Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley, Feinstein Seek Kavanaugh’s Files from Starr Investigation

Aug 03, 2018

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today requested records from Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s work for the Office of Independent Counsel during the Clinton administration.  The request comes as the committee continues its review of more than 125,000 pages received yesterday from Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s White House work.

In a letter today to the National Archives and Records Administration, the senators requested documents from Kavanaugh’s service in the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, including all emails Kavanaugh sent or received and all documents he authored, edited, revised or approved.  The National Archives estimates the volume of these documents to be 20,000 pages.

Yesterday, the committee received more than 125,000 records from Kavanaugh’s time as a White House lawyer in the George W. Bush administration. The committee expects these records to be made public, pending consultation with the National Archives. Last week, Grassley requested that the National Archives produce documents from Kavanaugh’s work in the White House Counsel’s Office as well as records related to his nomination to be a judge on the D.C. Circuit. The National Archives estimates the total production to be up to one million pages.  For context, the largest executive branch production for previous Supreme Court nominees was roughly 180,000 pages for Justice Neil Gorsuch.

The committee is also reviewing more than 17,000 pages from Judge Kavanaugh’s public committee questionnaire as well as more than 8,500 pages from cases in which Judge Kavanaugh authored or joined opinions during his 12 years on the D.C. Circuit.

Full text of today’s letter follows:

The Honorable David S. Ferriero

Archivist of the United States

National Archives and Records Administration

700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20408


Dear Mr. Ferriero:

We ask that you provide documents to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary in connection with President Trump’s nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Judge Kavanaugh served as an Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr from September 6, 1994 until November 20, 1997, and again from April 27, 1998 until December 1, 1998. We request that the documents you identify and provide to the Committee from his service in the Office of Independent Counsel include the following, consistent with the attached guidelines:

  1. Documents from Brett M. Kavanaugh’s service as Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel, including all documents preserved in his staff files and all documents he authored in whole or in part, edited, revised, or approved;
  2. All memos, letters, or electronic mail sent by or received by Brett M. Kavanaugh during his tenure in the Office of Independent Counsel, including any such memos, letters, or electronic mail on which he was a carbon copy or blind carbon copy recipient, and including any documents attached to such memos, letters, or electronic mail.

We understand that reviewing these documents as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires will be a significant undertaking.  Nevertheless, in order to expedite your response and to facilitate the Committee’s prompt review, please produce documents on a rolling basis as you identify categories responsive to this request. 

We recognize the possibility that some documents responsive to our request may be exempt from public disclosure under FOIA.  See 5 U.S.C. § 552(b); 28 U.S.C. § 594(k)(3)(A).  We nevertheless have an important constitutional obligation to examine thoroughly Judge Kavanaugh’s record, and the FOIA exemptions are “not authority to withhold information from Congress.”  5 U.S.C. § 552(d).  We therefore ask that you provide to the Committee on a “Committee Confidential” basis those documents that would otherwise be exempt from public disclosure under 5 U.S.C. § 552(b).  In addition, and because there is a significant public interest in understanding the record of any Supreme Court nominee, we hope that you will endeavor to ensure public access to as much of the record as possible.  To the extent that these records contain classified national security information or personal privacy information, please contact the Committee so that we can discuss further how those materials might be handled.

We further recognize that some documents responsive to this request may be subject to constitutional or common-law privileges against disclosure.  We intend to respect claims of privilege.  We hope, however, that the number of responsive documents subject to claims of privilege will be as few as possible.

We recognize that reviewing the archives and producing these documents is a significant task, and we thank you in advance for your efforts.  

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