Live coverage: Trump court pick returns for final day of questioning

Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday faced the Senate Judiciary Committee for the final day of questioning in his confirmation hearing.

Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley calls for federal prosecutor to probe botched FBI Nassar investigation Woman allegedly abused by Nassar after he was reported to FBI: 'I should not be here' Democrat rips Justice for not appearing at US gymnastics hearing MORE (R-Iowa) said each of the 21 members on the committee would get 20 minutes to ask the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge a second round of questions.


Wednesday’s questioning session with President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE’s high court nominee lasted more than 12 hours and was interrupted repeatedly by protesters for a second consecutive day.

Thursday's proceedings started at 9:30 a.m. and went until past 10 p.m., with Grassley giving senators extra time if they were interrupted by protesters or other members.

On Friday, the committee is expected to hear testimony from 28 witnesses speaking either for or against Kavanaugh's nomination to the lifetime seat on the high court.

Committee ends marathon day of questioning

10:30 p.m.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrapped up the Senate Judiciary Committee's third day of hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court shortly after 10 p.m. on Thursday.

Grassley told Kavanaugh he’d made a very powerful case for confirmation.

“I’m very pleased the American people finally had an opportunity to listen to you and hear directly from you because that’s what the last two days have been all about and I hope people in this country have formed very positive views of you. I have.” He said.

Grassley said the committee would reconvene Friday morning and hear from 28 witnesses, including two members of the American Bar Association.

Thursday was the second and final day Kavanaugh was questioned by the committee.

- Lydia Wheeler
Kavanaugh dodges on if Trump should politicize Justice Department 
10:16 p.m.
Harris, acknowledging Kavanaugh wouldn't speak to directly to a recent tweet from Trump criticizing Sessions, asked instead if he would "recognize and agree" that a sitting president shouldn't politicize the Justice Department. 
But Kavanaugh, saying he should be "three zip codes away from the political arena," declined to answer. 
"Senator, I think that's asking me to wade into the political arena," Kavanaugh said. 
Harris noted that she thought he should condemn a tweet by Trump, where the president criticized Sessions for two investigations into Republican congressmen, but knew he wouldn't comment on the tweet directly. 
"I won't ask you to condemn the tweet, even though I believe you should," Harris said. 
Harris also questioned if the president should be allowed to target his political enemies with prosecution. 
"You've spoken about the president's unlimited prosecutorial discretion. Does that discretion allow him to target his political enemies for prosecution and spare his friends?" Harris asked. 
But Kavanaugh argued that the bounds of "prosecutorial discretion" are "unsettled." 
"Senator, in the Marquette speech I gave in 2015 I pointed out that ... limits of prosecutorial discretion is a question that's unsettled and needs further study. The Supreme Court of course has referred to the concept and well settled traditional of prosecutorial discretion," he said. 

Booker grills Kavanaugh on LGBT rights

10:12 p.m.

Brett Kavanaugh refused to tell Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerDOJ announces agencywide limits on chokeholds and no-knock entries Fighting poverty, the Biden way Top Senate Democrats urge Biden to take immediate action on home confinement program MORE (D-N.J.) late Thursday that it’s morally wrong to fire someone because they are gay.

Kavanaugh said he could not answer, citing pending cases in the courts about the scope of civil rights laws and employment discrimination laws.

“Did you have any involvement in Bush’s effort to support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage?” Booker asked.

Kavanaigh said when he was in the White House that was something President George W. Bush talked about and as staff secretary things related to that would have crossed his desk.

But Booker said he wasn’t been privy to Kavanaugh’s records from that time.

“Did you ever express your opinions about same-sex marriage?” he asked again.

“I don’t recall. Of course since that time, as you’re well aware there’s been a sea change in attitudes in America even since 2004,” Kavanaugh said.

Booker pushed him to share his views on gay marriage, noting even former President Obama evolved on the issue over the years.

Kavanaugh started noting the Supreme court case that legalized gay marriage, but Booker cut him off.

“What’s your opinion?” he said.

Kavanaugh said he’s a judge and has applied the law.

“Have you ever conducted a gay marriage?” Booker asked.

Kavanaugh said he had not.

- Lydia Wheeler

Booker releases new batches of 'confidential' documents 

9:57 p.m.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Thursday night released new batches of "confidential" documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's work for President George W. Bush. 

Booker released two additional tranches of emails from Kavanaugh's time as a White House lawyer. The emails, which are a combined 26 pages, are marked "committee confidential," meaning they have not been cleared for public release or to be discussed publicly. 
"Here are two additional 'committee confidential' documents that have been kept out of public view until now," Booker said in a tweet announcing the latest release of the emails. 
A spokesman for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) confirmed that the documents remain classified as "committee confidential." 
The releases bring the total tranches of "confidential" documents released by Booker to five. Booker released a separate set of documents on Thursday morning, but GOP aides and Bill Burck, a lawyer for Bush, noted that set of emails had been cleared for public release hours before the hearing started.
Whitehouse calls Kavanaugh "human torpedo" headed for Mueller probe

9:06 p.m.

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats draw red lines in spending fight What Republicans should demand in exchange for raising the debt ceiling Climate hawks pressure Biden to replace Fed chair MORE (D-R.I.) called Brett Kavanaugh a “human torpedo” headed for the Russia investigation.

“You’ve had a lot of conversations with all of us about the concern that you’re basically a human torpedo being launched at the Mueller investigation, so that when it gets to the Supreme Court you’ll knock it out,” he said.

Whitehouse said he’s concerned about Kavanaugh’s views on U.S. v. Nixon.

Kavanaugh has called the case, which forced President Richard Nixon to turn over audio tapes in the Watergate investigation, one of the four best decisions in the court’s history. But Whitehouse said in his descriptions of the holding Kavanaugh has repeatedly noted the subpoenas were from a trial court.

He questioned if Kavanaugh was trying to create a loophole to later rule the precedent doesn’t apply to grand jury subpoenas in the Mueller probe.

 “I don’t know if you dropped that in just as a factual obligation because that was in fact a trial court subpoena or whether that was a loophole, an escape hatch, so that when that comes you’re in a position to say ‘Well, I told the Senate that because that was trial court subpoena, but Mueller’s going to be coming with grand jury subpoenas and they are different, so nothing I said in that hearing should interfere with my ability to stop Mueller’s subpoenas,’” he said.

 Kavanaugh said he’s been careful to describe the holding of the Nixon case. 

“Does it apply to a grand jury?” Whitehouse asked.

Kavanaugh said he figured he’s get a lot of hypotheticals, but as a sitting judge he needs to be careful about answering, but that he was trying to describe in summary fashion exactly what the Supreme Court said. 

- Lydia Wheeler

Kavanaugh defends saying Trump understands 'vital role' of courts

8:16 p.m.
Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinDemocrats up ante in risky debt ceiling fight Democrats reject hardball tactics against Senate parliamentarian  Biden to raise refugee cap to 125,000 in October MORE (D-Ill.) asked Kavanaugh to explain why he said during his speech after Trump nominated him to the Supreme Court that he had "witnessed first hand [Trump's] appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary." 
"What did you witness about this president's appreciation for the vital role of the judiciary?" Durbin asked. 
Kavanaugh told senators that he based his statement from July on his interactions with Trump. 
"I witnessed his discussion with me in my interview, his discussion with me the night he announced me at the White House. His discussion on that Sunday night when I went to the White House," Kavanaugh said.  
Durbin quipped back that Kavanaugh should have looked beyond his meetings. 
"We usually instruct jurors not to put their life experience and common sense aside when they make a verdict," Durbin said. "I think the verdict on this president and his vital role on the judiciary would include more than those meetings." 

— Jordain Carney 

Committee to enter third round of questioning

7:37 p.m.

Grassley agreed to a request from Democrats on the committee to ask Brett Kavanaugh a third round of questions Thursday night.

Grassley said each senator would get eight minutes, except Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Hillicon Valley: Facebook tightens teen protections | FBI cautions against banning ransomware payments | Republicans probe White House-social media collaboration MORE (D-Hawaii) who would get 16 minutes thanks to Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPhotos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Senators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' MORE (D-Vt.), who passed his time on to her.

Grassley said the third round adds up to about 80 minutes, “assuming none of you guys want to talk and I hope you don’t want to,” he added, looking to the Republican members remaining late on Thursday.

“Mr. Chairman, this side may have a few pearls of wisdom, too,” Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats up ante in risky debt ceiling fight Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Democrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards MORE (R-Texas) quipped. 

Grassley said he would not want to cut anyone off “if they get really warmed up about something.”

After the third round of questions, the committee is expected to move into executive session to answer questions about committee confidential documents and Kavanaugh's FBI background report.

— Lydia Wheeler 

Kavanaugh declines to give personal opinion on same-sex marriage case

7:33 p.m.

Kavanaugh refused to give his personal opinion on whether he believes a landmark ruling on same-sex marriage was correctly decided.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) asked if Obergefell v. Hodges was correctly decided.

Kavanaugh, instead, referenced a 2018 case where the Supreme Court sided with a Colorado baker who refused to make a custom cake for a same-sex wedding.

"In Masterpiece Cakeshop, and I think this is relevant to your question, Justice Kennedy wrote ... the days of discriminating against gay and lesbians Americans, or treating gay and lesbians as inferior in dignity or worth, are over," Kavanaugh told Harris, citing it as decided opinion.

Pressed if he personally agreed with the Obergefell decision, Kavanaugh demurred.

"Each of the justices have declined as a matter of judicial independence, each of them, to answer questions on that line of case," he said.

— Jordain Carney 

Kavanaugh sidesteps question about recusal from Trump-related cases

7:15 p.m.

Kavanaugh sidestepped a question for the second day in a row about whether he would recuse himself from potential future Supreme Court cases related to President Trump.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) asked if Kavanaugh would recuse himself from any cases involving "the civil or criminal liability of the president who appointed you."

But Kavanaugh demurred, saying that "the independence of the judiciary" means he could not commit.

When Harris pointed out that other nominees have committed to recusal, Kavanaugh said he believed those were pre-existing "required" recusals.

"A discretionary recusal as a commitment to get a job or a discretionary nonrecusal as a commitment to get a job ... would be violating my independence of a judge," he said.

— Jordain Carney 

Kavanaugh denies talking with Trump lawyers about Russia investigation

7:13 p.m.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) further pressed Kavanaugh Thursday night for a clear answer to whether he had a conversations about special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's Russia investigation with anyone at a law firm founded by President Trump's personal attorney.

Harris told Kavanaugh if he had just answered "no" when asked the question Wednesday night or again by Republicans during the proceedings earlier Thursday that the issue could have been put to rest.

"Yes or no, have you ever been part of a conversation with lawyers at the firm Kasowitz, Benson & Torres about special counsel Mueller or his investigation?” she asked, claiming she has received reliable information of such a conversation.

“Who was the conversation with?” Kavanaugh asked.

"That is not the subject of the question, sir,” Harris replied.  "The subject of the question is you and whether you were part of a conversation regarding special counsel Mueller’s investigation."

“The answer is no," Kavanaugh said.

Marc Kasowitz, an attorney to the president and member of the firm in question, also denied conversations with Kavanaugh.

"There have been no discussions regarding Robert Mueller's investigation between Judge Kavanaugh and anyone at our firm," a spokesman for Marc Kasowitz said in a statement to CNBC on Thursday.

— Lydia Wheeler 

Kavanaugh mum on respect for Trump

6:56 p.m.

Kavanaugh refused to say Thursday evening that he respects President Trump.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) pressed Kavanaugh to say he has the "greatest respect" for Trump, a remark he made about former President George W. Bush when he was sworn in as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

As an independent judge, Kavanaugh said he needs to stay away from commenting on politics.

But Booker pressed on.

“There’s an issue with this president asking for loyalty tests from the people he’s putting forward for offices," he said. "Now you heard how’s he’s continuing to bash the attorney general of the United States of America and saying that if he knew he was going to recuse himself that he wouldn’t have put him forward.”

Booker said he wanted to know what kind of loyalty Trump has required of Kavanaugh for the seat on the Supreme Court. 

“What you said about President Bush, why aren’t you saying it about President Trump?” he asked. 

Booker said Kavanaugh is suddenly going “mum” about Trump’s character given what he characterized as his lies and remarks that have been criticized on both sides of the aisle.

"Do you credibly believe that if you agree to recuse yourself that, like he said with [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions, that he would not hold your nomination up?"

Kavanaugh sidestepped the question.

"In this process, I need to uphold the independence of the judiciary," he said.

— Lydia Wheeler 

Kavanaugh sidesteps on recusing himself from Mueller-related cases

6:46 p.m.

Brett Kavanaugh dodged questions from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) about whether he would be willing to recuse himself from any cases spawning out of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

"Why not right now, right now, even at the jeopardy of President Trump pulling back your nomination, why not now alleviate all of that suspicion that a reasonable person can have, why not just announce right now that you will recuse yourself from any matters coming before the Supreme Court involving the Mueller investigation," Booker asked.

But Kavanaugh said he could not commit on how he would decide or resolve a particular case.

"If I committed to deciding a particular case, which includes committing to whether I would participate in a particular case, all I would be doing is demonstrating that I don't have the independence of the judiciary ... that is necessary to be a good judge," Kavanaugh said.

— Jordain Carney 

Jokes fly as hearing stretches into ninth-hour 

5:50 p.m. 

Before the committee broke for a 30-minute dinner break Thursday evening, Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) drew laughs from the crowded hearing room when he asked Kavanaugh what he was like in high school and if he got into any trouble.

"Were you more of a John-boy Walton type or a Ferris Bueller type," Kennedy asked, referring to characters in the 1970s wholesome family TV show "The Waltons" and the 1986 comedy film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." 

Kavanaugh said he played sports and had a lot of friends. 

"It was very formative," he said. 

Kennedy told him he had left out the trouble part. 

"That's encompassed under the friends," Kavanaugh said. 

"I was going to ask the judge if not him but any of his underage running buddies had ever tried to sneak a few beers past Jesus," Kennedy said with a smirk.

The remarks prompted Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to quip, "Well I for one am grateful for senators restraint."

— Lydia Wheeler and Jordain Carney 

Advocacy groups sue for Kavanaugh documents

5:30 p.m.

An advocacy group that is working to make the Supreme Court more transparent filed another lawsuit against the Trump administration Thursday for documents relating to Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House.

Fix the Court asked the federal district court in D.C. to force the Department of Justice (DOJ) to turn over all correspondence Kavanaugh sent to Office of Legal Policy personnel from Jan. 20, 2001, to May 30, 2006, including memos and emails.

“Judge Kavanaugh’s involvement with the Justice Department in vetting President Bush’s judicial nominees and discussing policies like warrantless wiretapping can give the public insight into the type of nominee he is,” Fix the Court Executive Director Gabe Roth said in a statement.

The complaint, which American Oversight brought on Fix the Court‘s behalf, alleges the DOJ violated the Freedom of Information Act by not providing the documents when Fix the Court first requested them on July 24.

The group also sued the DOJ last month as well as the National Archives. Fix the Court was seeking a court order to force the DOJ to turn over all correspondence sent by the assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel and his or her primary deputy to Kavanaugh, and vice versa from 2001 to 2006, a request it first made in 2017.

— Lydia Wheeler 

Kavanaugh dodges on Trump-Ginsburg fight

4:50 p.m. 

Kavanaugh sidestepped getting into the middle of a feud between President Trump and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

In a July 2016 tweet, Trump said that Ginsburg "has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot - resign!"

Ginsburg had commented on the then-presidential hopeful's campaign saying that she couldn’t “imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president.”

“For the country, it could be four years,” she said. “For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

Questioned by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) if he thought Ginsburg had "embarrassed us all," Kavanaugh demurred. 

"Senator, I'm not going to get drawn into a political controversy, a line I've maintained. I'm not going to get three ZIP codes of a political controversy here," he said. 

He added that "you're asking me to comment on something another person said, and I'm not going to do that."  

Blumenthal then asked if Kavanaugh thought Ginsburg was an "incompetent judge." 

Kavanaugh sidestepped noting he had talked about his "respect" for the current Supreme Court justices. 

"The honor it would be if I were to be confirmed to be part of that team of nine with those eight people, all of whom I know and respect," he said. 

— Jordain Carney 

Booker releases new batch of 'confidential' documents 

4:40 p.m. 

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) released documents from Kavanaugh's time as a White House lawyer that hadn't been cleared for public release. 

Booker released five pages of emails early Thursday evening that were stamped as "committee confidential," meaning they cannot be discussed or released publicly.

"Here are several more Kavanaugh 'committee confidential' documents," Booker said in a tweet, linking to the new documents.

A spokesman for Grassley confirmed that the documents are still considered "committee confidential."

"And Sen. Booker made redactions that were not in the original documents, acknowledging their sensitive nature," the spokesman said.

In the emails, Kavanaugh recommends "pushing" John Yoo to the California-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Yoo served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice during Kavanaugh's time in the White House.

When Kavanaugh was told Yoo was pulling himself from the running, Kavanaugh lamented that he was his "magic bullet."

— Jordain Carney 

Blumenthal presses Kavanaugh on Mueller discussions

4:35 p.m.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) pushed Kavanaugh on whether he’s had any conversations about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, accusing the nominee of being "vague" in his answers to previous questions on the subject.

“If you’re walking around in America it’s coming up, so people discuss it," Kavanaugh said. “I’ve never suggested anything about my views about anything, commitments, foreshadowing. I’ve had no inappropriate discussions.”

Kavanaugh said the D.C. Circuit Court where he is a judge has also had a lot of cases relating to the investigation before it.

“Let me be more specific so that we sort of home in on what my concern is,” Blumenthal said. “Have you ever talked to anybody in the White House about the special counsel investigation?”

Kavanaugh said he's had no discussions with people in the White House.

“No one?” Blumenthal pressed.

Kavanaugh said he wanted to understand what Blumenthal was trying to get at with his questioning.

“I’ve had no issues where I’ve discussed my views on issues, matters, cases," he said. "No hint, previews, forecasts.” 

Grassley then asked Kavanaugh if he’s ever discussed the investigation with White House counsel Don McGahn, who was seated behind Kavanaugh, or anyone else in the White House.

“It’s a simple yes or no,” he said.

Kavanaugh said he couldn’t remember any but said he had prepared for these types of questions.

— Lydia Wheeler

Leadership reaches deal on Kavanaugh hearing

3:20  p.m.

Senate leaders reached a deal on Thursday to avoid hardball tactics around Kavanaugh's hearing. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (R-Ky.) recessed the Senate on Thursday after “subject to the call of the chair” — meaning they will come back into session later Thursday, even if only to formally adjourn for the day.

McConnell didn’t give any guidance when he made the move about why he was making the request or when the Senate would come back into session.

A spokesman for McConnell said the GOP leader was not trying to avoid Democrats’ procedural maneuvering.

“There was (is) a consent agreement to keep the hearing going, so no,” said David Popp, a spokesman for McConnell, asked if they were trying to avoid the so-called "two-hour rule."

A Democratic aide confirmed that there was an agreement to allow the hearing to go forward.

"We are happy with how the hearing is going from our perspective so decided to keep it going and not invoke two-hour rule," the aide said.

There had been intense speculation among senators that Democrats would invoke the two-hour rule on Thursday forcing McConnell to either adjourn the Senate or end Kavanaugh's hearing hours early. 

Senate rules require permission for committees to meet after the Senate has been in session for two hours. The request is routinely granted but Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell signals Senate GOP will oppose combined debt ceiling-funding bill Centrist state lawmaker enters Ohio GOP Senate primary Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE (D-N.Y.) objected on Wednesday saying Democrats wouldn't allow "business as usual."

— Jordain Carney 

Whitehouse pushes Kavanaugh on presidential immunity in testy exchange

2:25 p.m. 

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) tried to nail Kavanaugh for lying to the committee about having never taken a position on the constitutionality of whether a sitting president can be indicted.  

Whitehouse asked Kavanaugh about a clip of a 1998 Georgetown Law School panel showing Kavanaugh raising his hand when asked who believes, as a matter of law, a president can't be indicted while in office.  

Kavanaugh noted the Justice Department's legal position at the time and said that before the question was asked he had said the issue is a lurking constitutional question. 

"The fact that I said that suggests I did not take a position on the constitutional—" he said before Whitehouse cut him off.

"Although you shot your hand up when the question as a matter of law a sitting president cannot be indicted," he said. "It seems to me there are only two kinds of laws unless you are really stretching the envelope here — one is laws that Congress passed and the other is laws that are founded in the Constitution. An internal policy directive within the Department of Justice — I think it's a real stretch to call that law." 

— Lydia Wheeler 

Lee: Harris questions on Mueller probe 'unfair'

1:30 p.m.

Just before the lunch break, Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGraham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book Economy adds just 235K jobs in August as delta hammers growth Lawmakers flooded with calls for help on Afghanistan exit MORE (R-Utah) said he thought that Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris's (Calif.) questioning of Kavanaugh about any conversations he has had with lawyers from a specific law firm were "unfair."

"She even implored you to be sure about your answer," Lee said to Kavanaugh. "Which I suppose is good advice in any context. ... [But] the issue with this question is that Kasowitz, if I understand it correctly, is a law firm that includes 350 lawyers in nine U.S. cities," Lee said.

Harris on Wednesday asked Kavanaugh a series of questions about whether he had talked with anyone at Kasowitz Benson & Torres, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, Trump's lawyer, about special counsel Robert Mueller or his probe into Russian interference the 2016 presidential election.

Lee asked Kavanaugh if he could name the nine cities the firm is in or if he could name who worked at the firm.

"I don't know who works at that firm, other than a few people I'm aware of just from the public," Kavanaugh said.

Lee then asked Kavanaugh if he had any "improper conversation with anyone" about the Russia probe. Kavanaugh said he had not.

— Jordain Carney

Committee takes lunch break

1:15 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is breaking for a half-hour lunch break, with more than half of the committee yet to question Kavanaugh.

Grassley noted that the lunch break could run long because the Senate has two votes scheduled to begin at 1:45 p.m.

– Jordain Carney 

Schumer: 'Absolute disgrace' that Kavanaugh dodging on abortion

12:45 p.m. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) knocked Republicans and Kavanaugh while speaking from the Senate floor, saying it was an "absolute disgrace" that he had sidestepped questions. 

"He could not assure the American people he would uphold the landmark decision in Roe v Wade," Schumer said from the Senate floor.

"It is an issue that's so important to our jurisprudence. It is an absolute disgrace that a nominee for the Supreme Court refuses to talk about such a fundamental issue at the core of one of the great debates of American society and hides behind legal subterfuge," Schumer continued. 

Kavanaugh did tell members of the Judiciary Committee, on Wednesday, that he believed Roe v Wade, the 1973 case that established the right to an abortion, was "settled."  

He made similar comments during his closed-door meetings with Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Welcome to ground zero of climate chaos MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump, allies launch onslaught as midterms kick into gear Emboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration MORE (R-Alaska), who are considered potential swing votes on his confirmation.

The two GOP senators have previously broken with their party on health-care legislation, including repeal of ObamaCare and a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks. 

But Democrats and outside groups have dismissed Kavanaugh's "settled" comments, arguing they are a dodge because Kavanaugh will not answer if he believes the law was "correctly" decided. 

Schumer seized on a 2003 email that was released Thursday, where Kavanaugh questioned characterizing Roe v Wade as "settled."  

Kavanaugh proposed deleting a line out of the draft of an opinion piece that said: “It is widely accepted by legal scholars across the board that Roe v. Wade and its progeny are the settled law of the land."

Kavanaugh, according to the email, questioned if legal scholars did agree that Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established the right to an abortion, was settled.  

"That's an email from Judge Brett Kavanaugh ... explaining that Roe v Wade is only settled law until a majority of the court decides it isn't. Since the time he wrote that email, one more justice had joined the court likely to overturn Roe," Schumer said. 

Schumer added that Kavanaugh "could be the deciding vote" on a Roe v. Wade challenge before the court. 

"I wonder why the Republican majority labeled the email about Roe v Wade committee confidential until this morning. ... The only explanation is that Judge Kavanaugh's record was being withheld for political reasons," Schumer said. 

— Jordain Carney 

McConnell: 'Unhinged' far left trying to disrupt Kavanaugh hearings

12:25 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) knocked the dozens of protesters who have disrupted the hearing from the Senate floor. 

"It was striking to contrast Judge Kavanaugh's poise on the one hand ... with the literally unhinged antics of the far left, which once again resorted to yelling and screaming and interrupting the hearing with nonsensical protests," McConnell said. 

McConnell added that Capitol police and Grassley "deserve all of our gratitude for keeping order." 

— Jordain Carney 

Committee takes first break

12:10 p.m.

The committee took its first break of the day roughly two and a half hours into the third day of Kavanaugh's hearing.

Grassley, before issuing a recess, defended his process for getting Kavanaugh's White House documents from the George W. Bush legal team. He noted that it would have taken 37 weeks for the National Archives to hand over the same paperwork.

"We received all the documents we would have received from the archivists just at a faster time," he said.

– Jordain Carney

Graham: Is the right to an abortion written in the Constitution?

11:55 a.m.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRep. Tim Ryan becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress Graham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan MORE (R-S.C.) pressed Kavanaugh on whether the Constitution explicitly says women have the right to an abortion. 

“Is there anything written in the document?” he asked.

Kavanaugh said the Supreme Court has recognized the right to abortion since the 1973 Roe v. Wade case and has reaffirmed it many times.

“But my question is did they find a phrase in the Constitution that said that the state can not interfere with a women’s right to choose until medical viability occurs?” Graham asked. “Is that in the Constitution?” 

Kavanaugh said he wanted to very careful in his response, but Graham pushed him for a yes or no answer.

“Is there any phrase in the Constitution about abortion?” he asked.

Kavanaugh explained that the Supreme Court has found the right to an abortion under the Liberty Clause, but he said the Constitution does not have specific language.

“The last time I checked, liberty didn’t equate to abortion,” Graham said.

— Lydia Wheeler

Kavanaugh evades question on 3D-printed guns

11:50 a.m. 

Kavanaugh refused to say if 3D-printed guns can be regulated or banned under the Second Amendment.  

The question came from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who said the founders of the Constitution likely weren't thinking of 3D-printed guns when they drafted the document. 

"I think there might be litigation coming on that, so consistent judicial independence principles I shouldn't comment on that case," Kavanaugh said. 

A federal district judge in Seattle has issued a temporary order to block the publishing of blueprints for 3D-printed guns after 19 states and the District of Columbia allowed the public distribution of the instructions following a settlement in a Trump administration lawsuit with Defense Distributed, which develops digital firearm files. 

— Lydia Wheeler

Hirono tweets 'confidential' documents 

11:20 a.m. 

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) tweeted screenshots of documents from Kavanaugh's time in the George W. Bush White House that are stamped "committee confidential." 

Hirono's tweet includes two pages of an email thread from 2002 about "Treasury testimony on Capital Investment in Indian Country." 

"I think the testimony needs to make clear that any program targeting Native Hawaiians as a group is subject to strict scrutiny and of questionable validity under the constitution," Kavanaugh wrote in the email thread.

— Jordain Carney 

Booker releases 'confidential' documents

11 a.m.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) released emails from Kavanaugh's time as a White House counsel, escalating a heated fight over his documents.

Booker released approximately 12 pages of emails tied to discussions Kavanaugh had on racial inequality including one email thread titled "racial profiling."

The documents are marked "committee confidential," meaning they are not supposed to be discussed or released publicly.

The release came roughly an hour after Booker threatened to release the paperwork.

— Jordain Carney

Grassley says Dems will invoke rule to try and cut confirmation hearing short

10:30 a.m.

Grassley said Democrats will invoke a Senate rule to cut short Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing.  

"I've been told that the senate minority leader or someone on the Democratic Party has invoked the two-hour rule, so if the two-hour rule is invoked nobody on this committee is going to have an opportunity to do what they want to do today," Grassley said. 

"It’s the last day he’s going to be here, and so I hope you don’t invoke the two-hour rule." 

Under the Senate rules, committees can't hold hearings for more than two hours while the Senate is in session without unanimous consent.

A spokesperson for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told The Hill, "Stay tuned."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could adjourn the Senate sessions to get around the rule and allow the hearing to continue.

Democrats forced Republicans to adjourn Wednesday to protest Republicans withholding of documents relating to Kavanaugh’s time in the White House under President George W. Bush.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could adjourn the Senate sessions to get around the rule and allow the hearing to continue. Democrats forced Republicans to adjourn Wednesday to protest Republicans withholding of documents relating to Kavanaugh’s time in the White House under George W. Bush.

— Lydia Wheeler and Jordain Carney

Blumenthal: Democrats are in hearing 'under protest'

10:20 a.m.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) added that there was "no basis for the rules" and Democrats are "here under protest." 

"I hereby reserve the right to release documents before any confirmation vote, so that my colleagues can see what the truth is. Between now and any vote on confirmation there is the right to release documents that she or he believe are appropriate," Blumenthal said. 

The fight over documents comes after Grassley opened up the third day of the hearing to knock Democrats over their documents complaints. 

"They only have themselves to blame if they didn't get the documents they wanted," Grassley said during his opening remarks. 

Grassley defended his process for handling "committee confidential" documents, which prevents the paperwork from being released publicly. He said he sent a letter to members on the Judiciary Committee asking that they send him their requests by Aug. 28 on which of those documents they wanted to be able to discuss publicly. 

— Jordain Carney 

Feinstein calls for agreement on what should be called 'committee confidential'

10:10 a.m. 

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinRepublicans caught in California's recall trap F-35 fighter jets may fall behind adversaries, House committee warns Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (D-Calif.) said the Judiciary Committee needs to come up with some sort of agreement on when documents should be labeled “committee confidential.”

Feinstein, the panel's ranking member, said the committee doesn’t have any standing rules about how documents are labeled but should agree on who determines when something is committee confidential — what the criteria should be — and when something should be released to the public. 

Feinstein said the committee needs to come up with some kind of written agreement between the two parties in determining rules of committee confidential designations. 

— Lydia Wheeler

Booker to release committee confidential documents

10 a.m.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he will release "committee confidential" documents that have not been cleared for public release, escalating a furious debate between Republicans and Democrats over papers related to Kavanaugh's public record.

"I am right now, before your process is finished, I am going to release the email about racial profiling and I understand the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate," Booker said.

Booker acknowledged that he would "knowingly violating the rules."

Booker questioned Kavanaugh on Wednesday night about his stances on racial inequality, but one of the emails he was referring to was labeled as committee confidential.

Tens of thousands of documents have been given to the committee under the label of committee confidential. But Democrats on Thursday argued that they didn't agree to that label and therefore shouldn't have to abide by it.

Republicans immediately knocked Booker over his threat, warning he is violating Senate rules.

"Running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Booker.

Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said they too had documents deemed “committee confidential” they think should be released. 

“I would defy anyone reading this document to conclude this document should be deemed confidential in any way shape or form,” Hirono said. 

— Jordain Carney and Lydia Wheeler

Senators settle in for another marathon

9:25 a.m.

Senators are slowly trickling in for the third day of confirmation hearings on President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

It's the final day in the hot seat for Kavanaugh, but it's expected to be another marathon day.

A floor below the hearing room, protesters have filled Grassley's office to urge him to vote "no" on the nomination.

Before the hearing began, Grassley met with Republican Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzPoll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field Republican politicians: Let OSHA do its job O'Rourke prepping run for governor in Texas: report MORE (Texas), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchCongress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage Drug prices are declining amid inflation fears The national action imperative to achieve 30 by 30 MORE (Utah), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoThe Energy Sector Innovation Credit Act is an industry game-changer The 19 GOP senators who voted for the T infrastructure bill Wyden asks White House for details on jet fuel shortage amid wildfire season MORE (Idaho), Ben SasseBen SassePresident of newly recognized union for adult performers boosts membership Romney blasts Biden over those left in Afghanistan: 'Bring them home' Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal MORE (Neb.), John Kennedy (La.) and Mike Lee (Utah) in the corner of the room. 

— Lydia Wheeler