In the midst of a contentious first day of Senate confirmation hearings, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) blasted Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and claimed the federal judge had lied to him about his role in shaping former President George W. Bush’s enemy-combatant policy in the war on terror. “I wanted to trust you—last time you testified before this committee in 2006,” Durbin said. “But after you were confirmed at the D.C. Circuit, reports surfaced that contradicted your sworn testimony.” At that time, Durbin said Kavanaugh told him “unambiguously, under oath” that he was never involved in the development of Bush’s rules regarding the detention of enemy combatants. But less than a week ago, Durbin said Tuesday, Kavanaugh told him that he had, in fact, been involved. “For 12 years, you could’ve apologized and corrected this record,” he said, “but you never did. Instead, you and your supporters have argued that we should ignore that simple declarative sentence which you spoke and somehow conclude that your words mean something far different.”
Immediately following Durbin’s remarks, the White House issued a statement defending Kavanaugh, and arguing that Durbin was the one who was being “deliberately misleading,” according to a tweet from BuzzFeed legal editor Chris Geidner. The statement argued that in 2006, Durbin asked Kavanaugh “pointed” and “detailed” questions about specific parts of the policy, not about his involvement as a whole. The statement also noted that the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section did not find sufficient evidence to merit a criminal investigation.