The Senate Judiciary Committee is reviewing documents from President George W. Bush‘s legal team regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh‘s time with the Bush administration. Democrats are calling for the documents to be made public, expressing concern that they contradict sworn statements that Kavanaugh made before the Committee about 12 years ago.
In a letter to Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said that the limited number of records they’ve been able to look at so far “call into serious question whether Judge Kavanaugh was truthful about his involvement in the Bush Administration’s post-9/11 terrorism policies when he testified before this Committee during his 2006 nomination hearing.”
That testimony was regarding the role that Kavanaugh may or may not have had regarding detention and interrogation policies, as well as the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping practices. At the time, he said he was not involved in such issues, but the Democratic Senators claim that two documents from when Kavanaugh was Staff Secretary that were made public on the Bush Library’s website indicate otherwise. Additionally, they claim that some of the documents that the Senate Judiciary Committee now possesses “further undercut Judge Kavanaugh’s blanket assertions that he had no involvement in or knowledge of post-9/11 terrorism policies.”
The Democrats stated that those documents, and others related to Kavanaugh’s time as White House Counsel, were being kept from the public by Grassley, and that they should be released. They added that knowledge of these documents are important for when Kavanaugh has his Committee hearing for his Supreme Court nomination, which is currently set to take place next month.
“We firmly believe that Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination cannot be considered unless these documents are available, including to the public and the Senate as a whole,” the Senators said in a statement.
A representative for Grassley told Law&Crime that the Senator “has been clear on many occasions that the committee is not requesting staff secretary documents because they are the least revealing of Judge Kavanaugh’s legal thinking,” and that Democrats already have nearly 250,000 pages of documents from when Kavanaugh was a White House legal adviser immediately after September 11, 2001.
In a statement, the representative went on to say:
The Democrats flatly rejected any targeted search of the White House staff secretary records related to these issues. Instead, they politicized this process by demanding the search of every scrap of White House paper of the hundreds of aides who came and went for the entire Bush presidency, with the obvious intent of delaying the confirmation vote past the mid-term elections. This latest letter citing already-public material appears to be more of the same delay tactics.
Note: This article has been updated with a statement from Grassley’s office.
[Image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images]
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