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Dems’ Tactic Echoes Clinton Operatives: Stall Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation by Demanding Documents

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Judge Brett Kavanaugh his Supreme Court nominee, in the East Room of the White House, Monday, July 9, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

NEW YORK — Brian Fallon, the head of Demand Justice, a new progressive activist group established to play a vital role in opposing President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, took to CNN immediately after Trump announced his pick earlier this month to spell out the group’s battle plan against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Fallon, who served as press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, outlined tactics to be used in an attempt to stall Kavanaugh’s confirmation pending the release and full review of the thousands of pages of the Starr Report, which documented the case to impeach President Clinton and was drafted in part by Kavanaugh.

Now it seems Democrats are following through, with the Associated Press reporting on Friday that Democrats are “demanding to see the conservative appellate court judge’s lengthy paper trail before they even start meeting with him, let alone casting their votes on a lifetime appointment that could shift the court rightward.”

The AP reported the Democrats are demanding access to Kenneth Starr’s report on Clinton as well as documentation related to Kavanaugh’s work while he was staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House and his involvement in the 2000 presidential election recount.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, stated “We — the Senate — and the American public must know where Judge Kavanaugh stands. … And this starts with having access to Judge Kavanaugh’s documents from his time in the White House and as a political operative.”

The AP further reported:

The Judiciary Committee is negotiating how much information will be pulled for the confirmation process. The task is daunting, involving a universe of paperwork that will need to be culled from the National Archives, the Bush library and others, and reviewed by stables of attorneys. Talks are still at the early stages.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who said this will be his 15th Supreme Court confirmation hearing, promised the “most transparent and thorough process” of any of them.

But he also warned against dragging it out. “I will not allow taxpayers to be on the hook for a government-funded fishing expedition,” Grassley said.

After Trump announced his pick, Fallon gave CNN’s Chris Cuomo a preview of his organization’s likely attacks on Kavanaugh.

Fallon spelled out two tactics that he claimed were potential “wild card” issues.

One is to attempt to stall Kavanaugh’s confirmation pending the release and full review of the thousands of pages of the Starr Report, which documented the case to impeach President Clinton and was drafted in part by Kavanaugh.

The second tactic is to raise questions, despite any current evidence, about whether Kavanaugh knew about sexual harassment allegations related to former Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, for whom Kavanaugh clerked in 1991, despite there being no evidence suggesting Kavanaugh had any knowledge of his former judge’s conduct. Indeed, Cuomo took issue with Fallon’s strategy, and the activist admitted he had no actual evidence but still planned to raise questions.

Fallon spoke without a trace of irony after serving as the spokesperson for a presidential candidate who was accused of not only enabling Bill Clinton’s alleged predatory behavior against women, but also attempting to silence her husband’s female sexual assault victims.

Stated Fallon:

Two other issues that could be wild cards in this confirmation, number one, his work — there is a lot of papers related to his work on the Starr committee that have not been out yet. There is going to be a big effort to try to get the National Archives to release all those documents. They are going to have to go through them, peruse them, see what has to be redacted and then his emails from the time in the Bush White House.

When it was Elena Kagan that was put forward, I think there was 170,000 some pages that required 6,000 man hours to go through all of that. So, Mitch McConnell himself indicated in a leaked story that came out in the New York Times that he was privately urging the Trump White House to look away from Brett Kavanaugh because he worried that the document production alone with would delay a hearing and potentially throw the schedule off.

Cuomo interjected, pointing out, “But Grassley is in charge of what they are allowed to do and how long they can take.”

Fallon replied, “But Grassley has been as aggressive as anybody in forcing past nominees to produce everything. So, he would be a hypocrite now if he didn’t insist on the same standard for Kavanaugh.”

 

 

Demand Justice, meanwhile, was founded by former members of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Besides Fallon, the group’s digital team is headed by Gabrielle McCaffrey, who was a digital organizer for Clinton’s campaign.

Breitbart News reported that within less than one hour of Trump’s announcement revealing Kavanough as his pick, Fallon’s Demand Justice already put up the website stopkavanaugh.com, exclaiming: “We need to demand that the Senate defeat the Brett Kavanaugh nomination.”

The Demand Justice organization aims to focus on the federal court system, arguing that “our courts should be the place that we can trust to safeguard our rights and promote justice.”

“But in Donald Trump’s America,” continues the group’s website, “our justice system is being corrupted to serve corporate interests and impose a far-right social agenda on our everyday lives.”

Even before Trump announced his pick, Demand Justice committed to spending about $5 million to oppose the eventual nominee. The organization seeks to raise $10 million in its first year.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Fallon would not comment on the source of the group’s financing, but the newspaper noted that he was a featured speaker recently at the conference of the Democracy Alliance, a grouping of progressive donors.

Democracy Alliance’s founding donors include billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer. Indeed, Fallon’s panel at Democracy Alliance was moderated by Sarah Knight of Soros’s Open Society Foundations.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

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