More Senate Democrats will meet with Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh when they return from recess.
According to a senior Democratic senate aide, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, will lead the effort and will demand documents not yet provided to senators "from him directly, and question him about their contents." The aide also cited health care, women's freedom and presidential power as topics for the meetings.
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"Senate Democrats intend to demand that he call for and support the release of all of his files from his time in the Bush White House," the aide added Friday. "Democrats will urge Judge Kavanaugh to ask the National Archives and President Bush to adhere to the same standard that was met for Justice Kagan's confirmation."
North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who faces a competitive re-election this fall, announced Friday she'd meet with Kavanaugh on Wednesday, August 15.
"As I've continued to say, one of the most important jobs of any US senator is to fully vet any nominee to serve on the Supreme Court, the highest court in our land," Heitkamp said in a statement. "And that's exactly what I plan to do, just as I have for other Supreme Court nominees, including Justice Gorsuch."
And two more vulnerable senate Democrats are also expected to meet with Judge Kavanaugh: Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. Donnelly will also meet with the judge on August 15, a White House official confirmed to CNN, while McCaskill is scheduled to meet with Kavanaugh on August 21.
Kavanaugh, who served as President George W. Bush's staff secretary for three years, touched thousands of documents during his time, including the role over torture and interrogation tactics.
Democrats have demanded all of the documents from Kavanaugh's time at the White House for review ahead of his confirmation, a request Republicans have said is a "fishing expedition" and a "delay tactic" for a nominee some have no intention of considering.
To date, moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is the only member of his party to meet with the Supreme Court nominee. He met with Kavanaugh for nearly two hours earlier this week. Manchin told CNN after the meeting that, "I don't know if there is any topic that week missed." He also called the meeting "very productive" and said he hopes to meet with Kavanaugh again after his Judiciary committee hearing.
Democrats had mostly been keeping their powder dry and were holding off meeting with Kavanaugh just a few weeks ago until there was an agreement over what documents senators would have access to.
A Trump spokesman said in response to the news that more Democrats would meet with Kavanaugh that "the White House's requests for meetings between Judge Kavanaugh and Senators Schumer and Feinstein remain unanswered after over three weeks."
"While we look forward to potential meetings, both of these Democratic senators and many of their colleagues have publicly opposed Judge Kavanaugh's nomination, while continuing to disingenuously demand millions of pages of documents from former President Bush that are irrelevant to evaluating the Judge's judicial thinking," White House Spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement, adding that the administration has handed over "over 300 judicial opinions and over 130,000 pages" to the Judiciary Committee.
Just on Thursday, the longest serving Republican senator in history, Orrin Hatch of Utah, called the partisanship over Kavanaugh's nomination "picky" and "stupid."
"Frankly, we didn't treat their candidates for these positions, the way they are treating ours," Hatch said. "I would like to see us hopefully break through and change that."
During the same news conference, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second ranking Republican in the chamber, seemed to sympathize with his Democratic colleagues.
"I can understand the disappointment of our Democratic colleagues," he told reporters. "They were hoping that the Hillary Clinton would fill this vacancy on the Supreme Court, and she would appoint somebody very different from Brett Kavanaugh. I think what they hoped for is that she would appoint somebody who would -- who would advance their political or policy or ideological agenda wearing a black robe but acting as essentially a legislator."
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the date on which Sen. Claire McCaskill is scheduled to meet with Judge Brett Kavanaugh.