Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has instructed all 93 U.S. Attorney’s Offices to select up to three federal prosecutors to assist in the collection and review of records concerning Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who is President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, reports the New York Times.
Federal prosecutors, whose primary job is to pursue criminal investigations, do not typically carry out the vetting of Supreme Court nominees. The Times noted that Rosenstein’s request is unusual because Justice Department lawyers in D.C. are ordinarily the ones who perform this task.
In Rosenstein’s letter to the U.S. Attorneys, a sentence reads, “we need your help in connection with President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court.”
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Flores informed The Times that “the scope of the production of executive branch documents we’ve been asked for is many, many times as large,” as previous Supreme Court nominees, such as Merrick B. Garland, whose confirmation process required only 2,000 documents.
Flores’ statements were echoed by Michael Zubrensky, an Obama-era Justice Department lawyer. “The number of documents for Judge Kavanaugh will be different by an order of magnitude,” said Zubrensky, as reported in The Times.
On a related note, Politico has reported that in his 2009 Minnesota Law Review article, Brett Kavanaugh argued that the indictment of a sitting president would destroy the functionality of the federal government.
According to Kavanaugh, it is more appropriate to pursue criminal prosecutions and investigations after a president has left office. “The indictment and trial of a sitting President, moreover, would cripple the federal government, rendering it unable to function with credibility in either the international or domestic arenas” he wrote.
Kavanaugh’s upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee hearings are shaping up to be a difficult, partisan confirmation fight. Democratic lawmakers are expected to enter the lengthy process of requesting and examining all of Kavanaugh’s records.