional matter the president should be immune from all civil and criminal liability. He said Congress should pass a law to protect the president. I don’t think he was making the Constitutional point that is quite so broad,” Lithwick said.

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Since Congress has done no such thing, it’s unclear whether Kavanaugh will take that position when given the opportunity to decide whether Trump can be prosecuted if the investigations take that turn.

Maddow noted that Kavanaugh was making a political comment that a prosecutor usurping Congress’ responsibility should be outlined in the law.

“I think it is important because it is not quite as dispositive of this question as we would like to think,” Lithwick explained. “On your question, if you think about how much fire Kavanaugh drew. Ted Cruz hated him. We had the whole Federalist posting one post after another saying, ‘We won’t be for Trump if he puts Kavanaugh up.'”

She said that she believes this isn’t the “fire fight” that the evangelical community wanted and that Kavanaugh isn’t conservative enough for their taste. She went on to say she was “stunned” at how the right brought out “the long knives against him” in the lead-up to Trump’s choice.

“I think that Donald Trump was making exactly the calculus you and Sen. [Corey] Booker (D-NJ) just identified,” she told Maddow. “‘If I have to figure out who to mollify, I have all these groups angry about someone. I am going to protect myself. I am going to pick the guy who wrote most expansively over the years about what the scope of presidential power is. And, I think, that in that sense you see Trump not looking at the landscape of ‘who do I need to satisfy in the upcoming mid-terms.’ He’s saying, ‘How do I protect me?'”

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Watch the full conversation below:


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Buffalo has a long history of protecting cops from criminal charges: report

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On Saturday, The Daily Beast documented the recent history of use of force in the Buffalo Police Department, which is reeling from controversy as two officers face assault charges for shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground.

"As shocking as this all may be to outsiders, the shoving of demonstrator Martin Gugino and the defiant response of officers to an effort to discipline two of their own is indicative of the state of police affairs in Buffalo," wrote Jim Heaney. "Has been for a long time, not that you have to go back too far to find other episodes of brutality that have been captured on video."

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Internet disgusted after Buffalo first responders cheer cops charged with assaulting 75-year-old protester

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Commenters on Twitter expressed both contempt and disgust for Buffalo firefighters and police officers who turned out in front of Buffalo City Court to support two suspended police officers with applause and cheering.

Moments after officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault and then released without having to post bail, they were greeted as heroes outside the courthouse.

After a video was posted showing the celebration, commenters on Twitter vented at cops and firefighters for defending the two officers who assaulted the 75-year-old man who had to be rushed to a hospital after they shoved him to the ground where he sustained a head injury.

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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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