The Brett Kavanaugh hearings—such as they are—began on Wednesday to take on a shape that ordinary citizens can understand. When discussing the law, Judge Kavanaugh has been an impressive witness. But anyone watching the hearings Wednesday morning could see the discomfort on Kavanaugh’s face when Senator Patrick Leahy asked him about his potential knowledge of the theft of Democratic-committee emails a decade and a half ago.
From 2002 to 2003, the Republican aide Manuel Miranda, first working on the Senate Judiciary Committee and later in the majority leaders’ office, exploiteda computer glitch to access confidential memos written by Senate Democrats on judicial nominees, leaking their contents to friendly media outlets. Senator Orrin Hatch, at the time, called it “improper, unethical, and simply unacceptable.” Kavanaugh was asked at his 2006 confirmation hearing whether, as a White House aide working on judicial nominations at the time, he’d been aware of the breach, and insisted he “did not know about it, did not suspect it.” On Wednesday, though, Leahy suggested that emails available to the committee, but not the public, contradict that—indicating that Miranda had sent Kavanaugh a draft letter written by Leahy but not yet released, among other documents.