Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) was adamant on Thursday night that he broke Senate rules when he released confidential documents relating to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's service as a lawyer in the George W. Bush administration.
"I am breaking the rules," Booker said on CNN. "I am breaking the sham rules."
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Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Booker is a member, began on Tuesday. Democrats immediately interrupted the committee chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), at the start of the process, urging the committee to adjourn because additional documents from Kavanaugh's time in the Bush White House had yet to be released.
On Thursday, Booker released some of the confidential documents, including an email, that had not been approved to be made public—or so people thought at the time. Booker said at the hearing that he violated Senate rules by doing so and dared his colleagues to expel him. However, Bill Burck, Bush's presidential records representative, later countered Booker's rule-breaking claim, saying the documents that Booker released were approved to be made public prior to Thursday's hearing.
"We cleared the documents last night shortly after Senator Booker's staff asked us to," Burck confirmed. "We were surprised to learn about Senator Booker's histrionics this morning because we had already told him he could use the documents publicly. In fact, we have said yes to every request made by the Senate Democrats to make documents public."
CNN host Anderson Cooper asked Booker about Burck's statement.
"Bill Burck said he cleared the documents before 4:00 a.m. per your staff's request and that they had told you you could use them publicly," Cooper said. "Grassley's office also confirmed you were told that the restrictions on the documents had been waived before you spoke today. So how do you square that with the idea that—with what you've said?"
"Well, I square that very easily. Number one, last night I broke the rules before they—then they scrambled to release the document," Booker responded. "But I continue to release documents. I've released 20 so far that they have not cleared."
Booker added that when he released the documents he broke the rules.
"When I broke the committee rules last night, those documents had not been cleared," Booker said.
During Thursday's hearing, however, Booker also backtracked and said he did not violate any rules after he declared he was breaking the rules.
"Because there's no Senate rule that accounts for this process," Booker said during the hearing.
Booker also called his supposed rule breaking his "Spartacus" moment.