Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing

Trump's Supreme Court nominee faces questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on day two.
21:18 | 09/06/18

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Transcript for Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing
All right anymore and a dinner break now a marathon second day for George Brett Cavanaugh was confirmation hearing into the US Supreme Court however pretty and Devin Dwyer. Pop up on Capitol Hill thanks so much for watching us here at ABC news live you've been tuned in you have certainly been a die hard Supreme Court fan. This is a long one and of course this is a very important high stakes I nominations the second one for president trump after a day of protests. On Tuesday today was down to business it was a substantive grilling of the judge today. Both sides keep leaning questions on an array of topics we had guns we had abortion we had health care discrimination. The list went on. Lot of focus today on executive power church Kavanagh writing 2009. He believes the president sitting presidents should not be subject to prosecution while they're in office. Of course the Democrats against this backdrop with president trumped. Implicated in the smaller probe scene that is a potential liability worried that its supreme court judge Kavanagh could be involved in the decision involving president trump. But we saw the did today the judged dance around all those questions he invoked precedent both. Of the of the Supreme Court but also of previous nominees declining to weigh in on any cases any matters he could have to hear. And so. All of this now plain out as there's a lot of drama this afternoon at the White House is well. Let's take a listen to one of the hot button topics of the Dade judge Kavanagh wing and an abortion this nomination. Very connected to that issue let's take take a listen some question in a little better. I talk about. Maine go in cars be taken as you know. She was a seventeen year old unaccompanied minor who came. Across this border having escaped. Serious threatening horrific. Physical violence in her family. In her homeland she was eight weeks pregnant. Under Texas law she received an order that entitled her to an abortion. And she also went through mandatory counseling as required by Texas law she was. Eligible for an orphan. Under that law. The trump administration. Doctor. He Office of Refugee Resettlement. Forced her to go to it. Crisis pregnancy scanner which he was subjected to medically unnecessary. Procedures. She was. Punished by her continued. Request. To terminate her pregnancy. By being isolated from the rest of the residence. She was also forced. To notify her parents. She was going through emotional turmoil. And yet in your dissent you would have further blocked and delayed. That. Termination of pregnancy. All of what I said is correct. As to the facts are correct. Now senator I respectfully disagree and in various parts. My ruling. My position in the case would not have blocked. I would have delayed. And I would I said and perilously close to the twenty week limit under Texas law correct. No we were still several weeks away I said several things that are important I think for so I think the opinion was by one judge Gregory from now it's not the opinion for. The majority. Secondly I was trying to follow processor and the Supreme Court on Crennel consent which allow als. And some delays. In the pursuit in the abortion procedures so as to fulfill the consent parental consent requirements I was. Reasoning by analogy from those people can disagree I understand on whether. We were following precedent near route can how to read that press on but I was trying to do so as faithfully site couldn't explain that. I also did not join. The separate opinion to separate dissent that said she had no. Right to obtain an abortion law did not say that. And I also made clear that the government could not use this immigration sponsor provision as a ruse to try to delay or a portion passed. To your point that time when it was safe. Our judge for a Kavanagh they're talking about the controversial case and Garza vs Harkin. With Dick Blumenthal of Connecticut the senator today the democratic senator trying to put a human face and in. Issue of abortion. That case Garza vs target heart in dealing with an undocumented immigrant in US custody who sought an abortion judge Kavanagh. Opposed allowing that immigrant to get to have an abortion and you saw their Blumenthal trying to press him. On and on his reasoning behind net and whether he would in fact affirm Roe vs. Wade. As established lawn this country let's bring in our senator our reporter in Supreme Court producer Trish turner who's been in the hearing room all the time. For these were proceedings today Trish thanks for joining us here. I give us a sense of how this is all playing in the room down there and is this is dragging and now two I think past the eighth ninth hour of the day. Well it's a real sense of tension in the room like you said the moment with senator Blumenthal on the Garza case was definitely a notable moments. Judge really tried tick the dance around a finer point that he was really talking about the concerns of a minor. He repeated that to several senators who took him back to that moment. He was trying to make a distinction that he was concerned about. A minor and parental consent even other than what's called a judicial waiver in that case she had that so the net and Democrats certainly not buying this. Not that we're here with the with the idea that Democrats are gonna be convinced to vote for him because that's really not the case. But the real use added earlier. The real issue of focus that's dominated the day it's been executive authority even a Republican senator Jeff flake of Arizona. I'm no fan of this president asking. Basically almost imploring the judge to give them a remedy. For an executive like president trump who overstepped the bounds to exceeds is authority. Tries to impose some sort of political solution on net. On on whatever is happening around him and and and Kevin I just kept going back to sort of I can't really make can't really make any pre judgments here attacked. I can't tell you how I would rule but he did say look you do have. Remedies you have the power of the person that's very strong he user rates and they also did say without knowing would say the I word impeachment. But he did say he do you have of the ultimate political solution and of course that is impeachment have now. He had made and many times it seemed as if the chargers trying to insert console Wii is deeply frustrated Democrats. Who who basically. Have run out of options to block his nomination by our are deeply frustrated and so many of these issues Trish. On that issue of executive power there was a really interest in exchange. The judge Kavanagh had with Richard Blumenthal. Of Connecticut over the issue of where there he'd recuse himself. In any case involving the president who appointed him let's take a listen back that. I would like your commitment. That you will recuse yourself if there is an issue involving. His. Criminal or civil liabilities. Coming before the United States patent court. In other words were you take yourself out of ruling on any of the issues involving his personal. Criminal or civil libel. Senator one of the core principles I've articulated here is the independence of the judiciary which I know you. Care about deeply too and I think undercurrents. Some of your comments yesterday. In the independence of the judiciary is critical to the confidence the American people on the judiciary into the rule long United States. But one key facet of the independence of the judiciary. As sites studied the history of nominees. Is not to. Make commitments on particular cases I'm not asking for a particular commitment. And I'm gonna take your answer as a know it's really a yes or no question. You will not commit to recuse yourself we will not commit to take yourself out of that. Decision despite the unique circumstances these non. Senator I think to be consistent with the principled independence of the judiciary should not and may not make a commitment about. How I would handle particular case in the decision to participate in a case is itself. And a decision and a particular case and therefore following the precedent set by all the nominees before me. I need to be careful and again you may disagree with this but this is part of what I see is independence of the judiciary well I do disagree and I am coupled. And disturbed by. Your refusal to say that you will take yourself. Kind of. All right and Trish turner joins us again Trish ABC news this first report that he was not going to recuse himself not make a commitment in these hearings. Perhaps not a surprise but I'm really does raise an interest in question of what will happen. If some sort of case involving the president prosecution of the president to subpoena of president trump were to make it before the court. And judge Kavanagh were sitting right there. It's really. Kind of summing because the allegation of course is banned from Democrats that if this president. Has chosen. Person is chosen and justice. Who has taken a very expansive view of president how a presidential powers. That a president can't and shouldn't be investigated. While he is a sitting president says the Democrats are charging look. Tom trough just chose the judge he wanted who who would you know like they're saying again out of jail free. Card in so. It really goes to the heart of that and yes that use that we did break the then news that he was not going to commit an recusal. And I find it interesting that the judge said specifically. The very act of recusal involves a decision by the judge a judgment by the judge and he doesn't even want to go there. So I'm it was he just as he said at one point it's like I I need to stay three at a. I don't need to just stay away from. Making it does this namely the state three zip codes away from making a decision about a political matter they seem to all know. That and he and most importantly you seem to now everyone in this room as it's the elephant in the room cent of women called. Called it the idea that this judge that this president. Could have matters be legal matters questions before the Supreme Court it was really quite stunning. Targets speaking to the president the elephant in the room if you will. We know the president trump has been watching some of the proceedings today he weighed in a little bit earlier this afternoon on what he thinks. The day he what he thinks about the job the judge Kavanagh has been doing let's take a listen to his comments on here. Happy. With the camera hearings I watch today for a little while I saw some incredible answers to very complex questions. He's an outstanding intellect he's an outstanding judge. He was born for the position I heard as long as ten years ago people were saying. He should be a supreme court judge I didn't know at the time but I was hearing from a lot of people friends of mine from Washington and other places. Saying her breast calorie should be a supreme court judge someday and I'm honored that I gave him the chance I've watched his. He's remarks I watched his performance have watched his statements. And honestly didn't totally brilliant. I think that. The other side is grasping at straws. And really the other side should embrace it because you're not going to find better in terms of talent or it to let them. What you have and Brett Cavanaugh. All right the president there are quite happy with what he's seen so far in fact it's been fascinating to see. White House counsel Don McGann seated in the front row throughout these hearings he's been there. From the very beginning overnight hours as we said today down again a critical figure in helping president front. Pick his his nominee to the court Trisha what when of the things it was fascinating to today speaking the president was that some of his tweets. Came up in this hearing today for the first time and by surprise they were raised by a Republican Ben SaaS. Of of Nebraska raised that some tweets from the president let's take a listen to those in the topple about. This week there was a tweet by the president that said and I mentioned this yesterday. Too long running Obama here investigations of two very popular Republican congressman. Were brought to to a well publicized charge. Just ahead of the mid terms. By the just sections Justice Department too easy wins. Now in doubt because there was not enough time there's not enough time. Good job Jeff. Should a president to be able to use his authority to pressure executive for independent agencies. To carrying out directives for purely political purposes. Senator. Arrived understand the question. But. I think. One to principles of judicial independence that judges sitting judges and I am sitting judge and nominees sitting here. Need to be. Careful about is commenting on current events war. Political controversies. I don't think we want judges. Commenting on the later tests. Political controversy is that would ultimately lead to people to doubt whether where are independent. But there were politicians and ropes and so maintaining that strict independence. Of the judiciary. Requires me I think a to avoid commenting on any current events. Part of most tweets here Trish who. Called in many quarters and potentially impeachable tweets based on what the president had to say about those cases and interfere in the Justice Department. Fascinating though that the judge had served to dance around it senator flake and I air frame they've give me confused with senators as a senator flake of Arizona. Who asked him the number of differ ways but he wouldn't really play. Yeah absolutely he's adhering a very strictly on any matters of executive authority. Executive power issues he's it hearing it went he has called his nominee precedent he went back it was clear. Early on and as he went back and listened to what nominee is before hand and he went very far back. And listen to each one how they would answer questions like this and he was ready with an answer. He's trying to Dan straight up to the line of an answer with these guys spent but he really is staying away from any commend. And and how he liberal. Pardon Tricia before we let you go for folks who are still with us where in the dinner break here on day two of the judge Kavanagh. Hearings with Trish give us a preview of what's yet to go tonight and then tomorrow. So we have about. The worm more senators laughed. These are good ones always interesting senators Booker Cory Booker. And coddling terrorists on the democratic side these are two senators as you know at DeVon who have you know very high ambitions presidential ambitions. Probably might even see them run and twentieth when he against this president. So always fiery rhetoric and then of course we have senators Telus. And senator John Kennedy is always really fun on the Republican side. Kennedy always have find some waited two three. You know it and you know laughing where an entertaining way it's make his points in a real down home. Or Owens cut away the way. The way talks it's it's always sort of entertaining and and and educational at the same time so. That's about thirty minutes per senator. So about two more hours of questioning tonight. Tomorrow it's and other careful questioning for this guy twentieth minutes per senator tomorrow and. Chairman Grassley is even gonna allow a third round if you can believe it and now it be about 1510 to fifteen minutes per senator. And you know with the with the issues what's at stake I would say unlike previous nominees I think it might actually happen. And in this. All right so we have a lot of question Nina had potentially some more fireworks tonight. Trish turner thank you so much we know you'll be down there and filing for ABC news live ABC news back com. And of course there was Terry Moran who's going to be fine eye for Good Morning America its march 1 thank you so much. All right meanwhile off Capitol Hill there has been a avalanche of news have lines on all sides of the capitol the white house of course but the big story everyone's talking about. In town here is this new op Ed in the New York Times and really remarkable and extraordinary. Piece written by someone the paper says is a senior administration official anonymously. And the article states that here is a four cents staffers inside the trump White House were working actively. Against the president's agenda to they say protect. The national security protect the national interest it's a very interest in peace if you haven't read it. Sure you will soon. The president weighing in on it firing off fund where we'll take a look at some that in a second to first of all wanna take a look back. Little bit earlier if you missed at the president and a meeting of sheriff's speaking on the New York Times. And the New York Times is telling if I weren't here. I believe the New York Times probably wouldn't even. Some day lead I'm not president which hopefully will be in about. Six and a half years from the at times and CNN and all of these phony media outlets. Will be out of business books to be out of business because it did nothing. To write and they'll be nothing of interest nobody is done. What this administration has done and I agree it is different from an agenda. Which is much different than ours and it's certainly not irrigated Vatican didn't. It's about open borders it's about letting people flee into our country it's about a disaster and pride for our country so. They don't like Donald Trump and I don't like them because I'm very dishonest people remember this also. About the New York Times. What I want. They were forced to apologize. To their subscribers. They wrote a letter of apology it was the first time anybody's ever done it because. They covered. The election. He correctly. So if the failing New York Times has an anonymous editorial can you believe that anonymous. Meeting got us a gutless editorial. We're doing a great job. In this op Ed in New York Times this really shaken. Atlanta but the thought here in Capitol Hill a number of Republican and democratic senators Wayne in on this now senate majority leader. Mitch McConnell is backing the president trump ally senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also saying that this is appears to be a fit fabricated document. But senator Bob Corker of Tennessee saying he has known about this all along suggesting that. A number of Republicans have been aware of a quiet group of individuals inside the trump administration. Seeking to direct the president perhaps subvert his agenda. In the national interest certainly fascinating things see some of the op Eds there rolling your screen now. The president just minutes ago has tweeted again on the New York Times. Accusing them of using gain anonymous source take a looked as the so called senior administration official really exist. Or is that just the fairly New York Times that another phony source if they gutless anonymous per person does exist. At times must for national security purposes. Turned him or her over to the government at once or does look like. The administration. Tonight is gearing up for a fight on this one demanding to know who this person is of course we heard from. How white house Press Secretary cirrus Sanders a little bit earlier also calling for this person to resign. So we'll be staying on this story of course there will be many more questions for the white house on this tomorrow as well on short. Meanwhile as were in the dinner break here again back on Capitol Hill waiting for BS Supreme Court hearings to resume. We'll send you back now for the latest and ABC news headlines here on ABC news lives there with us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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