Orrin Hatch: Partisanship over Kavanaugh nomination 'dumbass'

Orrin Hatch: Partisanship over Kavanaugh nomination 'dumbass'
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans are returning fire in an escalating battle over documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's work in the Bush-era White House. 

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week Judiciary Dems say GOP treating Kavanaugh accuser worse than Anita Hill Dem vows to probe 'why the FBI stood down' on Kavanaugh MORE (R-Utah) said on Thursday that was "sick and tired" of the partisanship surrounding the Supreme Court fight. 

"We can't keep going down this partisan, picky, stupid, dumbass road that has happened around here for so long," the normally mild-mannered senator said as Republicans stood in front of dozens of empty boxes labeled "Kavanaugh files." 

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GOP Sen. John CornynJohn CornynKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford MORE (Texas) quipped that Democrats were on the "great paper chase." 

Democrats have seized on Kavanaugh's work as staff secretary for President George W. Bush, arguing that Republicans are trying to "hide" something in his record by not requesting documents tied to the three-year period. 
 
But Republicans hit back, accusing Democrats of using the documents fight to delay a nominee against whom most of the 49-member caucus will likely vote. 

The battle over the documents request has emerged as a lightning rod in the now weeks-old Supreme Court fight. 

Though senators estimate Kavanaugh's paper trail will amount to roughly a million pages, Democrats want to see papers and emails from his time as staff secretary, which they say could show Kavanaugh's thinking on issues like torture and surveillance. 

“The National Archives has confirmed that Senate Republicans are keeping a large majority of Judge Kavanaugh’s White House records hidden from the public. ... What are President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE and Senate Republicans hiding?" Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (D-N.Y.) asked in a statement on Thursday

Kavanaugh has been on the federal bench since 2006 and has decades-long ties to Washington, including work as a White House lawyer and staff secretary for Bush, as well as serving as a prosecutor on Ken Starr's Clinton-era probe. 

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTrump assures storm victims in Carolinas: 'We will be there 100 percent' North Carolina governor: We saw ‘significant damage’ in eastern part of state GOP senator on allegation against Kavanaugh: 'Why on Earth' wasn't it discussed earlier? MORE (R-N.C.) added that Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate panel reaches tentative deal for Kavanaugh accuser to testify Thursday Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week Aide for GOP involved in Kavanaugh nomination resigns after past sexual harassment allegation surfaces MORE (R-Iowa) was willing to negotiate on potentially asking for documents tied to Kavanaugh's time as staff secretary but couldn't get an agreement. 

"We feel that asking for them is not anything but a point of delaying the confirmation of Kavanaugh," Grassley added. 

Republicans argue that, even without documents from his time as staff secretary, Kavanaugh's nomination will have the most extensive document production of a Supreme Court nominee. 

Grassley and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? Sexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points MORE (D-Calif.) initially tried to negotiate a deal on documents, but those talks appeared to derail last week when Grassley sent a letter to the National Archives asking for documents just from Kavanaugh's time as a White House lawyer. 

Republicans want to hold a confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh next month and vote on his nomination before November's midterm elections. 

But the fight over documents could potentially throw a wrench into that plan.

The National Archives wrote back to Grassley this week warning it wouldn't be able to fulfill his request until October.