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tv   Sen. Durbin on Meeting with Judge Kavanaugh  CSPAN  August 26, 2018 11:14am-11:33am EDT

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>> not until after we hear. i have always waited until after the judiciary committee hearings before rendering a final decision on a supreme court nominee. you never know what questions are going to come up at a judiciary committee hearing where 21 individuals will be questioning him, but for more than two hours, we covered a wide range of issues and it was very helpful and productive and very informative. >> thank you. thank you guys, i'm sorry. we need to get to the floor. >> thanks, everybody i just had
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an opportunity to spend a must in our the supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. there were several observations i would like to make about our conversation and how it relates to his ultimate fitness to serve on the supreme court. is withwant to start this chart. you are looking at a chart that reflects years that brett kavanaugh served in the white house. appear for the white house counsel -- this time the administration has agreed to supply us with documentation which indicates what happened when he was in that capacity. i believe we are up to some 260,000 pages. however, what you see here in the blacked out months is what i call the black hole of his record. ase 35 months of service
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staff secretary to the president of the united states which the republicans refuse to share with the american people and allow this committee to review. i went into this specifically and he said he did not establish the standards for disclosure of the documents. i asked him, ring the time when he was serving as the president's staff secretary about issues that he worked on. those issues included, for example the bush administration's endorsement in 2004 of a proposal to amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage. the thoughts and writings be important for us to review and might of his nomination? of course they would. the partial-birth abortion ban enacted in november 12 -- november 2003. the iraq war and abuses. , a supreme court's nominee score of cases that came before the supreme court on critical
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issues related to detainees and others. warrantless wiretapping of american citizens which he specifically recalled was an issue he had to discuss specifically with the president. the national security letters of the patriot act, second amendment unless the list goes on. the point i am making is that 35 month period of time where he served as staff secretary to president bush was a time that was rife with issues of great constitutional moment. it is the reason the american people have a right to know what he said, how he advised the president, what he wrote. those are things which the republicans are hiding from the american people and keeping secret. i asked him about this man, bill burke. who is he? he is an attorney here in washington. even with don mcgann in the room, i said as he and official government employee? no. we don't think so. bill burke is the final filter of documents from the archives
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to congress and the american people. he is deciding. this private lawyer is deciding what's the american people will see when it comes to brett kavanaugh record. that is unacceptable. i have been on the committee for a number of years. we've had a number before us. the standard for disclosure established by senator jeff sessions, the ranking republican at the time and the standard that was agreed to by patrick leahy is being trampled on and ignored by the republicans when it comes to their own nominee brett kavanaugh. what is in these documents that the republicans do not want to share with the american people? what did mr. cavanaugh say, do, or right ring that time that we ought to know before he becomes the swing vote on the united states supreme court for more than a generation. the second issue i raised goes back to an earlier time when heap became -- when he came to
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the committee under oath. i asked questions about his role when it came to the detention of combatants. what he had to say, and i didn't bring my glasses so this may be a struggle, but i asked him about his role and he said i did not, i was not involved and was not involved in the questions about the roles governing detention of combatants and so i witht have the involvement that issue of combatants. a paraphrased that because i didn't have the glasses. i sent him a letter a year later, when there was a press release that said he was personally at the hearing or at one of the meetings relating to the detention of combatants. when he told me under oath he had no involvement, it later turns out he did have involvement. he volunteered at one of these meetings.
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when i asked him today, he tried to draw a distinction between those combatants which were being held by the cia, those held by the affirmative defense and others. he did not make that distinction when he made the statement earlier. it was an acknowledgment today from him that he was involved in conversations involving enemy combatants. why is this important? because if you will remember, it was the front and center issue in this country for months if not years. it ended up with senator mccain's torture act passing with over 90 votes in the united states senate to prohibit conduct of hesitation -- that had taken place during the bush administration years. this was a front and center constitutional issue. do they have a right to know what brett kavanaugh's role was? i think it goes without saying that they do. the last point i want to raise with you is when i raised with him that is timely.
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timely because of the events of this week. the prosecution and conviction of paul manafort and the guilty plea arrangement for michael cohen. the question is the vulnerability of -- or culpability of a sitting president of the united states. if that is an issue where he has changed his position dramatically? he was involved in 10 starts commission investigating president clinton. he was dramatically and personally involved in it as you know from reading the documents. a few years later he wrote an article for the university of minnesota in which he reversed his position and came to the conclusion that a sitting president should not be subject to either indictment investigation or prosecution. i asked him about this. it is a timely and important question. i don't know if the issue of legal culpability is going to rise to the highest levels, but i would like to know how a new member of the supreme court of use it.
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he tried to draw a distinction, saying his university of the sotalol review not have anything to do with the constitutionality of such a decision. he was making a recommendation to congress that a president should not be prosecuted or investigated during course of his time in office but only after he leaves of this. that is much different than what we read in the lot review. there is no clarity on his position as to whether or not president trump in this circumstance would be subject to investigation and prosecution. it is an unanswered question of there are many others we did not have a chance to get into. i will not make an announcement today. i know that will be your first question. i will go through the committee hope for the good of this nation and for the reputation of the senate and but chairmanmittee grassley and the republican leadership of the senate will acknowledge that this is a travesty. for us to allow 35 months of
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public records on this supreme court nominee to be hidden from the american eagle is a cost not travis tea. the senate cannot perform its constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on a supreme court nominee when so much information is being concealed about this nominee. know and moret to importantly, the american people have a right to know. >> aren't you really on the same page as brett kavanaugh? he has said repeatedly that he thinks the proper remedy is impatient for it are to simply trying to delay his nomination until you potentially hold control of the senate again? >> no. let's put this in proper context. the mostmpeachment is serious penalty imposed by the constitution on a political basis. that we would remove the chief executive by congressional action is jolting a constitutional mandate or opportunity as anything.
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i think it needs to be taken very seriously. i am not proposing or suggesting impeachment at this point, i believe we should let the facts come out from the molar investigation and draw the conclusion from those. in the meantime, the question is whether this president or any president is subject to investigation and prosecution -- prosecution that may not reach the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. that is what is before us in the question and article written by judge kavanaugh. i believe what we found in the clinton situation, he was subjected to subpoena and investigation and they went forward in that regard. when it comes to the impeachment side come i think that is an separate issue. >> [indiscernible] i know you called for the delay in the hearing with some concerns about cohen and manafort.
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opposedre really that for moving too quickly with judge kavanaugh, why not let them burn through all of that -- not work out an agreement, but to get the nominations. >> i don't know what the strategy is going to be. i have not talked to senator schumer since the cloture motions. i want to make clear. if we used every single minute of every single hour of every single day under the rules, there would come a time when they would ultimately be a vote. if the american people are still in the dark about 35 months of in the highest level of the government, shame on us. delaying it for a matter of days and weeks does not answer the basic russian. what is it about the documentation coming from these months that republicans are so
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afraid to show us? >> [indiscernible] >> that's what he gave me. the best that he could give me was the notion that he was not addressing the constitutionality of such a proposal, but simply a suggestion to congress. most of us to have read the article did not come to the same conclusion. he will face that question again i'm sure before the senate judiciary. , you hads your message messageator schumer's considering voting for kavanaugh. are you trying to tell them not to vote for kavanaugh so that you have a unified body of no votes when it comes down to it? >> you have covered the senate for a while. i think you understand how the democratic caucus works. i know having served as with for a number of years, any attempt
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to pressure colleagues to vote one way or another on something of this historic moment fails. they are going to make their individual decisions personally and politically. that is the way it should be. all i can do is share with them terms ofgs in disciplining them into a boat, does not work. how do you think come in the wake of the: detail >> how influential do you think the argument you are making about executive authority is when it comes to swing the vote of moderate republicans on kavanaugh? >> i would say this. most of us believe as a matter of principle in america that no one is above the law. no one. and theg politicians president of the united states. if you stick to that fundamental
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principle, there has to be accountability. what we saw happened this week in virginia and new york was disquieting, jolting to think the president's personal attorney would enter a plea agreement. to think the president's campaign chairman would be found guilty on eight counts of felonies. all of those things suggest that this is a matter of great severity and great seriousness and at this point, i have said before a double say again, the molar investigation should be completed. >> [indiscernible] seematically saying i don't any reason to delay the kavanaugh hearing because of the nuisance dust because of the news or you get any sense it is getting through to them? >> i don't know. maybe a trip home will change their views. i think it should be postponed at least until the documentation is produced. [indiscernible]
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is this resonating with voters? >> here's what the voters say. they don't pay a lot of attention to this, incidentally. there are lots of things we dwell on in washington that don't pop through back home. but they do believe that the senate has a constitutional responsibility to carefully review nominees. i think it is clear to them documents are being concealed and hidden, there is a reason. they could be produced. it would take more time for the hearing, and maybe that is the reason why senator mcconnell wants to move more quickly. but they should be produced. if there is nothing in there, so be it. were 170,000e documents approved, she did not exert executive privilege on a single one. we had a chance to read them all. and they wentr it
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on to ask for them to produce the minutes of the meetings of the puerto rican legal defense fund that she served on as a board member. they produced them. we have been open and transparent with document presentation in the past. why are the republicans refusing to do the same? [indiscernible] >> what on earth does that have to do with the nominee? >> i do not think it has anything to do with his nomination. we hope that the system of justice will find the truth and
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whatever the motive of the person testifying, we want them under oath to tell the truth. it is understandable, but the ,uestion is, the final product is it truthful? that is the bottom line. nominationow if the has a direct impact on that, but if it goes to higher levels of the government, the position of the supreme court justice on the accountability of the president of the united date is an essential question. one last question. >> yesterday, asking about the secretary of the. [indiscernible]
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i am falling behind on my tweets. i do not know. thank you everybody. >> various organizations that oppose the supreme court nominee held a rally in front of the court. speakers include senator blumenthal and women's rights activists lily ledbetter. nia: hi, everyone. welcome to working women will stop kavanaugh. give it up!

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