Newt Gingrich admits Kavanaugh fight was about protecting Trump
Former GOP Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said the quiet part out loud Thursday, when he admitted that the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court was driven by Republicans’ desire to install a justice who would protect Trump from investigations.
In a live interview with the Washington Post, Gingrich said Republicans would find out if the battle to confirm Kavanaugh was “worth it” if Democrats end up retaking the majority in Congress and try to subpoena Trump’s tax returns.
If Democrats attempt to compel Trump to turn over his tax returns, “they’ll be trapped into appealing to the Supreme Court,” Gingrich said, referring to a potential court battle over whether a sitting president must comply with a subpoena.
“And we’ll see whether or not the Kavanaugh fight was worth it,” he said, prompting gasps from audience members.Gingrich also said he isn’t worried about Trump getting caught up in lawsuits and legal troubles, and doesn’t think Trump has anything to fear about about Democratic lawmakers’ ability to investigate him.
“This is a billionaire who has fought lawsuits his entire career and he’s never noticed them. He doesn’t care,” Gingrich said. “That’s why he has lawyers. So they can come at him from 100 levels — he’ll just hire 100 lawyers. I don’t think he has any fear of the Democrats.”
Gingrich’s remarks appear to confirm what many already suspected: Republicans are counting on Kavanaugh to use his new seat on the Supreme Court to protect Trump from legal scrutiny.
During Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, Democratic lawmakers repeatedly questioned Kavanaugh about his views on issues related to executive power, including whether or not a sitting president can be compelled to testify or turn over documents.
In one notable exchange, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) directly pressed Kavanaugh on whether a president must respond to a subpoena issued by a court of law. He refused to answer the question.
Kavanaugh has argued previously that a sitting president should not be subject to criminal or civil litigation — indicating that he would likely issue rulings in favor of Trump if the Supreme Court is asked to hear a case challenging the authority of congressional investigators, or even special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
This could be particularly relevant in coming months, given that Democrats have been studying potential ways to obtain Trump’s tax returns. One of the strategies they’ve discussed involves an old provision in the tax code that may set up a legal fight that would likely end up in the Supreme Court.
And Kavanaugh will be there to protect Trump, even if it means trampling on democracy in the process.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Caroline Orr.