Schumer Statement On New Letter From National Archives Saying Even The Small Portion Of Kavanaugh’s White House Records Requested By Senate Republicans Won’t Be Fully Turned Over To The Senate Until October

August 2, 2018

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today released the below statement following the release of a new letter from the National Archives indicating records held related to Judge Kavanaugh may not be completely released to the Senate until October.  This means that the vast majority of the documents the American public may see will be pre-screened by long-time political operative, Bill Burck – lawyer to Steve Bannon, George Bush, Don McGahn, and more:

“Today, the National Archives confirmed our worst fear – that the vast majority of even the small portion of records the American public will see from Brett Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House will be pre-screened by a political operative and attorney for George W. Bush, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, and Donald McGahn.  This unprecedented process appears to be designed intentionally by Republicans to deny the Senate and the American people the information they need to evaluate this critically important nomination.”

BACKGROUND: Today’s letter from the National Archives only concerns records from Judge Kavanaugh’s time in the White House Counsel’s Office. Despite repeated statements by Judge Kavanaugh that his time as White House Staff Secretary was “formative” and “most instructive” to who he is as a judge, Republicans are blocking requests for those records.


National Archives and Records Administration“Below is a general description of the bodies of records in NARA’s holdings related to Judge Kavanaugh.  Please note that because the vast majority of these records have not been reviewed for release, these counts are only rough approximations, and could include non-responsive, non-record, and duplicate materials.  In addition, these estimates do not include emails in which Kavanaugh is only mentioned. Note also that NARA roughly estimates that email records in these collections (which frequently include attachments) average approximately five pages per email:


·         Presidential Records:

o    Nomination records: 3,700 pages

o    White House Counsel records:

§  Paper files:  60,000 pages

§  Emails Kavanaugh sent, received, or was copied or blind copied on:  170,000 files

o    Staff Secretary records:

§  Paper files:  560,000 pages

§  Emails Kavanaugh sent, received, or was copied or blind copied on:  475,000 files”


Judge Brett Kavanaugh: “I’ve been a judge on the D.C. Circuit for more than eight years. And as Dean Joseph Kearney pointed out in introducing me, I did not arrive to the D.C. Circuit as a blank slate. People sometimes ask what prior legal experience has been most useful for me as a judge. And I say, ‘I certainly draw on all of them,’ but I also say that my five-and-a-half years at the White House and especially my three years as staff secretary for President George W. Bush were the most interesting and formative for me. My job in the White House counsel’s office and as staff secretary gave me, I think, a keen perspective on our system of separated powers. And that’s what I’m going to talk about today. I participated in the process of putting together legislation.” [Remarks at Marquette, 3/3/15]


Judge Brett Kavanaugh: “When people ask me which prior legal experience has been most useful for me as a judge, I tell them I certainly draw on all of them, the clerkships, private practice at Kirkland, Independent Counsel’s office, even college jobs on the Hill at Ways and Means, but the five-and-a-half years in the White House, especially the three years as Staff Secretary for President Bush, are among the most interesting and most instructive, and so many memories come to mind and I think about so often.” … “I talked to the President and was able to participate in how should he pick someone for the Supreme Court.” … “It was not apparent to me at the time, and I am certainly not disinterested, but it seems to me those experiences helped make me a better student of the administrative process, a better interpreter of statutes.” [Remarks at Opening Session of the ninetieth Annual Meeting of the American Law Institute, 5/20/13; 121-135; VIDEO]


Judge Brett Kavanaugh: “When people ask me which of my prior experiences has been most useful to me as a judge, I tell them that all of them have been useful, and I certainly draw on all of them. But I also do not hesitate to say that my five and a half years in the White House – and especially my three years as Staff Secretary for President Bush – were the most interesting and in many ways among the most instructive.” [Remarks to Inn of Court, 5/17/10; p. 639-644]