WASHINGTON – Democrats opposing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's nomination are seizing on remarks he made in 2016 saying he would like to put the "final nail" in a Supreme Court precedent upholding an independent counsel law as constitutional. Republicans say Kavanaugh's writings and speeches are being taken out of context. The independent counsel law, which took the hiring and firing of prosecutors away from the executive branch, expired in 1999 and does not apply to special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. The ongoing probe falls under the Justice Department. But Democrats have put Kavanaugh's views on executive power and presidential investigations front and center as they battle his nomination.
President Trump wants to put an end to the Department of Justice's Russia inquiry. He has questioned whether he can pardon himself and whether Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions should have recused himself from the investigation. The president is a fighter, but he'll need to pick his fight. Expressing annoyance with his attorney general and daydreaming about pardoning himself won't do.
BOSTON – A group of 20 attorneys general, all Democrats, is calling for the appointment of an independent special counsel to continue the investigation into Russian interference in last year's presidential election. The group led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey called Republican President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey during the ongoing investigation a "violation of public trust." The group said in a Thursday letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that only the appointment of an independent special counsel "with full powers and resources" can begin to restore public confidence. Those signing the letter include the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.
Special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller is shown in June. Special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller is shown in June. I'm Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. If you're reading this newsletter, the world did not end today as prophesied. Let's take a look back at the week in Opinion.