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Brett Kavanaugh said Bill Clinton’s behavior ‘would make Nixon blush.’

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Washington Post today published an August 1998 memo the Supreme Court nominee wrote to independent counsel Ken Starr when he worked in Starr’s office, urging him to adopt a more hardline approach to questioning the president. Among Kavanaugh’s proposed slate of questions for Clinton: “If Monica Lewinsky says that you inserted a cigar into her vagina while you were in the Oval Office area, would she be lying?”

But the graphic descriptions of Clinton’s relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky won’t come as a surprise to anyone who read the Starr Report in 1998, which lays out the president’s actions in equally explicit detail. What’s more interesting is how Kavanaugh describes Clinton’s misdeeds and efforts to thwart investigations into them.

The president has disgraced his office, the legal system, and the American people by having sex with a 22-year-old intern and turning her life into a shambles—callous and disgusting behavior that has somehow gotten lost in the shuffle. He has committed perjury (at least) in the Jones case. He has turned the Secret Service upside down. He has required the urgent attention of the courts and the Supreme Court for frivolous privilege claims—all to cover up his oral sex from an intern. He has lied to his aides. He has lied to the American people. He has tried to disgrace you and this office with a sustained propaganda campaign that would make Nixon blush.

“He should be forced to account for that and to defend his actions,” Kavanaugh concluded, in bold text. It’s hard to read the exchange without thinking about President Donald Trump’s scorched-earth campaign against the Russia investigation. While the precise circumstances differ between the two inquiries, the pattern of attacks, denials, and fabrications is consistent. If Kavanaugh’s hostility toward presidential malfeasance also remains constant, he could yet surprise his critics if confirmed.