tv Democratic Leaders on Judge Kavanaugh CSPAN July 31, 2018 4:56pm-5:30pm EDT
>> guest: it's so interesting. you ask the reasons for what you see in the appropriations season and defense is the bill they have already passed in the house and they know there wasn't any trouble getting through the senate so hhs is one of the most difficult bills and that's why maybe paul ryan bring it up on the house floor before they went to recess. it's difficult to get through. a lot of conservatives don't like that bill. he's not sure about the votes for that but if it comes back to the house in a package with defense, the thinking is it's much easier to get them finished and sent to the president . >> host: nancy, as we approach september 30 and the deadline, we will watch for you on twitter and your handle, >> earlier today senate minority leader chuck schumer: senate republicans to release all
documents from brett kavanaugh's time in the white house while serving under president george w. bush. he was joined by several legal experts during this half hour briefing. >> i had a joke but i will skip it. we are late in d.c. i want to thank my ranking , your, soon to be chair are underestimating us, you press people. undersecretary j durbin and longtime judiciary committee member -- you are. no, i said, longtime member of
judiciary committee. brooklyn, newm york. -- danielship goldberg, alliance for justice and elliott mintzberg, people for the american way. thank you for joining us. we have invited these legal experts to speak today because what we are here to discuss isn't political. it is about the constitutional duty of the united states senate to advise and consent on one of the most important issues that ever comes before us, the nomination of the supreme court justice. to fulfill that duty, the senate must have the records spanning judge kavanagh's career as a public servant, including his time as staff secretary for the bush administration. this morning senator feinstein
released a letter to the ,ational senate archives including longtime member dick durbin. requesting the full set of documents. continue, i want to make it clear for just a second how aggressive the obstruction is. as you know, breaking all historical president, chairman grassley has made a partisan request to the national archives requesting only a small portion of judge kavanagh's time in the white house, from his time in the white house counsel's office but not from his time as staff secretary. that staff secretary was the most senior position he held in the white house, and he held the job for three of the five years that he worked for president bush.
deliberately ignoring the nominee's record during that period would be bad enough. in this case, it is only the tip of the iceberg. sent hise senator request at 5:00 p.m. on friday, the bush library had already the white house counsel office documents to a team of lawyers, led by mr. bill burke. mr. burke represents george w. bush, president bush, a strong supporter of brett kavanaugh. he also represents steve bannon, reince priebus, and donald mcgann in the russia probe. reviewed ands prescreened all of the documents, so we are having a , who works forer so many republicans on so many different issues, prescreened these documents.
at this point we have no assurances of being told which documents we are going to be allowed to see and which documents the american people will be allowed to see. if weouldn't be so bad also got a full set of documents from the archives. it appears that the vast majority of documents that congress will be permitted to see are the documents turned over to us by a lawyer with close ties to both president bush and president trump as well as mr. bannon. because of intentional delays in obstruction, the vast majority of the documents that congress will get to review will have been screened by the personal lawyer of george bush, steve bannon, writes previous and more.
what are they hiding? such an effort not to have the documents come forward when that has been the bipartisan president of this body for previous nominees? all of a sudden they have changed the rules. these papers don't belong to brett kavanaugh to my donald trump, george bush. they belong to the american people. that is why we have an archivist . you can't just turn off and turn on what you want people to see. that is what republicans are doing. nothing like this has ever happened in this history of supreme court nominations. it begs the question, what are they trying to hide?
thatis in the documents the senators who support brett kavanaugh might not want to be known. the republicans are putting the secret in secretary. we cannot let that stand in a nation that stands for openness, transparency, and full and free in one ofrticularly the most important positions in the united states government. >> thank you very much. let me begin with this. this is nothing that is different. this is usual procedure. a letter that senator schumer reference, i asked to see and i asked the staff questions, are you sure that this is the same
as what was sent out by republicans on the kagan nomination and i have been assured it is identical. believe it is our job to review all pertinent information as part of the kavanagh nomination process and this should include documents during his three years as staff secretary. whitesecretary is the top house advisor. it doesn't just reroute memos, it writes memos -- the staff secretary often participates, is makes statements. there is real value in this information. some republicans say we want everything but the kitchen sink. that isn't true. we want the same formula that was used for justice kagan. we want to look and see what his knowledge is on key issues and
also what he thinks. these are issues like the cia torture program. i was chairman of the intelligence committee for the the 7000 page report on torture. senator durbin and senator leahy have asked questions. they deserve an answer. torepublicans don't want review these documents, they don't have to, but it is wrong to stand in the way of senators who want to review the full record. i have served beyond 10 nominations. eight of them made it to the court. biggest thing that the judiciary committee actually it isuring its tenure, the examination of a president's
nominee to the highest court of of thed, the defender constitution of the united states. i think we are entitled to know what that person believes, what he has written, what he has said , particularly in any form or capacity. >> thank you for the opportunity to be here. unlike diane i have only been here for seven nominees to the supreme court. but i noticed something. during the course of our efforts for the supreme court we were dedicated to disclosure and transparency, to the point where senator jeff sessions, then ranking detailedn, asked for documentation in her service for the white house.
to 170,000 close pages of documents that were -- at therom her time request of senator sessions and with the cooperation of senator leahy. there wasn't a single assertion of executive privilege on any document, it was all there for everyone to review, as it should have been. when sonja sotomayor was with us she had a traditional record like judge kavanagh but they wanted more. senator sessions said i want to go back in history to the time before she was on the court when she worked for the puerto rican legal defense fund. it was produced with a bipartisan request for information. were dedicated to disclosure and transparency. that was the starting point. the american people expect us to give careful review to these supreme court nominees.
it is likely that this supreme court vacancy will be filled for many americans and for many generations down the line. there are critical issues outlined here and many of the places that this court will decide and this justice could be the swing vote. i have written personal correspondence to senator grass and spoken to him personally about this. it was 12 years ago when judge to this appeared judiciary committee seeking the court of appeals. at the time i was concerned about his role in the white house as staff secretary when it came to the question of senator haynes. asked specifically to mr. cavanaugh whether or not he was involved in that. he went further than answering
that question yes or no, he said i was not involved in am not involved in the questions about the rules governing detention of combatants. statement after that to be approved by the senate and to take his seat on the d.c. court of appeals. within a matter of months we kind of there was more to the story. we found that he was personally present in a heated exchange at the white house over the representation of these combatants by legal counsel and he volunteered information about what he thought justice kennedy would do if confronted by that. the statement he made under oath was contradicted by the record that came out later. obviously, it raises the question in my mind that i wasn't sure what was going on here. question in the letter. could you please explain the
discrepancy? i didn't get an answer to that letter, but i think i might get an answer now. leahy same time, senator came up with a memo sent to kavanagh in the white house on the same subject that was directed to him personally. he was involved in more than shuffling papers. he decided with the president would read and with the staff would propose to the president. is this relevant? it is exactly relevant. under oath he stated one thing but now we have limited but some documentary evidence to the contrary. we have come up with a bipartisan standard we have used over and over again with supreme court nominees. unfortunately we are in a position where this administration and this
leadership in the senate has decided to change the rules. doesn't help us do our job. >> thank you and before i call on our guests, could i ask you to move over? missing records empty boxes. we want them filled with records. we now have christine lucius who has been around a long time, even though she looks so young. on the part of the leadership council on civil and human rights. thank you senator schumer and thank you ranking member feinstein for your leadership. your comments take me back to this confirmation hearings and what a stunning moment it was when he responded to your question with a blanket denial
of any involvement and i think that is a great reminder for everybody wondering whether we should judge brett kavanaugh's response by the number of pages or the completeness of the record. because your direct question definitely needs answering. if someone should be honest under oath, -- my name is christine lucius. i worked to the leadership conference for civil and human rights. this job, i worked for 14 years in the senate in the senate judiciary committee. when chairmaning, grassley book with emily practice and issued a partisan request for a narrow set of documents, his request i am sad to say -- i believe it is --igned to hide three years
kavanagh himself has said that his work as white house staff secretary was most useful to him as a judge. perhaps it is because these three years were so informative that the people who picked him, who had selected him wanted senators. 100 the american people deserve to know brett kavanaugh's full record before the hearing is scheduled. there should be no rush to judgment with a lifetime appointment of something this important. injury, what to senator schumer references that are not even going to the same process with the national archives.
instead we have at team led by a republican attorney who represents many trump administration or former trump administration officials and also represents former judge kozinski. iss is the lawyer who reviewing the documents. this person does not owe a duty to the american public. we have real concerns about what documents will be withheld. this leads us to ask what is this chairman trying to hide? thathat is he trying to do those nine other senators need to play with regard to this vetting? duty tosenators have a the american people they represent to independently set this nomination.
two weeks ago we saw an appellate nominee who was withdrawn because of things in his written record. had a bipartisan concern that what was in his record -- written record was quality -- disqualifying to be a judge. why wouldn't the same thing apply? it is time that every senator and the american people they represent understand their role and commit to the judiciary committee that they need to see the full record. the request today that they receive the missing three years that were not requested by the chairman, i think that really needs to be heard, not press that follows supreme court process issues but outside the beltway as well. i been that the people who selected this nominee are fully
aware of what is in that record. it seems to me the senators should have the same access the senators in this county had. >> next we have daniel goldberg and the alliance for justice. .> thank you senator schumer thank you senator feinstein and the entire democrats on the senate judiciary committee. a nationwide alliance representing 130 groups committed to justice and civil rights. j has fought a f for fair-minded judges and we thought for judges like robert bork and ryan bounce who would take this country backwards. a critical aspect of this mission is ensuring that the american people can fully willate whether a nominee uphold criminal rights and legal
protections. today we are deeply concerned that the public is being prevented from seeing brett .avanaugh's entire record the senator made a unilateral decision not to request documents from kavanagh as a time as press secretary -- as secretary. but judge kavanagh himself said that role was critical. kavanagh tells us, a direct code, whether the subject was terrorism insurance, or medicare prescription drug coverage he spent a good deal of time on capitol hill, sometimes in the middle of the night working on legislation. he was a critical official in the bush administration. the public has a right to know, did he work toward putting discrimination against lgbtq
americans in the constitution? did he work on abortion ban legislation? did he work on opposing hate crime legislation? i want to make a critical point, some are saying that this request for canada's records is the most extensive ever. don't believe it. compare the letter to what was sent for elena kagan's document and what was produced in her confirmation. in the bipartisan request to kagan, all documents that she orte, edited, or prepared that were asked for. .ot this time that request does not appear in a letter to brett kavanaugh. kagan was asked for documents that she created that worked --
that were not in other people's files and she was asked for a document that referenced her, but not this time. those requests were not made to brett kavanaugh. been discussed by senator schumer and christine, during administration, nonpartisan staff would provide documents, but this time president bush's former lawyers .re trying to take the lead does anyone doubt the documents are being thoroughly prescreened? as one senator said, i have learned over the years that transparency doesn't come easy. it requires constant oversight and pressure from the public, congress, and others. this is a lifetime appointment that will alter our country forever impacting democracy, rule of law, rights and legal protect -- legal protections for every single american.
thes time to release all of records. >> thank you, senator and let me generally think senator schumer and all senators for holding this press conference for inviting my colleagues and i to participate. i am the senior counsel and senior fellow at people for the american way and i have been involved in supreme court nominations, literally for more than 30 years. going all the way back to robert bork i have never seen a more process and restrictive in all of that period of time. all of theeat specifics that senator schumer and others have gone into but i want to underline the importance of getting the documents, buying
borrowing on the experience i have had working with senator schumer on the senate side of oversight of the bush administration in his last several years. one of the issues we did review on was signing things. in fact, the record on that relates directly to judge kavanagh's service as a judge. by -- of his dissents decision upholding the affordable care act, he said, i think of a president doesn't want to enforce the aca, and deems it unconstitutional, he can do that. strikinglyd to me view that the bush administration pushed very -- it ishen in office directly relevant to his views
as a judge, to what his views were on signing statements when he was the one responsible for of thosehe final form statements to the president for him to take a look at, review, &. there is absolutely no question of the critical nature for the senate and the american people of seeing all of these documents. will takes of paper about five seconds to take a look at and turn aside. there are substantive documents time he wasiod of staff secretary as well as white house counsel that are critical for the senate of the american people if we are to confirm judge kavanagh for a lifetime seat. >> one other point i would like to add, yesterday, i called up i asked himt --
once the letter arrived to do -- to lead usg, and the american people see the documents. he has some jurisdiction. and at lawyerry and others may be standing in his way with claims of privilege. archives the long to the american people and i asked him, -- thank you. jack of all trades, elliott. i asked him to make them public. whatid, regardless of chuck grassley believes and frankly,s of what, president bush, who is a fine man but is aware of what justice kavanagh feels -- he said he would give it a careful look and
get back to me at the end of the week. questions? what recourse do you have if he says no? the recourse is the american people let their senators know that they want to see these documents and our recourse will be to ask justice kavanagh a lot of questions but we all know that these judicial nominees study carefully the answers that often dance around the questions. documents are a good way to do this. >> [inaudible] sen. schumer: chairman grassley didn't seem to feel that way when 170,000 pages of elana kagan's documents were sent to the republicans. this double standard reeks.
people are asking what are they hiding. we are not intending to be dilatory. they could sign a letter with us right away and we will work on a process to go to the documents quickly. the intent here is sunlight, not delay. >> [inaudible] senatorumer: with feinstein may have and i talked to him on the floor. i would like to think he knows it is the right thing to do but is being pressured not to do it and is uncomfortable with it. >> [inaudible] schumer: they are hoping we can get the documents because you can do a better meeting once you have review. we will see what happens by the end of the week. what did senator grassley say to you when you talk to him on
the floor? sen. schumer: he said it is apples and oranges. staff secretary is different than being in the council's office. but they asked for all of justice kagan's documents and went back in the sotomayor days. what he said did not have any basis in history. thank you, everybody. i have to go vote. >> thank you, senator. sen. schumer: thank you. thank you. what? yes. are here looming large. >> supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh continues to meet with senators on capitol hill.
the confirmation process on c-span leading to the senate confirmation hearings and the vote. watch live on c-span, or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> later today, president trump will hold a campaign rally in florida, speaking in support of congressmanates, matt gaetz's reelection bid. you can see that rally live on c-span2. on c-span this week, in prime time, nasa administrator jim bridenstine on on president trump's proposal to create a space force. summer meeting on transformation of the workforce by artificial intelligence. thursday at 10:00 p.m., the net roots conference with new orleans.
more from the net root confident -- conference with senator elizabeth warren, call a harris and deborah holland --, kamala harris and deborah holland. >> this august on american partry tv, watch our nine series. assassinations, war, and the rise of the political left and right. starting on monday we will discuss the vietnam war. on tuesday, a look at the presidential campaign. wednesday, civil rights and race relations. on thursday discussion about
liberal politics and on friday, conservative politics. on a saturday, women's rights. sunday will look at the media's role. they will have a discussion about the vietnam war at home. the close out this series focusing on the cold war. watch "1968: america and turmoil," at 8:00 p.m. eastern august 6 through august 14. >> up next, foreign-policy experts discuss russia's involvement in the middle east, and their current relationships with israel and he ran -- and iran. this is about one hour 20 minutes.
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