Kavanaugh Sidesteps Questions About Trump’s Potential Pardons

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh refused to answer two questions from Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy. The questions were related to the potential pardons from President Donald Trump and the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian election interference, The Washington Post reported.

Asked at his Senate confirmation hearing if Trump could pardon himself, Kavanaugh said he had never looked at self-pardons.

“The question of self-pardons is something I have never analyzed. It’s a question I have not written about. It’s a question, therefore, that’s a hypothetical question that I can’t begin to answer in this context, as a sitting judge, and as a nominee,” Kavanaugh told Leahy.

When Leahy followed up with a question about if Trump could pardon others in exchange for them agreeing not to testify against him, Kavanaugh similarly demurred.

“Senator, I’m not going to answer hypothetical questions of that sort,” Kavanaugh said.

Leahy wrapped up his questions by warning that he hoped “for the sake of the country that remains a hypothetical question.”

The back-and-forth came during Kavanaugh’s second day at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s weeklong hearing on the high court nomination.

Kavanaugh is expected to face several rounds of questions about executive authority and will likely get direct questions about special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

Republicans, including Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill, have warned the President against pardoning his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arguing that it would backfire.

“I would not recommend a pardon. You’ve got to earn a pardon. I think it would be seen as a bridge too far,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has emerged as an ally for the President, told reporters last month.

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