In an unexpected twist in the Supreme Court showdown over Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the National Archives announced Thursday they will not be able to fulfill a request for nearly a million pages of documents on the judge until the end of October.
Grassley, in a July 27 letter, had asked to get records by August 15 from the George W. Bush Presidential Library about Kavanaugh's work in the White House counsel's office. Democrats had also requested more documents from the National Archives from Kavanaugh's time as staff secretary to Bush.
Democrats already have objected to what they say is a limited scope of documents Grassley and other Republicans on the committee sought from Kavanaugh's background, particularly his work as White House staff secretary in the George W. Bush administration. Sen. "In the end, the committee will have reviewed significantly more records than ever before for a Supreme Court nominee". Schumer asked on the Senate floor on Tuesday. He further complained about what he called "dumbass" partisanship over Kavanaugh's nomination.
The rebuff from the National Archives comes as the fight over work from Kavanaugh's time in the George W. Bush White House has emerged as a lightning rod in the Supreme Court fight.
Republicans could hold confirmation hearings before receiving all the documents, but a final vote on Kavanaugh may have to wait.
"This unprecedented process appears to be designed intentionally by Republicans to deny the Senate and the American people the information they need to evaluate this critically important nomination", Schumer said. A source involved in the review process told CNN that the law requires the former president to be consulted about which records can be disclosed - and said the Bush team is working with law firms to turn over the documents simply so the Senate can get them expeditiously.
National Archives General Counsel Gary Stern said in a letter to Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will hold confirmation hearings, that although some records could be produced earlier, a complete review would be completed "by the end of October".
But the National Archives previously warned Feinstein that a committee's power to request documents under the Presidential Records Act rests with the panels' chairmen.
"In the past, I think 170,00 or 180,000 pages was considered by Sen". According to the Washington Post, President Bush has authorized making the Kavanaugh documents available, and a group of lawyers, led by Bush's presidential records representative, is reviewing them. But with Senator John McCain battling cancer back home in Arizona, a single Republican defection could sink Kavanaugh if all Democrats stand in opposition.
"Your unduly restrictive reading of the law results in one political party having complete control over what records the Senate will be able to see", she wrote, adding that "a biased denial of document requests to one half of the Committee is unsupported by the law". "And that's exactly what I plan to do, just as I have for other Supreme Court nominees, including Justice Gorsuch".