Earlier this week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) put the kibosh on the idea that his committee would delay Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh’s, confirmation hearing until after the 2018 midterm elections.
His comments came as some, like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), suggest that Kavanaugh’s confirmation should wait, given the news that President Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, entered a plea deal in which he confessed to campaign finance violations, implicating the president.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 23, 2018
Grassley contended, however, that delaying the hearings would be “unprecedented” and illogical. “It is so regretful that some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have politicized this process so much,” he said.
He committed to holding the hearings and claimed that “clear precedent” supported him doing so.
“In 1994, President Clinton nominated Justice Breyer to the Supreme Court. At that time, President Clinton was under investigation by independent counsel Robert Fiske in connection with the white water land deal,” Grassley said.
Watch Grassley make those remarks below:
He added that the Senate confirmed Breyer while Clinton’s records were under subpoena.
After mentioning Clinton’s impeachment, Grassley said that Trump wasn’t even in the same legal situation as the former president when the Senate was confirming his nominees.
“President Trump is not even close to being in the same legal situation [as] President Clinton. But obviously some people around here think he is,” Grassley said.
Grassley also responded to Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who complained that Grassley made some of Kavanaugh’s records “confidential”:
Chairman Grassley unilaterally deemed #Kavanaugh records “Committee Confidential.” Penalty for release could include “expulsion” from the Senate, which hasn’t happened since the Civil War, for disloyalty to the Union. GOP is going that far to keep them secret. #WhatAreTheyHiding?
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) August 21, 2018
“I hope all of my colleagues see the absurdity of that tweet,” Grassley said before noting it was “common practice” for the Committee to receive “committee confidential” records.
After facing intense opposition from progressive groups, Kavanaugh will undergo confirmation hearings at the beginning of September.
His nomination presented the possibility that the Supreme Court would further restrict abortion access, as his confirmation would give conservatives a majority.