Update: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley released a statement late Tuesday night naming Rachel Mitchell as the prosecutor hired by the GOP to question Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford.
“The majority members have followed the bipartisan recommendation to hire as staff counsel for the committee an experienced career sex-crimes prosecutor to question the witnesses at Thursday’s hearing,” Grassley’s statement read. “The goal is to de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding and giving senators an opportunity to launch their presidential campaigns. I’m very appreciative that Rachel Mitchell has stepped forward to serve in this important and serious role.
McConnell made the comment on Tuesday while speaking to reporters about the potential outcome of Kavanaugh’s upcoming hearing during which he’ll face allegations of sexually assaulting professor Ford when the two were in high school (Kavanaugh has denied the claims).
“We’re going to be moving forward. I’m confident we’re going to win, confident that he’ll be confirmed in the very near future. I believe he’ll be confirmed, yes,” said McConnell, according to Reuters. “We have hired a female assistant to go on staff and to ask these questions in a respectful and professional way,” referring to the attorney (whose name is being kept private) hired by the male panel of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who will question both Kavanaugh and Ford during Thursday’s hearing.
According to CNBC, Kavanaugh and Ford will be also questioned by the committee’s four Democratic senators, one of which is California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the recipient of the private letter written by Ford that initially aired the allegations.
McConnell: "We have hired a female assistant" to question Blasey Ford. pic.twitter.com/RVhpoDZB7o
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 25, 2018
The “female assistant” narrative didn’t exactly go over well.
BRB — updating my LinkedIn profile from Law Firm Partner to Female Assistant in solidarity with my fellow assistants https://t.co/mpo6NfI5ME
— Kristina Daniel Lawson (@kdlaw) September 25, 2018
A female assistant??? In addition to conducting the questioning of Dr. Ford, will she also make the Starbucks run? https://t.co/QELrBahHZ8
— Patti Solis Doyle (@PattiSolisDoyle) September 25, 2018
Hilarious. The panel of old white men will seem less odious questioning Dr. Ford because a "female staff assistant" will ask the questions.
Let me spell it our for you, @Republicans: C-O-N-D-E-S-C-E-N-D-I-N-G M-E-N https://t.co/NqWoTMQJUj
— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) September 25, 2018
Tuck it in boys, your panic is showing
“Hurry and vote!”
“She is not coming, is she coming?!?”
“She misidentified him!!”
“She is a political actor!”
“No matter what, we confirm him!”
“We can’t interview her, hire an attorney, we will call her our FEMALE ASSISTANT!!” https://t.co/N5xTpOKRs3
— Dawn Over It W. (@Truth08168336) September 25, 2018
there is a good case to be made that using this "female assistant" reeks of dismissing sexual assault investigations as "women's work." That's so blatantly sexist that I wonder if Dr. Ford & her attorneys won't refuse such Qs outright. This could easily blow up for the GOP.
— Prasad Jallepalli (@jallepap) September 25, 2018
— Auntie Mary (@Real_Auntie) September 25, 2018
“Female assistant”?! Really? How about you elect female senators and place them on the committee? No, you want to use women as tools against other women. You don’t want to empower them, you want to exploit them. https://t.co/XtEItnPRcu
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) September 25, 2018
The secrecy surrounding the identity of the lawyer has furthered tensions. “Who is going to speak for all of the 11 Republican senators?” Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois told CNN. “We don’t have the name, do we? Someone has been given a new job — a person we don’t know. At some point that secrecy has to be unveiled. We should at least know who is going to take the place of the 11 duly elected senators.”
Last week, CNN reported that “multiple sources” claimed the role would be filled by Beth Wilkinson, a former attorney for Philip Morris and one who won the 1997 Oklahoma City bombing case that resulted in the execution of terrorist Timothy McVey. Wilkinson was also named “Trial Lawyer of the Year” in February.
On Tuesday, Sen. Kamala Harris emphasized that Ford is not on trial here, tweeting, “This hearing is to determine whether Kavanaugh is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. By hiring a private attorney to cross-examine Dr. Blasey Ford, Republicans are trying to intimidate her and avoid being held accountable by voters.”
Dr. Blasey Ford isn’t on trial. This hearing is to determine whether Kavanaugh is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. By hiring a private attorney to cross-examine Dr. Blasey Ford, Republicans are trying to intimidate her and avoid being held accountable by voters. https://t.co/kLBAhz9QMa
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) September 25, 2018
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