Many Judiciary GOPers Forgo Having Prosecutor Question Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27:  Senate Judiciary Committee members (L-R) Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Chairman Charles Grassley listens to testimony from Christine Blasey Ford in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images North America

It appears that at least some Senate Judiciary Republicans were more interested in having a professional prosecutor question the woman accusing someone of sexual assault than the accused.

Rachel Mitchell, a Maricopa County attorney specializing in sex crimes, handled all of the Republicans’ questions for Christine Blasey Ford, who’s accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

As Kavanaugh’s turn to testify in front of the committee rolled on, nearly half of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee decided to question him themselves —or at least, to praise Kavanaugh, bash Democrats and condemn the “circus” that they thought the hearing was. Those members were Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID. At the beginning of the Kavanaugh portion of the hearing, Grassley deferred his time to let Mitchell question Kavanaugh. It’s unclear just yet which other Judiciary Republicans had also given up their time to Mitchell, if any, for her initial round of questions.

Graham, in an impassioned rant, said that Kavanaugh had faced “the most unethical sham I’ve ever seen in politics.”

Hatch defended Kavanaugh’s character and suggested the judge’s conduct in high school was not particularly relevant.

“This man is not a monster, nor is he what has been represented here in these hearings. We’re talking here today about Judge Kavanaugh’s conduct in high school,” Hatch said, using a tone of incredulity.

In her one turn of questioning Kavanaugh, Mitchell used the same smooth, meticulous tone as she used with Blasey Ford. Her questions were diligent — she went into detail about how she was defining sexual assault and questioned him about his drinking habits — but not unexpected. Nonetheless, he appeared annoyed her questions.

Kavanaugh seemed much more at ease when GOP senators took back over the questioning.


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