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Supreme Court nominee on pace for enough votes for confirmation, Graham says

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh stands with Sen.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh stands with Sen. Lindsey Graham during a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 11. Credit: Bloomberg/Yuri Gripas

A key Republican senator said Sunday he expects Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to win 55 or more votes if the judge performs well at his confirmation hearing Tuesday, while Democrats continued to press for disclosure of more of Kavanaugh’s records.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday” that “there are a handful of Democrats who will vote for Judge Kavanaugh if he does well. And maybe even more.”

Senate Democrats have been pushing to delay the confirmation hearings. Ten Democrats on the committee urged that view in an Aug. 24 letter to chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), saying it was necessary “given the possibility of criminal wrongdoing by the President, doubts that Judge Kavanaugh believes a president can even be investigated, and the unprecedented lack of transparency regarding this nominee’s record.”

Kavanaugh can be confirmed with 51 votes. Republicans hold a 50 to 49 majority in the Senate, which will improve to 51-49 after, as expected, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey appoints a Republican to succeed Sen. John McCain, who died Aug. 25.

The White House, citing constitutional privilege, will not release more than 100,000 pages of documents related to Kavanaugh’s work product as a White House lawyer during the administration of George W. Bush, according to a letter representatives for Bush sent Friday to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The White House, after consultation with the Department of Justice, has directed that we not provide these documents for this reason,” the letter stated. Lawyers have turned over more than 415,000 pages to the committee, according to the letter.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted Saturday, “we’re witnessing a Friday night document massacre.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate minority whip, said on “Fox News Sunday” that “there has been more concealment of documents concerning his public service and his position on issues than ever in the history of the United States.”

Durbin also said Kavanaugh “comes before us at a time when people are concerned about whether this president, or any president, is above the law.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that she will attempt to make the point during the hearings that withholding the documents is an extreme tactic.

“This is not normal,” she said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Twitter account on Sunday countered that Grassley had offered to help colleagues obtain “waivers on legally restricted docs that they wish to use in public #Kavanaugh hearing. @SenAmyKlobuchar was the ONLY senator to take him up on this. That material is now public for world to see.”

Also on the talk shows, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, called for an end to what many have said were racist tactics employed against him. Residents have reported receiving robocalls since Tuesday, when Gillum became the first African-American to win a major party nomination in a Florida gubernatorial race. He faces Republican candidate Ron DeSantis.

The call, according to news reports, purports to originate from an Idaho-based white supremacist webcast and podcast, and features a Gillum impersonator speaking in a minstrel and broken dialect with jungle noises in the background. Also last week, DeSantis warned voters not to “monkey this up” by voting for Gillum, which was denounced as a racist “dog-whistle,” a charge DeSantis has denied.

“I want to make sure that we don’t racialize and frankly weaponize race as a part of this process, which is why I’ve called on my opponent to really work to rise above some of these things,” Gillum said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “People are taking their cues from him, from his campaign, and from Donald Trump.”

The president on Sunday took to Twitter to highlight the low unemployment rate for African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics, and praised the “great class” of professional golfer Tiger Woods for his recent remarks about the president.

The tweets came a week after a reporter asked Woods about his relationship with Trump following the last round of the Northern Trust, a golf tournament in Paramus, New Jersey.

“You have to respect the office,” Woods responded. “No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”

Woods said he had known Trump “for a number of years” and that the two had played golf together.

“Tiger Woods showed great class in the way he answered the question about the Office of the Presidency and me,” Trump tweeted about 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

“Now they say the so-called ‘left’ is angry at him. So sad, but the ‘center & right’ loves Tiger, Kanye, George Foreman, Jim Brown & so many other greats,” the president wrote, referring to other African-American celebrities who have expressed support for him.

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