It’s not the crazy conspiracy theory that some have alleged — i.e. that Anthony Kennedy’s resignation was somehow tied to his son’s employment at Deutsche Bank, which has been involved in laundering Russian cash and loaning the Trump campaign money. As the Washington Post explained last week, mere coincidence is not he same as real evidence on that front.
That said, Think Progress does present some persuasive evidence today that Trump and Kennedy did make a deal over his resignation. This is from “White House doesn’t deny report Trump made secret deal with Kennedy over retirement, replacement: It’s not supposed to work like this.”:
“During an CNN interview on Tuesday morning, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah did not deny an NBC report that outgoing Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy ‘received assurances’ from President Trump that if he retired, Judge Brett Kavanaugh — one of Kennedy’s former clerks — would be nominated to be his replacement.
Asked repeatedly if some sort of deal between Trump and Kennedy was struck before Kennedy announced his retirement, Shah dodged, saying things like ‘I’m not going to read out private conversations that Justice Kennedy had with either members of the White House or the president,’ and, ‘Justice Kennedy can speak for himself.’ But what Shah didn’t do is deny that the NBC report is accurate.
If NBC’s report is true, it means Kennedy would effectively have been given control over a SCOTUS seat for 60 years — the 30 years he served, and the 30 or so the 53-year-old Kavanaugh will likely serve on the court if confirmed.”
The story goes on to discuss the fact that Kavanaugh previously wrote an article in which he argued that sitting presidents are largely above the law.
All in all, it’s increasingly apparent why Trump picked Kavanaugh — namely, that he’s his kind of guy.