Sheldon Whitehouse

Impeachment or Bust? Democrats Have Few Options on Kavanaugh Inquiries
Lawsuits, possible House probes expected, but party largely staying mum for now

Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee ponder their next move during a session on the nomination of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Sept. 28. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brett M. Kavanaugh looked bewildered. Sen. Kamala Harris looked perturbed but determined. It was hour ten of the then-Supreme Court nominee’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee early last month, and the California Democrat seemed to have him backed into a corner.

Harris, a former prosecutor, was very much back in a courtroom. She was trying to get her witness, Kavanaugh, to reveal the name — or names — of anyone at the Washington law firm of Trump’s personal attorney with whom she alleged he had discussed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his ongoing Russia election meddling investigation the president almost daily refers to as a “witch hunt.”

Prosecutor’s Memo Is Senators’ New Rorschach Test in Kavanaugh Process
Democrats and Republicans not swayed from original positions by five-page memo

Rachel Mitchell, counsel for Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, questions Dr. Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday as, from left, Republican Sens. Mike Crapo, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and John Cornyn listen. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

The Arizona prosecutor hired by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school issued a memo Sunday concluding that a “reasonable prosecutor” would not bring the woman’s case against Kavanaugh in court.

But Rachel Mitchell, a sex crimes prosecutor for the Maricopa County attorney’s office that includes Phoenix, also pointed out that a Senate confirmation hearing “is not a trial, especially not a prosecution.”

6 Takeaways from Kavanaugh’s Combative Testimony
‘I liked beer. I still like beer,’ defiant nominee tells Judiciary Committee

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. He often jousted with Democratic members. (POOL PHOTO/SAUL LOEB/AFP)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was backed into a corner by the Thursday testimony of one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford. He sat in the same chair about an hour after she vacated it with one mission: To fight back, just like the man who nominated him, President Donald Trump.

Kavanaugh wasted no time in an opening statement he said he wrote himself on Wednesday, ripping into Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee members in a way perhaps no high court nominee ever has. His gloves-off approach could change the judicial confirmation process forever.

GOP Mum on ‘Sex Crimes Prosecutor’ for Kavanaugh Hearing
Outside counsel remained an enigma just days before she will question Supreme Court nominee and accuser

Protesters on Capitol Hill show their support for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As an extraordinary Senate hearing closes in, Republicans are keeping mum on who will question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who accuses him of sexual assault.

And they cranked up the pressure by scheduling a committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday, less than 24 hours after the pair will testify.

Republicans Push Back Against States Seen as Too Pro-Regulation
GOP favors independence by state governments unless they don’t like a state’s decision

Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and ranking Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware talk before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hears from acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in early August, the energy and environment community was watching.

It was Wheeler’s first appearance since his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, resigned after months of ethical, spending and personnel scandals. Washington was eager to see how Wheeler would right the agency.

Senate Scrambles for Next Move With Kavanaugh Nomination in the Balance
Growing number of senators say accuser, judge should be able to have say

The Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh hung in the balance on Monday as senators sorted out the chamber's next move in light of sexual assault allegations against the judge. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The most important of those voices was Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who said Christine Blasey Ford, a California college professor, deserves to be heard after coming forward publicly with the allegation over the weekend.

“So I will continue working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner,” Grassley said in a news release.

Kavanaugh Set to Advance Amid Democratic Objections
Supreme Court nominee mostly evasive in follow-up answers to Judiciary panel

Brett Kavanaugh, nominee to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, is on track for a Judiciary Committee vote next week. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to hold a committee vote on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh at a specific time, 1:45 p.m., on Sept. 20. The vote was 11-10 along party lines over the objections of committee Democrats who said it would prematurely cut off debate.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee still had a lot of questions for Kavanaugh after last week’s confirmation hearing — they asked more than 1,200 written follow-up queries. But the nominee didn’t provide many revealing answers late Wednesday when he turned in 263 pages of responses in which he tried to provide more thoughts on one of the more dramatic moments of his confirmation hearing, brush aside questions about his finances, and clean up answers about abortion, his independence from political pressure and other topics.

They’re Crying in the Cyber Wilderness
Attacking American institutions has become a lot simpler since 9/11

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats spent the summer warning that a democracy-withering cyberattack is “just one click of the keyboard away.” Is anyone listening? (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Seventeen summers ago, 19 men had to make their way physically into the country, train to fly planes while avoiding scrutiny, and then crash them into buildings in order to pull off a devastating attack on a superpower.

In the years since then, attacking the United States and its institutions has become a lot simpler: a few strokes on a keyboard can now disrupt elections or shut off a power grid.

Kavanaugh Would Not Be Trump’s Justice, Experts Testify
Despite high marks, Sen. Blumenthal again raises ‘judicial independence’ concerns

Brett Kavanaugh, nominee to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, is sworn in during his confirmation hearing. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

American Bar Association officials told the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh received the highest possible marks in an assessment of his qualifications for the job, including keeping “an open mind.”

After studying his record and conducting a list of interviews, the organization determined the nominee would be an independent justice even as Democratic senators worry about his ties to the Trump White House.

3 Takeaways From Brett Kavanaugh’s Testimony
Americans ‘rightly’ will have ‘dimmer view of the Senate,’ Graham says

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies Wednesday before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh spent two days jousting with Senate Democrats over his views on executive power and abortion rights. But he appeared mindful that his top job was to keep all 51 Republican senators firmly in his corner.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee rarely flustered the 12-year veteran of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and by midday Thursday several complimented his knowledge of the law and character. Republican Judiciary members began Thursday in a huddle called by Chairman Charles E. Grassley and spent the second day of questioning refuting Democrats’ criticisms of the nominee and defending him.