As Democrats and Republicans argue over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s record as a White House lawyer, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) threatened to release confidential documents that have not been cleared for public release.
Booker said the confidential email shows Kavanaugh was open to racial profiling by police.
Kavanaugh may have worked on such controversial topics as the torture of suspected terrorist detainees but the Trump administration has withheld more than 100,000 pages of records from Kavanaugh’s time as a White House lawyer under President Bush ahead of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.
Booker questioned Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, focusing on affirmative action, racial justice, and voting rights.
The New Jersey Democrat says his effort to question the Supreme Court nominee about race has been hampered by Republicans’ decision to deprive the public of emails from when Kavanaugh served as a lawyer for President George W. Bush.
“I am right now before your process is finished, I am going to release the email about racial profiling and I understand the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate,” Booker said at the beginning of the third day of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.
During heated a discussion with the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), which set off a battle with committee members on both sides accusing the other of bad behavior, Booker acknowledged that he would “knowingly violating the rules.”
Booker questioned Kavanaugh on Wednesday night about his stances on racial inequality referring to emails from his time as a White House counsel for President George W. Bush. But, Republicans later pointed out, one of the emails he was referring to was labeled as “committee confidential.”
Booker’s threat started a firestorm among Judiciary Committee members, and Grassley interrupted him to ask, “How many times you going to tell us that?”
Democrats lamented that some documents and Republicans warned that Booker would be breaking the Senate, where Republicans have a 51-49 majority heading into pivotal midterm elections.
“Running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Booker. “I’d encourage our colleagues to avoid the temptation to either violate the Senate rules or to treat the witness unfairly.”
Cornyn added that: “This is no different from the senator deciding to release classified information. … That is irresponsible and outrageous.”
Tens of thousands of documents labeled ‘confidential’ have been given to the committee, meaning that they cannot be divulged to the pubic or referenced in questioning, but Democrats on the panel argued that the process wasn’t fair.
Democrats have taken issue with Bill Burck, who is a former GOP staffer, Bush’s lawyer, and colleague of Kavanaugh’s; being able to sort through the documents.
“I have not made a big fight about this… but again lest silence imply consent I think that rule is as ineffectual as if the chair had unilaterally repealed the law of gravity,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I). “It simply isn’t so. I haven’t agreed to this rule. I haven’t voted on this rule.”
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