Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that senators expect to receive “at least 1 million pages of documents” related to Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh’s time in George W. Bush’s White House and as a Republican “political operative,” a sign of a mammoth task that could slow the timeline for confirmation hearings.
Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the estimate while pressing for access to all Kavanaugh-related records from the George W. Bush Presidential Library and the National Archives. Kavanaugh spent five years in the Bush White House starting in 2001; in the mid-1990s, he worked as a deputy to independent counsel Kenneth Starr, helping to write the report that laid the groundwork for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.
“Kavanaugh has an extensive record,” Feinstein said in a statement. “We expect at least 1 million pages of documents from his tenure in the White House and as a political operative.
“To properly vet Judge Kavanaugh, the Senate Judiciary Committee needs access to all documents,” she added.
Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh before the new Supreme Court term begins in October, setting up a busy 2½ months for senators and staffers. Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), have made a point of asking for enough time to review Kavanaugh’s full record, even if that means slowing the process.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) suggested, in response to Democratic requests for all of Kavanaugh’s papers, that the nominee’s opponents are trying to stonewall his confirmation process until after the midterm elections in November.
“We’ve already begun to hear rumblings from our Democratic colleagues that they’re going to want to see every scrap of paper that ever came across Brett Kavanaugh’s desk,” Cornyn said during a news conference.
“We’re not going to sit idly by and allow our Democratic colleagues to draw this out by making unreasonable document demands, which would delay this hearing until well past the election,” he said.
Kavanaugh, now a federal judge, is known for his broad view of presidential powers, which Feinstein argued raises the stakes for his confirmation process. As evidence, she pointed to comments this week by President Trump that contradicted the intelligence community’s consensus that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
“President Trump this week raised bipartisan alarm about his relationship with Russia and whether he believes his intelligence agencies, reiterating the importance of protecting the investigation into Russian interference,” Feinstein said.
“Given what we know about Kavanaugh’s views of expansive executive power and that he doesn’t believe a sitting president should be investigated, it’s more important than ever that we have access to all documents,” she said.