It stands to reason that Senator Schumer wasn’t too concerned about Judge Kavanaugh’s record before he announced his opposition. Why is it so important to Senator Schumer now?
Democratic leaders are demanding access to every page from every email and every paper record from every one of the hundreds of White House aides who came and went during the entire eight years of President Bush’s time in office. This includes records that merely mention Judge Kavanaugh’s name and records he’s never seen. That is not reasonable. As I have made clear, I will not put taxpayers on the hook for a fishing expedition.
.. Judge Kavanaugh’s time as White House staff secretary, a post that manages the paper flow into and out of the Oval Office
.. The staff secretary documents consist largely of materials Judge Kavanaugh didn’t write. They were prepared by policy advisers across the executive branch.
.. The number of pages would range in the millions, an unprecedented document dump that would take well into next year to review. And that’s exactly what Democratic leaders want and have wanted all along.
.. Their objective is to delay the confirmation process until after the midterm elections, with the hope of taking control of the Senate. My Democratic counterpart on the Judiciary Committee’s hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, put it quite succinctly: “Feinstein, other Senate Dems have plan on Brett Kavanaugh nomination: Stall.”
.. So recent complaints from Mr. Schumer and other Democrats about the scope of records requests ring hollow, especially coming from senators who have already declared their opposition to Judge Kavanaugh and initially refused even to meet with him.
Bannon came to speak with the House Intelligence Committee under a subpoena the panel issued on the spot last month, when he refused to answer questions related to the transition period and his tenure in the White House. The interview came after Bannon met with investigators in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe on Monday and Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the sessions.
.. Bannon has put no preconditions on his interviews with Mueller. But he presented intelligence panel members with a list of only 25 questions that he would be willing to answer related to anything that took place after Donald Trump won the 2016 election. According to the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), those questions had been “literally scripted” by the White House, and Bannon’s answer to all of them was “no.”
When the committee tried to push Bannon to answer questions that were not on his list, he repeatedly told members that the White House had not authorized him to engage on those queries. At no point, people familiar with the interview said, did Bannon voluntarily elaborate on his answers.
.. Republicans and Democrats alike have been angered by Bannon’s repeated attempts to dismiss questions based on a claim to executive privilege that Trump never formally invoked, even when served with a subpoena.
.. Intelligence Committee member K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.) said Thursday that he, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and a few others would decide whether to accept Bannon’s legal arguments against answering the panel’s questions or take punitive measures such as declaring him in contempt. The decision-makers will not include panel chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Conaway said.
.. Schiff, however, demanded that the committee move to hold Bannon in contempt as soon as possible.
“I think contempt is the only road left open to us,” the Democrat said.
.. the White House sent the committee a letter outlining its argument for why executive privilege could apply to the transition period, according to panel members. But lawmakers said that letter was not a formal invocation of executive privilege, and they continue to reject the premise that privilege can apply to the period when Trump was not in the Oval Office.
Panel members on both sides of the aisle also stressed that Bannon could not cite nonexistent privilege as an excuse to avoid their questions.
.. Should lawmakers seek a citation, a vote in the House Intelligence Committee would first be required — and later, probably, a resolution by the whole House — before the case would be transferred to the courts.
.. If Bannon does not settle with the committee, the matter could linger in the courts far beyond the panel’s projected schedule to wrap up its probe. That, Schiff surmised, could be “part of the White House stratagem.”
.. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) led the push for Bannon to answer lawmakers’ questions and to issue him a subpoena. Now several Republicans say that holding Bannon in contempt, if he does not cooperate, will be necessary to send a message to this and future administrations that they cannot ignore congressional oversight.