White House withholds 100,000 pages of Kavanaugh’s records

Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Photo: Wikipedia

Sept. 2 (UPI) — The Trump administration will withhold 100,000 pages of documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh‘s White House service, citing executive privilege.

William Burck, an attorney for former President George W. Bush tasked with reviewing the documents, wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee saying he and his team had provided “every reviewable document,” excluding exact duplicates of electronic records, personal documents, presidential records outside Kavanaugh’s service and presidential records protected by constitutional privilege.

“President Bush directed us to proceed expeditiously and to err as much as appropriate on the side of transparency and disclosure, and we believe we have done so,” Burck said.

Burck noted that Kavanaugh dealt with “some of the most sensitive communications of any White House official” as an associate and senior associate White House counsel under Bush.

He said the records were provided to the Department of Justice for “an independent assessment of its proper categorization and treatment,” after which the White House directed the documents not be provided to the committee.

“The most significant portion of these documents reflect deliberations and candid advice concerning the selection and nomination of judicial candidates, the confidentiality of which is critical to any President’s ability to carry out this core constitutional executive function,” Burck wrote.

He added the remaining documents not included also presented functions of the executive office, which are traditionally kept confidential as part of a president’s constitutional privileges.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer referred to the decision to withhold the documents as a “Friday night document massacre” in a tweet on Saturday morning.

“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 wrote. “Republicans in the Senate and the President of the United States are colluding to keep Judge Kavanaugh’s records secret, and trying to hide their actions from the American people by doing it on the Friday night of a holiday weekend.”

White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said Schumer’s claim was “entirely incorrect,” saying the Senate Judiciary Committee requested access to “any non-privileged Presidential record.”

“That has been satisfied to the tune of over 440,000 pages of Executive branch documents, more than what was produced for the past five #SCOTUS nominees combined,” Shah wrote on Twitter.Kavanaugh’s is set to begin hearings on his confirmation in the upper chamber Tuesday.


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