Republican Efforts to Ram Trump's Supreme Court Pick Through the Senate Look Like a Blatant Attempt to Cover Up His Past
Republican Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley is promising to push ahead with a September hearing for Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh despite being notified Thursday that the National Archives can't possibly meet Grassley’s document request until late October.
Sen. Grassley had requested the Archive’s review of Kavanaugh's documents from his time in the Bush White House be completed by August 15, but a letter sent by its general counsel said they expect to produce the estimated 900,000 pages of relevant material "by the end of October."
Following the news, a GOP Judiciary Committee aide was quick to put out a statement promising the panel would proceed apace with the original confirmation timeline.
"As Chairman Grassley said this morning, he intends to hold a hearing sometime in September," said the aide.
The GOP statement said the committee was counting on receiving documents "in an even more rapid fashion" from the archives of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. "The Bush Library will produce to us over 125,000 pages today," said the aide. But when Grassley sent the request to the Bush archives, he explicitly left out the three years in which Kavanaugh served as staff secretary to Bush, writes the New York Times.
Grassley last week asked Bush's presidential library for the paperwork without the documents from Kavanaugh's staff secretary years. He said he could not reach an agreement with Feinstein over the scope of the documents request.
Republicans are clearly hanging their hat on the bulk of the papers reviewed for Kavanaugh's nomination rather than whether all the relevant documents are made available.
"In the end, the committee will have reviewed significantly more records than ever before for a Supreme Court nominee," touted the Judiciary aide.
That may end up being true, but Republicans are clearly keen on avoiding certain parts of Kavanaugh's record. The nearly 1 million-page paper trail related to Kavanaugh's time at the White House greatly exceeds that of both Justice Elena Kagan (170,000) and Chief Justice John Roberts (70,000), according to the archives.
But included in those 1 million pages at Archives is Kavanaugh's time as staff secretary at the Bush White House, which Kavanaugh himself has called "the most interesting and informative" period to him as a judge. It's also a time when he played a key role in the internal debate over whether President Bush had the executive authority to override a ban on torture.
One way or the other, Republicans are determined to skip over those three key years on the way to a pre-midterm confirmation vote. It appears the only thing that might stop them is if any Republicans, such as Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, actually take an interest in seeing those papers before rushing into the hearings.
Here’s the letter from the National Archive:
NEWS: National Archives tells @ChuckGrassley it won't be able to complete his Brett Kavanaugh document request by A… https://t.co/osJRC03Yey— Sahil Kapur (@Sahil Kapur)1533227769.0