GOP senator warns against 'fishing expedition' for Kavanaugh documents

GOP senator warns against 'fishing expedition' for Kavanaugh documents
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSherrod Brown asks Trump Fed pick why he referred to Cleveland, Cincinnati as 'armpits of America' Senate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller GOP senator wears shirt honoring Otto Warmbier at Korean DMZ MORE (R-Ohio) warned Democratic senators on Sunday against going on a "fishing expedition" for documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying that lawmakers should request only "relevant documents."

"To go on a fishing expedition into millions of documents that he had nothing substantive to say about I think would be a mistake," Portman said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

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"And I think, frankly, it’s not necessarily in Democrats’ interest to do that, because it’s going to postpone this until even closer to the election, which I’m not sure they want."

Among the documents that should not be requested, Portman said, are those pertaining to Kavanaugh's time as former President George W. Bush's staff secretary. 

He said that many of those documents are irrelevant to Kavanaugh's legal history, and that the nominee would not be able to adequately comment on them.

"You’re the gatekeeper, you’re the traffic cop," Portman said. "It’s not substantive."

Trump tapped Kavanaugh, a judge on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court earlier this month.

But Kavanaugh's long history as a political operative and judge have left lawmakers with a lengthy paper trail to review as part of his confirmation process. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? Dems charge ahead on immigration Biden and Bernie set for clash MORE (R-Ky.) has said that he wants to hold a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination this fall, ahead of the November midterm elections.

Democratic leaders, on the other hand, have called for the Senate to wait until after the elections to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination.

--Updated at 1:07 p.m.