- The Washington Times - Friday, September 27, 2019

Senate Democrats are probing one of President Trump’s judicial nominees over his work in the White House Counsel’s Office, asking if he knew about the call with Ukrainian President Zelensky that resulted in a whistleblower complaint.

The 10 Democratic members on the Judiciary Committee wrote a letter to Steven Menashi, Mr. Trump’s nominee to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Friday, requesting he disclose what work he did that related to the president’s controversial call. Mr. Menashi worked since 2018 as associate counsel to the president.

The letter references testimony from Joseph Maguire, acting Director of National Intelligence, to lawmakers Thursday, saying the White House Counsel’s Office was consulted about the July 25 phone call between the two presidents, noting the DNI was told that much of the complaint was subject to executive privilege.

“As the Senate Judiciary Committee considers your nomination to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, it is vital to understand the work that you have done in the White House Counsel’s Office, including any work related to the matters referenced above,” the letter read.

Congressional Democrats are accusing the president of making improper requests from Mr. Zelensky to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s son Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated by a prosecutor.

Friday’s letter isn’t the first time Mr. Menashi was questioned about his work in the White House Counsel’s Office.

During his confirmation hearing this month, he was peppered with questions about what work he did related to the president’s immigration policies.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, specifically asked whether Mr. Menashi worked on the Trump administration’s family separation policy or whether he handled the president’s move to limit the number of refugees entering the country.

Before his hearing, Mr. Menashi was already a target of the progressive left after MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow aired a 13-minute segment last month, attacking a law review article Mr. Menashi wrote years ago that the TV host suggested was racist.

The 65-page article from 2010 for the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law drew fire over Mr. Menashi’s noting that ethno-nationalism is an accepted part of liberal democracies in a defense of Israel as “a Jewish state.”

“I abhor discrimination. I value this country’s traditions of tolerance and equality before the law,” Mr. Menashi said, defending himself from the attacks. He said the point of his article was to note that some liberal democracies have an ethnic basis.

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