Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has a big problem with serial lying in his sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. About really serious stuff, like torture, like warrantless surveillance. Now, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) tells Politico, she’s identified another critical lie, in which Kavanaugh lied to senators about having violated secrecy laws governing grand juries during the Starr investigation of President Bill Clinton.
“According to a memo from the National Archives, Brett Kavanaugh instructed Hickman Ewing, a colleague and deputy counsel in the Starr investigation, to ‘call [Chris] Ruddy’ about matters before a grand jury, which would be illegal to disclose,” Feinstein said in a statement to POLITICO. “I asked Judge Kavanaugh in questions for the record whether he had shared ‘information learned through grand jury proceedings.’ His answer, which says that he acted ‘consistent with the law,’ conflicts with the official memo from Mr. Ewing. Disclosing grand jury information is against the law and would be troubling for any lawyer, especially one applying for a promotion to the highest court in the country.”
Chris Ruddy was then a reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where he trafficked in conspiracy theories about the suicide of Vince Foster and the Clintons involvement in it. Ruddy is now a great friend of Trump, one of his Mar-a-Lago hangers-on, and also CEO of Newsmax. Then he was the guy Kavanaugh apparently was in touch with about what was happening in the grand jury. And, like everything involved with Kavanaugh, this incident also involves sex and Kavanaugh’s questioning of a grand jury witness, Patrick Knowlton. Knowlton was in Fort Marcy Park and claimed to have seen a man there just before the body of Foster was found in it. Knowlton says Kavanaugh asked him “Did the man in the park pass you a note?” and “Did the man in the park touch your genitals?” Knowlton talked to Ruddy about this questioning after his grand jury appearance, and Ruddy “reached out to Kavanaugh and left a voicemail message saying he was ‘worried’ about what Ruddy was about to report.”
Memos from the National Archives show that Kavanaugh was worried about the wording of the question, for some reason. “I didn’t ask him that, he said in a message to Ewing. “I did ask him about sexual advances by the other man in the park. [Fellow prosecutor] John Bates and I want you to call Ruddy—at least get him off the genitalia part. I am worried about that.” Ewing then contacted Ruddy and told him “We cannot comment on any questions asked or answers given in the grand jury. It is against the law for us to do so,” but then goes on to say “I told him that I have been told that Knowlton was not asked the question about ‘genitals,'” and that he shared “off the record — deep background,” which Ruddy agreed to.
That’s not a thing in grand juries, “off the record,” Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics expert, tells Politico. “There is no ‘off the record’ exception to grand jury secrecy. […] What strikes me about Ewing’s memo, including what he said Kavanaugh said, is how casually, even cavalierly they were willing to ignore Rule 6(e). Of course, this assumes Ewing is quoting Kavanaugh correctly. […] Kavanaugh asked Ewing to get Ruddy ‘off’ the use of the word and that required Ewing to violate the rule as he realized.”
Grand jury secrecy is kind of a big deal, a thing that lawyers—and judges—should respect and observe. Kavanaugh by all appearances violated that law. Then he made it worse by lying, under oath, to the Senate about it. Set aside the lying about his high school drinking and his frat boy on steroids ways. He has demonstrated absolutely no respect for the rule of law. Not only should he not be elevated to the Supreme Court, he should be impeached from the D.C. Circuit where he now sits.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.