'Be sure of your answer, sir.'
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) hit Brett Kavanaugh with a line of questioning Wednesday night that he obviously wasn't prepared for, leaving him scrambling for words at times and dead silent at other times.
Starting what would ultimately be nearly 10 minutes of tense back-and-forth, Harris asked Kavanaugh a straightforward question about whether he had discussed special counsel Robert Mueller or the investigation he's in charge of with anyone at the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres, which was founded by Trump's own attorney Marc Kasowitz.
"Be sure about your answer, sir,” Harris warned, hinting that she may know more than she was letting on.
“I’m not sure I know everyone who works at that law firm,” Kavanaugh said, telling Harris that he couldn't remember if such discussions had occurred, but was "happy to be refreshed."
Harris, a former prosecutor, was not impressed.
"With all that you remember, you have an impeccable memory, you’ve been speaking for almost eight hours, maybe more with this committee, about all sorts of things you’ve been asked,” she said. "How can you not remember whether or not you had a conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at that law firm?"
At one point, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) jumped in to try to save Kavanaugh, defending him for not answering.
But Harris wasn't finished yet. She continued pressing the Supreme Court nominee, repeating her initial question and looking increasingly determined to get an answer the more Kavanaugh tried to squirm out of it.
Kavanaugh responded by asking Harris to tell him the name of the person at the law firm who she had in mind, prompting the senator to shoot back, "I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us."
Complete exchange between @senkamalaharris and Judge Kavanaugh on Mueller Investigation. pic.twitter.com/FXhW3XmV19
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 6, 2018
Kavanaugh said he would need to see a full list of employees at the firm or know more about her question before he could answer. While she eventually stopped the line of questioning at the hearing, Harris told Kavanaugh she would be following up with him in the form of written questions.
What, exactly, prompted Harris to ask Kavanaugh the specific question about potential conversations with anyone at the firm founded by one of Trump's longtime lawyers is unknown, but some Senate aides say there's reason to believe such a conversation took place.
Whether or not Harris has knowledge of a specific conversation, there are widespread questions about whether Kavanaugh was chosen by Trump in part because of his views on issues related to the Mueller probe.
Kavanaugh believes in giving extensive power and deference to the executive branch, and has expressed a belief that a sitting president shouldn't be subject to investigation or indictment.
It was previously reported that Trump's team reviewed Kavanaugh's legal decisions in this area before nominating him to the Supreme Court. Given Harris' line of questioning, it seems that some believe it didn't stop there.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.