Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up
Feinstein ‘alarmed’ National Archives is withholding Kavanaugh documents
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday that she is "alarmed" that Democrats have been denied requested documents from the National Archives on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Feinstein wrote to archivist David Ferriero in a letter obtained by CNN on Wednesday, criticizing him for his narrow view of the law used to justify denying Democrats the documents. Democrats are set to begin meetings with Kavanaugh, President Trump's nominee to the high court, after the 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," the California senator wrote.
"I ask that you reconsider the position set forth in your August 2 letter," she continued. "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 pushing for the federal government to release all documents created during Kavanaugh's time at the White House, roughly three years during the George W. Bush administration when he served as staff secretary. Republicans have accused Democrats of seeking to delay Kavanaugh's nomination with the request.
Feinstein argued in her letter that Democrats' request was no broader than the documents released during the nomination of Justice Elena Kagan, who was named to the Supreme Court by former President 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 said.
The letter follows the National Archives' official response to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.), explaining that such a request could only be made by the Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court last month after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in June.