Fierce exchange rages as Republicans confront Dems for withholding SCOTUS nom documents

The Senate Judiciary Committee grew fervent when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and several colleagues accused the chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), and his party of withholding records of Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and demanded to know, “is there anything else that Democrats have access to in this case that they’re not sharing with Republicans?”

Prior to taking the last break from questioning for the second day of the confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) had brought up information regarding probation reports that had not been submitted to the record. When the committee returned from recess, Cruz reiterated his concern before normal order could resume.

“I asked the chairman about Senator Hirono had referenced five probation reports that were not in the record,” Cruz stated. “I asked the chairman whether the Democrats had access to information about Judge Jackson’s judicial record that Republicans did not. You did not answer me at the time.”

Durbin was prepared for this backlash from Cruz, but the Republican lawmaker had more to say on the matter before allowing the chairman to cut him off.

“When we returned and when we walked in, each of the Republicans was handed this piece of paper, which is the first time any of us have ever seen, which is a chart of probation recommendations. We were just told that the White House gave it to Democrats earlier today. I don’t know if that’s true or not. And what I would ask you is, is there anything else that Democrats have access to in this case that they’re not sharing with Republicans on this committee?”

Cruz voiced his particular concern over the presentence reports and Durbin attempted a false equivalency to reports that were delayed in the hearing for Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This did not compare because those reports were disclosed to the entire committee at the same time.

“I suspect if they were helpful you would have made them public,” Cruz explained as he inferred they were detrimental to Jackson.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) interjected “You had to be clairvoyant and know they had it?” when disputing Durbin’s claim that the reports were accessible to all if they were asked for it after Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) questions that pertained to the reports.

Kennedy wasn’t buying that when he sarcastically opined, “So I would be expected to say, ‘Geez, after Sen. Hawley asked questions I better call the White House and see if they can help me research this.’ That’s not realistic.”

Durbin was pressed on when he had received the information to which he vaguely replied, “Some time today.” Then, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) jumped to his defense and claimed he had only received the report moments earlier as he expressed frustration in line with the Republicans.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) pressed on the lack of the reports and further criticized the biased characterization of Republican questioning by the chairman as attacks. “This is not a personal attack…These are legitimate questions. Don’t call them attacks.”

“You keep referencing discovery, this is not litigation. This is a committee of the United State Senate where both sides of the aisle have a right to access to the records,” Cruz reminded Durbin, who attempted once again to argue the records needed only to be asked for.

Cruz would have no more of the outlandish sentiment that members of the committee should somehow know to ask for specific records from the White House and issued a blanket proclamation against the chairman, “I am hereby requesting all other information you magically have that you haven’t told us you have, and you’re not sharing with the other side.”


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