- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Sen. Patrick Leahy on Wednesday accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of handling “stolen” emails during his time as a White House lawyer, suggesting he had a part in what the senator called “digital Watergate.”

Mr. Leahy’s questions tapped into a mostly-forgotten flap in 2003 when a GOP Senate staffer, Manuel Miranda, managed to gain access to the Democratic side of the computer server used by the Judiciary Committee and used the information to plot strategy with the White House over future nominees.

“Did Mr. Miranda ever provide you with highly specific information regarding what I or other Democratic senators were planning in the future to ask certain judicial nominees?” Mr. Leahy demanded.

Judge Kavanaugh said he and Mr. Manny shared information but denied knowing that some of it may have been stolen.

“Not at all, senator,” the judge said.

The line of questioning seemed an odd departure from a hearing that had mostly focused on big legal questions of how judges grapple with precedent and the role they play in relation to the president who nominated them.

The email flap, known on Capitol Hill as Memogate, proved that Democrats were working closely with special interest groups to try to derail President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees. Some of the memos even suggested Democrats, at the behest of civil rights groups, plotted to delay confirmation of one judge to try to skew an important affirmative action case making its way through the appeals court the nominee had been slated to join.

Mr. Miranda says the documents were freely available on the server and weren’t protected by passwords or any other special access.

Democrats, though, said the access was illegal. Fifteen years later Mr. Leahy is still smarting.

“I am concerned because there is evidence Mr. Miranda provided you with materials that were stolen from me,” he said.

He pushed Judge Kavanaugh to look through emails between himself and Mr. Miranda that the senator contended were smoking guns — though Judge Kavanaugh said he didn’t see any evidence he was aware the information had been illicitly lifted from Democratic senators.

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