Battle over unreleased documents continues during day 3 of Kavanaugh hearing

Democrats flout rules, release confidential emails on Kavanaugh as the Supreme Court nominee is questioned further on executive power and Roe v. Wade.
21:19 | 09/06/18

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Transcript for Battle over unreleased documents continues during day 3 of Kavanaugh hearing
And you're watching live coverage here on ABC news of the after a relatively subdued second day on the hill we're joined bear Supreme Court analyst Kate shocked today to help us break down some of the news Kate. I give us your first impressions of what Democrats stage at the beginning of this hearing today sort of taking it over again. Trying to shut things down over this debate the documents. Yeah pound hay DeVon it's it was a pretty eventful morning yet again for about the first hour and change of the session. Really about documents. So the Democrats are objecting. Two the continued with holding of a bunch of documents from. I judge capitalist time indeed George W Bush Administration. And also a category of documents that the committee has access to that have been marked what's called committee confidential which means a committee can take a look at the documents. But ordinarily can't ask questions about them and cannot release them to the public. And the senate Democrats are apoplectic about this right so we saw senator Cory Booker sort of leading the charge. Essentially announcing that the process of marking these documents confidential is illegitimate. And essentially taking a step to release those documents are we actually saw a bunch of them. Released over the course of the morning some of them do make reference to sensitive subjects. Racial preferences on abortion and Roe vs. Wade. So you gotta wonder what other documents might sort of I come out over the course of the day in and perhaps tomorrow. And so you know it got pretty heated at a number of moments during that first hour. It sure did Kate yet again a pretty unprecedented scene here in the usually staid senate. And a lot of testy tempers as well that flared up over this debate about the documents let's take a look back at some of the action should that happen Burton. A fact that there is nothing in that document it's personal information does nothing. National security related fact that it was labeled as committee confidential exposes that this processor. Is a Pinochet now. This is the last day so here's some the got to think we'll be here till midnight if you wanna be here if the till our rule is invoked. Lets you view nobody on this committee Republicans and Democrats Garnett have an opera don't do what they want to do today. I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not accept the process. Of this committee confidential routine that we went through I do not accept its legitimacy. I do not accept its validity. The process has broken down. Reflecting what is happening in our nation generally. And particularly in the last couple days with the publication of a new book and a not bad shame on my colleagues if they conceal them now. And deny us the benefit of questioning. This nominee. Who comes before us for the last time today. And Kate to Cory broke her senator of New Jersey leading the charge on this he's he basically called this his Spartacus moment. I'm getting a lot of blowback though over over the violation. Senate rules he sort of denies that but. What do you make over what you've seen in the substance and he talked a little bit about the racial profiling emailed some of them were also leaked to the New York Times and abortion. On is there are actually anything in here. That that will sort of changed the course of this here. You know to and I don't think in any of these documents there's likely kind of any sort of bombshell that's likely to really Gmail things but but hey we don't know if there might not be more documents released today. And an NB you know so I think that senate Democrats are legitimately upset about. A lot of what they feel are the kind of process failures that they have been subjectivity at the hearing was rushed. That they haven't had its ups are full opportunity to review documents that a lot of documents had this label they say for illegitimate reasons. But in some ways I think this is it is sort of the documents are sort of a proxy. For a couple of things one. I think the senate Democrats are still furious about. The fact that senator but that president Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland was denied a hearing at all right when he was nominated to fill the justice scalia's seat in 2016. And because he was never given a hearing in and of course not confirmed. You know that's why the Supreme Court is on the precipice of this solid conservative majority for a generation if Garland. I had been put on the court that situation would be quite different in terms of the future court now senate Democrats can't really talk about. Merrick Garland and so I think they're focused on these documents in some ways as a proxy and then I think the other thing they're really concerned about you sort of heard. Senator Blumenthal make reference to he said this book and then we hopped up ahead in the times yesterday. It's happening against the backdrop of this White House that is facing. You know a lot of sort of legal pair all there are a number of high stakes legal matters in which the president or current or former advisors are embroiled. And this kind of question of whether the Supreme Court could be facing one of those. And that view is of this nominee on executive power and sort of the degree to which the law applies to the president. Bennett think is in the mind of the senators at least the democratic senators on the committee. And you know I think they think that there's maybe something in these documents that might give them clues as to whether in fact judge capital was selected. In part at least because he might be someone present with you is likely rule in his favor if one of these high stakes disputes did end up before the Supreme Court so so it's all kind of connected I think documents are only part of what the senators the democratic senators are really interest and here. A lot of the Democrats a quarter broker among them presidential aspirations are you sort of have to look. At these debates and these are grandstanding moments if you will through that runs. Also struck by what to senator Booker had to say about taking the consequences for what you did today. Potentially there could be some let's tackle it. I'm going to release the email about racial profiling. And I understand that that the penalty comes with potential ousting from the senate. And if senator cornyn beliefs that I violated senate rules. I I openly invite. And accept the consequences. Of my team releasing that email right now and I'm releasing it. Two weeks polls but number one but emails are being withheld from the public. Have nothing to do with national security. Nothing to jeopardize. The sanctity of those ideals that I hold the year. We're rushing through this before me and my colleagues can even read and digest the information. Tennis hero and I want to ask you can ask you how long viewers say the same things her for cutting Meltzer. I only Armstrong do you want I'm saying unknowingly violating the rules gates and reportedly tell you got support from Nigeria at Ellis or I sing I'm saying right now. There are releasing arm release and beauty confident his district there. Cory Booker calling it an act of Civil Disobedience Kate they have been hammered Democrats have been by progressive groups who think. They haven't done enough perhaps that's why. There could be some more fireworks to come still today. What do shift gears though you were talking a little bit about executive power. In which has certainly been a huge topic at the center of all this non. And I wanna start with thick in exchange that senator. Then talk to limited about it she was asked number Kavanagh about his connection his affiliation to the Muller investigation Nicholas. Have you discussed Mueller or his investigation with anyone at castle it's Benson and Torres the law firm founded by mark castle it's president trumps personally. Be sure about your answer sir. While all. I'm not remembering but if you have something you'd when. Are you certain you not had a congress is that anyone at that conference. As we spent some. Castle it's Benson you know Taurus which is the law firm founded by mark castle with Smith who is president Trump's personal lawyer. Are you had you had any conversation. About. Robert Mueller. Or his investigation. With anyone at that firm. Yes are now. It is our person your talking I'm asking a very direct question yes or now. He and need to know them I'm not sure I know everyone who works about law firm but I don't think any time thinking it's now we talked at. The two talked him. He didn't have a very good answer their cage and it was really the first moment we saw him sort of flummoxed. By what to say sir that there are thorny topic today he attempted to clear it up. Let's just take a listen to that clean up in a talk about. Or senator I I. Don't call any conversations of that kind with anyone at that law firm I didn't know. Everyone who might work at that wall firm. But I in an ad. Don't call any conversations of that kind I haven't had any inappropriate conversations about that investigation would anyone I'd never given anyone. Any hints forecast previews. Winks Noth and about. Might view as a judge or how would rule as a judge on on Matt or anything related to that. So a thank you for the opportunity to. To clarify and and reassuring on that. Circuit to my ear he says no inappropriate conversations begs the question did he have any appropriate conversations about Mueller broke. Yeah I I thought that was sort of surprising he was given an opportunity to clarify you know it was a really dramatic moment last night. He seemed really stumped he did this thing nominees don't usually do which is try to pose questions back to senator right now who are you talking about media can. Get get get better answers so that was really dramatic and then and then what I agreed to have missed it he he didn't say. I've never had a conversation right no inappropriate conversations. No forecasts are clues about my views as a judge. But you know it sounded like between the lines he may he may well look at conversations and Kate explain why that could be problematic choir so many people focus on whether he has actually had. Conversations with people about the Muller pro. Well I'm I think the that that I imagine what the senate Democrats would like to do is to sort of find a way to tape to show that he has had. Conversations. That might suggest that he is not prejudged the outcome in the cases should. A challenge. Two. I an attempt to compel the president to testify or challenge to that Mueller appointment sort of writ large should something like that come before the court. I am sure there would be Anderson attempting to get. A judge Kavanagh justice Kavanagh is on the court by then. Patrick cues from and he's such dispute now he is very much not committed to doing that when asked directly. But this strikes me as another potential. Wait two to suggest that it might be appropriate for him to remove himself from consideration. Of that sort of dispute comes before it. Court Carter Supreme Court analyst Kate shot Kate it's great to have you with us today we know we'll check back with you a little bit later as well and so stand by there meanwhile the other big story in town that broke late yesterday. In the midst of the hearings here was that I and usual extraordinary. Anonymous op Ed in the New York Times from someone inside the trop administration. Today the White House has been pushing back hard against that there's a lot of outrage the president himself said to be volcanic in anger over it. Let's go to the White House now where we have our merit for rob White House reporter tracking the full reaction today at Meredith give us the latest state of play there what's the White House saying this morning. It really is. I say district diet scheme who've done it a clue of gast who. There's a lot of speculation about who may or may not be behind this explosive. At. Now here at the White House the president is meted out this morning tweets that. You know I'm not about this op Ed specifically trying to change the direction of the conversation and by we know they. Across the administration and officials really are curious about who this could be and there's a lot of finger pointing behind the scenes. And get seen who wrote that. Yep pretty extraordinary. Listed denials already cabinet secretaries. Having to come out and say it wasn't me. And go on the record or know we've heard from the Treasury Secretary today the vice president. On on down the line and the motivating had a radio and B I know you're tracking all that meanwhile. Let's show folks the latest response from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders she is. Calling on the witch hunt for who this person is to stop in fact she's publishing the phone number of the air time there. Yeah I hit it really adds and incredible. Statement I have it here in front of me as she she posted the phone number she. I've called this per cent and and a mine anonymous Cowherd. And said that the New York Times are the ones who are quote complicit in this deceitful acts. I when she sent out this took me am I just been back there. In the west wing and she was huddled with press aides you know they were likely trying to figure out how to respond to this daily show inquiries about. Who this writer could be I'm but it really is fascinating to see all these cabinet members come out. One by one and offered denials I know that the White House wasn't crack scene. I cabinet secretaries to issue statements subject and I'll bite it seemed to be user conversations happening with cabinet officials and her. You know they're they're stacked behind the scenes but it's something that the president likes to see he tweeted out. Following Bob Woodward's book about secretary Mattis is denial of being involved in not book same with his team has stopped. John Kelly so he he likes to see those denials. In time I'm sure he's appreciating visas they've come out. And merits you've been you know its interest in struck me sir Sanders it's sort of telling people to stop tried out the anonymous writer at the same time. You've been doing a bunch of reporting on what's happening right now in the west wing the the aids there are actually undertaking quite an elaborate effort. Two to find this person right what are you hearing there. Yeah I well. And myself I'm my colleagues Jordan Phelps and Catherine folders you know women talking are different sources and in the hours after this. This op Ed was published we know that there was. I sense of that paranoia. Who could this be could this be one of eyes. And there's been a lot of attention paid to exactly what was expressed an op and there risen as special attention to national security and foreign policy issues which led some to believe this could be coming from. Someone associated with the NSC or at state department for example that no one really knows I'm but it's really ill a lot of behind your back finger point Ian and speculation. Meanwhile the scene up here on Capitol Hill is one of of shock at the fact that the New York Times would publish this anonymous. Op Ed but really some resignation that this is how things have been going there's not a lot of surprise about the substance of the op Ed Bob Alford just told us a little while ago Meredith. Who wouldn't it have written something like that. Calling it silly that this should be considered treasonous by the president even John tester. Democrat. From Montana says the president shouldn't be torpedoed while in office. Although he says he's reassured five the sentiment that there are some of these insiders. Backing him up and there gives a sense of where we'll see the president today he hasn't come out in public get but he has a busy schedule today America. That's right I'm and will be tracking him throughout the day but he'll be taking off later this afternoon that the first time we'll see and is when he is. Out here at the south Lyon and he takes stopping green wine and then will be will be going to Billings Montana. He's going to be having a roundtable supporters who won't see him there but we will see happen. On stage there in Billings where he's going to have a make America great again rally and no doubt that and I bet he will have. Lots of it. How hard it Al lot to say president from on the campaign trail tonight in Montana 9 o'clock eastern time you can watch it. Right here at ABC news live our White House reporter Meredith McGraw thank you so much Meredith. Are right now we wanna go take a listen in on the senate floors democratic leader Chuck Schumer is talking right now about judge Kavanagh. What Democrats may do later today to halt. These hearings let's publish it relies. On judge capitalist actual record. Now finally little late in the game. The truth is coming out. But this is the only the tip of the archives. These are the only documents that have slipped through the Republican. Filter. What else is hidden in church capitalist record. What else don't we know about them on the when the report when did the Republican majority. Decide. That Supreme Court nominees should be like icebergs. Only a small portion showing. While the real nominee lurks unseen underwater. And potentially dangerous. So. I strongly support and command. The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. In their efforts to make these confidential documents public. I stand with them. They did the right thing. The American people desire to see these documents. In this case. Committee confidential is a complete fiction. Subterfuge. To avoiding. The American people knowing the real. Brett capital. Members of the committee. Should be proud. Sorry the members of the committee should be praised. Not chastised. For making these documents available. They had ever they had. The right. They did the right thing. And they had. An obligation. To do it. The Republican members of the committee. Should be ashamed of themselves. Ashamed of themselves. In participate. In the administration. And judge capitalist cover up. Of his record. The senate and the American people have a right to see the nominee's record. Especially now. Since the nominee appears unwilling. To answer substantive questions about his views. What ever the rules may be of the senate. They should not be twist. To ensure partisan advantage. And prevent transparency and open nets. They should not be twisted. To coverup the truth. Rather than reveal it. Mr. President so mark there's so much at stake in the Supreme Court madam president. There is so much at stake in the Supreme Court nomination. Will Americans with preexisting conditions be able to get health care. Will women be able to make private personal choices about their medical care. Will LG BTQ Americans be able to marry whom they loved. Will every American's guns constitutional right to vote be protected. Can the president of the United States. Be held accountable especially at this time we know how much we need that. And yet at every turn. The Republican majority. Trump administration. And Brett capital. Have prevented the senate. The American people. From being truly able to that a nominee. Who could affect the lives of Americans. For a generation. You. Part of that was Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer again join mean that the protest Democrats here at the Senate Judiciary Committee launched today. Again renewing their clear call for those 240000. Committee confidential documents to be released to the public about George Kavanagh us record. Schumer freezing the Democrats here who have defied senate rules. Breaking with president led by senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. A he sick committee confidential the classification and many of these documents is in his words complete. Fiction so were waiting. The continuation of day three now of judge Burt cavernous confirmation hearing the senators just in a short break.

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

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