The Trump administration has been accused of withholding crucial information from the Senate that equates to over 100,000 pages of records from Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s time as a lawyer as part of former President George W. Bush’s administration.
This scandal has come about in the midst of a hearing Supreme Court confirmation hearing that could change the future of the Supreme Court,
The conclusion of withholding information was sent in a letter on Friday, August 31, 2018 to Iowa Senator Charles E. Grassley, who serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Grassley received the letter only a few days before Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings were scheduled to start on the following Tuesday. The letter evoked condemnation from Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who fills the role of Democratic leader.
In a tweet published on Sept. 1, Schumer said “We’re witnessing a Friday night document massacre. President Trump’s decision to step in at the last moment and hide 100k pages of Judge Kavanaugh’s records from the American public is not only unprecedented in the history of SCOTUS noms, it has all the makings of a cover up.”
For weeks, opposing parties in the White House have been in a heated argument addressing access to documents in relation to Jude Kavanaugh’s employment under Bush.
Democrats stand firm in the belief that Republicans are cutting access to the documents in an effort to speed through the nomination without proper scrutiny.
A hefty percentage of the records retained, “reflect deliberations and candid advice concerning the selection and nomination of judicial candidates, the confidentiality of which is critical to any president’s ability to carry out this core constitutional executive function,” stated former President Bush’s current lawyer, William A. Burck.
The hidden documents are said to also reflect “advice submitted directly to President Bush.” In addition to communications between staff of the White House about conversations that involved the former president and other inside talks.
The man under investigation, Judge Kavanaugh, spent 2001 to 2003 in the White House Counsel’s Office and later advanced to become the staff secretary to the president, a position that required him to scrutinize documents before they arrived at the president’s desk. Records that covered the activities of staff secretaries have not been requested yet; which puts more strain between the Republicans and Democrats.
Burck and his team, a considerably-sized team of lawyers, have been reviewing tens of thousands of pages of the Bush White House records, which are housed under the National Archives. Although under the Presidential Records Act, the documents are subject to being released, the Justice Department decided that certain records should not be released.
Democrats of the Senate argue that this is the first time in history that a sitting president has used executive privilege under the aforementioned act to prevent documents from going to congress during a confirmation process through the Supreme Court.
In other cases, presidents have claimed “executive privilege” under the constitution to prevent other branches of the government from retaining executive branch information, all in the name of protecting free communication between White House officials.