The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, on Wednesday announced that she is “alarmed” that the National Archives have failed to give Democrats secret documents that have been requested concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“Sen. Dianne Feinstein is “alarmed” by the National Archives decision to deny document requests on President Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein is "alarmed" by the National Archives decision to deny document requests on President Trump's Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh https://t.co/IvzVP6zxjU pic.twitter.com/iacRKufTwX
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 8, 2018
Feinstein wrote to National Archives Chief Archivist David Ferriero a letter obtained by CNN on Wednesday. In the letter, the senior senator strongly criticized Ferriero for his narrow view of the law that she believes he improperly used to justify denying Democrats the ability to see the government’s Kavanaugh documents which have never been released to the public.
Democrats are scheduled to hold meetings with Kavanaugh, President Trump’s second nominee to the Supreme Court, after senators return from their August recess.
“Under your overly restrictive reading of the Presidential Records Act, minority members of the Senate Judiciary Committee now have no greater right to Mr. Kavanaugh’s records than members of the press and the public,” Feinstein wrote to Ferriero.
“I ask that you reconsider the position set forth in your August 2 letter,” she went on. “These records are crucially important to the Senate’s understanding of Mr. Kavanaugh’s full record, and withholding them prevents the minority from satisfying its constitutional obligation to provide advice and consent on his nomination.”
Democrats are demanding that the U.S. government release all documents created during Kavanaugh’s time at the White House. This would be a period of approximately three years when he worked in the George W. Bush administration as staff secretary.
Republicans, on the other hand, have accused Senate Democrats of trying to delay Kavanaugh’s nomination by making the request for the Kavanaugh documents from the archives.
In her letter Feinstein made the argument that the Senate Democrats’ request for documents was no broader than the Republican requests for documents released from archives during the nomination process of Justice Elena Kagan, who was named to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama.
“We are asking for no more and no less than what was provided to the Senate for the Elena Kagan nomination. It was possible then and it should be possible now. The minority party shouldn’t be precluded from document requests,” Feinstein emphasized.
Feinstein’s letter to Ferrario came after the National Archives sent an official response to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York in which they argued that such a request for documents could only be made by the Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court last month after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in June.