BONUS: Kavanaugh confidential

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Kavanaugh confidential

Republicans have gone to extraordinary lengths to shield Brett Kavanaugh’s record from public scrutiny.

They dispensed with the non-partisan National Archives and put a Republican lawyer and “close friend” of Kavanaugh, Bill Burck, in charge of document production. They refused to request any documents from Kavanaugh’s tenure as White House Staff Secretary, shielding more than a million records. And they deemed many of the records that were released by Burck as “Committee Confidential,” meaning they could not be shared publicly.

Now we know why.

On Thursday, Democrats released some of the “Committee Confidential” emails. Several of these emails reveal Kavanaugh’s previous testimony to the committee was false.

Providing false testimony to Congress, under oath, is a grave matter. It would undoubtedly have derailed other judicial nominations. The impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination is uncertain.

The Pryor email

In his confirmation hearings in 2004, Kavanaugh said under oath that he was "not involved" in handling the nomination of Bill Pryor, an extremely controversial judicial nominee. He also brushed off questions about the nomination by saying it "was not one that I worked on personally." Asked if he had any involvement in the vetting process, Kavanaugh answered "no."

KENNEDY: [Y]ou are involved in the process where he calls a case the worse
abomination of constitutional law in our history, criticizes the Miranda case and refers to the Supreme Court as nine octogenarian lawyers--you are involved in the vetting process. Whether you did anything at all about it, I gather you say that you did not.

KAVANAUGH: No, I was not involved in handling his nomination.

A December 16, 2002 email, initially kept from the public by Republican leadership, shows that was not true. Kyle Sampson, another member of the White House counsel's office at the time, emailed Kavanaugh and asked, "How did the Pryor interview go?" Kavanaugh replied, "call me."

This email was initially shielded from public view by Republicans on the Judiciary Committee.

The Yoo email

In his 2006 confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh testified under oath that he did not see any documents about Bush's warrantless wiretapping program and first learned about the program when he read a New York Times article in 2005.

LEAHY: Did you see documents relating to the President's NSA warrantless wiretapping program?

KAVANAUGH: Senator, I learned of that program when there was a New York Times story--reports of that program when there was a New York Times story that came over the wire, I think on a Thursday night in mid-December of last year.

This also appears to be false. On September 17, 2001, Kavanaugh sent John Yoo -- the legal architect of the program -- and email asking about "the [Fourth Amendment] implications of random/constant surveillance of non-citizens who are in the United States." So Kavanaugh was aware and engaged on the administration's work in constructing the warrantless wiretapping program.

This email was initially shielded from public view by Republicans on the Judiciary Committee.

The Miranda emails

Manny Miranda was a Republican staffer who exploited a weakness in the Senate email system to steal emails from Democrats on the Judiciary Committee during the Bush administration. Miranda used the information to undermine Democratic efforts to block controversial nominees.

In his 2004 confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh testified under oath that Miranda never shared materials that were "drafted or prepared by Democratic staff."

HATCH: Now, this is an important question. Did Mr. Miranda ever share, reference, or provide you with any documents that appeared to you to have been drafted or prepared by Democratic staff members of the Senate Judiciary Committee?

KAVANAUGH: No, I was not aware of that matter ever until I learned of it in the media late last year.

HATCH: Did Mr. Miranda ever share, reference, or provide you with information that you believed or were led to believe was obtained or derived from Democratic files?

KAVANAUGH: No. Again, I was not aware of that matter in any way whatsoever until I learned it in the media.

In his 2006 confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh again testified under oath that he never received any Democratic memos from Miranda and had no idea that he was obtaining stolen information.

DURBIN: Manny Miranda was an employee of the Judiciary Committee on the Republican staff and then on the Senate Majority Leader's staff. He hacked into the computers of the members and staff of this Committee, stealing thousands of documents and memoranda which were then shared with others...Did you ever work with him in terms of judicial nominations?

KAVANAUGH: He was part of a group of Senate staffers that did work on judicial nominations with people at the Department of Justice and the White House Counsel's Office... I did not know about any memos from the Democratic side. I did not suspect that. Had I known or suspected that I would have immediately told Judge Gonzales...Did not know about it, did not suspect it...

But multiple emails, previously withheld from the public, released by Democratic Senators on Thursday revealed that Kavanaugh did receive materials "drafted and prepared by Democratic staff" from Miranda and other obviously pilfered information.

On July 28, 2002, Miranda sent Kavanaugh an email about a "confidential letter" sent to Senator Leahy "in the strictest confidence." Miranda warned Kavanaugh to keep his email "confidential" and not share it with anyone.

On March 15, 2003, Miranda sent Kavanaugh an email containing an eight-page draft Democratic memo outlining the Democrats strategy for a judicial nominee. The subject line of the email was "for use and not distribution."

On June 5, 2003, Miranda forwarded Kavanaugh an email with the subject line "spying," which discussed a "mole" in the Democratic staff that was feeding Republicans information.

There are more emails along these lines. Taken together it is clear that Kavanaugh's testimony that he never received materials drafted by Democrats was false and his claim that he had no idea Miranda was improperly obtaining materials from Democrats not credible.

The abortion email

Another email previously hidden from the public does not show Kavanaugh giving false testimony but sheds light on an issue that may determine the fate of his nomination.

In a March 24, 2003 email, Kavanaugh objected to a description of Roe v. Wade "as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so."

Senator Klobuchar on Popular Information


416 children are still separated from their parents

The child separation crisis is not over. A document filed in federal court on Thursday revealed that 416 children, including 14 under the age of 5, remain separated from their parents as a result of the administration's "zero tolerance policy."

In related news, the "Trump administration announced a new rule Thursday that would allow immigrant children with their parents to be held in detention indefinitely, upending a ban on indefinite detention that has been in place for 20 years."


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Jesse Hirsch@Jesse_Hirsch

2) Popular Information, a newsletter from @JuddLegum which dives into one issue at a time (say, the student loan crisis or Kavanaugh) and succinctly explains all the vital details

September 6, 2018
Jill Gavalis@GavalisJill

Thank you, @JuddLegum for your informed and intelligent take on the news of the day. Popular Information is a great read!

September 6, 2018
Siyabonga Africa@siyafrica

Awesome newsletter by @JuddLegum I love how he dismisses the NYT op-ed by the "resistor" as not being worth your time...it is not indeed https://t.co/5bXMDNTi8u

September 6, 2018