On the third day of Senate hearings for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, appears to have dropped a bombshell on the proceedings, releasing what he claims is proof that Kavanaugh not only received stolen Democratic emails during his time working in the George W. Bush White House, but that he then went on to lie under oath about it.
Some background: In 2002, Republican Senate staffer Manny Miranda took possession of several thousand documents from the computers of Democratic committee members, and leaked the information to help Republicans craft their strategy for pushing president Bush’s judicial nominees. While investigated, Miranda was never charged with having committed any crime, and insists he viewed the documents on a computer server shared with the Democrats.
Where does Kavanaugh fit in? As Leahy explained in a press release on Wednesday:
During all of this, Judge Kavanaugh worked in the White House Counsel’s Office on judicial nominations. He worked hand-in-hand with Miranda to advance these same controversial nominees. Not surprisingly, Judge Kavanaugh was asked extensively about his knowledge of the theft during both his 2004 and 2006 hearings. And I mean extensively: 111 questions from six senators, both Republicans and Democrats.
He testified under oath — and he testified repeatedly — that he never received any stolen materials, and that he knew nothing about it until it was public. He testified that if he had suspected anything “untoward” he would have reported it. At the time, we left it there. We didn’t have evidence to suggest otherwise.
So, we have a Supreme Court nominee who in the past has repeatedly denied—under oath—having anything to do with these ill-gotten (to say the least) documents. But as Leahy alleged during a testy round of questioning during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on Wednesday, Kavanaugh may have been less than forthcoming.
“There is evidence that Mr. Miranda provided you with materials that were stolen from me. And that would contradict your prior testimony,” Leahy admonished Kavanaugh. “It is also clear from public emails—and I’m refraining from going into non-public ones—that you had reason to believe materials were obtained inappropriately at the time.”
But in a nomination hearing marred by ongoing debates over what documents can and should be made public, Leahy’s suggestion that “there is evidence” was hardly a knockout blow—until Thursday, when he released a number of the stolen emails in question, showing definitively that they contained a number of red flags.
“Judge Kavanaugh answered under oath more than 100 questions on this hacking in 2004 and 2006,” Leahy wrote in a later tweet. “His repeated denials that he didn’t receive any stolen info and didn’t suspect anything ‘untoward’ is SIMPLY NOT CREDIBLE.”
Leahy’s document dump comes the same day as the New York Times published leaked Bush-era emails from Kavanaugh suggesting the judge’s testimony that he believed Roe v Wade was “settled law” was not entirely true. Some of Leahy’s fellow Democrats also posted “committee confidential” documents to Twitter as well:
While it remains to be seen whether any of these tactics will be enough to scuttle Kavanaugh’s nomination entirely, they certainly help ossify the impression that Brett Kavanaugh is a dangerously partisan conservative whose “nice guy” demeanor masks his desire to shift American courts rightward for a generation to come.