Memo: Ka­vanaugh re­sisted in­dict­ing a sit­ting pres­i­dent

Supreme Court nom­i­nee worked on probe of Clin­ton.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Lisa Mas­caro and Mark Sher­man

WASH­ING­TON — Newly re­leased doc­u­ments from Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh’s time on the Ken­neth Starr team in­ves­ti­gat­ing Bill Clin­ton re­veal his re­sis­tance to is­su­ing an in­dict­ment of a sit­ting pres­i­dent.

The memo, tucked to­ward the end of nearly 10,000 pages re­leased Fri­day, pro­vides greater in­sight into Ka­vanaugh’s views on ex­ec­u­tive power that are ex­pected to fea­ture promi­nently in his Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings. Democrats have warned that Ka­vanaugh may be un­will­ing to pro­tect spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s 2016 cam­paign and Rus­sia.

The doc­u­ments show that on Christ­mas Eve 1998, Ka­vanaugh drafted an “Over­all Plan” to col­leagues pro­vid­ing his thoughts on bring­ing the in­de­pen­dent coun­sel of­fice’s work to a close and sug­gest­ing they in­form the at­tor­ney gen­eral that the find­ings against Clin­ton be left to the next pres­i­dent.

“We be­lieve an in­dict­ment should not be pur­sued while the Pres­i­dent is in Of­fice,” Ka­vanaugh wrote.

Sen. Chuck Grass­ley, the Repub­li­can chair­man of the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, an­nounced Fri­day that con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings for Ka­vanaugh would be­gin the day af­ter La­bor Day. Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell said he hopes to have Trump’s nom­i­nee con­firmed to re­place re­tired Jus­tice An­thony Kennedy be­fore the new court ses­sion be­gins Oct. 1.

“We’re mov­ing right along,” McCon­nell said dur­ing a ra­dio in­ter­view in Ken­tucky ahead of the an­nounce­ment. “He’ll get con­firmed. It won’t be a land­slide, but he’ll get con­firmed.”

The Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee will hold up to four days of re­view, with Ka­vanaugh to be­gin fac­ing ques­tions on Day 2, Sept. 5, said Grass­ley. Ka­vanaugh’s ap­pear­ance will be fol­lowed by tes­ti­mony from le­gal ex­perts and peo­ple who know the judge.

The White House, which is de­ter­mined to have Ka­vanaugh con­firmed be­fore the Novem­ber elec­tions as Repub­li­cans aim to de­liver on Trump’s pri­or­i­ties, ap­plauded the sched­ule an­nounce­ment. But Democrats want ac­cess to more doc­u­ments from Ka­vanaugh’s past as a judge and as an of­fi­cial in the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Grass­ley, R-Iowa, said there’s “plenty of time” to re­view doc­u­ments but it’s time for Amer­i­cans “to hear di­rectly” from Ka­vanaugh.

So far, the com­mit­tee has made pub­lic Ka­vanaugh’s 17,000-page ques­tion­naire and his more than 300 court cases as an ap­pel­late judge. The panel has ad­di­tion­ally re­ceived 174,000 pages from his work for Bush in the White House coun­sel’s of­fice.

The new doc­u­ments Fri­day pro­vide a glimpse into Ka­vanaugh’s years on the Starr team shut­tling back and forth to Lit­tle Rock for “in­ves­tiga­tive pur­poses.” He co-wrote a de­tailed, nearly 300-page memo on deputy White House coun­sel Vince Fos­ter’s sui­cide.

Hun­dreds of pages in the Starr files are grand jury pro­ceed­ings that are redacted. Most of the White House records re­lated to Ka­vanaugh are be­ing held on a “com­mit­tee con­fi­den­tial” ba­sis, with just 5,700 pages from his White House years re­leased this week to the pub­lic.

Democrats say the Repub­li­cans are re­ly­ing on the cherry-picked files be­ing re­leased pri­mar­ily by Bush’s lawyer, Bill Burck, who is com­pil­ing and vet­ting the doc­u­ments, rather than the tra­di­tional process con­ducted by the Na­tional Archives.

T.J. KIRKPATRICK/THE NEW YORK TIMES

Brett Ka­vanaugh, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Supreme Court nom­i­nee, is ex­pected to face a Se­nate hear­ing be­gin­ning af­ter La­bor Day.

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