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Senator Mike Lee on the Kavanaugh Hearings

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The audio:


The transcript:

HH: Let’s turn to Judge Kavanaugh. Will he be confirmed to the Supreme Court before the first Monday in October, Mike Lee?

ML: Yes, I believe he will be. I believe he should be, and the country will be better off as a result of it.

HH: Do you expect any Republicans not to vote for him?

ML: I don’t. Now nothing is certain until it’s certain, but I will be very surprised if any Republican chooses to vote against Judge Kavanaugh. And assuming I’m right that we get every Republican voting for him, I think we’ll also pick up a few Democrats as well.

HH: Which Democrats do you foresee voting for Brett Kavanaugh?

ML: Well, I think some of those who are running for reelection in Trump states, you know, people perhaps like Joe Manchin, perhaps people like Joe Donnelly could consider voting for Judge Kavanaugh. I think that’s likely to happen only if Republicans stick together. But again, I think Republicans will stick together. Let me add that we’re going to have a big confirmation process. We’re going to have a big hearing starting just after Labor Day. It’s going to be the most transparent confirmation process in the history of the country, and we’re going to have tons of material to review.

HH: How many days of hearings do you anticipate, Senator Lee?

ML: I think we’ll have about a week worth of hearings. And there will be some disputes that arise in connection with those hearings. A lot of the dispute will relate to Kavanaugh’s staff secretary documents. You know, I completely agree with Senator Grassley’s decision not to request those documents. When he was serving as White House staff secretary, he was essentially serving as the inbox and outbox for President Bush. And those documents are at the core of executive privilege. And indeed, that’s why the Senate didn’t request now-Justice Kagan’s documents that were created while she was solicitor general, even though they were indisputably relevant to her legal thinking.

HH: Now this morning in the Washington Post, there’s a story about a 1998 memo written by Judge Kavanaugh when he was working for Ken Starr that proposed the president be asked, then-President Clinton be asked some very sexually explicit questions about his conduct with Monica Lewinsky. I might read these later in the show, but I’m not going to read them to you. They’re very, very sexually explicit, because the President’s conduct was quite inappropriate. Do you think this is an issue? Or is this just being dropped for shock value?

ML: Well, I think it’s interesting, certainly, that the Washington Post is choosing to air those now. And I don’t think that they reflect on Judge Kavanaugh’s ability as a jurist or on his qualifications to serve on the highest court in the land. I can’t quite fathom why the Washington Post thought this was so relevant that they needed to republish it now.

HH: Robert Bittman is quoted. He’s a former Starr deputy who said, “I remember that Brett immediately regretted the tone of the memo, because he had been sleep deprived.” And they are very tough questions. But if it comes up in the hearing, it will be kind of shocking to a lot of people who are watching it and expecting conversations about the Commerce Clause, the reach of the Free Exercise Clause, etc. I guess they’re out of gas. I don’t think they have any issues against Judge Kavanaugh, do they?

ML: No, no I don’t think they do. And look, I think if they try to go down this road, the road you’re describing, I think the Democrats are going to regret it, because the fact is you had with President Clinton a man who was having a sexual relationship with an intern, somebody under his own employ, and it was wildly inappropriate. The fact he had a very thorough legal team investigating that matter, and the fact that that very thorough legal team was competent and aggressive is really the product of President Clinton’s own sexual misconduct in office and nothing else.

HH: Well, if I can gather from, if I can intuit a tactic, a strategy from this story dropping now, it is that they hope to have some sort of a replay of the Clarence Thomas hearing that somehow become so explicit that it is a turnoff for the American people. I don’t think Kavanaugh will fall into that trap. Do you expect some senators will?

ML: No, I don’t think so. I think today’s Senate Judiciary Committee has better sense, has better judgment than that. Like I say, it’s not over until it’s over, and you can’t rule anything out these days. But it doesn’t seem like a good strategy for the Democrats to pursue.

End of segment.


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