Leahy presses Kavanaugh over emails stolen by Republican operative

Posted September 06, 2018

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation tumbled into highly charged arguing Thursday over whether key documents were being withheld, and one Democrat risked Senate discipline by releasing confidential material.

The Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh turned into a fight over Senate rules Thursday morning, with arguments about the release of confidential documents and threats of the possible expulsion of some members.

During his ongoing confirmation hearing, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has said over and over again Roe v. Wade, the case guaranteeing a woman's right to an abortion, is "settled law".

Senate Democrats have suggested that Kavanaugh could be biased in favor of the President. Journalist Bob Woodward's new book about Trump says Kavanaugh recommended Porter for the job.

Cornyn said he hoped Booker "will reconsider his decision, because no senator deserve to sit on this committee or serve in the Senate, in my view, if they decide to be a law unto themselves and willingly flout the rules of the Senate".

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Asked Wednesday by Feinstein whether a sitting president can be forced to respond to a subpoena, he demurred: "I can't give you an answer on that hypothetical question".

"Let's jump into this pit together", Durbin said.

The hearing opened with Democrats complaining that the documents had not already been made public by the committee's Republican leaders.

Trump told reporters at the White House he was pleased with the hearing and said "the other side is grasping at straws".

Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii also tweeted in support of Booker, saying: "Yesterday, I referred to a "Committee confidential" document where Judge Kavanaugh questioned the validity of programs that benefit Native Hawaiian programs, and by extension, Alaska Natives". Orrin Hatch of Utah, Kavanaugh said, "I don't recall any inappropriate conversations about the investigation".

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Booker got some backup in his act of "civil disobedience" from many of his Democratic colleagues. But with Trump's fellow Republicans holding a slim majority in the Senate, and with no sign of any of them voting against the nomination, it remains likely Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the lifetime job on top USA judicial body.

That opinion, however, deeply frustrated conservatives because its three co-authors were Republican appointees expected to reverse Roe: Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, David Souter and, significantly, Anthony Kennedy, whose seat Judge Kavanaugh would fill.

Democrats, including several senators poised for 2020 presidential bids, had tried to block the formal proceedings Tuesday in a dispute over Kavanaugh records withheld by the White House. This is a relevant topic because Judge Kavanaugh was part of the Special Counsel team which investigated President Bill Clinton, who was impeached, but has since changed his mind.

"The Supreme Court must never be viewed as a partisan institution", Kavanaugh said.

Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion ruling, was an early line of questioning. It had been held by the committee as confidential. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, on Wednesday night. "I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law", Kavanaugh is featured saying. Republicans hope Kavanaugh will be confirmed by the Senate before the next Supreme Court term starts on October 1.

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Klobuchar also repeated her objections to hundreds of thousands of documents related to Kavanaugh that remain secret, including 100,000 documents the White House has declared off limits from the five years that Kavanaugh worked for President George W. Bush.