WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Judiciary Committee has added former Solicitor General Theodore Olson and former White House counsel John Dean to the list of witnesses who will testify next week in the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court.
Olson served as solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration. He's one of the country's best-known lawyers, having argued the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case that stopped Al Gore's recount in the 2000 presidential election. He'll offer backing to a former colleague in the Bush White House. Kavanaugh served as legal counsel and later as staff secretary for Bush.
Dean ultimately cooperated with prosecutors and helped bring down Richard Nixon's presidency, though he served a prison term for obstruction of justice. He has been a harsh critic of President Donald Trump and is listed as a Democratic witness. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Dean will "speak about the abuse of executive power."
Democrats trying to defeat Kavanaugh's nomination have asserted that Trump chose him for the court because he would protect the White House from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Kavanaugh has written that it would be appropriate for Congress to pass a statute that would allow lawsuits against a sitting president to be deferred until the president's term ends. He said Congress should consider doing the same with "respect to criminal investigations and prosecutions of the President."
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and attorney Lisa Blatt will introduce Kavanaugh when hearings begin Tuesday.
Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, will also testify as a Democratic witness later in the week.