GOP’s ‘Female Assistant’ Rachel Mitchell Pokes Holes in Her Own Cross-Examination

Chris Wattie  Reuters

Chris Wattie Reuters

(Democratic senators on the committee - including Dianne Feinstein, Mazie Hirono and Kamala Harris - used their individual time for questions and statements.) So who is Rachel Mitchell, and how was she chosen for a prominent role in the hearings.

The committee recommendation vote was expected to pass on Friday, and the full Senate vote on confirmation could take place as soon as Tuesday. An experienced prosecutor, Mitchell does not operate under time constraints when she questions witnesses in a courtroom.

Grassley said he appointed a woman from the outside in order to "depoliticize" the process and prevent a rerun of Anita Hill's testimony at Justice Clarence Thomas's 1991 confirmation hearing. Lefties were speculating last night that the reason Kavanaugh was asked in his phone calls with Committee staffers about some outlandish claims, including ones originating on Twitter, was because Republicans hoped it might discredit more serious claims like Ford's by association.

"She's going to be so good that both sides are going to have problems with her", said former Arizona Republic reporter Joseph Reaves, who wrote a book about the Catholic sex abuse scandal in Arizona. Her conversations with Ford were coolheaded, clinical, and respectful.

Two things are clear after this morning's hearing with Dr. Ford: Everyone agrees that Dr. Ford is "extremely credible", and everyone agrees that Rachel Mitchell's questioning of Dr. Ford is a disaster.

Republicans hold a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate, and can only afford one defection in their bid to confirm Kavanaugh, assuming they secure no Democratic votes.

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Although committee vote to recommend is not necessary in order for him to be confirmed, it is highly favorable to his prospects. When Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman, interrupted her to tell her first five minutes were over, Mitchell seemed flustered. "In particular, Mitchell has for many years instructed detectives, prosecutors, child-protection workers, and social workers on the best practices for forensic interviews of victims of sex crimes", the statement said, noting Mitchell has received multiple awards for her work. "She's super smart. I just don't think she'll be bullied by anyone".

There's not much doubt what Kavanaugh will say about Ford.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Mitchell's boss, has praised Mitchell as an "objective" prosecutor with a "caring heart" for victims. The examiner, Jennifer Hanafin, recounts what Ford said happened to her and in her report said that "it is the professional opinion of this examiner that Blasey's responses to ... the relevant questions are Not Indicative of Deception", referring to Ford by her maiden name. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who serves on the Judiciary Committee.

The questions about the polygraph also illustrated that Mitchell had little time and no prior access to Ford, which might have allowed her to avoid asking questions where the answers hardly undermined Ford as a witness. The questioning moved on to Sen.

The tenor of the questions suggested Mitchell was trying, if gently, to question the reliability of Ford's recollections and portray Ford as a pawn of Democrats who are out to stop Kavanaugh at any cost.

Republican senators who are not on the committee will be watching the hearing closely.

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