WASHINGTON - The first documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaughâ€™s time in George W. Bushâ€™s White House were released Thursday as the Senate begins to review the judgeâ€™s unusually lengthy public record for confirmation hearings this fall.
The 5,700 pages from Kavanaughâ€™s time in the White House counselâ€™s office were posted on the Senate Judiciary Committeeâ€™s website after being compiled by a lawyer representing the former president.
But Democrats and others scrutinizing President Donald Trumpâ€™s nominee quickly cried foul, saying Republicans are â€ścherry-pickingâ€ť from the initial cache of 125,000 Bush documents.
Kavanaughâ€™s five years in the Bush White House, as White House counsel and staff secretary, are subject to a fierce dispute between Senate Republicans and Democrats about the scope of documents being made available. The battle over the paper trail has come to dominate the debate over confirming the 53-year-old appellate judge to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
The thousands of papers released Thursday are being pored over by activists and media organizations for insight into Kavanaughâ€™s legal thinking, but itâ€™s unclear how revealing the papers will be. One of the initial pages was a discussion of lunch plans.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee has promised the most transparent process yet. The panel eventually plans to make available more than 1 million documents on Kavanaugh, including his 300 court cases as an appellate judge.
But Democrats complain that Bushâ€™s lawyer has been able to selectively review and release documents on an expedited basis without full oversight from the National Archives and Records Administration.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the GOPâ€™s unusual process of tapping Bushâ€™s lawyer, Bill Burck, to conduct an initial review and release of the documents is a conflict.
â€śWe are seeing layer after layer of unprecedented secrecy in what is quickly becoming the least transparent nominations process in history,â€ť Schumer said.
Kavanaughâ€™s extensive time in public service means thereâ€™s a long, voluminous record of documents.