WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee last night received another production of documents related to Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s service as a White House lawyer, as the committee continues to evaluate his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The latest production from the Office of President George W. Bush totals more than 64,312 pages. The committee now has more than 248,000 pages of Executive Branch material related to Judge Kavanaugh. The previous high water mark for similar material during consideration of Supreme Court nominees was roughly 180,000 pages related to Justice Neil Gorsuch.
In an extraordinary act of transparency, President Bush’s Presidential Records Act (PRA) representative also provided to the committee a list of records produced by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to President Bush that his representatives have decided to withhold from the committee on the ground that they are “personal records” under the PRA to which the Committee is not entitled. In a letter today, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley asked NARA immediately to prioritize its review of the material identified on that list and make its own determination as to whether those documents are responsive to the Committee’s request.
“The Committee requests that you prioritize your review of the documents identified on the enclosed manifest and produce to the Committee any responsive documents identified on that manifest on a rolling basis as soon as possible, consistent with the production procedures set forth in the Committee's section 2205 request,” Grassley said in the letter.
Even without Grassley’s prioritization request, NARA will review all of the documents identified on the list supplied by President Bush during the course of its review of materials requested by the committee. As part of that review, NARA will make its own, independent determination whether the documents are non-responsive personal records or responsive Presidential records. Grassley has requested only that NARA prioritize its review of the documents on the list and make its independent determination as to the documents’ responsiveness no later than August 31. This request will ensure that the committee is able to review all non-privileged material responsive to the committee’s request before the confirmation hearing, which begins September 4.
The committee requested records from Judge Kavanaugh’s service as an Executive Branch lawyer and records related to his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Under the PRA, the committee is entitled to Presidential records that the current and former Presidents determine are not privileged. President Bush is providing the committee with Presidential records that are not privileged. Under today’s request, records that Bush’s team believe are not Presidential records will be reviewed by NARA and provided to the committee if NARA determines them to be official records under the PRA. More on the committee’s review process is available HERE.
Grassley’s letter to the NARA follows:
August 16, 2018
Mr. Gary M. Stern
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road, Suite 3110
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Dear Mr. Stern:
I write with regard to this Committee’s request pursuant to 44 U.S.C. § 2205(2)(C) for special access to certain Presidential records from Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s service in the White House from 2001 to 2003. I submitted that request to NARA on July 27, 2018, and you initially responded to that request on August 2, 2018.
I thank you and your NARA colleagues who are working on the Committee’s section 2205 request. I understand that NARA has devoted unprecedented resources to that request.
The Committee’s section 2205 request did not ask NARA to produce documents in any particular order. The Committee now believes, however, that prioritizing the production of certain documents would best facilitate the Committee’s review of Judge Kavanaugh’s record. Enclosed with this letter is a manifest of document control numbers. It is the Committee’s understanding that these control numbers correspond to certain documents housed within NARA’s archives. The Committee requests that you prioritize your review of the documents identified on the enclosed manifest and produce to the Committee any responsive documents identified on that manifest on a rolling basis as soon as possible, consistent with the production procedures set forth in the Committee’s section 2205 request. In your production transmittal letter, I ask that you identify specifically any document from the enclosed manifest that is responsive to the Committee’s section 2205 request. If none of the documents identified on the enclosed manifest is responsive, please inform the Committee of that fact as soon as your review of those documents is complete. Finally, I ask that you complete the rolling production of responsive documents identified on the enclosed manifest to the Committee no later than August 31, 2018.
I recognize that reviewing the documents identified on the enclosed manifest and producing any responsive records will be a significant task. I also recognize that completing the rest of your response to the Committee’s section 2205 request will also be a tremendous undertaking. I thank you in advance for your cooperation and efforts, and in particular for your willingness to prioritize your response to the Committee’s section 2205 request in the manner that best facilitates the Committee’s review of Judge Kavanaugh’s record.
Charles E. Grassley
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Ranking Member, United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Mr. Donald F. McGahn
Counsel to the President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500