The Trump administration is reportedly withholding 100,000 pages of documents on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s time working in the counsel’s office of the George W. Bush White House.
In a Friday letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley and the Senate Judiciary Committee, George W. Bush’s attorney Bill Burck announced that lawyers had finished compiling documents from the time period in question.
“President Bush directed us to proceed expeditiously and to err as much as appropriate on the side of transparency and disclosure, and we believe we have done so,” the letter read.
However, The Associated Press reported that after the Trump administration reviewed the documents, the lawyers were told not to release records that “have been identified by the White House and the Department of Justice as traditionally protected by constitutional privilege.”
Although 27,110 documents — 101,921 pages — are being withheld, a total of 267,000 pages from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House are being released to senators for use in Kavanaugh’s hearing, according to the Washington Examiner.
“Judge Kavanaugh, an Associate and Senior Associate White House Counsel, dealt with some of the most sensitive communications of any White House official. Every presidential record we reviewed was also provided to the Department of Justice for an independent assessment of its proper categorization and treatment,” Burck said in the letter.
According to Burck, the undisclosed documents discuses “the selection and nomination of judicial candidates, the confidentiality of which is critical to any President’s ability to carry out this core constitutional executive function.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer said this was “a Friday night document massacre” and “has all the makings of a cover-up,” according to the AP.
“Republican obstruction requires an extraordinary response, and that’s why we are making this FOIA request,” Schumer said at a media conference in August. “And today we are announcing that we stand ready to sue the National Archives for Judge Kavanaugh’s full record if necessary.”
Kavanaugh’s hearing begins Tuesday, September 4, and is likely to last for three to four days.
Senators will discuss topics such as abortion, campaign finance reform and gun violence, as well as many others, with the nominee during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Democrat Sen. Chris Coons plans to focus his questions on Kavanaugh’s take on executive power in the 30 minutes the senator is allotted for the first round of questions.
“There’s a lot of different topics to focus on, but given the context we’re in, I am most concerned about Judge Kavanaugh’s long and demonstrated record of thinking that the executive branch should have more power than it does now,” Coons said. “It has to give one pause in a context where our current president is currently being investing by a special counsel.”
Kavanaugh has been endorsed by a number of individuals and groups, but most recently Bob Bennett, who represented then-President Bill Clinton during a high-profile sexual harassment case, said Kavanaugh was a promising young competitor working on the other side of the courtroom.
Even though the two were lined up on opposite sides of the legal battle, Bennett said he took away a respect for the manner in which Kavanaugh conducted himself.
“Brett’s integrity quickly won me over, and we became close friends despite our differences (and the differences between the Presidents we served),” Bennett said.
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