Did Kavanaugh Lie About Knowledge Of Torture During 2006 Testimony?

President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee may have misled Senate Judiciary Committee members in 2006 during hearings for his current judge position.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, right, prepares to speak after being introduced by President Donald Trump at the White House.

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to become the next sitting justice on the Supreme Court. But new details have recently emerged which put more doubts into whether he’s been honest in the past when giving answers during testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

It appears that Kavanaugh, during hearings when he was first being considered to become an appellate judge in the federal judiciary, may have misled senators during testimony regarding his knowledge about a torture program being carried out by former President George W. Bush’s administration.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee wrote a letter this week to committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), asking him to publicly release documents they say put into question Kavanaugh’s previous insistence that he was ignorant about the torture program, as well as other Bush administration policies.

“We have already seen records that call into serious question whether Judge Kavanaugh was truthful about his involvement in the Bush Administration’s post-9/11 terrorism policies when he testified before this Committee during his 2006 nomination hearing,” read the letter, penned by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).

The senators further insisted that more could be learned about Kavanaugh, including whether he’s been truthful or not in the past, from publicly releasing the documents.

“These documents are currently being withheld from the public at your insistence, but they shed additional light on Judge Kavanaugh’s involvement in these matters and are needed to question him in a public hearing,” the letter added.

During his 2006 testimony, Kavanaugh, who had served as a White House counsel in the Bush administration, said he was unaware of any memos that redefined the official policy on torture. He also said he wasn’t involved in discussions relating to how to treat “enemy combatants” in the years after 9/11, and didn’t learn about a National Security Agency program that tapped into the phones of American citizens without warrants until it was made public through leaks.

But several “committee confidential” documents (information that only members of the Judiciary Committee are made privy to) possibly contradict that testimony, Democrats said. Two public emails also draw into question whether Kavanaugh knew more during his 2006 testimony than he let on.

“At least two documents that are publicly available on the Bush Library website from Judge Kavanaugh’s time as Staff Secretary suggest that he was involved in issues related to torture and rendition after 9/11,” the letter from Democrats stated.

These suggestions from Democrats are reason enough to slow down the nomination process when it comes to Kavanaugh. His nomination to the High Court by President Donald Trump may have been made for less-than-noble reasons. This latest evidence that Kavanaugh himself may have lied during testimony 12 years ago should require every senator to go over his record with a fine-tooth comb.

Appointment to the Supreme Court is currently a lifetime position. If Kavanaugh is to serve for the remainder of most of his life on the bench, we must be absolutely certain that allowing him to do so is the right path to take. The American people won’t be certain, however, until these documents are made public.

Banner/thumbnail image credit: Leah Millis/Reuters

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