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Sen. Orrin Hatch takes a swing at defending Supreme Court nominee

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, meets with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
FILE - Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh meets with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Washington. Hatch defended U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday, particularly his going into debt to buy season tickets to Washington Nationals' games.
Evan Vucci, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch made a pitch for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday, particularly defending his going into debt to buy season tickets to Washington Nationals games.

Hatch, R-Utah, also took another swing at Democrats, who he said are trying to undermine Kavanaugh's nomination with rumors, half-truths and exaggerations. He said progressives thought they had struck gold with a "shocking revelation" about the D.C. federal appellate judge.

"Well, you’re not going to believe this … but they discovered that Judge Kavanaugh enjoys America’s pastime. That’s right, Judge Kavanaugh loves baseball. Horrors!" he said on the Senate floor.

"OK, but here’s the real kicker — Judge Kavanaugh bought those season tickets with a credit card. A credit card! I know, I was speechless, too."

Hatch said he's been racking his brain all week trying to figure out how a "credit-card using baseball fan" could slip through the White House vetting process.

Meantime, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, whom President Donald Trump interviewed for the Supreme Court job, met with Kavanaugh on Wednesday.

"His insight into the current state of the law and the Constitution shows he is just the kind of originalist jurist we need on the court," Lee said in a statement.

Both Lee and Hatch are members of Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings on Kavanaugh in the coming weeks.

The Washington Post reported that Kavanaugh incurred tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt buying baseball tickets over the past decade and at times reported liabilities that could have exceeded the value of his cash accounts and investment assets.

Kavanaugh bought Nationals season tickets and playoff tickets for himself and some friends. The White House told the Post that Kavanaugh’s friends reimbursed him for their share of the baseball tickets and that the judge has since stopped purchasing the season tickets.

Just nine days into the confirmation process, Kavanaugh has been the target of hyperbole, mudslinging and distortion, Hatch said, again blaming Democrats for "crying wolf" in an attempt to sabotage a Republican nominee.

Questions about Kavanaugh should center on whether he understands the role of a judge and how he would interpret the Constitution and laws Congress passes, he said.

"When it comes to what we should be asking about a nomination, what we have seen so far is not even in the ballpark," Hatch said.