Capitol Police arrest 70 on first day of Kavanaugh hearings

Kavanaugh defended his opinion, saying it was based on Supreme Court precedent that indicated semi-automatic weapons are in common use.

A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) did not respond to a request for comment on Democrats taking this more aggressive approach. But with Trump's fellow Republicans holding a slim majority in the Senate, and with no sign of any of them voting against the nomination, it remains likely Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the lifetime job on top US judicial body.

With Trump's presidency clouded by a widening probe into Russian election meddling, Kavanaugh declined to pledge to step aside from any cases that might come before the court involving Trump's conduct.

The first day of hearings for Kavanaugh was marked by frequent protests and calls from Senate Democrats for the process to be suspended until more relevant documents are made public. "So, immunity is the wrong term to even think about in this process", Kavanaugh said.

Trump has often criticised the federal judiciary, and some liberals fear Kavanaugh could serve as a rubber stamp for the president.

Asked by the Judiciary Committee's Republican chairman, Chuck Grassley, whether he would have any trouble ruling against Trump or the executive branch, Kavanaugh replied, "No one is above the law in our constitutional system".

Kavanaugh said he has been a "pro-law judge" who does not seek a pre-ordained outcome, and who would bring his impartiality to the nation's high court.

Strong Democratic opposition to Trump's nominee reflects the political stakes for both parties in advance of the November elections, Robert Mueller's investigation of Trump's 2016 campaign and the potentially pivotal role Kavanaugh could play in moving the court to the right.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to Congress about Facebook's role in the 2016 election in April. Only Dorsey was invited to the House hearing after specific Republican concerns about bias on Twitter.

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Trump insisted he "never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff", adding that "being a southerner is a GREAT thing". Trump did not speak to Woodward until after the book's manuscript was completed.

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Assad has vowed to defeat the opposition in its last refuge in the province if the rebels do not surrender to government rule. It also said talks were under way to establish a humanitarian corridor for civilians to leave Idlib.

Kavanaugh refused, as all other Supreme Court judges have before him, to answer hypothetical questions about impeachment. While Kavanaugh professed ignorance about Kozinski's misbehavior, Hirono briskly raised doubts about his failure to grasp the "real world" consequences of that misbehavior, and linked that observation to his questionable sensitivity to native Hawaiian interests in another case, and his attitude toward women's reproductive rights.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., critiqued U.S. President Donald Trump during his opening statement, citing a Twitter post last weekend that attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to convey his concerns about presidential power.

A heckler interrupts the proceedings during the first day of hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in Washington, on September 4, 2018. Feinstein asked in an attempt to glean how Kavanaugh might rule in cases that could redefine Roe. Kavanaugh promised a "completely open mind" if such issues came before him as a Supreme Court justice.

Trump told reporters at the White House he was pleased with the hearing and said: "The other side is grasping at straws".

He said he would respect past Supreme Court rulings.

At issue is whether Kavanaugh's respect for precedent would keep him from casting a vote to strike down Roe, as many Democrats suspect he would.

He highlighted the 1992 Planned Parenthood versus Casey ruling that reaffirmed Roe, calling it a "precedent on precedent".

"It's not as if it's just a run-of-the-mill case that was decided and has never been reconsidered", he said of Roe v. Wade.

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