With the Senate Judiciary Committee set to hold its first confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump's right-wing Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday, the Trump White House reportedly directed on Friday that over 100,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh's tenure as an associate White House counsel under former President George W. Bush be withheld from senators.
According to a letter notifying Senate leaders of Trump's directive, which was obtained by Buzzfeed, the White House has decided to withhold documents "including advice on judicial nominations and "advice submitted directly to President Bush; substantive communications between White House staff about communications with President Bush; and substantive, deliberative discussions relating to or about executive orders or legislation considered by the Executive Office of the President."
"In total," Buzzfeed continued, "27,110 of Brett Kavanaugh's documents from his time in the White House counsel's office under Bush—101,921 pages—are not being turned over to senators considering his Supreme Court nomination at the direction of the Trump administration."
Activists and legal experts reacted to Friday's news with outrage, arguing the move is further evidence that the White House is working to suppress elements of Kavanaugh's record, which has already been panned as anti-environment, anti-reproductive rights, anti-worker, and thoroughly pro-corporate.
Additionally, according to documents that were released on Friday, Kavanaugh has suggested that limits on individual contributions to political campaigns have "some constitutional problems."
"Read this. Be outraged. Call your senators," Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, declared in response to Buzzfeed's report. "And continue asking, over and over: #WhatAreTheyHiding from the American people?"
— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) September 1, 2018
This is truly crazy. Trump is asserting Executive Prvilege over 15-year old docs from the Bush administration that Kavanaugh created. 100k of them. And they are largely docs where Kavanaugh commented on judicial nominees, where he would have discussed, e.g., views on Roe. https://t.co/1s0rNqFZv6
— Daniel Jacobson (@Dan_F_Jacobson) September 1, 2018
McConnell warned Trump not to pick #Kavanaugh for #SCOTUS because of his long paper trail. Now the Trump admin is withholding 100,000 documents on the basis of “presidential privilege”.
Every American should demand and deserves to know #WhatAreTheyHiding?https://t.co/RaguhyWYbq
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) September 1, 2018
Despite the secrecy surrounding Kavanaugh's record as well as his quite public right-wing positions, the Democratic caucus has still failed to fully unite against the judge.
According to the Whip the Vote, a coalition of advocacy groups mobilizing against Kavanaugh, 22 Democrats and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) still have not vowed to oppose Trump's Supreme Court pick.