What is Happening Inside the White House and Kavanaugh's Confirmation

Trump has new fuel to his furry against the fake news media. Last Wednesday the New York Times published an anonymous op-ed from a senior administration official inside the White House. Almost instantly the article sparked denials from everyone within the White House and those who are remotely associated. The author describes Trump as a misguided, impulsive, unstable, petty and ineffective. There are several accounts of administration officials defying orders by Trump in an attempt to minimize the potential damage he could have on the country.

Although the majority of the conversation about the op-ed has centered around the content, the New York Times has received countless questions on who the author is and the validity of their claims. The Times has done their best to answer these questions. The author approached the Times via an intermediate who was previously known by the times, and direct communication between the author and the Times was used to establish credibility and conduct background checks. Use of the term ‘senior administration official’ was intentionally used and describes a position within the upper echelon of an administration. Large sections of the public have requested and demanded that the Times release the name of their source. On this issue the Times stands firm; the First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the the press and their right to publish an article criticizing the President so long as it is not slanderous. The Times is under no obligation to release the name of the author nor do they have any intention of doing so. The public will learn the identity of the source only when they are prepared to come forward and claim authorship.

There has been a wide range of public response to the article. Some have said the article will make Trump less likely to trust any of his aide within the White House, keep in mind prior to the publication of this op-ed Trump had already been relying on political reports from tv networks and not daily presidential briefings. Other members of the public are angered that the White House Official is not doing their duty to stop the damage but rather just calling attention to the destruction being done. A positive response to the article; Republicans are speaking out, they are trying to enact change and put the country rather than the party first.

Bob Woodward published his book, Fear: Trump in the White House, last week. Woodward’s book adds to the understanding of what it is like to work inside the White House and how officials are working wot protect America from Trump. The book depicts a group of craven, ineffective, and counterproductive group of individuals working around Trump. While writing Fear, Woodward talked with several members within the Trump administration, who are all quoted by name. Their individual stories illustrate the role of aides within the administration to be protectorates of the American people. The book is largely filled with dialogue from sources recounting meetings and conversations with a responsible yet frustrated tone. Fear is not only a commentary on Trump but also the individuals he was employed around him.

 Judge Kavanaugh sat down in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last Tuesday to begin his Supreme Court confirmation process. The twenty-one member committee will conduct questioning of Kavanaugh and his previous experience with the law. It is no surprise that Democrats are opposing Kavanaugh’s nomination but they seem to be pushing back particularly hard. Tensions have been rising over the past week with concern for the millions of pages of Kavanaugh's records which have been “missing”. This past Tuesday Senator Schumer and other fellow Democrats were so frustrated, the debating staging a walkout or not showing up to the hearing entirely. It is not necessarily true that Senators have been kept in the dark completely about Kavanaugh's record. Although some have been withheld entirely others have been provided on confidential terms; Senators can read them but the documents were not intended to be made public. In an act of civil disobedience, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., released some of the confidential documents, despite the fact that his actions could result in potential expulsion from the Senate. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Patrick Leahy, also released "confidential" documents, which caused a stern rebuke from Sen. John Cornyn, who called them "irresponsible and outrageous." Cornyn stated; "This is no different from the senator deciding to release classified information," Cornyn said. "No senator deserves to sit on this committee, or serve in the Senate in my view, if they decide to be a law unto themselves and willingly flout the rules of the Senate and the determination of confidentiality and classification."

On the issues, Kavanaugh has done his best to not commit to supporting or rejecting any particular issue. On the topic of abortion Kavanagh said he understands the weight that many people attach to Roe. But he declined to say whether that case was properly decided. When questioned about race, Kavanaugh stated that the hopes he previously expressed for a color-blind society have not been fulfilled."We see on an all-too-common basis that racism still exists in the United States of America," Kavanaugh said. "Our long march to racial equality is not over." Kavanaugh was also question about the elephant in the room; would he be able to be impartial if a case involving trump was brought before the Court. The answer was clear, he would be impartial but Kavanaugh also said he did not believe it was the place of the Justices to weigh in on current political controversies.

Classified documents released Thursday, by Corey Booker, refuted Kavanaugh’s perspective on issues. One of the revealed documents contained a statement made by Kavanaugh in 2003 regarding Roe v. Wade. “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since [the] Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.” When asked about this statement and its contrast to what he said directly to the committee, Kavanaugh explained that he was simply restating a scholarly opinion and not his position as a judge.