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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
BREAKING: Looks like my hunch was right. The fix *was* in, as NBC now confirms. This was a backroom deal that Trump deliberately hid from the American people by pretending he was vetting candidates. He *wasn't* vetting candidates; he *got* this vacancy by making a secret promise.
2/ I can't underscore this enough: the president just spent 12 days playing out a charade for the American people, and he did so specifically to hide an unsavory and indeed deeply unethical secret deal with Justice Kennedy.

Soon enough we'll learn of *all* Trump's secret deals.
3/ This dirty deal, clearly driven by political allegiances, represents exactly the sort of collusion between two branches of government (as opposed to a separation of powers) that our system of government has since time immemorial considered foul. All of this was done in secret.
4/ Moreover, this dirty collusive deal *involves the Russia investigation*, as reports say part of Team Trump's investigation into whether it would strike this secret deal with Kennedy was looking at how Kavanagh would rule on Trump's *susceptibility to a criminal investigation*.
5/ Legal ethicists, former government attorneys, and constitutional scholars should be weighing in on this as soon as possible—to help us understand how a secret cross-branch deal to produce a vacancy and thereby help ensure the president can't be investigated should be regarded.
6/ Kennedy wanted to retire. Trump wanted to pick his successor. That's not what got the deal done—what got it done appears to have been Trump confirming Kavanagh would be acceptable to him. And it looks like *the key part of that* was his jurisprudence on presidential exemption.
UPDATE/ NBC is now retracting part of its report, saying "Kennedy provided Trump with a list of acceptable replacements" rather than just one name, and therefore the deal wasn't "transactional."

I'm an attorney. I know transactions. What NBC describes is very much a transaction.
UPDATE2/ What NBC's retraction does do is leave open the possibility Trump's vetting process was not a charade—but that's only the case if the people on his short-list were all on Kennedy's list. I don't know that we know that at this point. This all must be further investigated.
UPDATE3/ Remember that all of this was done in *secrecy*. Remember that Trump's many recent public comments deliberately hid (*lied about*) this negotiation. Remember that this was literally the *definition* of politically motivated secret collusion across branches of government.
NOTE/ So was Kavanagh lying here—or just mistaken? How much did he know about the secret, cross-branch collusive deal between Kennedy and Trump—which held that a vacancy would only occur if Trump chose from Kennedy's secret list of acceptable replacements?
NOTE2/ To me, one of the worst parts of this is how Trump and Kennedy came to know each other intimately enough that they could strike this sort of deal. The answer is that Kennedy's son is Trump's banker at Deutsche Bank—which is under investigation for Russian money laundering.
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