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Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s emails reignite Democratic query on past testimony

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A Democratic senator on Tuesday raised new questions about whether U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has accurately described his role in a controversial judicial nomination when he worked for then-President George W. Bush.

Emails previously withheld as “committee confidential” but released by the office of Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, suggest that Kavanaugh, a White House lawyer at the time, cast light on his involvement in the nomination of William Haynes, a controversial Department of Defense lawyer, for an appeals court position.

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White House spokesman Raj Shah said the emails are consistent with Kavanaugh’s testimony and called Durbin’s actions a “pathetic attempt” to smear the nominee.

President Donald Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is now in the hands of the U.S. Senate. Republicans control the 51 Senate votes needed to confirm Kavanaugh if they stick together.

Democrats are trying hard to raise questions about the nominee because they see Kavanaugh tilting the court even further to the right. A final Senate vote is expected by the end of September.

Kavanaugh told Durbin in 2006, when Bush nominated him to his current position as an appeals court judge in Washington, that the Haynes nomination was not one he “handled.”

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One 2002 email released by Durbin showed Kavanaugh weighing in on a suggestion that Haynes be nominated for a vacancy on the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, questioning if he was conservative enough.

“But what is the basis for saying he would be an across-the- board judicial conservative?” Kavanaugh asked.

An email from 2003 from then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales invited Kavanaugh to play golf with Haynes.

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In releasing the emails, Durbin revived his own long-simmering dispute dating to Kavanaugh’s 2006 confirmation hearing. Durbin had asked then about whether Kavanaugh was involved in the Haynes nomination.

The White House pointed to a question from another senator at the same 2006 hearing, in which Kavanaugh said “yes” when asked if he would have been involved in discussions on the Haynes nomination if it came up. Kavanaugh said he could not recall such conversations.

In a statement, Durbin sought to tie Kavanaugh’s Haynes testimony to several other issues on which Democrats say Kavanaugh gave misleading answers during his confirmation hearing last week, including whether he was involved in the Bush administration’s interrogation policies.

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“This is a theme that we see emerge with Judge Kavanaugh time and time again. He says one thing under oath, and then the documents tell a different story,” Durbin said

As general counsel at the Pentagon, Haynes was involved in detainee and interrogation policy decisions after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was not ultimately confirmed.

Reporting by Richard Cowan and Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Cynthia Osterman

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump has been ‘insulated’ by his wealth to never have to learn from his mistakes: biographer

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President Donald Trump's inherited wealth has meant he's never had to learn from his mistakes, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.

"Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O’Brien writes today, 'Yes, of course, you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president,'" Williams said. "He goes on 'The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.'"

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‘Both Putin and Xi will be voting Trump in 2020’: NYT columnist says Russia and China want ‘turmoil and chaos’

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The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are both rooting for President Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, a New York Times columnist argued on MSNBC on Thursday.

Thomas Friedman was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

"What do we know about how the leaders of other countries see Donald Trump at this stage in their dealings with him?" O'Donnell asked. "Especially this weekend, when it comes at the end of a week in which they’ve heard him call himself the King of Israel, they have heard him say he is The Chosen One. They have heard all the crazy things that everyone here has heard the president say."

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Trump is ‘not a stable genius’: GOP strategist says the president ‘doesn’t remember who and where he is’

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President Donald Trump's mental fitness is lacking, a top Republican strategist explained on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, blasted the commander-in-chief.

"Rick Wilson, your assessment of where the president stands as he heads off to the G7 summit?" O'Donnell asked.

"I think Donald Trump has had a week in which he is proving that this isn’t 87-dimensional chess game, this isn't some masterful strategy of communications or persuasion," Wilson replied. "This is an old man who is sick and who has problems and who has mental disconnects and who has aphasias and who has moments where he doesn’t remember who and where he is."

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