As the American public and U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle continue to process and express outrage at President Donald Trump's bizarrely deferential and "pathetic" performance alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, progressive advocacy groups were quick to highlight one substantive step senators can and must take to check the president: block his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
"A reminder to every single Republican senator currently outraged about the Helsinki Summit: If you care about this, you should be ready to #StopKavanaugh. His record shows he's ready to shield Trump from accountability for any of this."
Pointing to Kavanaugh's view—just one of his many odious positions—that presidents should be "shielded from civil suits and criminal investigations," Indivisible and other prominent organizations began to pressure both Republican and Democratic senators claiming to be appalled by Trump's behavior at the Finland summit to move beyond "substance-less" tough talk and take action to block Kavanaugh's confirmation.
"A reminder to every single Republican senator currently outraged about the Helsinki Summit: If you care about this, you should be ready to #StopKavanaugh," Indivisible wrote in a tweet on Monday, arguing that Kavanaugh's confirmation could imperil Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. "His record shows he's ready to shield Trump from accountability for any of this."
Tweeting directly at Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Tuesday after she denounced the Trump's remarks at his joint press conference with Putin—during which the U.S. president unequivocally accepted the Russian leader's claim that he did nothing to interfere with the 2016 presidential election—Indivisible wrote, "If you're serious about taking action after Trump's comments at Helsinki, you should commit to #StopKavanaugh and #SaveSCOTUS."
.@SenatorCollins, if you're serious about taking action after Trump's comments at #Helsinki2018, you should commit to #StopKavanaugh and #SaveSCOTUS. He believes presidents should have wide latitude to hire & fire special counsels: https://t.co/FJbeQl3otT https://t.co/cMh34EngvY
— Indivisible Guide (@IndivisibleTeam) July 16, 2018
Indivisible tweeted a similar message to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) as Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, of Arizona and Tennessee respectively, were called out following their critical reactions to the president's remarks in Finland:
Any two GOP Senators--e.g., Flake & Corker--have lots of leverage on Trump & Russia. They can pledge to vote down Brett Kavanaugh unless the Trump Admin takes strong steps to stop Russian interference in the 2018 elections or unless Congress passes legislation to protect Mueller
— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) July 17, 2018
And advocacy groups didn't limit their pressure campaign to Republicans. As Indivisible co-founder Ezra Levin noted, "31 Senate Democrats are still not on the record opposing Kavanaugh, a judge who believes Trump can't be indicted while in office."
Friendly reminder that 31 Senate Democrats are still not on the record opposing Kavanaugh, a judge who believes Trump can't be indicted while in office. Running list: https://t.co/6nJ8aBhVTk
— Ezra Levin (@ezralevin) July 16, 2018
Blue states w/ BOTH Dems still on the sidelines:@SenatorCarper @ChrisCoons (DE)@maziehirono @brianschatz (HI)@SenDuckworth @SenatorDurbin (IL)@SenatorHassan @SenatorShaheen (NH)@SenatorTomUdall @MartinHeinrich (NM)@SenJackReed @SenWhitehouse (RI)@timkaine @MarkWarner (VA) https://t.co/HEZZ0CEGOh
— Ezra Levin (@ezralevin) July 17, 2018
If the Senate Democratic caucus fully unites against Kavanaugh, Republicans can only afford to lose one GOP vote if he is to be confirmed, given that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is not expected to vote as he receives treatment for brain cancer.
But, Levin concluded, "we're NEVER going to get Collins or Murkowski against Kavanaugh if we can't even get safe blue state Dems onboard. Hell, we're not going to get Heitkamp, Donnelly, or Manchin onboard if we can't lock up these safe Dems ASAP."