RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Graves writes: "Much of Washington has spent the week focusing on whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court. After the revelations of his confirmation hearings, the better question is whether he should be impeached from the federal judiciary."

Brett Kavanaugh. (photo: Erin Schaff/NYT)
Brett Kavanaugh. (photo: Erin Schaff/NYT)

I Wrote Some of the Stolen Memos That Brett Kavanaugh Lied to the Senate About

By Lisa Graves, Slate

08 September 18

He should be impeached, not elevated.

uch of Washington has spent the week focusing on whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court. After the revelations of his confirmation hearings, the better question is whether he should be impeached from the federal judiciary.

I do not raise that question lightly, but I am certain it must be raised.

Newly released emails show that while he was working to move through President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees in the early 2000s, Kavanaugh received confidential memos, letters, and talking points of Democratic staffers stolen by GOP Senate aide Manuel Miranda. That includes research and talking points Miranda stole from the Senate server after I had written them for the Senate Judiciary Committee as the chief counsel for nominations for the minority.

Receiving those memos and letters alone is not an impeachable offense.

No, Kavanaugh should be removed because he was repeatedly asked under oath as part of his 2004 and 2006 confirmation hearings for his position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit about whether he had received such information from Miranda, and each time he falsely denied it.

For example, in 2004, Sen. Orrin Hatch asked him directly if he received “any documents that appeared to you to have been drafted or prepared by Democratic staff members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.” Kavanaugh responded, unequivocally, “No.”

In 2006, Sen. Ted Kennedy asked him if he had any regrets about how he treated documents he had received from Miranda that he later learned were stolen. Kavanaugh rejected the premise of the question, restating that he never even saw one of those documents.

Back then the senators did not have the emails that they have now, showing that Miranda sent Kavanaugh numerous documents containing what was plainly research by Democrats. Some of those emails went so far as to warn Kavanaugh not to distribute the Democratic talking points he was being given. If these were documents shared from the Democratic side of the aisle as part of normal business, as Kavanaugh claimed to have believed in his most recent testimony, why would they be labeled “not [for] distribution”? And why would we share our precise strategy to fight controversial Republican nominations with the Republicans we were fighting?

Another email chain included the subject line “spying.” It’s hard to imagine a more definitive clue than that. Another said “Senator Leahy’s staff has distributed a confidential letter to Dem Counsel” and then described for Kavanaugh that precise confidential information we had gathered about a nominee Kavanaugh was boosting. Again, it is illogical to think that we would have just given Miranda this “confidential” information for him to use against us. But this is precisely what Judge Kavanaugh suggested in his testimony on Wednesday. He is not that naïve.

In the hearing this week, Sen. Leahy also noted that the previously hidden emails showed that Miranda asked to meet Kavanaugh in person to give him “paper” files with “useful info to map out [Sens. Joe] Biden and [Dianne] Feinstein, and others.” The promised information included “Biden-speak.” Again, this would not have been a normal information exchange.

In response to Leahy’s questions this week, Kavanaugh made the outlandish claim that it was typical for him to be told what Democrats planned to ask at these combative hearings over controversial nominees, and that this was in fact the “coin of the realm.” As a Democrat who worked on those questions, I can say definitively that it was not typical at all. Kavanaugh knows this full well.

At the time, Kavanaugh was working with Miranda and outside groups to try to force these nominees through the Senate over Democratic objections, and it would have been suicide to give them our research, talking points, strategies, or confidential letters. The GOP senators, their staff, the White House, and outside groups were working intensively to undermine the work of Democratic senators to block the most extreme of President Bush’s judicial nominees.

The Leahy talking points given to Kavanaugh were from my in-depth research into why the Senate had compelling historical precedent for examining Miguel Estrada’s Department of Justice records, which the White House counsel’s office was refusing to surrender. Other confidential materials Miranda shared with Kavanaugh related to investigations Democrats were pursuing over how Judge Priscilla Owen had handled an abortion case involving parental consent and about the overlap between her funders and groups with business before the courts of Texas. We would never have provided that information—key to our strategy to try to block what we considered extremist judicial nominations—to Miranda or to the White House.

During his testimony, Kavanaugh conflated these adversarial proceedings with ones in which Democrats might have cooperated with the other side, like the Patriot Act and airline liability. But these weren’t hearings on some bill where senators would share their concerns across the aisle to try to get a bipartisan fix on problems in a piece of legislation. These were oppositional proceedings in committee and on the floor over controversial judicial nominees. Kavanaugh knew this just as intimately as I did—our sides fought over those nominations intensely.

It was also an area where Kavanaugh’s judicial nominations alliance had taken a scorched-earth approach, attacking Democrats ruthlessly. The White House’s closest allies went so far as to call Leahy and other Democrats on the committee “anti-Catholic,” even running attack ads.

Perhaps Kavanaugh was so blinded by his quest to get the most controversial Bush nominees confirmed in 2003 that he did not have any concerns about the bounty of secret memos and letters he was receiving—the full extent of which is not known because so many documents are still secret.

But, surely, reasonable questions about what he had been party to would have been considered after the story of the theft exploded in the news, Miranda was forced to resign, and the U.S. Senate sergeant-at-arms began a bipartisan investigation into the files stolen from the Senate?

As of November 2003, when the sergeant-at-arms seized the Judiciary Committee’s servers, Kavanaugh would have been on notice that any of the letters, talking points, or research described as being from Democrats that were provided to him by Miranda were suspect and probably stolen from the Senate’s server.

But he did nothing. He did not come forward to the Senate to provide information about the confidential documents Miranda had given him, which were clearly from the Democrats.

Kavanaugh also apparently did nothing when the Senate referred the case to the U.S. attorney’s office for criminal prosecution. (Miranda was never prosecuted.)

Eventually, though, Kavanaugh went even further to help cover up the details of the theft.

During the hearings on his nomination to the D.C. Circuit a few months after the Miranda news broke, Kavanaugh actively hid his own involvement, lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee by stating unequivocally that he not only knew nothing of the episode, but also never even received any stolen material.

Even if Kavanaugh could claim that he didn’t have any hint at the time he received the emails that these documents were of suspect provenance—which I personally find implausible—there is no reasonable way for him to assert honestly that he had no idea what they were after the revelation of the theft. Any reasonable person would have realized they had been stolen, and certainly someone as smart as Kavanaugh would have too.

But he lied.

Under oath.

And he did so repeatedly.

Significantly, he did so even though a few years earlier he had helped spearhead the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for perjury in a private civil case. Back then Kavanaugh took lying under oath so seriously that he was determined to do everything he could to help remove a president from office.

Now we know that he procured his own confirmation to the federal bench by committing the same offense. And he did so not in a private case but in the midst of public hearings for a position of trust, for a lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary.

His actions were dishonorable and dishonest.

This week, as part of his efforts to be elevated to the highest court in the land, he has calmly continued to deceive, falsely claiming that it would have been perfectly normal for him to receive secret Democratic letters, talking points, and other materials. And if this absurd notion were somehow true, it would not even be consistent with what he testified to 12 and 14 years ago. Back then, he didn’t state it would have been normal for him to receive secret Democratic strategy materials.

Instead, he explicitly and repeatedly went out of his way to say he never had access to any such materials. These objectively false statements were offered under oath to convince the committee of something that was untrue. It was clearly intentional, with Kavanaugh going so far as to correct Sen. Kennedy when the senator described the document situation accurately.

That’s why—without even getting into other reasonable objections to his nomination—he should not be confirmed.

In fact, by his own standard, he should clearly be impeached. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+32 # wipster 2018-09-08 14:13
Lisa, you should be testifying about this to the Senate committee, I hope it can happen.

Great article, well written, good job... I just hope it's in time.
+27 # Michaeljohn 2018-09-08 14:18
Ah yes, and what other sort of nominee to the Court would you have expected from the Liar In Chief?
+23 # Jaax88 2018-09-08 15:21
If the charges Kavanaugh lied to Congress 3 or 4 times, what kind of Justice will he make? Can't be sure, but it does not bode well for justice in America when a judge chooses his self-interest over truth and the needs of the country. Equally as important is the meaning of justice in America when a political party will promote and elevate a known dishonest person to the America's highest judicial body charged with dispensing "blind justice?" How does the Supreme Court build and maintain the credibility necessary and important to its
having its opinions acceptable to and followed by the public?
+17 # Jim Rocket 2018-09-09 09:38
Unfortunately, I think the whole point is to elevate a dishonest person to the Supreme Court. They really don't like honest outcomes because they usually don't go their way
+25 # Robbee 2018-09-08 15:23
I Wrote Some of the Stolen Memos That Brett Kavanaugh Lied to the Senate About, Lisa Graves, Slate, 08 September 18, He should be impeached, not elevated.
- S I M P L Y - A S T O U N D I N G !

shouldn't the d.c. federal prosecutor indict this creep, for perjury?

shouldn't the d.c. bar association investigate k's license to practice law?

shouldn't the federal judiciary investigate his fitness to judge?

k is no more fit to judge than, say, dickhead is to preside!
+16 # ddd-rrr 2018-09-08 15:29

Thank you, Lisa Graves, for this information!

But, we can only hope that the Senate accepts this information, and acts upon it.
+19 # Dave_s Not Here 2018-09-08 15:51
"His actions were dishonorable and dishonest."

Yet oh so typical for his kind. No-one who is truly honest and ethical would want to be associated with the current regime. The whole thing is a set-up to put a "Trump" vote on the supreme court in anticipation of Trump matters landing there in the near future.
+19 # No Go 2018-09-08 16:19
Given that one of the things that can unequivocally be said about Donald Trump is that he is a pathological liar, then it should not surprise us that his pick for the Supreme Court is a liar, too.
+13 # HenryS1 2018-09-08 16:39
Good article that works hard to present documented facts.

But power and our current regime abhor inconvenient facts. And, sadly, even if there were to be a newly elected Democratic majority in the House come November, Kavanaugh is unstoppable. His financial value to major monopolies and his ability to shield Republican political crimes from legal consequences is worth too much for his place on the bench to be denied. Whatever money or tactics it takes, they need him in place for the future.

I really hope I am wrong, and that somehow he can be stopped or postponed.
+14 # EternalTruth 2018-09-08 22:19
Interesting. You’d think at this point they’d withdraw the nomination and find a right wing stooge without a history of scandal and criminality. Or perhaps no such beast exists?
+8 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-09-08 22:32
"If you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth." --- Leo Strauss
+1 # Working Class 2018-09-10 10:54
"If you tell a lie once it becomes my truth, until I change it with another lie" ---D. Trump (may not have said of said it, but definitely lives it)
-1 # chapdrum 2018-09-10 13:41
We recall that Sessions perjured himself during his confirmation hearings, but that didn't stop him from becoming AG.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.