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Trump’s Supreme Court nominees lambasted him behind his back — and Kavanaugh thought he was ‘a buffoon’: report

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Although President Donald Trump isn’t known for reading any more than he absolutely has to, that doesn’t prevent him from railing against books he considers unfavorable to him — for example, Washington Post journalist Ruth Marcus’ newly released “Supreme Ambition: Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover.” Trump, on Twitter, has described Marcus’ book as “fake news” and a “badly written and researched disaster.” And according to The Guardian’s Lloyd Green, Trump might grow to hate the book even more if he actually reads it and sees what the two U.S. Supreme Court justices he has nominated so far — Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 — had to say about him behind closed doors.

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Green, in a December 1 article for The Guardian, reports that according to Marcus, Kavanaugh — during the 2016 election — asserted that he “thought Trump was a buffoon.” And Gorsuch once told Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut that he found Trump’s comments about the U.S. judiciary to be “demoralizing” and “disheartening.”

But whatever Kavanaugh and Gorsuch might have had to say about Trump behind closed doors, one of the things evangelicals loves about the president is the fact that he has moved the U.S. Supreme Court to the right on social issues. Trump, with the help of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a GOP-controlled U.S. Senate, replaced the late Justice Antonin Scalia with Gorsuch — which wasn’t, in and of itself, a game changer. But the big change was replacing the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy with Kavanaugh: while Kennedy was a right-wing libertarian who often sided with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on social issues like gay rights, same-sex marriage and abortion, Kavanaugh is more of a social conservative in the Scalia/Justice Clarence Thomas vein.

Green says of Marcus’ book, “Marcus, a veteran Post reporter (and) now deputy editorial page editor, delivers a highly readable 496-page account of Kavanaugh’s nomination, the surrounding machinations within the White House and Congress, and the decades-long campaign waged by the right to wrest control of the judiciary. Although she is unsympathetic to the GOP’s endeavor, her book is amply sourced and footnoted. It is meticulous in detail and credible in content.”

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade at some point — which is a strong possibility — and legal access to abortion is again determined on a state-by-state basis, it will be a huge victory for the Christian right and Trump’s white evangelical base. But Green notes that pushing the Supreme Court to the right has not only culture war implications, but also, economic implications: Republicans — Marcus demonstrates in her book — are hoping to eradicate what remains of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.

“In other words,” Green writes, “fetuses weren’t the only reasons that large checks were being cut to the Federalist Society, or that constitutional originalism had become the civic religion of the right. FDR’s legacy had to be gutted. Social Security may no longer be so secure.”

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Even if Trump is voted out of office in 2020 and Democrats retake the Senate, liberals and progressives will still have a lot to complain about in the years to come thanks to Trump’s potentially long-lasting influence on the judiciary. Let’s say that 2020 is a best-case scenario that progressives would love: Sen. Bernie Sanders becomes president, Democrats retake the Senate and expand their House majority — even then, Trump’s effect on the judiciary could be felt for years to come.

“The appointments of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were not isolated events,” Green explains. “Rather, they marked a culmination of a concerted effort by movement conservatives to remake the courts in their image. While abortion was very much part of their agenda, so was stymying the administrative state and rolling back the New Deal.”

 

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GOP governors are refusing to do Trump’s bidding and ducking him on the campaign trail: report

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On Saturday, Maggie Haberman of The New York Times profiled how President Donald Trump is having less luck whipping Republican governors into line than Republican senators, including governors who arguably owe their election to his support.

"In Florida, Mr. Trump’s aides helped save the flailing candidacy of Ron DeSantis in the 2018 Republican primary, and then the general election," wrote Haberman. "Also last year, in Georgia, Mr. Trump helped pull Brian Kemp over the finish line in both the primary and the general election. In both cases, Mr. Trump’s advisers implored him to stay out of the primaries, and he agreed to — only to surprise his aides by jumping in to support Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Kemp."

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Courts have avoided refereeing between Congress and the president — Trump may change all that

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President Donald Trump’s refusal to hand over records to Congress and allow executive branch employees to provide information and testimony to Congress during the impeachment battle is the strongest test yet of legal principles that over the past 200 years have not yet been fully defined by U.S. courts.

It’s not the first test: Struggles over power among the political branches predate our Constitution. The framers chose not to, and probably could not, fully resolve them.

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Giuliani’s latest trip to Ukraine opened a new door for prosecutors to go after Trump: MSNBC analyst

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On MSNBC Saturday afternoon, legal analyst Danny Cevallos explained how Rudy Giuliani's trip to Ukraine to produce anti-impeachment propaganda could end up harming his legal position — by muddying attorney-client privilege with President Donald Trump.

"The only path to legitimacy is if there was a true corruption threat in Ukraine, and specifically if Hunter Biden and Burisma posed a true corruption threat," said Cevallos. "That is why Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine. He's building that case. So that he can show, bring a news network there, right-leaning news network to do a documentary or investigate this issue and yield factual information that Rudy Giuliani can point to and say, this corruption, this evidence, these facts show that President trump was warranted in requesting an investigation, not generally into corruption, specifically into Hunter Biden. It's the only path that will work for Republicans that passes even remotely any kind of smell test. Even then, it's a bit of a stretch."

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