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Kavanaugh Hearing: Why Republicans Fired their Sex Crimes Questioner Midstream

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Brett Kavanaugh and Rachel Mitchell

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Apparently, somebody on the Republican staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee forgot to give Rachel Mitchell the memo advising her that she was supposed to lob softball questions at Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee now accused by two separate women of sexual assault and by a third of aiding and abetting the gang rape of women during his teen years.

Rachel Mitchell is the long-tenured sex crimes prosecutor from Maricopa County, Arizona who was hired by the Republican majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee to avoid the optics of 11 male Republicans questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford yesterday over the intimate details of her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

The Republicans allowed Mitchell to conduct all questioning of Ford, who testified first, on behalf of Republicans, and to proceed with questioning Kavanaugh in the afternoon session that followed. The way the proceeding worked up until the point that Mitchell was fired from her post was that the Chair of the Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley, would name a Republican Senator and then designate his five minute slot for questions to Mitchell to conduct on his behalf. After that five minutes was up, Grassley would then call on a Democratic Senator, who would personally conduct the questioning, not using Mitchell as a surrogate.

This is the point in Mitchell’s questioning of Kavanaugh that doomed Mitchell to get her walking papers. After this exchange, Mitchell continued to sit at her little desk in the hearing room but her voice was never again heard. The Republican Senators from that point on took over their own five minute slots. But instead of questioning Kavanaugh, most of the time was spent lavishing praise on the nominee or demonizing Democrats.

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