During the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday, various Democrats on the committee interrupted the beginning of the hearing to protest the availability of documents on Kavanaugh.
During Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) opening statement, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) stated, “I’d like to be recognized to ask a question before we proceed. The committee received, just last night, less than 15 hours ago, 42,000 pages of documents that we have not had an opportunity to review or read or analyze. We cannot possibly move forward, Mr. Chairman, with this hearing.”
Grassley called Harris out of order.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) stated, “I agree with my colleague, Senator Harris. Mr. Chairman, we received 42,000 documents that we haven’t been able to review, last night. And we believe this hearing should be postponed.”
After Grassley continued, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said if Democrats on the committee can’t be recognized, he moves to adjourn. Grassley continued with his statement.
Blumenthal added, “Mr. Chairman, we have been denied real access to the documents we need to advise and consent, which turns this hearing into a charade and a mockery of our norms. And Mr. Chairman, I therefore move to adjourn this hearing.”
Grassley responded that because they were not in executive session, there would be no vote on the motion to adjourn.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) then said that even the documents Grassley requested haven’t been received by the committee and the committee is a violation of the values Grassley has talked about and the committee strives for. Booker further stated the committee is needlessly rushing the process.
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) sought to speak, but Grassley insisted on responding to Booker. Grassley stated Booker was “taking advantage of my decency and integrity.”
Hirono then said it is regular order for the committee to receive the documents it is entitled to. She continued that it isn’t regular order “for the majority to require the minority to preclear questions or documents and the videos we would like to use at this hearing.”
Grassley asked Hirono to stop so the hearing could proceed and urged Democrats to let the hearing go forward under regular order.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) then asked, “[W]e are now presented with a situation in which somebody has decided that there are 100,000 documents protected by executive privilege, yet there has not been an assertion of executive privilege before the committee. How are we to determine whether executive privilege has been properly asserted if this hearing goes by without the committee ever considering that question?”
Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) added that there is “no integrity” to the documents the committee has received, given that they “have alterations. They have oddities. Attachments are missing. Emails are cut off halfway through a chain. Recipients’ names are missing.”
Grassley responded that, as a former adviser to the president, Kavanaugh is entitled to a certain degree of confidentiality according to the Supreme Court. Grassley further stated that Justice Kagan’s records from her service with Senator Biden were not requested. He also stated that the documents from Justice Ginsburg’s time with the ACLU weren’t requested and “It can’t be that the Senate and the ACLU are entitled to more protection than the president of the United States.”
Grassley then discussed the documents received on Monday night. He stated that the majority staff of the committee had already finished its review of those documents and there is no reason to delay Kavanaugh’s hearing.
Grassley concluded, “In short, this committee has more materials for Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination than we have had on any Supreme Court nominee in history.”
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