ACLU: 'Ludicrous' not to request Kavanaugh staff secretary documents
© Anna Moneymaker

The American Civil Liberties Union is sending a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee demanding that the panel review all of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's White House documents, including those from his time as staff secretary. 

"We urge the Committee to demand all records of Judge Kavanaugh’s time as White House Staff Secretary from 2003 to 2006 and we urge the full disclosure of all records related to any aspect of his government service over the years," Faiz Shakir, the ACLU's national political director, wrote in a letter to Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw MORE (R-Iowa) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinHere's what the judiciary committee should ask Christine Blasey Ford Kavanaugh to address sexual misconduct allegations on Fox News Monday Kavanaugh accuser Ford to Grassley: 'My fear will not hold me back from testifying' MORE (D-Calif.). 
 
Shakir added in the letter, a copy of which was obtained in advance of its release by The Hill, that the staff secretary documents were "inherently valuable" and not requesting Kavanaugh's full White House record "would be seen as a willful attempt to obfuscate the record and hide important and relevant information."
 
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"There is no good reason not to seek the records from Judge Kavanaugh’s time as White House Staff Secretary, and many good reasons to think that such records would enlighten the public and the Senate about the nominee’s approach to policy-making," Shakir wrote. 
 
The letter from the ACLU, which has not taken a position on the nomination, comes as the fight over Kavanaugh's White House documents has hit a wall in the Senate. 
 
GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to the National Archives requesting only records from Kavanaugh's time as a White House lawyer and not his time as staff secretary. 
 
Republicans have accused Democrats of refusing to negotiate on requesting a smaller subset of Kavanaugh's staff secretary documents—for example paperwork only tied to interrogation—as they go on a "fishing expedition" for information that could bolster their ability to sink Kavanaugh's nomination. 
 
But Democrats argue that the documents could help them understand Kavanaugh's involvement in the most controversial parts of the Bush administration, including interrogation techniques and the use of torture. 

During his circuit court confirmation hearing in 2006, Kavanaugh told senators that he did not know about a memo that defined the Bush Justice Department's interpretation of torture until it was leaked in 2004.

He also said that he was not involved in the rules governing the detention of enemy combatants and that he did not learn about a National Security Agency warrantless surveillance program until its existence was leaked in the media.

But Judiciary Committee Democrats are questioning if Kavanaugh misled the committee. 
 
Shakir added in the letter to Grassley and Feinstein that in addition to detainee treatment, Kavanaugh's staff secretary records could shed light on any work he did on the so-called partial birth abortion ban or marriage for same-sex couples. 
 
"It seems ludicrous to suggest that there is no value in examining the records from this period of Judge Kavanaugh’s professional career," he said.