The Latest: Republican slams John Dean over Watergate role
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):
The confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has ended with a testy exchange between Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana and John Dean of Watergate notoriety.
Kennedy told Dean he only did the right thing in Watergate “when you were cornered like a rat.”
Dean responded that President Donald Trump has also called him a rat. He added: “I tried internally to end the cover-up. I didn’t succeed.”
He offered to send the senator his book to give “him some insights of what really did happen in there.”
Dean cooperated with prosecutors during the Watergate investigation and served four months in prison.
Invited by Democrats, Dean testified Friday against Kavanaugh. He warned about creating a Supreme Court that takes an expansive view of presidential powers.
John Dean, the former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon, is taking a swipe at the vetting of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Dean says he’s surprised that Kavanaugh “is not demanding every document that he’s ever handled be reviewed by this committee, unless of course there’s something to hide.”
Democrats have complained that they have been unable to adequately vet Kavanaugh because key records have been withheld. They have asked that the hearing be delayed, but Republican Chairman Charles Grassley rejected that request, saying large number of documents have already been released.
Dean was speaking Friday on the final day of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.
A student who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is urging senators to reject the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The student, Aalayah Eastmond, says that if Kavanaugh doesn’t have the decency to shake hands with the father of a shooting victim, he shouldn’t be able to “make life-changing decisions” affecting real people.
She is referring to Fred Guttenberg, who tried to shake hands with Kavanaugh earlier in the week. Guttenberg’s daughter, Jamie, died in the February 2018 attack at the high school.
Guttenberg extended his hand Kavanaugh, but the judge did not. A White House spokesman said security intervened before Kavanaugh could take his hand.
Kavanaugh this week told senators he’s “very aware of the real-world consequences” of gun violence.
John Dean, the former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon, predicts the nation will have the most “pro-presidential powers” Supreme Court in modern history if Donald Trump’s nominee is confirmed.
In written testimony submitted before Friday’s Senate confirmation hearing, Dean predicts that with Brett Kavanaugh on the high court, it will become “a weak check, at best, on presidential power.” He calls the scenario “deeply troubling,” adding that there is “much to fear from an unchecked president who is inclined to abuse his powers.”
Dean, a critic of Trump, is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the invitation of Democrats.
Dean cooperated with prosecutors during the Watergate investigation and helped bring down Nixon’s presidency. He served four months in prison after being convicted of obstruction of justice.
Members of an American Bar Association committee have given Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh their highest rating of “well qualified” based on his integrity, competence and judicial temperament.
John Tarpley, the lead evaluator in the review, says it was clear based on interviews with peers that Kavanaugh learned integrity at an early age. He says Kavanaugh received high praise for his knowledge of the law and for his judicial temperament, with reviewers saying he was affable and kept an open mind.
Tarpley says the ABA panel would have been hard pressed to come to any conclusion other than Kavanaugh showed “exceptional professional competence.”
Republicans embraced the evaluation, though they have at times sharply rebuked the ABA for giving low ratings to some of President Donald Trump’s other judicial nominees.
Senators have begun the fourth and final day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
On the schedule Friday are more than two dozen witnesses on both sides of the nomination fight. Democratic witnesses include John Dean, Richard Nixon’s White House counsel who cooperated with prosecutors during the Watergate investigation, and Rochelle Garza, the legal guardian for a pregnant immigrant teenager whose quest for an abortion Kavanaugh would have delayed last year.
Kavanaugh finished two marathon days in the witness chair Thursday. He avoided any serious mistakes that might jeopardize his confirmation and appears to be on his way to becoming the court’s 114th justice.
Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh in time for the first day of the new Supreme Court term, Oct. 1.
Senate Democrats worked into the night in a last attempt to paint Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a foe of abortion rights and a likely defender of President Donald Trump. But after two marathon days in the witness chair in a Senate hearing room, Kavanaugh appeared to be on a path to confirmation as a Supreme Court justice.
The 53-year-old appellate judge stuck to a well-rehearsed script, avoiding any serious mistakes that might jeopardize his chances at confirmation.
Senators will return for a final hearing day on Friday along with more than two dozen witnesses on both sides of the nomination.
Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh in time for the first day of the new Supreme Court term on Oct. 1.