WASHINGTON • Newly released documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s time on the Kenneth Starr team investigating Bill Clinton reveal his resistance to issuing an indictment of a sitting president.
The memo, tucked toward the end of nearly 10,000 pages released Friday, provides greater insight into Kavanaugh’s views on executive power that are expected to feature prominently in his Senate confirmation hearings. Democrats have warned that Kavanaugh may be unwilling to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.
The documents show that on Christmas Eve 1998, Kavanaugh drafted an “Overall Plan” to colleagues providing his thoughts on bringing the independent counsel office’s work to a close and suggesting they inform the attorney general that the findings against Clinton be left to the next president.
“We believe an indictment should not be pursued while the President is in Office,” Kavanaugh wrote.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, announced Friday that confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh would begin the day after Labor Day. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hopes to have Trump’s nominee confirmed to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy before the new court session begins Oct. 1.
The Judiciary Committee will hold up to four days of review, with Kavanaugh to begin facing questions on Day 2, Sept. 5, said committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley. Kavanaugh’s appearance will be followed by testimony from legal experts and people who know the judge.
The White House, which is determined to have Kavanaugh confirmed before the November elections as Republicans aim to deliver on Trump’s priorities, applauded the schedule announcement. But Democrats want access to more documents from Kavanaugh’s past as a judge and as an official in the George W. Bush administration.
The committee has made public Kavanaugh’s 17,000-page questionnaire and his more than 300 court cases as an appellate judge. The panel has additionally received 174,000 pages from his work for Bush in the White House counsel’s office.
The new documents Friday provide a glimpse into Kavanaugh’s years on the Starr team shuttling back and forth to Little Rock for “investigative purposes.”
He co-wrote a detailed, nearly 300-page memo on deputy White House counsel Vince Foster’s suicide.