Durbin: Democrats discussed tactics for Kavanaugh hearing

The No. 2 ranking Senate Democrat said Democrats discussed in advance tactics for Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

“There's no intention to disrupt [it] but we are deeply concerned, and we talked about it as a group yesterday - I'm not denying that - it was a conversation about what are we gonna do,” Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinCongress should butt out of Supreme Court's business Inmates grapple with uncertainty over Biden prison plan Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (D-Ill.) told Hill.TV when asked if Democrats worked with protestors to disrupt the first day of hearings for the Supreme Court nominee on Tuesday.

Nearly two dozen protestors were removed by Capitol Police from the hearing room shortly after it began, amid interruptions by multiple Democrats requesting that the hearing adjourn.

GOP Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate MORE (Texas), another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the charge that Democrats could have coordinated with protesters to create chaos in the hearing.

"[Sen.] John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) asked 'is this a concerted strategy, is this a tactic of Senate Democrats to coordinate with the protesters' - the people screaming and yelling and disrupting the hearing. And Durbin didn’t dispute that … he didn't dispute at all that this is a show; we are seeing a political circus,” Cruz said.

Durbin said the protesters were exercising "free speech" and Cruz would agree with him that their right to do so should be protected.

Durbin also acknowledged that Democrats held a conference call on Monday night to discuss possible tactics to ensure that they receive thousands of documents about Kavanaugh's previous work that they requested.

"At that point we had hundreds of thousands of documents being denied to us, last night, another 42,000 were added to it," Durbin said. "So, I am concerned, I think the American people have a right to see these documents.”

The National Archives handed over to the committee an additional 42,000 pages of documents related to Kavanaugh's past work for the George W. Bush administration the night before the hearing, in addition to the thousands of documents the committee already received.

Democrats argue that they still haven't seen 90 percent of Kavanaugh's past work product and did not have time to review what they did receive prior to the hearing.

The confirmation hearings will last throughout the week. Judiciary committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (R-Iowa) said Tuesday morning the hearings will continue throughout the weekend if senators continue interrupting the process and protesters continue disrupting the hearings.

- Molly K. Hooper