Leahy Seeks Investigation of Kavanaugh

From today’s Washington Post story on the brewing fight between Congress and the White House over documents relating to the NSA surveillance programs.

Leahy also formally asked Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales yesterday to investigate whether Brett M. Kavanaugh made false statements under oath last year, during his confirmation hearing for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Kavanaugh, who was an associate counsel at the White House when legal arguments were raised to defend the administration’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, told the Judiciary Committee that he “was not involved and am not involved in the questions about the rules governing detention of combatants.”

Leahy cited details from The Washington Post’s series this week on Cheney’s influence in the West Wing. Included was an anecdote about Kavanaugh’s discussing a pending court challenge to the detention of a U.S. citizen accused of being a combatant, and whether Kavanaugh’s legal mentor, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, would uphold the constitutionality of the detention.

“I don’t believe that he was truthful with us. . . . I don’t think that the answers were truthful. And I’m just sending out the notice that, if answers are not truthful, we’ll send it to the U.S. attorney and the attorney general and ask them what’s going on,” Leahy said.

Kavanaugh, reached last night, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Court of Appeals said in a statement that “Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony was accurate.”

Jonathan H. Adler — Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in environmental, administrative, and constitutional law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

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