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Thousands of documents from Brett Kavanaugh's Bush years were released hours before his confirmation hearings

Democrats are not pleased.

by Carter Sherman
Sep 4 2018, 1:20pm

A lawyer for George W. Bush released more than 42,000 pages of documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's time in the Bush White House on Monday night, the end of the long holiday weekend — just hours before Kavanaugh was set to begin testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The release of the documents will not delay the start of the hearings, and that has Democrats fuming. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer tweeted, "This underscores just how absurd this process is. Not a single senator will be able to review these records before tomorrow."

A statement from the other side said Republicans will have no problem getting their reading done overnight.

"The Majority staff has now completed its review of each and every one of these pages, the Senate Judiciary Committee's Twitter account tweeted at around 10 p.m. ET Monday. The documents were not made publicly available, but rather were released only to Senate Judiciary Committee members.

A spokesperson for the Senate Judiciary Republicans noted that the documents produced for Kavanaugh’s confirmation far outnumbered the documents produced for past Supreme Court nominees.

"The Committee received another document production today, bringing the total volume of Executive Branch records to more than 480,000 pages, dwarfing the total Executive Branch material for the last five confirmed nominees combined,” the spokesperson told ABC, adding that the team has received documents on a rolling basis. “Our review team will be able to complete its examination of this latest batch in short order, before tomorrow’s hearing begins.”

The release of the documents arrives just days after the Trump White House directed William Burck, the lawyer working on behalf of the George W. Bush administration, to not provide about 100,000 records from Kavanaugh's Bush White House years, according to a letter written by Burck and released by the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday night. Kavanaugh spent three years working as Bush’s staff secretary, a job that would’ve led him to handle just about every document that came in to the Oval Office.

“For presidential records, we provided every such document to the Department of Justice so it could conduct its own independent review and consult with the White House about the application of appropriate PRA exemptions and constitutional privileges attendant to the Presidency,” Burck wrote. “Based on that review, the White House and the Department of Justice have identified certain documents of the type traditionally protected by constitutional privilege.”

While Republicans have said most of those documents are likely irrelevant to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Democrats fought for weeks to release documents from that era of Kavanaugh’s life, with little success. On Twitter, Schumer called the Trump administration’s decision to halt the documents release “a Friday-night document massacre.”

“President Trump’s decision to step in at the last moment and hide 100K pages of Judge Kavanaugh’s records from the American public is not only unprecedented in the history of SCOTUS noms; it has all the makings of a cover-up,” Schumer tweeted.

Cover: U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh arrives for a meeting with U.S. Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., August 23, 2018. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)