After an explosive line of questioning by Sen. Patrick Leah (D-Vt.) during the second day of hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, progressive groups are calling on Democrats on the GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee to read documents now labelled as "committee confidential" into the public record as a way to expose the possibility that the nominee may have knowingly received stolen emails ahead of previous sworn testimony before Congress.
"We have discovered evidence," Leahy announced, "that Judge Kavanaugh misled the Senate during his 2004 and 2006 hearings. Truthfulness under oath is not an optional qualification for a Supreme Court nominee."
As Talking Points Memo reports, the questioning by Leahy appeared to throw :
Kavanaugh off his flow of so far providing steady and confident answers to senator's questions with a line of inquiry about allegations that emails were stolen from Leahy's office during the confirmation wars of the George W. Bush administration.
Kavanaugh at the time was involved in the judicial confirmation process for the White House, and on Wednesday Leahy zeroed in on testimony Kavanaugh later gave during his confirmation to a lower court judgeship.
Leahy presented Kavanaugh with claims the judge made during the mid-2000s confirmation hearings about never receiving the stolen emails. Kavanaugh said that his comments then were 100 percent accurate.
Watch part the key part of their exchange:
LEAHY: When you worked at the WH, did anyone ever tell you they had a mole that provided them with secret info?
KAVANAUGH: I don't recall
L: You never received an email from a GOP staff member w/info claiming to come from spying?
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K: I'm not going to rule anything out. pic.twitter.com/NqWymwZOnG
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 5, 2018
In response to the exchange and the accusations levied against Kavanaugh by Leahy, several progressive watchdog groups—namely Demand Justice, MoveOn, and NARAL Pro-Choice America—jointly called on Senate Democrats to "unilaterally release records that are currently in their possession," those marked "committee confidential," that might be able to confirm whether or not Kavanaugh lied under oath.
Both Sens Hatch & Grassley continue to speak as though they don’t understand Leahy’s request. Leahy cannot present the evidence to Kavanaugh at the hearing b/c they have been designated “Committee Confidential.”Call yr Sen. Tell Grassley to allow the public release of these docs. https://t.co/XtFRxUDJau
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) September 5, 2018
In a statement, the groups declared:
Based on Sen. Patrick Leahy’s questioning of Kavanaugh, it's clear that documents Chairman Chuck Grassley has unilaterally declared “Committee Confidential” include emails that are highly relevant––and may show the extent of Judge Kavanaugh’s knowledge and use of stolen information while working at the White House, directly contradicting his testimony in 2004 and 2006.
Chairman Grassley must not shield Judge Kavanaugh from evidence that Kavanaugh perjured himself in previous confirmation hearings, or any other documents or evidence relevant to his ability to serve on the highest court for a lifetime appointment. Democratic senators must put an end to this secretive sham. They know that nothing in the Senate Standing Rules or Judiciary Committee Rules grants Grassley sole authority to designate documents “Committee Confidential” or prohibit their public release.
If there are relevant records on this issue––or any other issue that requires public release–– they must immediately read them into the Senate record. The public has a right to know.
In a subsequent tweet, NARAL declared, "The American people deserve the truth."