Former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt on Thursday found himself appalled at the performance of his one-time party over the way it is conducting the hearing of Christine Blasey Ford. She also urged the White House to direct the FBI to investigate Blasey's allegations, as well as sexual misconduct claims brought by a second woman.
Ford and Kavanaugh's testimony will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday. Mitchell now serves as Maricopa county's deputy county attorney and chief of the special victims division, which handles sex crimes and family violence.
Cornyn said that the committee has worked to accommodate Flake's concerns in how they set up the questioning of Ford and Kavanaugh.
Still, others noted the benefits of having Mitchell pose some questions for the witnesses. Mitchell has "been recognized in the legal community for her experience and objectivity", Grassley said - recognition that will now come under intense scrutiny when she faces Ford.
"[A senator] will do something that you guys will run 24/7, and inadvertently somebody will do something that's insensitive", he told reporters Monday.
"The American people can be confident that Rachel Mitchell's experience as a conscientious prosecutor, trained to seek justice, protect victims, and pursue truth will assist the Senate Judiciary Committee in performing its important task", Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said.
The Republican side of the committee consists of 11 men and opted to bring in Mitchell to avoid the images of a group of men questioning Ford on live television. All said Ford told them about the alleged assault before Kavanaugh's nomination to the high court. Kavanaugh has sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006.
"In this very public arena, with these incredibly high stakes, we need to get this right", they wrote.
Though Mitchell made no explicit arguments, her whole process today seemed created to elicit support for an argument that Democrats and their pet lawyers had manipulated the Supreme Court confirmation process for their own political gain.
Mitchell has helped train psychologists, medical professionals, forensic interviewers and detectives in sex-crimes issues. But without a real investigation, he added, there's not much she can do. "There is no way that that is going to happen ― not even close ― in the form they are suggesting". They succeeded in that task because Republicans, wanting to avoid charges of sexism, made a decision to treat Ford with kid gloves and avoid setting an agenda. Seeming sympathetic to Ford's plight, she waxed on about how the process today had been far from ideal ("Would you believe me if I told you that there's no study that says this setting, in 5 minute increments, is the best way to do [trauma-informed interviews]?") and that a closed session in Ford's home state of California would have been more appropriate. Which means that from now on, if Kavanaugh goes down, we can assume that an allegation, spoken with force, is a political kill shot.