‘Spartacus’ Cory Booker ‘Broke Rules’ to Release Emails Already Cleared for Publication

Cory Booker (Yura Gripas / AFP / Getty)
Yura Gripas / AFP / Getty

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) made a great show of breaking Senate rules on Thursday to release “committee confidential” emails regarding Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh — but the emails had reportedly already been cleared for release.

Booker, referring to himself as Spartacus — i.e. the slave who led a revolt in ancient Rome, and sacrifices himself in the Hollywood film version of the story — defiantly dared the Senate to oust him for breaking the rules of confidentiality.

The emails he released included an exchange in which Kavanaugh advised the Bush administration to use “race-neutral” policies in airport security — though Booker spun them to suggest Republicans were trying to keep the emails hidden because of the references to race, implying that Kavanaugh had made racially derogatory or offensive comments in the emails.

Later Thursday, Shannon Bream of Fox News reported that the emails had already been cleared for release by the committee at 4:00 a.m. EDT Thursday morning, after Democratic Senators on the committee belatedly asked chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to make them public.

Committee communications staffer Garrett Ventry elaborated on Twitter:

It is not clear whether Booker knew the documents had already been cleared for release. Other senators, notably Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), rebuked Booker for what they appeared to believe at the time was a violation of the rules. Cornyn called it “conduct unbecoming of a senator.”

Update: Fox News reported that Booker’s office had been informed that the documents had been cleared before the hearing.

Cornyn told Fox News that he had only learned from Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) after his exchange with Booker that the documents had already been cleared.

“All of this drama this morning was apparently for nothing, and it’s unfortunate,” he concluded.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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