Kirsters Baish| On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell alluded that Democratic New Jersey Senator Cory Booker may face a Senate Ethics Committee probe after he released numerous documents that the Senate Judiciary Committee had classified as “confidential.”
The documents released by Booker have to do with President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and his time serving former President George W. Bush in the White House. The documents are classified by executive privilege. This means that they were made by executive branch members and are not accessible by all Congressional members automatically.
Many of the documents were released to members of the Judiciary Committee for Kavanaugh’s hearing this past week. This way, they could be more informed when they cast their votes.
Booker drew a whole lot of attention toward himself when he stated that he wouldn’t be listening to the committee’s regular rules on confidential documents. He then stated that he would release the documents to the public. He then compared himself to Spartacus, who led slaves in a revolt against the Roman rulers.
Texas Majority Whip John Cornyn said of Booker’s purposeful ignorance of Senate rules, “This is no different from the senator deciding to release classified information.”
“No senator deserves to sit on this committee, or serve in the Senate, in my view, if they decide to be a law unto themselves and willingly flout the rules of the Senate and the determination of confidentiality and classification,” he went on. “Running for president is not an excuse for violating the rules of the Senate.”
Booker said to Cornyn, “I have really two words to say to Mitch McConnell if he wants to do ethics charges — bring it!”
Mitch McConnell took part in a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt on Friday in which he said that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Cory Booker is the subject of an ethics investigation after his conduct, as reported by Politico.
“When you break the Senate rules, it’s something the Ethics Committee could take a look at. And that would be up to them to decide. But it’s routinely looked at (by) the Ethics Committee,” McConnell explained. “They have an obligation to look into violations of the Senate rules, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they did.”
CNN reports Anderson Cooper spoke to Booker about his “Spartacus moment.” He referenced one specific Kavanaugh email that contained the subject line “Racial Profiling.” Cooper stated that the email had been cleared by Bush representatives for release.
In the email from January of 2002, Kavanaugh explained that he was in favor of a “race-neutral” way of enforcing security measures after the horrific September 11 attacks in 2001.
“Was that just a stunt?” Cooper questioned.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 7, 2018
Then, he argued that he went against the Senate rules when he read from the Kavanaugh email during last week’s hearing, the day before the doc was approved for release.
Then, Booker said that he has released 20 additional documents that have been marked as “committee confidential.” This is a clear violation of Senate rules.
Booker tweeted, “Weds- I broke committee rules by reading from ‘committee confidential’ docs.
Thurs- Cornyn threatened me with expulsion.
He then changed his story & backtracked. Now he’s back at it threatening an ethics investigation b/c we exposed this sham process.”
Weds—I broke committee rules by reading from "committee confidential" docs.
Thurs—Cornyn threatened me with expulsion.
He then changed his story & backtracked. Now he's back at it threatening an ethics investigation b/c we exposed this sham process. https://t.co/FEf4p65iDl
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) September 7, 2018
“I was raised and taught that an unjust law you almost have an obligation to stand against it,” Booker stated. “I am violating those laws. I have been doing it all day.”
“They will not move to remove me from the Senate for violating the committee confidential rule,” he went on.