Durbin Confirms Dems Held Meeting About Disrupting Kavanaugh Hearing

September 4, 2018

Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) confirmed on Tuesday that Democratic senators held a meeting over the weekend about disrupting the hearings for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

NBC News reported Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) led a phone call with fellow Democratic senators prior to the start of Kavanaugh's hearing.

"Democrats plotted coordinated protest strategy over the holiday weekend and all agreed to disrupt and protest the hearing, sources tell me and @frankthorp," NBC reporter Kasie Hunt tweeted.

Kavanaugh's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee began on Tuesday, but Democrats immediately interrupted the committee chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa). Democrats urged the committee adjourn because the White House released additional documents Monday night from Kavanaugh's time with the George W. Bush administration. Democrats claim they haven't had time to review the documents and not all documents have been released.

After numerous interruptions and arguments between members of the committee, Sen. Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) asked his Democratic colleagues if their opposition to holding the hearing was really about the documents or part of their strategy to delay and protest Kavanaugh's hearing.

"Mr. Chairman, I'm confused, because I heard earlier that this was a reaction to the document released last night, but I'm reviewing a tweet from NBC that said 'Democrats plotted coordinated protest strategy over the holiday weekend and all agreed to disrupt and protest the hearing, sources tell me ... Dem leader Chuck Schumer led a phone call and committee members are executing now.' I just want to be clear, none of the members on this committee participated in that phone call or that strategy before the documents were released yesterday? Are you suggesting that this allegation is false?" Tillis asked his Democratic colleagues.

Durbin confirmed a conference call did occur on Monday.

"Mr. Chairman, there was a phone conference yesterday and I can tell you at the time of the phone conference many issues were raised. One of the issues was the fact that over 100,000 documents related to Judge Kavanaugh have been characterized by the chairman of the committee as confidential," Durbin responded.

Durbin didn't deny the allegation that the phone call included a strategy to protest the hearing.

Numerous Democrats, including some on the Judiciary Committee, have already announced they would vote no on Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Kavanaugh, 53, is considered more of an establishment candidate. He clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom he will replace if confirmed, and graduated from Yale Law School. He has strong ties to the Bush family and worked as a lawyer for Whitewater independent counsel Ken Starr during Bill Clinton's presidency. Since 2006, Kavanaugh has been a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.