The last four years has produced a rich backlog of questionable conduct by public officials. Conduct that smelled foul at the time, but got lost in the blizzard of lies. Conduct that never got further than reporters reporting on it. Conduct that was never investigated.
If a new administration were so inclined — and if a Justice Department were looking for payback after its recent existential trauma — investigations of Trump-era wrongdoing would be a target-rich environment.
And it seems to me, you couldn’t find a better early target — after Trump and his entire family, that is — than a Supreme Court justice.
Let’s never forget that three Supreme Court picks should have gone to Hillary Clinton. Let’s never forget that the first was snatched away, first by McConnell, then by Putin. Or that the third was stolen again by McConnell and his band of murderers. So let’s stipulate that ruthlessness is entirely appropriate.
And with that in mind, let’s zero in on that second pick. Brett Kavanaugh, legal scholar and serial date rapist.
This guy is different from the other two. Gorsuch is clearly a straight shooter, as assholes often are. Ditto Amy Coney Barrett, who is probably as squeaky clean as she looks, which is frightening in its own right.
But Kavanaugh is a legitimate slimeball, and it might be fun for an incoming Congress to try to impeach him. Because Kavanaugh has a long and unfortunate history of lying to the Senate.
Some of these lies happened long ago, out of range of the statute of limitations. They go back to his days with the Bush administration’s legal team, when it was his job to figure out how to slip their sordid torture policy in between the letter and the spirit of the constitution.
Dick Durbin hasn’t forgotten. The Illinois senator pinned him down during Kavanaugh’s 2006 circuit court confirmation hearing. He officially demanded explanations for some of the more dubious claims — in writing — which he never got. Then he brought it up again in 2018, when Kavanaugh was applying for his current job. Durbin is still waiting for that explanation. And he’s still in the Senate.
Kavanaugh told other lies about his Bush years, mostly about things that were more embarrassing than illegal. But the lies themselves were illegal. If he’d been a Democrat, Republican senators would have gutted and fileted him right there. But as with all the other Bush-era criminals, Kavanaugh was never held to account. For anything.
But it’s the lying he did during that 2018 confirmation hearing — the one we all remember so fondly — that may yet come back to haunt him.
On the surface, it still sounds like boys-will-be-boys idiocy, until you realize how vicious it was. He “forgot” what a Devil’s Triangle was — other than its association with his yearbook picture — though it’s the kind of activity one tends to remember. He also “forgot” that he used to black out from binge drinking — again, something that might reasonably have a place in one’s long-term memory.
At the time of his hearing, you’ll recall that any number of his fellow students had quite vivid memories of what, with hindsight, we can now comfortably call debauchery. And they destroyed the credibility of those supposed memory lapses.
Of course, perjury is a tricky thing to prove, but you can’t prove anything until you’ve investigated. And that didn’t happen. Let’s not forget that these lies were in the context of real allegations of sexual misconduct — possible crimes that the FBI was prepared to investigate, but never did.
Republicans headed off all investigations. They ignored all calls for delay. They pumped up Susan Collins and sent her out to tell us what a swell guy Kavanaugh is. And they rammed through the nomination. End of story. Or was it?
Seems to me, there could be an investigation here somewhere. And unlike presidents, Supreme Court justices can be prosecuted while in office.
There’s a public relations element to this as well. If all the allegations against Kavanaugh were to resurface and actually be investigated, pressure to resign in advance of impeachment could be heavy.
And speaking of investigations that never happened, remember how that seat became vacant in the first place? How Anthony Kennedy just decided to step down from the bench? How there were these delicious reports of his son Justin having done deals for Trump while at Deutsche Bank. How Deutsche Bank itself was a world-class money launderer and serial Trump-enabler.
The odor was pungent even then, but with the Justice Department effectively muzzled, and with reporters already consumed with Russia and Mueller and Trump’s atrocity du jour, this one slipped away almost unnoticed. Even as Deutsche Bank grew more notorious.
It is no secret that Deutsche Bank lent money to Trump — even though he was long past his sell-by date — when no other bank in the world would touch him. It’s also no secret that Deutsche Bank’s financial connections to VNB, Putin’s pet bank, were as extensive as they were unsavory.
The dots have not yet been connected from Putin to VNB Bank to Deutsche Bank to Trump. But it’s the kind of thing a young ambitious prosecutor would see as a career-making opportunity. Wouldn’t Trump’s tax returns be a fun place to start?
And that’s the point. Nobody investigated any of these things. Republicans only investigate fantasy crimes like Benghazi and Clinton’s emails. Actual evidence is neither sought nor welcomed.
While there’s a lot more to be said about the bumper crop of investigations that need to happen — and soon — let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Still, in a new administration (I keep knocking wood), there will be stellar careers to be made in white collar prosecution. I can’t wait to see it.