President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh gestures while speaking on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington, to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Latest: Trump Calls Dems At Kavanaugh Hearing 'Sick'

September 06, 2018 - 7:13 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Senate hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):

10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Senate Democrats are making "fools" of themselves when they "scream and shout" at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump says at a rally Thursday night in Billings, Montana, that Democrats are "losing by doing it."

He says the "anger and the meanness" on the other side is "sick."

The Senate Judiciary Committee has been holding confirmation hearings on Kavanaugh's nomination. Democrats on the committee strongly oppose him. Several, including some who are viewed as potential challengers to Trump in 2020, tried to block the proceedings in a bitter dispute over Kavanaugh records withheld by the White House.

Says Trump, "It's embarrassing to watch these people make fools of themselves as they scream and shout at this great gentleman."

He adds that Kavanaugh deserves "overwhelming bipartisan support."


8 p.m.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is declining to say whether he thinks the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide was correctly decided.

His refusal to take a position is in line with his stance that it would be wrong to comment on recent or pending cases.

The opinion in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom Kavanaugh would replace on the court.

Kennedy authored the court's four major gay-rights decisions, as well as one from June in which the court ruled in favor of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Kavanaugh paraphrased from Kennedy's opinion in the baker's case. He said Kennedy wrote that "the days of discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans are over."


6:25 p.m.

New emails released from Brett Kavanaugh's time in the George W. Bush White House suggest the Supreme Court nominee was deeply involved in Bush judicial nominations.

According to the emails, Kavanaugh pushed Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay Bybee for seats on a federal appeals court based in San Francisco in November 2001. The recommendations came well before Yoo and Bybee authored Bush-era memos on the detention and interrogation of terror suspects.

Kavanaugh expressed regret when Yoo withdrew in 2002 in favor a CIA post saying, "He was my magic bullet." Yoo didn't get the CIA job. Bybee was confirmed to the 9th circuit in 2003.

The previously confidential email exchanges were released by Democratic Sen. Cory Booker during Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing.


5:20 p.m.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he hasn't talked about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation with White House officials. Nor has he discussed it, he says, with anyone at the law firm of Mark Kasowitz, who has represented President Donald Trump.

Kavanaugh acknowledged that "if you're walking around in America," the probe into Russian election interference is going to come up. But he said, "I've had no inappropriate discussions with anyone."

Kavanaugh said he knows Mueller, a former FBI director, but hasn't talked to him for a long time. He specifically said he hasn't discussed Mueller's investigation with White House counsel Don McGahn, beyond preparing for the confirmation hearings.

Democrats say they fear Kavanaugh would protect Trump if a dispute over the Russia probe reached the high court.


4:30 p.m.

Filling the front row for the final day of questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are about a dozen girls he has coached over the years in basketball at his daughters' Catholic school.

The girls filed into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room in the late afternoon. Kavanaugh called the girls "awesome" and introduced them by their first names and grades. Some of the girls took seats next to White House counsel Don McGahn. Kavanaugh's two school-age daughters were part of the group.

Kavanaugh has spoken of the importance of coaching to mentor young people. He has also talked about how being a judge is like being an umpire.


3:08 p.m.

Newly obtained emails show that Brett Kavanaugh told friends to keep what transpired on a weekend sailing trip in 2001 confidential.

The Supreme Court nominee was an unmarried White House lawyer when he joined several friends for a weekend of sailing on Chesapeake Bay just before the Sept. 11 attacks.

In the emails obtained by The Associated Press, Kavanaugh jokingly apologized for "growing aggressive after blowing still another game of dice (don't recall)."

He also told his friends to "be very, very vigilant" about confidentiality "on all issues and all fronts, including with spouses."

Kavanaugh has said he had his first date with his future wife, Ashley, on Sept. 10, 2001.

The outing appears to be an annual trip Kavanaugh has described making with friends from Yale Law School.


2:05 p.m.

Brett Kavanaugh is answering Democrats who fear he would not restrain President Donald Trump from the bench, saying the president cannot overrule the courts.

The Supreme Court nominee says during his Senate confirmation hearing that he has not been afraid to invalidate executive branch actions in his 12 years as an appeals court judge.

He adds that he has made clear that a court order "that requires a president to do something or prohibits a president from doing something ... is the final word in our system."

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says his questions to Kavanaugh on the topic stem from the judge's embrace of robust presidential power and the fact that he has been nominated by Trump.

Durbin says Trump has "shown disrespect for the rule of law over and over again."


1:04 p.m.

Senate Democrats are appealing to Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to read a 2003 email in which Brett Kavanaugh says not all legal scholars refer to the abortion case Roe v. Wade as settled law.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal says he believes that Kavanaugh was talking about himself when he referred to legal scholars. He says, "the signs and signals are plain."

Kavanaugh said Thursday he was not talking about his views but what legal scholars might say.

Blumenthal did not single out Collins and Murkowski by name, but mentioned pro-choice Republicans who are uncommitted on Kavanaugh.

Democrats need at least two GOP defections to have any chance of defeating the nomination.

Collins vowed to oppose any Supreme Court nominee who would overturn Roe v. Wade. She said Kavanaugh told her the ruling was "settled law" when they met in


12:40 p.m.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is denying that he once suggested the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion rights is not settled law.

Kavanaugh is explaining a 2003 email in which he wrote the following: "I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so."

Kavanaugh said Thursday that he was not discussing his views, but rather "what legal scholars might say." He said he offered the comments on a draft op-ed in support of Republican judicial nominees because, "I'm always concerned with accuracy."

Kavanaugh has repeatedly described the abortion ruling as important Supreme Court precedent difficult to overturn.


12:25 p.m.

Democratic senators contend that a 2003 email from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh casts doubt on whether he considers Roe v. Wade settled law.

In the email obtained by The Associated Press, Kavanaugh says not all legal scholars call the abortion case settled law since the Supreme Court can "always overrule its precedent."

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington says the emails "confirms our worst fears" about Kavanaugh. She notes that Kavanaugh said in the email that there were three justices at the time who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Murray asserts that if Kavanaugh is confirmed to the court, "Roe v Wade will be overturned."

Kavanaugh on Wednesday called the abortion case an "important precedent" that has "been reaffirmed many times."


12:12 p.m.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is clarifying that he can't recall any "inappropriate conversations" with a Washington law firm about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California asked Kavanaugh late Wednesday if he had spoken about the Russia investigation with anyone at the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, who has represented Trump.

Kavanaugh told Harris he couldn't think of any such conversations. He added that he would need to see a list of the firm's lawyers.

Asked the question again Thursday by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Kavanaugh said, "I don't recall any inappropriate conversations about the investigation."

Harris promised to follow up with Kavanaugh on the topic. Senators are now questioning Kavanaugh for the second day.


11:25 a.m.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are urging senators to reject the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court.

Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, the group's chairman, says Kavanaugh would weaken protections under the Voting Rights Act. He cited his ruling in a South Carolina case upholding the state's new voter ID law.

Kavanaugh's defenders say his ruling resolved the case, as the Justice Department under President Barack Obama chose not to appeal.

House members don't get to vote on Kavanaugh, but Richmond plans to testify about Kavanaugh as an outside witness on Friday, the final day of confirmation hearings.


10:47 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey says he's going to make public an email from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, even if it puts him at risk of being expelled from the Senate.

Booker says he will violate a committee rule and release an email from Kavanaugh on the subject of racial profiling. The Judiciary Committee is now holding that email on a confidential basis.

Calling it an act of civil disobedience, Booker says he wants to expose that some of the emails being held back "have nothing to do with national security."

Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas called Booker's action "irresponsible and conduct unbecoming a senator."

He read a rule contemplating expulsion of senators for violating Senate confidentiality rules. Several Democrats said in response, "bring it on."


9:55 a.m.

The Associated Press has obtained an email in which Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh disputes that the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion access is settled law.

Kavanaugh's 2003 comments came while reviewing an op-ed in support of two judicial nominees at the George W. Bush White House.

Here's what Kavanaugh wrote: "I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so."

Kavanaugh was referring to justices at that time — meaning in 2003. The email was sent to a Republican Senate aide. The document is partially black out.

Kavanaugh has taken a different tone during his confirmation hearings, stressing how difficult it is to overturn a precedent such as Roe.


12:30 a.m.

Senators are getting into their final round of questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and so far the appeals court judge appears to have avoided any major missteps in his confirmation hearings.

Kavanaugh also doesn't seem to have changed many minds on the GOP-run Senate Judiciary Committee. President Donald Trump says he's pleased with his nominee's performance.

Kavanaugh underwent a 12-hour session of questioning that ended late Wednesday. The judge left unanswered questions over how he would handle investigations of the executive branch and whether he would step aside if cases involving Trump under special counsel Robert Mueller's probe end up at the court.

Democrats have been pressing Kavanaugh for his views on abortion rights, gun control and other issues. Protesters have repeatedly interrupted the proceedings

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