At Bush White House, Kavanaugh Offered Help on Terrorism Prisoners, Email Shows

The email, part of a trove of about 5,700 documents involving Brett M. Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush administration, appears likely to be a focus at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

Comments: 49

  1. Are we supposed to feel sympathy for the Republicans because they have to wait several months to get the paperwork on Kavanaugh? It took them eight months not to consider the nomination by Obama of Merrick Garland.If they were in such a hurry to fill the seat they should have chosen a candidate with a short paper trail.His work as a lawyer for Bush in 2001-2003 could be very instructive.They chose Kavanaugh for their own purpose but he will be on the Court for a lifetime and a careful examination of his work is warranted.Most of the Senate Judiciary are lawyers and are capable of reviewing his opinions.A nomination by the Federalist Society is not enough to confirm a judge.The Democrats are right to ask for much more.

  2. "A nomination by the Federalist Society is not enough to confirm a judge."

    If anything, that ought to disqualify one, like a better-than-F rating from the National teRrorist Association.

  3. The documents, all of them, are highly relevant. It is good that they are being released. They should all be available.

    There seems to be an effort to persuade liberals to bow to the inevitable and vote yea. For example, self-decribed liberal feminist and lawyer, Lisa Blatt, has written in Politico that Kavanaugh is "unquestionably well-qualified, brilliant, has integrity and is within the mainstream of legal thought.”

    However, as Bess Levin writes in Vanity Fair, Brett kavanaugh accrued as much as $200,000 in credit card debt in the last several years, at times his debts exceeding his assets. The white House has spun these debts as somehow blameless and even kind of cute, since they resulted from his buying baseball tickets "for himself and friends".

    Levin goes on to write: "...Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about Brett’s financial situation or spending habits because, rather fortuitously, “the credit-card debts and loan were either paid off or fell below the reporting requirements..."

    There are two red flags here: one, the debt itself. This indicates a serious lack of judgment, as well as questionable integrity. Second, by whom were his debts paid off, 'fortuitously,' just before the Trump administration began choosing the next Justice of the Supreme Court? And is he thereby beholden to someone or compromised by that pay off?

    There are egregious problems with this nomination, for Liberals and Conservatives, irrespective of the million or so contested documents.

  4. @Whether 'tis Nobler -- Kavanaugh's credit card debt was paid off by one of Manafort' shell companies that he and Gates went through great pains to hide. Don't be surprised if that comes out in Manafort's trial.

  5. @Whether 'tis Nobler the credit card debt makes him relatable at least to me.

  6. I am hoping that one of the indirect benefits of the Trump administration will be a renewed demand that the voting public be given "full and open" access to government documents. At the risk of sounding sophomoric, we paid for the time and energy that it took to generate them--they are ours they do not belong to the endlessly manipulatively Mitch McConnell.

    This government belongs to us. What the Republican Party is doing in multiple areas is simply and plainly wrong. In more ways than I can count I will be glad to see the end of Senator McConnell's career. Yes my distaste for him is even larger than the distaste for the current occupant of the Whitehouse.

  7. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are the two most shameful, self-serving, highly-politicized SCOTUS nominations in US history.

    If Kavanaugh is confirmed, both will forever have an asterisk next to their names.

    Gorsuch is occupying Garland's seat and Kavanaugh was nominated by Trump purely for his views on executive power and likely judgment if (when) Mueller subpoenas him.

  8. If Senator Grassley thinks that Mr. Kavanaugh's files are "too voluminous" to review in a timely manner, especially before the Midterms, he didn't use that argument with Mitch McConnell when the Majority leader blocked Merrick Garland from Supreme Court consideration. Garland had no voluminous trove of files to review, yet McConnell couldn't be bothered to even give Garland a hearing.

  9. Since McConnell and Grassley could take a year in stalling Obama's appointment a few months to study Kavanaugh's record would not be out of line.

  10. Gotta love: 00113629 (Kavanaugh forwards "very important" article about Democratic obstruction of nominees); 00116246-00116266 ( Addington "agrees"during an exchange with Kavanaugh that the Senate should vote on nominees [although Kavanaugh doesn't write this]).

    I'm sure we'll hear so much about the Senate's prior abdication of that role....

  11. Charles Grassley argued that the “secretary files aren’t needed to make a judgment” on Judge Kavanaugh’s “fitness for office.” Do you mean that there are no potential compromising emails that Kavanaugh sent while in W’s White House? Aren’t you duty-bound to look into possible flashing lights in his past—lights that may become alarm bells and whistles before a full Senate vote?

    And Judge Merrick Garland’s “fitness for office,” Senator Grassley? Why didn’t your Senate Subcommittee on the Judiciary—of which you were the chairman—take up his files? Sir?

  12. Another devout Catholic who believes that the Seventh Commandment forbidding the bearing of false witness just does not apply to him. Kavanaugh - and the redoubtable Chief Justice himself - were also part of the lynch mob that shut down the recount in Miami in 2000.

  13. You mean the obama economy that trump inherited?

  14. Yeah, time to move on from the stolen election and the one that followed. Bush v Gore ain’t even precedent. How long before we need to move in from the Teapublican/Russian theft of the 2016 election?

  15. No it isn't time to move on Re that partisan disaster. It's time to wake up and to prevent yet another republican partisan from gaining a seat on the Supreme Court. By any means necessary.

    If McCONnell and the GOParty over Country can withhold a rightful nominee (Garland) from even getting a vote why do republicans whine constantly when democrats want to fully examine Kavanaugh. Seems hypocritical wouldn't you agree.

  16. Look why wouldn’t you trust someone to be an impartial judge who lied to Congress. Isn’t lying under oath while Republican protected by some amendment anyways.

  17. Kavanaugh is damaged goods. He’s a vestige from the disastrous Bush maladministration and someone who Trump wants on the SCOTUS out of pure self-interest in light of Kavanaugh’s states views on executive power and privilege. The Dems are absolutely right to insist on a properly informed confirmation hearing based on the full documentary record.

  18. I never fully realized before 2017 the extraordinary power the majority party in the Senate and the House has to prevent transparency, mislead the public, and obstruct justice.

    The Founders worried about partisanship and the tyranny of the majority for very good reasons.

    Worst of all, the Republican crew is packing the Federal courts with judges who support the Republican agenda, including gerrymandering, voter suppression and unaccountable financing of candidates, plus rolling back civil rights and making healthcare unaffordable for millions more people.

    They should never, never have this kind of unchecked power again. But it may already be too late for America.

  19. "I can only imagine..." is a phrase that would be apropos in the context of The View. It is profoundly stupid coming in a statement by an elected federal official. The only defense is the, "Johnny said it first" approach, and no grown up would actually invoke that. So far, about a million soldiers have died birthing and defending this nation, and we have become unworthy of a single one of the precious lives given for the sake of future generations.

  20. The GOP senators should not let the confirmation process to be rail-roaded through simply to protect a faked republican president. It would be a historical crime against our national security and interests, as well as our jurisprudence.

  21. No hearings until after January 2019.

  22. No hearings until February 2021. #StolenSeat

  23. The Republicans are shameless. Kavanaugh has already gone on record that he believes the sitting President is entitled to be "above the law". How much more do we need to know? I hope the Democrats continue to take a stand for once. When I think of some of the trash appointments they have allowed to just let slide by it's criminal. At the rate we are going there will be no bi-partisan government in the foreseeable future. Very sad.

  24. @Elizabethnyc
    Scalia was confirmed 98-0.

  25. Looks to me like Judge Kavanaugh told the truth in 2006. Sorry Durban, but twisting plain language and your wishful thinking aren't going to get you anywhere.
    Bret. Kavanaugh. Making. America's. Judiciary. Strong.

  26. That the “legal” justifiers of torture are not in prison is reprehensible. But from John Yoo, who this paper continues to provide a regular forum for his nonsense, to Judges Bybee and Kavanaugh, they have been rewarded for their crimes. Pathetic.

  27. Agree with you, 100%. I am appalled that Yoo is given a forum, much less still holds a position as a law professor.

    Instead of our being up in arms about someone's old tweets, as bad as they are, we should be engaged in a massive outcry against someone whose transparently flawed logic and legal machinations were used to justify internationally outlawed torture!

    Yoo is a bad apple, who unleashed malevolent actions and hurt thousands, as well as the U.S.'s international reputation and standing!

  28. A lying under oath Supreme to go along with the attorney general. Are there reprocussions for lying under oath for these folks, not that Mueller would even bother to put trump under oath, what’s the point, lies are truth to him by now. Is this is ok???

  29. @Alexis Adler neither Sessions nor Kavanaugh "lied" under oath. That's a distortion of what's in dispute here.

  30. Doesn't seem to have affected Clarence Thomas at all.

  31. Democrats should demand the release of Kavanaugh's papers with the same ferocity that Devin Nunes and the House Henchmen demanded evidence from Rod Rosenstein.

    Congress, and the American people, have every right to know as much about Brett Kavanaugh as possible if he's to be a Supreme Court justice.

    Republicans, what are you trying to hide?

  32. So when Kagan came up for confirmation there was no problem with the GOP request for disclosure of all her papers she created during her time with the Obama administration. No hack Dem lawyer cherry picking what to disclose either.

    Why? Because the Dems knew Kagan as a brilliant lawyer of sterling character.

    And the reason the GOP doesn’t reciprocate with Kagan-like transparency?

    And the reason the GOP has installed Bannon and Priebus lawyer Burck as the gate keeper of what documents will and will not be disclosed?

    And the reason the Dems have been forced to make a FOIA request for all Kavanaugh docs while he was in the employ of American taxpayers?

    Fill in the blanks folks.

  33. @winthropo muchacho
    You've forgotten that there were documents not turned over with Judge Kagan at the discretion of the Clinton's either.

    In this instance, the documents being requested by Democrats are actually NOT those he created himself, but anything that went through the WH staff secretary's office, which number in the millions of pages and have no origin from Kavanaugh himself. All the documents he himself produced as WH counsel are already available. This is just a naked attempt to stall out his nomination before midterms, and Sen. Grassley is right in dismissing the far reaching claims being made

  34. Maybe we need Russia if we want to see the rest of the documents.

  35. But he seems like such a nice, polite guy. Said the neighbors of every serial killer, EVER. This guy has only ONE purpose on the SC: to protect Trumps behind. Seriously.

  36. @Phyliss Dalmatian
    He has several others, starting with preventing women from having control of their own bodies.

  37. This article is a decieving mischaracterizing of his 2006 testimony and how this email isn't even talking about the same thing, and is itself rather innocuous.

    Democrats are so incredibly desperate to find a disqualifier that they're pathetic. There's over 300 cases he participated in on the COA to evaluate Judge Kavanaugh.

  38. @RIO
    What about evaluating Merrick Garland?

  39. Democrats desperate? The shoe fits better on the other foot. You neglect to consider that Republicans are refusing to make available thousands of documents that pertain to BK's judicial history. I am a Democrat and don't feel desperate. I am angry that the GOP is refusing to be transparent about a candidate that, if confirmed, will make make decisions on the SCOTUS that will have a huge impact on my life and those of my children for generations.

  40. Our system of laws not men is replete with holes. This is being amply demonstrated by the Trump administration. We need to plug these holes by making explicit and mandatory laws covering circumstances we apparently take for granted:
    1.Presidential candidates need to release tax returns and undergo rigorous and impartial medical and mental examinations.
    2. Presidents and all high-level officials must fully divest of all financial assets and place them in a truly blind trust.
    3.There need to be restrictions on nepotism.(Ivanka,Jared)
    4. Members of Congress cannot serve on corporate boards of directors, foreign or domestic.(Representative Collins)
    5.Document disclosure requirements for posts requiring confirmation votes should be explicit and impartially administered. (CIA Director, SCOTUS candidate Kavanaugh)
    The 5 listed above are based on just the last week's current events. There are many hundreds more I am sure that could be considered based on 18 months experience.
    While I am sure that any list of rules can be circumvented, it is surprising that we have allowed our system to reach such a sclerotic state without taking action.
    It may be too late.

  41. Hopeful Dems go searching through 5700 pages of documents and now place their hopes an one ambiguous email. Good luck with that.

  42. This sounds like a desperate attempt to justify blocking Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment. If this is the best his detractors have, he should breeze through confirmation once the Democrats are out of ammunition and time.

  43. I don't think someone who lied to Congress is fit for the Supreme Court (among the dozen other reasons that Kavanagh shouldn't be seated)

  44. Gee, I wonder if the reason that all the requested documents aren't being released is because there is something incriminatory in them.
    And isn't curious how the Republicans in Congress are threatening impeachment of Rosenstein for withholding documents they want but don't have any problem whatsoever about the withholding documents in this situation.

  45. After shamelessly blocking a Supreme Court nomination for nothing but naked partisan advantage, shouldn’t the Senate postpone confirming a judge who will decide a criminal case against the man who has nominated him?

  46. It's all personal to DJT; so, BK's first and only job will be to protect DJT. After that, DJT doesn't really care.

  47. I don't know why Trump couldn't find a nominee who was even LESS interested in "justice for all".

  48. This is a frustrating article. To me, the most important story by far is that McConnell etc. are refusing to make thousands of documents available to the Senate from his long judicial history. This is simply unprecedented. What are they trying to hide? Why do they want to keep such a huge volume of documentation secret?

  49. In 2006, Mr. Brett M. Kavanaugh clearly lied under oath in his Senate hearing. That alone make him unqualified to be a judge, let alone a Supreme Court Justice.