>> After weeks of meetings with senators behind closed doors, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, on Tuesday, faced them in public for the first day of confirmation hearings that have gotten combative well before being gaveled in. Democrats and Republicans were already fighting over thousands of secret documents related to Kavanaugh's work as a lawyer in the George W Bush's administration, records the White House is refusing to release.
The early sparring signaling a heated day one of hearings that promised to showcase some of the most divisive issues in the country. Here's Reuters' White House correspondent, Jeff Mason.>> There's been some back and forth about Judge Kavanaugh's background. Republicans have been saying, we're giving unprecedented amounts of documentation and some Democrats are still asking for more.
So that's been one sticking point. And I think there will be some discussion of social issues like abortion, perhaps gay marriage as well. But then, I think the other issue of his views on what a president should face or can't face with regard to legal challenges while he's in office will no doubt be a focal point, certainly for the Democrats.
In particular, because the Russia probe is continuing into alleged or possible collusion between President Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia. And so, if Judge Kavanaugh becomes Justice Kavanaugh, it's possible that something related to that would come to the Supreme Court when he was settling. On Tuesday, each of the 21 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will have the chance to speak, but this is just the appetizer.
The entree arrives Wednesday, but lawmakers will have a half an hour each to either praise, question or rig Kavanaugh over the coals as they see fit. On Thursday, Kavanaugh is back in the pressure cooker, and Senators could ask for another day of grilling. If not, Friday will move on to other witnesses with no less than 28 scheduled to appear before the committee.
If after days of marathon hearings just two Republicans decide that Kavanaugh doesn't clear the bar and he wins no support from Democrats, it could mark the first time a Supreme Court nominee was rejected by the Senate in 31 years.