Protests disrupt Senate hearing for Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Protests disrupt Senate hearing for Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Protests disrupt Senate hearing for Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh arrived this morning with his wife and two young daughters but was kept waiting to make his opening statement before the Senate judiciary committee by yells of protest from the public and attempts by Democratic members to postpone the hearing.

But Kavanaugh sidestepped a question by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein about whether a sitting president can "be required to respond to a subpoena", a query that could come into play as Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigates potential collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation. It was a characterization rejected by Democrats.

When the hearing turned from controversy over process to substance, Durbin thrust home the meat of the Democratic case. Although Senate Repulicans did ask for documents from Kavanaugh's time in the White House counsel, the Democrats weren't satisfied.

Protesters took turns yelling as senators spoke, shouting "This is a travesty of justice", "Our democracy is broken" and "Vote no on Kavanaugh".

"We can not possibly move forward, Mr. Chairman, with this hearing", said Harris at the top of proceedings. "This was a big step forward, and Kamala Harris showed real leadership by going first in interrupting the hearing". George W. Bush's lawyer turned over 42,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh's time in the White House to senators late on Monday night, just hours before the hearings began.

Grassley defended the document production as the most open in history, saying there was "no reason to delay the hearing".

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They are also concerned about his argument in a 2009 legal article that a sitting president should be immune to prosecution.

They say Democrats have more than enough documents to assess Kavanaugh's record, including his 12 years of judicial opinions as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Should a single Republican defect to oppose Kavanaugh, it could throw his confirmation into jeopardy, although there has been little sign that any GOP senator was prepared to buck Trump.

Republican Orrin Hatch accused Democratic senators of political opportunism, noting, "We have folks who want to run for president", though he did not mention any by name. Republicans, meanwhile, were fine pressing ahead with Kavanaugh's confirmation, even though President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen identified Trump as an as-yet unindicted co-conspirator to a host of potential crimes.

"I can't be silent when someone is nominated to the Supreme Court who would take our equal rights away". Mr Kavanaugh, 53, a former staff secretary to President Bush, is viewed with suspicion by Democrats because of his opposition to affirmative action and a ruling in an abortion case which led them to believe he may support moves to restrict access for women.

White House spokesman Raj Shah claimed an "unidentified individual approached" Kavanaugh, and "before the judge was able to shake his hand, security had intervened".

She said this "clunky choreography" was meant to fluster Republicans and, more importantly, mobilize the Democrats' left-wing base ahead of November's midterm elections. Theirs wasn't the only coordinated dissent in the room ― protesters also disrupted the proceedings. But the Democratic frustrations that boiled over on September 4 had been simmering for more than two years. Now, the nominee will face off with lawmakers about whether he's fit to fill the vacancy. Kennedy retired at the end of July.

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