Cristian Farias Profile picture
Sep 4, 2018 50 tweets 11 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
WOW: Kamala Harris and Senate Democrats interrupt Chuck Grassley's introduction of Brett Kavanaugh over all the withheld White House documents on the nominee.

They're calling to adjourn the hearing. Chaos in the chamber.
Cory Booker and other are calling for a vote on adjourning. Grassley, stone-faced, doesn't recognize him and just pounds on his gavel.
Cory Booker and Kamala Harris intervening so early is symbolic: They're not only the most-junior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, they're also the body's first two black senators... ever.
Mazie Hirono, another relatively junior senator and woman of color, also asks for her objections to the lack of transparency to be acknowledged.

Grassley calls for regular order, says the American public "deserve" to hear from the nominee.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island insists regular order is to have Kavanaugh's documents if the hearing is to proceed.

Patrick Leahy of Vermont, one of the dinosaurs on the Democratic side, says he's never seen a process like Kavanaugh in 44 years in the Seante.
Chuck Grassley insists on pressing forward, defends all the withheld documents, and says the committee "has more materials ... than any Supreme Court nominee in history."

Tells Kavanaugh to go ahead and introduce himself. Grassley then just sets up "ground rules" for hearing.
Kamala Harris interrupts Grassley AGAIN: "When will we review Sen. Blumenthal's motion to adjourn?"

Blumenthal of Connecticut adds that he renews his motion. Sens. Chris Coons and Amy Klobuchar jump in in agreement this is not regular order.
Cory Booker challenges Grassley's earlier assertion that the committee had "more than enough time" to review Kavanaugh's documents.

That's literally impossible: Senators just got a document dump on Kavanaugh LAST NIGHT.

Dems resisting big time.
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois calls Senate GOP on their hypocrisy to not hold hearing on Merrick Garland at all and their current rush to hold a hearing on Kavanaugh even without all the documents.
Cory Booker, a junior senator on the committee, says he and his colleagues cannot provide "advice and consent" under the Constitution on Kavanaugh without all the documents.

He basically lays it at the feet of Grassley, a committee veteran, who should know better. Incredible.
Sheldon Whitehouse says it's impossible to review the last-minute dump of Kavanaugh documents: "That's a rate of 7,000 pages per hour. That's superhuman."

Dems are right that the committee and the American public lose out when they don't get a chance to properly review docs.
Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, sort of lecturing a stone-faced Kavanaugh, says there are very few records from his time as assistant White House counsel and staff secretary that haven't been made available: "You have to understand our frustration from this side of the aisle."
Richard Blumenthal, renews his motion, Sheldon Whitehouse seconds it, and calls for a vote on reconvening the session.

Klobuchar adds there's a pending motion and a vote must be taken. Grassley stonewalls.

"This process will be tainted and stained forever" if there's no vote.
That was Blumenthal. He adds motion is properly before committee and it should be voted on.

Booker adds that it's "germane to our constitutional duties before this body, before we proceed" to vote on the motion. Grassley says "motion denied." (I don't think he can just deny it.)
Responding to newbie GOP senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, who asked for some rule clarifications, Grassley says, among other stuff, that hearings will extend into the weekend if necessary. BIG concession.

If that happens, that's a major win for Democrats. Room for more chaos.
Mazie Hirono complains to Chuck Grassley that senators have never had to "preclear what we ask the nominee about. That's unprecedented."

Dems want to show visuals (videos?) involving Kavanaugh. They've also seen "committee confidential" docs that no one else can see.
Blumenthal continues to push his vote on a motion to adjourn the hearing under Senate rules. "The chairman has no right ... to override them by fiat," he says.

Grassley responds the rule only applies in executive sessions of the committee, not this hearing.
Wish I had a screenshot, but Kavanaugh looks a little deflated with all this back and forth. His expected time in the spotlight has been eclipsed, it seems.
Grassley on "committee confidential" docs withheld on Kav: He says he instituted a process for senators to obtain release of docs from the federal government.

"Instead of scaring the American people" by suggesting hiding of docs, Democratic senators should make request, he says.
"This is not the Senate Judiciary Committee I served" when I first joined, laments Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who's been on it since 1975.

He says he's never seen so many records withheld on a nominee.
Here's a screenshot of sad Kavanaugh. Thank you, @elisahdez.
"Do you have another example of a time when executive privilege" was cited by White House to block release of documents during a #SCOTUS nomination hearing? asks Klobuchar.

Important question: Trump administration is citing privilege to block Bush White House docs. Really odd.
"We're simply asking for respect for the normal regular order," says Blumenthal.

Fascinating that Dems are sticking to this line. Process objections are generally boring and don't have a ton of impact. Didn't move the needle on Merrick Garland.

But here it seems to be working.
"Do you want this to go all day? ... I've been accused of having a mob rule session," asks Grassley. He says he's been patient with Democratic objections.

"This is the same Chuck Grassley that ran the Gorsuch hearings," he adds, somewhat despondently.
The "mob rule" line was said by GOP-er John Cornyn of Texas, btw. Chris Coons of Delaware corrects Grassley on that point.

He then once again continues to complain about "unprecedented committee process" and how Grassley has unilaterally blocked Dems from requesting documents.
Kamala Harris on why docs matter: "This is a hearing about who will sit in our highest court of our land. This is a hearing about who will sit in a house that symbolizes our system of justice in this country."

Calls on Grassley to revisit Blumenthal's motion to adjourn/postpone.
"No administration in the past has engaged in this kind of concealment," says Blumenthal, renewing his motion.

And then talks nicely to Grassley and tells him the obstruction really isn't his, but the Trump administration's.
Side style commentary:

Disappointed Kavanaugh didn't seem to get a haircut for his hearing. I mean, come the hell on. That thing looks dangerously close to a mullet.
Grassley now pontificates about one of the Senate's "most solemn duties" in providing advice and consent for #SCOTUS nominees.

His record obstructing Merrick Garland shows otherwise. Proof: He once justified blockade because hearings are too expensive.…
Grassley somehow managed to read his own opening statement about Kavanaugh — all wonderful things — and get the hearing on track.

Now it seems like each senator's opening statement will proceed, with each alternating by party and order of seniority.…
This is the part of the hearing where each senator talks AT the nominee about what they deem important, and Kavanaugh just sits there listening politely.

Feinstein highlights the judge's record on abortion, guns, and executive power.

GOP senators will mostly say nice things.
Orrin Hatch, who never supported an Obama Supreme Court nominee, is gaslighting about Kavanaugh hearing being the most transparent ever given the # of docs produced.

But as shown here, the volume of documents is irrelevant. The percentage is what matters:
Make of this what you will: Protesters are mostly women.
Now up: Patrick Leahy, who has seen 19 Supreme Court nominees in 44 years in the Senate.

"I've never seen such a dangerous rush to fill" the Kennedy vacancy. He says it's "Alice in Wonderland" that Kavanaugh is being nominated by a president at war with DOJ and the rule of law.
Today with this hearing the Senate is not being "the conscience of the nation,' says Leahy, with a little nod to recently departed John McCain, who near death called for a return to a regular order.…
Grassley gavels Cory Booker out of order for challenging the chairman on his claim that the # of docs from Kavanaugh are far more than those of the last 5 #SCOTUS nominees combined.

Booker said that was "not the full picture." Grassley moves on to John Cornyn, who's up next.
"What we've heard is the noise of democracy," says Dick Durbin, next up.

He tells Kavanaugh he hopes he can explain that to his children, who had to witness all the protests/arrests moments earlier.

He insists that there are parts of his record that GOP doesn't want out.
There's a 35-month black hole in your White House career, says Durbin, referring to Kavanaugh's time as staff secretary.

Almost no records have been produced from that time, where he's thought to have participated in a number of controversies, including over same-sex marriage.
Wow: Durbin has a suggestion for Kavanaugh before he goes under oath:

If you believe your public record is one that you can get behind and defend, I ask that you ask this committee to suspend the hearing until we get all your documents.

(Narrator voice: Kavanaugh won't do it.)
Mike Lee of Utah (R), now up, decries that there is "so much angst" over a single #SCOTUS nominee like Kavanaugh.

Flashback: Lee had every intention of blocking Merrick Garland even if Hillary Clinton won the election.…
Sheldon Whitehouse, who went viral last year during the Gorsuch hearings, is next. He's repeating last year's number:

Reciting the corporate and partisan rulings of what he calls the "Roberts Five" — rulings where Republican-appointed justices ruled to protect GOP interests.
"In 73 partisan decision where there's a big Republican interest at stake, the big Republican interest wins. Every. Damn. Time," Whitehouse says.

He has an aide in the back with a chart with list of all the 5-to-4 rulings by the "Roberts Five." Suggests Kavanaugh would join 'em.
Ted Cruz is now up. Contrary to his suggestion that being a White House staff secretary is little more than being a paper pusher, documents obtained by @FixTheCourt indicate that he was involved in substantive policy decisions:

30-minute lunch #break. Later, everyone.
Many senators cleared out the chamber post-lunch break.

Amy Klobuchar now up, rehashing comments about unprecedented nature of the withheld documents vis-a-vis other #SCOTUS nominees, and the fact Kavanaugh was nominated by president under investigation and no respect for law.
Outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a longtime critic of Trump and his excesses, bends over backwards saying nice things about Brett Kavanaugh.

He cites yesterday's outrageous, norm-destroying DOJ/Jeff Sessions tweet by the president.

Flake will still vote for Kavanaugh.
"No one can select a judge in his own case," says Sen. Richard Blumenthal, suggesting Trump picked Kavanaugh so he can get a pass from his nominee should aspects of the Mueller probe land before #SCOTUS

Renews this morning's motion to adjourn the hearing until all docs reviewed.
Grassley once again denies Blumenthal's motion and tells him that committee rules for adjourning only apply to executive meetings, not this hearing.

Interesting: Blumenthal now moves to appeal the ruling. Grassley denies appeal as disallowed under rules. Blumenthal keeps going.
"Let's just proceed as we have," says Grassley, allowing Blumenthal to continue talking under protest.

He says he'll let senators talk beyond their allotted time because that's how things have been running since the morning. Blumenthal says he'll be "judicious" with the time.
Cory Booker of New Jersey, the first African American man to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is doing something very interesting:

He's not addressing Kavanaugh, but directly confronting the chairman over the limited number of White House records given to the committee.

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