US senator releases secret SC nominee emails
WASHINGTON: Democratic Senator Cory Booker broke Senate rules Thursday by releasing “committee confidential” documents related to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh.
Booker acknowledged the action could result in him being expelled from the chamber, but he was defiant in the face of threats from Republican Senator John Cornyn, telling him “Bring it. Bring it. Bring it. Apply the rule and bring the charges. Bring it.”
Booker sought to justify his actions by saying the emails that were being withheld from public release “have nothing to do with national security.” He acknowledged in releasing them he would be “knowingly violating the rules.”
Booker was joined by fellow committee Democrats Dick Dubrin and Mazie Hirono, and drew the support of the Senate’s highest ranking Democrat, Chuck Schumer.
“I stand w/ Judiciary Committee Democrats who are well within their rights to release these very important documents that a former Kavanaugh deputy designed as ‘committee confidential,'” Schumer wrote on Twitter. “The American ppl deserve to know the truth about Judge Kavanaugh’s record. #WhatAreTheyHiding?”
Booker released 12 pages of documents online while the Kavanaugh hearing continued.
They include Kavanaugh addressing racial profiling tactics following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Kavanaugh, who was working as a lawyer in the George W. Bush’s White House at the time, said in an email dated Jan. 17, 2002 that while he “generally” favors security practices that are “race-neutral” the administration needed to “grapple” with the “interim question of what to do before a truly effective and comprehensive race-neutral system is developed and implemented.”
Booker questioned Kavanaugh about the email exchange during testimony on Wednesday, but drew criticism from panel Republicans who questioned the fairness of questioning the Supreme Court nominee on documents he could not see.
Republicans continued to denounce Booker, who is thought to be considering a White House in 2020, on Thursday, with Cornyn in particular issuing a stern rebuke.
“Running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate or of confidentiality of the documents that we are privy to,” he said. “This is no different than the senator releasing classified information.”
It would be incredibly difficult to expel Booker from the senate.
Doing so would require a two-thirds vote from the full chamber, and Democrats hold roughly half the seats in the Senate.
Hirono also released screenshots of two pages of “committee confidential” emails, which she said “show that Judge Kavanaugh wrongly believes that Native Hawaiian programs are Constitutionally questionable.”
Hirono represents the state of Hawaii. (AA)