Rosenstein asks federal prosecutors for help in review of Kavanaugh documents: report
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has asked federal prosecutors to help the Department of Justice (DOJ) review Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s government documents, according to a report in The New York Times that notes the request is an unusual injection of politics into the law enforcement duties of the department.
Rosenstein made the request in an email sent to the nation’s 93 U.S. attorneys, according to a letter obtained by The New York Times.
In it, Rosenstein asks each office to provide up to three federal prosecutors “who can make this important project a priority for the next several weeks.”
The Times noted that Rosenstein is expecting names to be submitted by the end of Wednesday.
While lawyers at Justice have previously helped out with past Supreme Court nominees, asking U.S. attorneys to do so is seen as unusual.
Kavanaugh previously worked for President George W. Bush’s administration, as well as for the investigation led by Kenneth Starr of former President Clinton. He left a lengthy paper trail that Democrats and outside groups opposed to his nomination are likely to search through for arguments against his confirmation.
Rosenstein has faced pressure from congressional Republicans over his role in overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Democrats have raised the Mueller probe in the context of Kavanaugh’s nomination, arguing that he should not be confirmed because he could end up making decisions on the probe itself.
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told the Times that “the scope of the production of executive branch documents we’ve been asked for is many, many times as large,” as previous Supreme Court nominees.
Rosenstein said in the email that he expected he would need the equivalent of 100 full-time lawyers to work on Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. The work will reportedly be supervised by the DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy in Washington.
Kavanaugh has spent the past 12 years as a federal judge on the nation’s second most powerful court — the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He authored more than 300 opinions while serving in that role, and Democrats have already said they want to inspect all of Kavanaugh’s documents.
The fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination is expected to be intense, with Republicans holding just a 50-49 advantage given Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) absence for health reasons.
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