Trump's Supreme Court Pick May Have Committed Perjury — And the GOP Appears to Be Suppressing Evidence that Could Prove It

Sen. Patrick Leahy asserts Republicans were ready to request Brett Kavanaugh's records ... until they weren't.

Photo Credit: Office of Sen. Johnny Isakson

One of the top concerns of Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding President Donald Trump's Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, is whether he knew anything about, authorized, or advised the Bush administration on their torture program for detainees in the War on Terror while he served as White House staff secretary.

In 2006, during his confirmation to the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh told senators, under oath, that he was "not involved in the questions about the rules governing detention of combatants," and had no knowledge of issues about "the legal justifications or the policies relating to the treatment of detainees," according to NBC News. However, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) assert that multiple documents and email chains show Kavanaugh was briefed on the issue, implying he was not honest with the Senate.

Some of the documents Judiciary Democrats say prove Kavanaugh's knowledge of the torture program, and potentially even suggest that he perjured himself in his earlier confirmation, have been marked "Committee Confidential" by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — meaning that even most senators are not allowed to review them.

Also of concern is whether the White House is playing any role in steering document requests. On Friday, Leahy submitted a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn, demanding to know what was discussed at a meeting between him and Judiciary Republicans regarding Kavanaugh.

According to a press release from Leahy, prior to the meeting on July 24, Republicans were prepared to ask the National Archives to release documents produced during Kavanaugh's time as White House Staff Secretary for former President George W. Bush. But after the meeting, Republicans refused to do so, allowing a limited release of documents curated by "a lawyer representing the former president."

"In the 44 years I have served in the United States Senate, I have seen 19 nominations to the Supreme Court, including the nomination of every current member of the Court," said Leahy. "I have never before seen the White House, under either a Republican or Democratic president, usurp or direct the parameters of the Judiciary Committee’s document request regarding a Supreme Court nominee. I find it troubling that the White House and Judiciary Committee Republicans are stifling transparency rather than working together to provide the necessary documents for the Senate to do its work. The American people deserve the unvarnished truth about Judge Kavanaugh."

McGahn has played a critical role in getting Trump's parade of far-right judicial nominees waved through the Senate, and has expressed his avowal to put two Supreme Court justices on the bench before leaving his role in the White House.

In addition to pressuring Judiciary Republicans to release the full set of documents, Senate Democrats have also filed a Freedom of Information Act request, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has threatened to sue the National Archives to make them public.

Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.