In an unexpected twist in the Supreme Court showdown over Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the National Archives announced Thursday they will not be able to fulfill a request for nearly a million pages of documents on the judge until the end of October.
Democrats wrote to the National Archives requesting a broad set of the documents, using a letter with almost the same language that was sent by both parties in 2010 seeking documentation about Obama's nominee Elena Kagan. "As a result, I expect the committee will be able to undertake its thorough review process along the same timeline set in previous Supreme Court confirmations". "To be clear, President Bush has offered this as a courtesy to the Committee to assist in a timely assessment of Judge Kavanaugh's nomination". But when Grassley sent the request to the Bush archives, he explicitly left out the three years in which Kavanaugh served as staff secretary to Bush, writes the New York Times.
Schumer added: "This unprecedented process appears to be designed intentionally by Republicans to deny the Senate and the American people the information they need to evaluate this critically important nomination".
Before Garland's nomination was announced, Hatch called the judge a "fine man" and "consensus nominee" who would be confirmed for sure. "We don't know what they've held back, or why". According to the Washington Post, President Bush has authorized making the Kavanaugh documents available, and a group of lawyers, led by Bush's presidential records representative, is reviewing them.
Gary M. Stern, general counsel for the National Archives and Records Administration, said his office will complete the review in October, more than a month after Mr. Grassley's requested deadline.
There are two separate reviews of documents happening simultaneously: One by the Bush team and another by the National Archives.
White House under fire for barring CNN reporter from event
He added that he would consider a visit to Washington but noted there must be "necessary conditions", without further explanation. The administration said "There was no plot to exclude Fox News , and they had the same interview that their competitors did".
"As Chairman Grassley said this morning, he intends to hold a hearing sometime in September", said the aide.
Republicans contend that a staff secretary job is more administrative, rather than substantive, and Democrats are simply engaging in a delay tactic to demand documents related to his time as staff secretary.
So far Manchin is the only Democrat who has met with Kavanaugh, with many stating they will outright oppose Kavanaugh because of what they believe could put at risk the abortion-legalizing Roe v. Wade decision and the dismantling of government-run health care, or Obamacare.
Any delay could mean that Kavanaugh, if ultimately approved by the Republican-led Senate, could still miss the October 1 start of the Supreme Court's term and that the final confirmation vote could take place close to the November 6 USA congressional elections.
"He's got all the legal credentials you'd ever want in a Supreme Court Justice", said Hatch.