U.S.

Video: Brett Kavanaugh Struggles to Answer "Simple Question" From Kamala Harris

A "simple question" from Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) appeared to render Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh speechless during a tense exchange on the second day of his Senate confirmation hearing. 

In video of the full exchange published by C-SPAN, Harris asked Kavanaugh if he had ever discussed special counsel Robert Mueller or his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election with anyone at the Kasowitz, Benson and Torres law firm. 

Marc Kasowitz, a partner at the firm, is one of President Donald Trump's personal lawyers, Harris pointed out. 

Opening her line of questioning, Harris asked: "Have you had any conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at that firm? Yes or no?"

It soon became clear that Kavanaugh would not deliver the "yes or no" answer the California senator was looking for.

"Is there a person you're talking about? Kavanaugh asked, after taking a beat. 

"I'm asking you a very direct question," Harris responded. "Yes or no?" 

"I'm not sure I know everyone who works at that law firm," Kavanaugh hesitantly replied.

Harris continued to ask the same question in a number of different ways, while Kavanaugh appeared to struggle to respond with a straight answer, taking long pauses before replying. 

After Kavanaugh asked whether Harris could state the names of workers at the law firm, Harris said, "I think you're thinking of someone and you don't want to tell us."

"Did you speak with anyone at that law firm about Bob Mueller's investigation?" she repeated. 

Kavanaugh said he wasn't "remembering anything like that" and insisted, "I want to know a roster of people, and I want to know more." 

The exchange went on for eight minutes before Harris decided to move on, acknowledging that she wasn't going to get a "yes or no" answer from the nominee.

Her line of questioning, however, quickly ignited debate on social media over whether Harris has information on Kavanaugh that she has yet to share, or whether the senator was simply bluffing. 

Either way, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe said Harris's question was an "important" one. He wrote in a tweet that "if Judge Kavanaugh did in fact discuss the Mueller probe with Trump's personal attorney's firm, he has NO CHOICE but to recuse from all matters related to that probe."  

Tribe also warned that Kavanaugh's claim to have "forgotten" could amount to "confirmation perjury" if it is discovered that he did discuss the investigation with someone at the law firm. 

"I don’t say this lightly, but claiming to have forgotten something in order to win confirmation when the nominee can be shown not to have forgotten becomes an impeachable offense and a basis for removing that nominee after confirmation," Tribe said. 

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