We had known that Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was an extremist on the topic of whether or not a sitting president could be not just charged, but even investigated for alleged crimes, but the extremities of his extremism are still coming into view.
For example, the re-discovery of a 1999 forum in which Kavanaugh repeatedly argued that the Supreme Court was wrong in (unanimously) ordering President Richard Nixon to turn over the recordings that would later lead to his resignation.
“But maybe Nixon was wrongly decided — heresy though it is to say so. Nixon took away the power of the president to control information in the executive branch by holding that the courts had power and jurisdiction to order the president to disclose information in response to a subpoena sought by a subordinate executive branch official. That was a huge step with implications to this day that most people do not appreciate sufficiently...Maybe the tension of the time led to an erroneous decision,” Kavanaugh said in a transcript of the discussion that was published in the January-February 1999 issue of the Washington Lawyer.
This is consistent with Kavanaugh's broader arguments that sitting presidents, by the sheer importance of their duties and office, should not be burdened with investigations of criminal acts they may undertake as president. And, as we've argued before, it is an opinion that is hard to flatteringly square with Kavanaugh's own service as one of Ken Starr's most devoted assistants in attempting to ferret out anything in any decade of then-President Bill Clinton's entire career that the Republican House could use against him, including the rabid, rancid, and contemptible far-right theories that maybe the Clintons had a White House staff member murdered.
Kavanaugh has been consistent, yes; he has consistently argued that Republican presidents credibly accused of criminal activity, from Richard Nixon's obstruction of justice to the George W. Bush's program of state-sponsored torture, must be shielded from investigation, but worked himself on the most spittle-flecked and unending investigation of a Democratic president in modern history. (Kavanaugh's most notable assignment, "investigating" the suicide of Vince Foster at the behest of far-right lunatics, was among the stupidest and most malevolent subplots of the entire affair, and it is of little surprise that he, like so many other cheap partisan hacks of the era, were elevated to conservative stardom for their roles.)
There's little question as to why the Trump Team settled on Brett Kavanaugh, out of all the possible Supreme Court picks pre-vetted for them. Donald Trump, his White House staff members, his top campaign lieutenants and his own children are all under investigation for criminal acts that include conspiracy with a foreign power. Trump is obsessed with shutting down the investigation; not a week goes by in which he does not vent his fury at the investigators, often by name, and declare the entire process to be a plot against him.
Among the potential court nominees, however, Kavanaugh appears to be alone in having a history of public declarations that presidents should not be obliged to suffer such investigations at all. Forget every other hyper-conservative opinion the man has; for Trump, it is hard to imagine the man so obsessed with shuttering an investigation into criminal acts within his White House would decide on any justice other than the one who has opined for decades that such investigations should be shuttered.
Trump is eager to choose the judges that will decide the ground rules for how he himself is investigated. It is impossible to argue that shuttering the investigation is anything but a top White House priority, given the man's own rallies, press statements, and Twitter feed; it is implausible to suggest that this most distinguishing and convenient feature of Kavanaugh's career is, for a Trump White House in frothing turmoil over the probe into Russian hacking and its American beneficiaries, a mere coincidence.