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Paul pledges 'an open mind' toward Kavanaugh

Paul pledges 'an open mind' toward Kavanaugh
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (R-Ky.), a critic of many Bush-era policies and a potential obstacle to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, says he will keep an “open mind” and decide how to vote after reviewing Kavanaugh’s record.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Following debate, Biden hammers Trump on coronavirus | Study: Universal mask-wearing could save 130,000 lives | Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight On The Money: Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight | Landlords, housing industry sue CDC to overturn eviction ban Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight MORE (R-Ky.) had advised President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE to consider nominating someone other than Kavanaugh in part because of concerns about how Paul, his fellow Kentuckian, might vote.

Paul in a statement Monday evening released shortly after Trump announced his pick said he would scrutinize Kavanaugh’s record closely.

Kavanaugh is closely associated with the George W. Bush administration, for which he served as staff secretary before winning Senate confirmation to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006.

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Republicans effectively control 50 Senate seats — because Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMark Kelly releases Spanish ad featuring Rep. Gallego More than 300 military family members endorse Biden Jennifer Lawrence says until Trump she was 'a little Republican' MORE (R-Ariz.) is away from Washington stricken with brain cancer — while Democrats control 49.

If Democrats maintain total unity, a single GOP defection could be enough to sink Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Paul, a prominent libertarian, has criticized Bush-era policies such as warrantless surveillance.

He threatened to filibuster a long-term extension of a program allowing intelligence agencies to collect data on targets without a warrant.

He has also criticized the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation tactics such as waterboarding, and on those grounds he opposed Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to serve as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Kavanaugh denied any involvement in crafting legal policy allowing for harsh interrogation tactics during the Senate’s consideration of his nomination to the D.C. Circuit in 2005 and 2006.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that McConnell advised Trump that Kavanaugh would be tougher to get through the Senate than other potential nominees such as Raymond Kethledge or Thomas Hardiman.

The Times also reported that McConnell did not “want to draw the ire” of Paul over Kavanaugh’s role in crafting Bush-era policies.