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Hours before Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, George W. Bush's lawyers release 42K pages of documents

The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh began Tuesday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Just hours before Tuesday's opening statements in the confirmation hearing of President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, former president George W. Bush's lawyers turned over 42,000 additional pages of documents from the nominee's service during the Bush administration.

The late release angered Democrats who called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to delay the hearings until lawmakers could "fully review" the documents released on Monday.

"Republicans know this has been the least transparent SCOTUS process in history and the hearings should be delayed until we can fully review Judge Kavanaugh’s records," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) tweeted Monday night.

Then-President Bush appointed Kavanaugh to the  U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He served as the White House sounsel from 2001 to 2003 and as staff secretary from 2003 to 2006.

Bush's lawyers asked that its latest release of documents from the National Archives be made available only to committee members and staff. No details were provided regarding the information in the 5,148 documents containing 42,390 pages.

What's the story?

On Aug. 31, Bush lawyer William A. Burck wrote in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that his office had completed reviewing the records as requested to the George W. Bush Library and Museum on July 27.

A team of lawyers from Baker Botts, Kirkland & Ellis, and Quinn Emanuel had "completed our accelerated review and production of President Bush's presidential records during Judge Kavanaugh's time in the White House Counsel's Office," Burck wrote.

"We produced to the Committee every page of every reviewable document we received from NARA," with exceptions to exact duplicates, personal and presidential records that fell outside Kavanaugh's time of service, as well as those protected by presidential privilege or constitutional privilege, the letter said.

More than 415,000 pages were released by Bush's legal team. Of those, about 147,000 were restricted from public view.

Kavanaugh "dealt with some of the most sensitive communications of any White House official" during his tenure as an associate and senior associate White House counsel, Burck wrote.

On Friday, President Donald Trump excluded 101,921 pages of Kavanaugh's records, citing executive privilege.

How many pages of material has been provided for past nominees?

Overall, more than 440,500 pages have been released, according to the committee.

For comparison, here's a breakdown on the number of pages released for committee evaluation of past SCOTUS nominees.

● Justice Neil Gorsuch: 182,000

● Justice Elena Kagan: 173,300

● Justice Sonia Sotomayor: 6,350

● Justice Samuel Alito: 2,300

● Chief Justice John Roberts: 76,000

What else?

Grassley offered to facilitate the release of confidential records that committee members wished to discuss during the open session at Kavanaugh's hearing, according to the committee.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) was the only member to submit a request, according to a committee release on Friday.

"189,000 pgs of documents given to senators are supposed to be kept 'secret.' These are the 12 pages (re campaign finance) which the majority party deemed secret that they now released. I was the one who requested they be public but I also requested the other 189,000 be public!" Klobuchar tweeted Tuesday from the hearing.

One last thing…
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