Senate Democrats seem to think they’ve found a damning witness against Brett Kavanaugh in 2018: Brett Kavanaugh in 2006.

At his confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democratic senators confronted Kavanaugh with statements he’d made at a previous confirmation hearing for the DC Circuit Court 12 years ago.

Senators repeatedly suggested he misled the committee in 2006 on issues that ranged from the Bush administration’s detention of enemy combatants to his awareness of an email hack that affected Judiciary Committee Democrats.

By calling out alleged inconsistencies between his 2006 statements and documentation that has been unearthed since, Democrats sought to damage Kavanaugh’s credibility and paint him as a judge who’s ethically somewhat slippery.

Pinning down more of these possible inconsistencies is one of the main reasons Democrats have been pushing the fight for documents. Additional emails and memos from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House could expose more details regarding his involvement on issues like torture policy, they argue.

Kavanaugh held firm that he’d told the truth before the committee in 2006. But the fight over his past testimony is ultimately another example of Democrats’ argument that Kavanaugh’s vetting process has been anything but open — an argument they’ve revisited frequently throughout the two days of confirmation hearings.

Kavanaugh’s 2006 confirmation focused heavily on what he knew about legal justifications for torture

Kavanaugh’s appointment to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals followed a lengthy stint at the George W. Bush White House, where he served as White House counsel from 2001 to 2003 and staff secretary between 2003 and 2006. As a result, much of his 2006 confirmation focused on his work with the administration, with lawmakers putting forth questions about his knowledge of the White House’s controversial wiretapping program and detainee policies. He was ultimately recommended for confirmation in 2006 by a narrow 10-8 committee vote.

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