Republicans warn Dems not to discuss confidential material at Kavanaugh hearing

Republicans warn Dems not to discuss confidential material at Kavanaugh hearing
© Greg Nash

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee urged Democrats on the panel Friday not to discuss confidential materials during the committee's upcoming confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In a letter to minority members on the panel, committee Republicans with the exception of Chairman 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) warned Democrats against discussing documents marked "committee confidential" outside of the closed portion of Kavanaugh's hearing.

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Breaching such an arrangement, the Republican senators warned, would only impede the committee's ability to obtain confidential documents from the executive branch in the future.

"We want to emphasize that every Member is free to discuss any document designated Committee Confidential during the closed session of Judge Kavanaugh's hearing," the senators wrote.

"Failing to abide by that limitation would breach the conditions under which this Committee received the documents and would almost certainly destroy this  Committee's ability to ever again obtain the sort of broad access to Executive Branch documents that we have had for this nomination," they added.

Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee are set to begin on Tuesday, despite a letter last week from every Democrat on the committee urging Grassley to delay the hearings.

Democrats pushed for a delay over an admission from President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE's former longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, that the president was involved in a hush money scheme before the 2016 election aimed at buying the silence of two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump in 2006.

"Given the possibility of criminal wrongdoing by the President, doubts that Judge Kavanaugh believes a president can even be investigated, and the unprecedented lack of transparency regarding this nominee’s record, we should not move forward with hearings on September 4th," Democratic senators wrote last Friday.

A number of high-profile witnesses, including former White House counsel John Dean, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGraham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (R-Ohio) are expected to testify at Kavanaugh's hearing.

Kavanaugh was nominated in July to succeed retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. If confirmed, he would become Trump's second nominee to be installed on the Supreme Court, after Justice Neil Gorsuch.