Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Brett Kavanaugh on recusal questions related to Mueller, Russia probe

Brett Kavanaugh on recusal questions related to Mueller, Russia probe

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the third day of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 6, 2018. The full Senate confirmation vote is expected to come at the end of the month, with the aim of having Kavanaugh seated when the Supreme Court opens its next term at the beginning of October.

But the 53-year-old appellate judge stuck to a well-rehearsed script throughout his testimony, providing only glimpses of his judicial stances while avoiding any serious mistakes that might jeopardize his confirmation.

"I have to tell you that despite the embarrassing display by many Senate Democrats in the Judiciary Committee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh showed the intellect, the temperament, the judicial philosophy that I believe should generate broad-based support in the United States Senate", Pence said.

One of the Democrats' star witnesses was John Dean, Richard Nixon's White House counsel who cooperated with prosecutors during the Watergate investigation.

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Questions arose about whether Kavanaugh had any conversations about the special counsel with employees at Kasowitz Benson Torres, a law firm co-founded by Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that Judge Kavanaugh has misled the Senate Judiciary Committee in a number of ways", Schumer said in a series of tweets Sunday.

The line of questioning follows that of other Democratic senators this week who have sought clarity about Kavanaugh's political leanings.

Democrats painted Kavanaugh as a threat to abortion rights. Collins, a pro-abortion rights Republican, is considered to be a vital swing-vote for Kavanaugh's nomination along with Sen. Their hope is that two Republican senators who support abortion rights could break from their party and vote against him. The document had been held by the committee as confidential but was made public Thursday.

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The document was partially redacted. Kavanaugh is likely to push the conservative-leaning court further to the right, if confirmed. Throughout his testimony, Kavanaugh repeatedly stated the importance of judicial independence. "I am very concerned since learning Brett Kavanaugh's views on guns, and how he would strike down any assault weapons ban", she explained - an opinion no doubt informed by her close reading of his opinions on the matter as well as her knowledge of precedents on the Second Amendment. When Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT invited him to denounce Trump's criticism of federal judges, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the nominee demurred.

However, on Thursday afternoon, Booker continued publicly releasing documents that he said had been marked "committee confidential", posting on Twitter, "We will continue to release more committee confidential documents to draw attention to this sham process".

"It did not, Senator", Kavanaugh said.

During the hearings, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii released Bush-era correspondence from Kavanaugh stamped as "committee classified", a low-level designation meaning Congress members and staff may view the documents but they may not be released to the public. Both Booker and California Democratic Sen. Democrats are charging that Kavanaugh lied about whether - while working for the Bush administration in 2003 - he handled the "vetting process" for another judge, appeals court Judge William Pryor.

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White House spokesman Raj Shah said in an email that Democrats were trying to smear Kavanaugh's reputation, later adding that outside experts had said the Democrats lacked proof of their allegations.

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