Sen. Merkley: ‘Don't Think It's Appropriate’ for Senate to Hold Kavanaugh Hearings While Trump Is Under Investigation

Craig Millward
By Craig Millward | August 21, 2018 | 10:03 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough of the "Morning Joe" with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) (Screenshot)

Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said that he didn’t believe it was “appropriate” for the Senate to hold hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh while President Trump was still under investigation.

Host Joe Scarborough addressed Sen. Merkley, “Senator, thank you so much for being with us. You said something that caught my attention about Donald Trump and his selection for the Supreme Court. You believe that the president of the United States shouldn't even be able to nominate a justice of the Supreme Court at this point because he's under investigation. Explain that.”

Sen. Merkley responded, “Well, right now there's this enormous conflict of interest in which the president’s under investigation and yet he's nominating an individual who will essentially play a significant role in questions like: can the president pardon himself, or can the president fire the special prosecutor? It isn't so much that he can't nominate, but I don't think it's appropriate for this Senate to proceed with these hearings until this investigation is cleared up.”


Earlier this month, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will begin on Sept. 4. 

On the topic of Russia, Merkley said it was not a “good moment” for President Trump to be meeting along with Vladimir Putin.

“I really believe that it is not a good moment for the president to be meeting alone with Putin after his performance overseas,” Sen. Merkley said. “We have a lot of concern about transparency in U.S. foreign policy, and of course, this again ties into fact that the president’s under investigation for potentially coordinating, collaborating with Russia.” 

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