Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has made no secret of the fact that he views President Donald Trump as a menace to the U.S. Constitution. "Our presidency has been debased by a figure who seemingly has a bottomless appetite for destruction and division," Flake told the graduating class of Harvard Law School in May, "and only a passing familiarity with how the Constitution works."
Today at the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Flake took the opportunity to share his critical take directly with Trump's Supreme Court pick. Needless to say, Kavanaugh did not exactly look thrilled while the Republican senator was speaking out.
"A lot of the concern on the other side of the aisle," Flake told Kavanaugh, centers on worries about "an administration that doesn't seem to understand and appreciate separation of powers and the rule of law. I have that concern as well."
To illustrate his point, Flake cited "what was said just yesterday by the president." He was referring to Trump's tweet attacking "the Jeff Sessions Justice Department" for bringing "two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen…to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms." As Trump put it, "two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff."
That tweet, Flake told Kavanaugh, "is why a lot of people are concerned about this administration and why they want to ensure that our institutions hold. Thus far they have. Gratefully, Jeff Sessions has resisted pressure from the president to punish his enemies and relieve pressures on his friends."
Flake then concluded by telling Kavanaugh that "many of the questions you will get from the other side of the aisle, and from me," will center on Trump and executive power.
To be sure, none of this talk necessarily means that Flake is going to vote against confirming Kavanaugh. But it is the first sign that Kavanaugh will face any sort of remotely tough questioning from the Republican side of the aisle. If nothing else, it should be a welcome break from the partisan monotony.