CNN’s Berman Grills Raj Shah: Did Trump Know Kavanaugh Argued Against Investigating Presidents?
White House spokesman Raj Shah gave an interview to John Berman today on CNN, and he faced a lot of questions about why exactly President Trump chose to nominate Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Since Shah just came back into his White House role after taking time off to work on Trump’s SCOTUS nomination team, Berman asked him about the new reports suggesting that Trump tagged Kavanaugh because of a deal he made with Anthony Kennedy before the associate justice announced his retirement:
Source familiar tells NBC that Justice Kennedy had been in negotiations with the Trump team for months over Kennedy’s replacement. Once Kennedy received assurances that it would be Kavanaugh (his former law clerk) Kennedy felt comfortable retiring – @LACaldwellDC & @frankthorp
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) July 10, 2018
Shah spun away by defending Kavanaugh’s qualifications while saying that he wouldn’t go into detail with the White House’s conversations with the circuit judge. Still, Berman pressed on by asking “You’re not ruling that out? You’re not ruling out those conversations took place?”
Shah didn’t exactly deny it with his answer:
“I’m saying Justice Kennedy can speak for himself. The president spoke last night with clarity about why he chose judge Kavanaugh.”
The interview eventually moved on to a conversation about Kavanaugh’s past writings about how presidents shouldn’t be tied up with investigations and indictments. Trump’s critics have cited this opinion to argue that the president appointed Kavanaugh to protect himself from the Russia probe, so Berman asked if the president was “aware” of Kavanaugh’s opinion.
“Does the president agree with the 2009 writing?” Berman asked.
Watch Shah’s answer above, via CNN.
[Image via screengrab]
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