Cory Booker releases confidential documents, GOP warns of consequences

Cristina Cross
September 7, 2018

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) said Thursday that he would "knowingly violating the rules" of the Senate and release "committee confidential" documents about Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh in time for the first day of the new Supreme Court term, October 1. Add Supreme Court as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Supreme Court news, video, and analysis from ABC News. The 53-year-old appellate judge answered cautiously when asked about most of those matters, refusing an invitation from Democratic Sen.

Booker's office later released the document (read it here) in which Kavanaugh was critical of some Department of Transportation affirmative action policies. He said, "Running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate, or of confidentiality of the documents that we are privy to".

Democratic Senator Cory Booker called the process used by the Republican-led committee to decide which documents to make public "a bit of sham", a characterization rejected by the panel's chairman, Chuck Grassley. The panel's process resulted in hundreds of thousands of pages of Kavanaugh's documents being withheld as confidential or kept from release under presidential privilege by the Trump White House.

A number of Democrats on the committee then stepped forward to say they would also share any consequences suffered by Booker for releasing Kavanaugh's emails. Senate Democrats have suggested that Kavanaugh could be biased in favor of the President. He went on to say, "This is about the closest I'll ever come in my life to an "I am Spartacus" moment".

The committee within minutes released various documents that Democrats had requested. "As a matter of the canons of judicial independence, I can't give you an answer to that hypothetical question", he responded. And let's just into this together. And it seems to me that he's saying two different things which are reconcilable, but I'm anxious about some of the gray line between them. "Let's jump into the pit together if there is going to be some retribution against the senator from New Jersey, count me in". He was asking the judge about his opinions on racial inequality and Senator Booker referred to emails sent during Kavanaugh's time working as a lawyer for President George W. Bush. Senators are now questioning Kavanaugh for the second day.

Here's what Kavanaugh wrote: "I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so". As Kavanaugh hesitated, saying he didn't remember, Harris said, "Are you saying with all that you remember- you have an impeccable memory, you've been speaking for nearly 8 hours, I think more, to this committee about all sorts of things you remember- how can you not remember whether or not you had a conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at that law firm?"

'The broader point was simply that it was overstating something about legal scholars, Kavanaugh replied, casting it not as a statement of his own views.

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The hearing pivoted during the day to Roe v. Wade, the high court's landmark abortion case.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh prepares to testify during the third day of his confirmation September 6, 2018.

Democrats have been pressing Kavanaugh for his views on abortion rights, gun control and other issues. "How can you not remember whether or not you had a conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at that law firm?" Kavanaugh told him he has never told or "given a wink" to anyone at the firm about how he would rule in a potential case related to the special counsel or his investigation.

Booker was admonished for his threats by Republican committee members including Sen.

In a very intense exchange, California Sen.

Kavanaugh eventually said he couldn't think of any such conversations but would need to see a list of the firm's lawyers.

Ian Millhiser, justice editor at ThinkProgress, added that given all of the possible cases of perjury that have been uncovered by Senate Democrats, "Maybe there's a reason Senate Republicans tried to keep Kavanaugh's emails secret?"

This is a developing story.

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