Cory Booker Says He’ll Violate Senate Rules to Release Kavanaugh Email

Friday, 07 Sep, 2018

Republicans had earlier deemed the 2003 email, as well as almost 190,000 other documents from Kavanaugh's time in the Bush White House, "committee confidential", meaning they could only be viewed by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in private.

Kavanaugh said he understands the weight that many people attach to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

The tone is different from Kavanaugh's remarks stressing how hard it is to overturn precedent like Roe during confirmation hearings, which opened for a third day Thursday with angry complaints and finger-pointing among senators over the unusual vetting process for the judge. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) risked being expelled from the U.S. Senate by releasing confidential documents to the public.

"Running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate", Cornyn said, a reference to Booker's 2020 ambitions.

But a spokesman for McConnell said the GOP leader did not recess the Senate to avoid Democrats' procedural maneuvering.

"It was a gut punch for me", he said, and he was "shocked, disappointed, angry".

"As I've been saying from the beginning, this process has been a sham", Booker said. "If you're coming after @SenBooker for releasing these documents, count me in".

Leahy spent his remaining time asking Kavanaugh about his knowledge at the time of the warrantless wiretapping of US citizens during the Bush administration's "War on Terror" following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

The following day, Booker zeroed in on racial injustice in his questioning of Kavanaugh, including pressing him on an email about racial profiling, which is the note that had been marked committee confidential that Booker broke the rule to release Thursday morning.

"So I am, right now, before your process is finished, I am going to release the email about racial profiling", he said.

As the senators on the Judiciary Committee entered their third day of bickering over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, tensions boiled over and revealed the other fight playing out in the background. Conservatives hope that Kavanaugh's confirmation could create a conservative majority on the court, potentially for decades.

The New York Times also received committee confidential documents from an "unknown person" late Wednesday night, showing Kavanaugh discussing affirmative action and abortion.

In a 2003 email, Kavanaugh suggested striking a line from a draft opinion piece that had stated "it is widely accepted by legal scholars across the board that Roe v. Wade and its progeny are the settled law of the land", saying that the Supreme Court could overturn it. Senators are now questioning Kavanaugh for the second day. Not only did Cory Booker's "Spartacus moment" fall flat, so did the one strategy that might actually have derailed Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation. Lee complained that Booker was relying on an unreleased e-mail to question Kavanaugh's openness to racial profiling by police, but then agreed to work for its release.

Asked about court precedents, the importance of previously settled cases including the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that ensures access to abortion, Kavanaugh said, "Respect for precedent is important".

"Have you had a conversation with anyone at that firm about that investigation?" Harris said he doesn't need to see a list to recall whether he's talked to anyone at the firm in the 15 months since Mueller's probe was launched. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said at one point during Thursday's hearing, after Sen.