The Trump administration is planning to withhold over 100,000 pages of Brett Kavanaugh’s records from the George W. Bush White House, according to new information released Friday night. The claimed legal basis for the withholding of documents will be presidential privilege.
The notification of the White House refusal to release documents was sent to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
The lawyer for former President George W. Bush, Bill Burck, told the Committee that he believes they have essentially completed their work compiling documents. The letter from Burck to the Committee was obtained by The Associated Press.
According to Burck, former President Bush had given them instructions to “err on the side of transparency and disclosure, and we believe we have done so.”
The Trump administration, however, is also able to review the records before turning them over to the Senate Committee, and the Trump White House “has directed that we not provide these documents,” the letter says.
In all, 267,000 pages of Kavanaugh documents from his Bush years are being made public, but it is thought that the 100,000 pages of documents that will NOT be released could contain crucial information needed to assess the nominee’s views on many sensitive and potentially explosive legal issues.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called it “a Friday night document massacre.” He said that the decision to withhold the documents “has all the makings of a cover-up. … What are they trying so desperately to hide?” He also threatened to sue.
In other Kavanaugh news, the Supreme Court nominee said in a White House email that “limits on campaign contributions to candidates have some constitutional problems.” The Supreme Court upheld contribution limits more than 40 years ago, so if Kavanaugh wants to prohibit such limits it would mean overturning Supreme Court decisions that have much legal weight.
Documents that were released Friday night in advance of next week’s confirmation hearing show Kavanaugh’s skepticism about campaign finance regulations. This puts him clearly in agreement with the court’s conservative justices, who have struck down a variety of limits since 2006.