DOJ to honor lawyers who supported Kavanaugh nomination

Internal email sent to department staff

By Evan Perez and Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Courtesy: Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via CNN

(CNN) - The Justice Department will present a prestigious award to the team of lawyers who did "work in support of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh" to the Supreme Court, according to an internal email sent to department staff Friday.

The email, obtained by CNN, says Taylor Owings, Douglas Rathbun and Craig Minerva along with others across the department were selected to receive "the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service."

The award -- the department's second highest for employee performance -- is often given to employees who worked on key prosecutions.

News of the award comes amid renewed scrutiny of Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court last year as a new book is published that contains a previously unreported sexual misconduct allegation against Kavanaugh while a student at Yale.

The victim declined to be interviewed by the book's authors, and her friend told the authors she does not recall the incident.

Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court was nearly derailed by allegations of sexual misconduct. Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor and the first accuser to come forward, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a party when they were both teenagers. He has denied all allegations against him.

While President Donald Trump has stood by Kavanaugh -- as he did throughout his nominee's confirmation process -- some Democrats, including presidential candidates, are jumping on the wave of renewed scrutiny to call for Kavanaugh's impeachment.

"I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the US Senate and most importantly to the American people," said Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "He was put on the court through a sham process and his place on the court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice."

CNN's Kate Sullivan and Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.

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