Kavanaugh nomination process is 'not normal,' Democratic senator warns

WASHINGTON — With the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh scheduled to begin Tuesday, Democrats say they remain concerned over the lack of information about his past record that they, and the public at large, will be able to see.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who sits on the Judiciary Committee that will question Kavanaugh, said that the process of the nomination is has not been "normal."

"It's not normal because we are not able to see 100,000 documents because the administration has said we can't see them, exerting their executive power; 148,000 documents that I've seen that you cannot see because they will not allow us to make them public so I can't even tell you about them right now on this show," Klobuchar said Sunday on "Meet the Press."

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Klobuchar said the documents that she's seen raises "some very interesting questions" about the nominee's views, but added that she remains unable to discuss the documents.

"I think that you could ask some very interesting questions about these documents that I'm unable to even say."

Klobcuhar said that Kavanaugh's position on executive power was concerning, especially when it comes to a president being investigated. Kavanaugh, who worked for independent counsel Ken Starr during the Bill Clinton investigation, has since questioned the extent to which a sitting president should be exposed to investigations.

"You have a nominee who has one of the most expansive views of presidential power that we've seen in history," Klobuchar said.

Democrats have little ability under the current Senate rules to block a nominee but Klobuchar said she would "prefer" to bring back the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees to pass the Senate.

"I would prefer to bring it back," Klobuchar said of the filibuster on NBC's "Meet the Press." But she added that she doubts it would happen because no party in power is going to want to "hamstring themselves."

The 60-vote threshold was eliminated last year by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell before the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, leaving the minority party with no ability to block a nominee. As a result, the Senate appears to be on the verge of confirming President Donald Trump's second Supreme Court nominee in as many years on nearly party-line votes.

Klobuchar, who is up for re-election this fall, also would not outright say that she would campaign for Rep. Keith Ellison who is running for attorney general in her home state of Minnesota. Ellison has been accused of domestic abuse of his former girlfriend.

"He hasn't asked me to campaign for him," Klobuchar said, adding that she would campaign for the entire Democratic ticket of Minnesota "when the time comes."

"He is still addressing this to the people of Minnesota. It is still being reviewed," she noted. "I know he is moving forward."