There’s Now A Big Dumb Fight Over How Dems Released Kavanaugh Docs

WASHINGTON, DC - Senators Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) speak quietly during Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Tuesday September 4, 2018. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
The Washington Post/The Washington Post

Sure, Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would represent a generational shift to the right. But let’s fight over whether Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and other Judiciary Committee Dems — in theatrically inviting punishment for releasing previously withheld Kavanaugh docs — knew at the time that those documents had already been cleared by Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to be made public.

The tussle over Dems’ promise to release the documents in question — which they had questioned Kavanaugh about on Wednesday, to the dismay of Republicans — took up nearly an hour of the beginning of Thursday’s confirmation hearing. It invited sharp jabs by other Republicans on the committee who urged them to stick to the review process outlined by Grassley and argued that the Democrats were breaking the rules as a political stunt.

At around 11 a.m. ET — a half an hour after the back-and-forth wound down — Grassley’s office blasted out documents requested for clearance by Dems with a note that his staff had “worked throughout the night to help facilitate” the request. Later Thursday, Grassley’s spokesperson further elaborated that they had been cleared at 4 a.m. ET: “The senators were notified of this before speaking began this morning.”

A spokesperson for Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) said she did not ask the document that she released to be cleared and that she was not informed that it had been okayed when she released it. (Grassley’s office described her doc as being a part of the documents requested for clearance by Booker).

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), for what it’s worth, told reporters that he did not think Booker was aware the documents had been vetted and cleared.

A Booker spokesperson said that he and Democrats were able ” to shame the committee into agreeing to make last night’s documents publicly available.”

“Cory publicly released those documents as well as other committee confidential documents today. And he’ll keep releasing them because Republicans are hiding Brett Kavanaugh’s record from the American people,” the spokesperson, Kristin Lynch said.

Update: This story has been updated to include a statement from Booker’s office.


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