Kavanaugh allies deny anti-Mueller back channel, as Democrats suggest impropriety

DCNFKevin Daley, DCNF

The second day of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings ended on a tantalizing note late Wednesday, as Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California asked a series of questions suggesting the judge back-channeled with Trump-affiliated lawyers about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The senator cryptically asked whether Kavanaugh had discussed the Mueller investigation with attorneys at the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres, and took his answers to suggest he was hiding something. President Donald Trump retained one of the firm’s named partners, Marc Kasowitz, to represent him in an early phase of the Mueller probe.

A senior Trump administration official involved in the confirmation process told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Kavanaugh reviewed a roster of lawyers at that firm on Wednesday night, and knew only one attorney. The official said Kavanaugh has not discussed the Mueller investigation with that attorney.

The judge is unsure of what Harris was referring to with her questions, the official said.

Video of the Harris-Kavanaugh exchange circulated widely on social media Wednesday night. C-SPAN’s video of their interchange was viewed nearly 3 million times on Twitter as of Thursday morning.

A Democratic Senate aide subsequently told reporters that Harris had reason to believe a conversation about Mueller between Kavanaugh and a Kasowitz lawyer occurred, and would continue to pursue the matter.

During the exchange, Kavanaugh said he had discussed the Mueller investigation with other judges, noting the probe has dominated the news for over a year.

GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah broached the topic again on Thursday, asking Kavanaugh if he ever discussed Mueller with attorneys at Kasowitz. Kavanaugh denied having done so, and said he has never given hints or forecasts to anyone as to how he might rule in a matter relating to the special counsel’s investigation.

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