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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.

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“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?'”

Watch the full conversation below:

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Texas governor busted sending racist call-to-arms a day before El Paso attack: ‘take matters into our own hands’

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On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) tweeted out a message of unity and promised to work to reduce violence in his state, in the wake of the shooting in El Paso that left 22 dead and dozens more injured:

Today we had hearings responding to the tragic shooting in El Paso.

We focused on community healing, combating domestic terrorism, reducing hateful ideologies, & keeping guns out of hands of deranged killers while respecting 2nd Amendment rights.

We’ll keep TX safe.#txlege pic.twitter.com/ymct4aiSgK

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Facebook bans far-right website from pro-Trump advertising after they try to skirt transparency rules

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On Thursday, NBC News reported that Facebook has banned the Epoch Times from placing political advertisements, after the right-wing website tried to conceal its multimillion-dollar dark money streams and get around the social network's political advertising transparency rules in its propaganda supporting President Donald Trump.

The Epoch Times had tried to skirt rules by running ads under puppet names like "Honest Paper" and "Pure American Journalism," confusing users about who was really behind the ads.

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Former Overstock CEO tells Fox News the Feds wanted him to sleep with Russian spy Maria Butina

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Longtime Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne resigned on Thursday after issuing a bizarre press release that caused the company's stock to tank.

Byrne then went on Fox News to claim that federal officials urged him to have a romantic relationship with Russian spy Maria Butina.

He claimed that the government told him they never asked citizens to engage in romantic relationships, but it was "such a national security risk" that the government asked Byrne, then in his fifties, to sleep with Butina, who was at the time in her twenties and half his age.

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