Update 1 pm Eastern Time: NBC Capitol Hill Reporter Leigh Ann Caldwell has clarified part of NBC’s report regarding the information published this morning. She posted the following two messages moments ago:
Last night during President Trump’s announcement of his Supreme Court pick to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, we heard a lot of praise from Trump’s new nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
“No president has ever consulted more widely or talked to more people from more backgrounds to seek input for a Supreme Court nomination,” explained Kavanaugh.
Now, according to a new report by NBC News’ White House Correspondent Geoff Bennett, Kavanaugh’s quote may not hold much water. Bennett made quite a bombshell of a report this morning, via Twitter, saying:
“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.”
If true, this could certainly hold up the nomination of Kavanaugh, as well as cause concerns over how much say former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy had in the matter, while he was in the process of ruling on matters related to the Trump administration. Bennett, nor NBC News, have released any further details of this report at the time of this publication. However, this report does have people talking about potential ramifications.
Norm Eisen, an attorney who has served as White House Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform, tweeted a response to these allegations, explaining, “If this is true, Kennedy had a major conflict of interest as to Trump while sitting in judgment on Trump’s actions including the Muslim ban. A judge cannot secretly negotiate a benefit he badly wants with a litigant who has other business before his court. Hearings must address.”
Right now it appears as though this report is from a single source which NBC has yet to officially name.
NBC Capitol Hill Reporter, Leigh Ann Caldwell also chimed in on the story, saying “To be clear: This is from one source and dont have any info on whether potus talked to kennedy about a possible replacement.”
Politico has also reported that Trump has always been leaning toward Anthony Kennedy’s preference of Kavanaugh, and one of the only things that concerned Trump was how close Kavanaugh had been with the Bush family over the years.