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Democrats deluge Kavanaugh with written follow-up questions

After spending more than 20 hours testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Supreme Court ...

Posted: Sep 12, 2018 6:59 AM
Updated: Sep 12, 2018 6:59 AM

After spending more than 20 hours testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is still answering questions.

Although his hearing was gaveled out Friday, Democrats are following committee rules and sending Kavanaugh pages and pages of so called "questions for the record."

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One source notes the extraordinarily large volume of follow-up questions for Kavanaugh. They cover such issues as Kavanaugh's take on constitutional issues, his opinions, his personal finances and the Mueller investigation.

Kavanaugh's responses are due Wednesday by 6 p.m. ET.

Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, for instance, submitted 14 pages with 36 questions, many with several sub-questions. Whitehouse's inquiries include some related to hot button topics such as abortion, LGBT rights and labor law.

"Did you work on, provide advice on, or otherwise have involvement in litigation designed to undermine or limit the holding in Roe v. Wade?" Whitehouse asked in one question.

"Did you work on, provide advice on, or otherwise have involvement in the decision to allow the assault weapons ban expire?" he asked in another.

Whitehouse also pressed the nominee to explain his own financial records and how he was able to afford membership in a prestigious Washington country club, and asked whether Kavanaugh has a gambling history.

Nominees traditionally answer written questions after their hearings -- a final opportunity for senators to have answers to questions they did not get to, or did not believe were sufficiently answered in the hearing itself.

In Kavanaugh's case, with all of the Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee expected to oppose his nomination, it also provides a final opportunity to put the nominee on the record in areas of their concern as they continue the uphill battle to sink his nomination.

As it stands, all eyes are on two moderate Republican senators -- Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine -- as well as a handful of red state Democrats who have yet to announce how they will vote.

Some of the questions in Whitehouse's request include elements Kavanaugh answered during his testimony. But in the written format, Whitehouse asks for more detail. One question relates to Kavanaugh's opinion of whether a sitting president can be indicted.

In his hearing Kavanaugh had pointed out that the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel had concluded that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

"What weight do courts afford OLC opinions and guidance?" Whitehouse asked.

During the hearing, Kavanaugh was also asked about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Whitehouse, in his submitted questions, continued that line of inquiry:

"You referenced during your testimony that you had overlapped with former FBI Director Robert Mueller during your time in the George W. Bush (White House). What is your opinion of Robert Mueller's character and work ethic? Do you believe that the investigation he is currently overseeing as Special Counsel is a 'witch hunt?'"

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