Democratic Sen. Cory Booker accused Wall Street Journal reporter Byron Tau of violating the U.S. Constitution with a question on Thursday’s misleading remarks about releasing “confidential” emails concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“Democrats knew full well that the documents that Booker and Hirono released this morning were no longer confidential, according to D+R lawmakers and aides,” Tau tweeted Thursday afternoon. “I asked @CoryBooker if his remarks in committee were a stunt. He told me I violating the constitution by being in his way.”
Democrats knew full well that the documents that Booker and Hirono released this morning were no longer confidential, according to D+R lawmakers and aides.
I asked @CoryBooker if his remarks in committee were a stunt. He told me I violating the constitution by being in his way.
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) September 6, 2018
The clause to which Senator Booker is referring reads:
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place. [emphasis added]
This seems to be a generous interpretation of a clause protecting representatives from interrogation or obstruction in the pursuit of their elected duties.
But the question was a pertinent one. Booker’s now-infamous “Spartacus” moment was rendered moot when it was discovered that the documents he committed to releasing had already been cleared and that Booker’s staff had been informed before he made his remarks.
Bush administration presidential records representative Bill Burck expressed a measure of disbelief at Booker’s public gesture. “We cleared the documents last night shortly after Senator Booker’s staff asked us to,” he confirmed, according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon.
“We were surprised to learn about Senator Booker’s histrionics this morning because we had already told him he could use the documents publicly. In fact, we have said yes to every request made by the Senate Democrats to make documents public.”