Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley announced late Tuesday the identity of the committee’s outside counsel, the expert sex crime attorney who will be questioning Christine Blasey Ford, the accuser of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
According to Phoenix, Arizona-based KTVK, the choice is Rachel Mitchell, the sex crimes bureau chief for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Arizona.
She has been at the county attorney’s office for 26 years.
Mitchell was praised for her “decades of experience” on the judicial side of sex crimes in a news release from Grassley’s office.
Mitchell’s employer is also speaking highly of Grassley’s choice.
A release from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office published by KTVK stated: “Mitchell has lectured and trained around the country on the topic of sexual assault investigations and prosecutions. She is professional, fair, objective, and has a caring heart for victims.”
“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 in the statement.
Mitchell was described as a “prosecutor’s prosecutor” in this Fox News coverage of her appointment:
With Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh quickly becoming one of the most important political events of 2018, pursuit of the truth has never been more crucial. Mitchell will be tasked with conducting questioning of both Ford and Kavanaugh.
The news that a special counsel would handle the questioning sent shivers down the spines of Democrats. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, announced Tuesday that she could not guarantee Ford would show up to the hearing at all, according to Fox News.
In his statement announcing Mitchell’s appointment, Grassley, an Iowa Republican, made his reasoning clear.
“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,” the senator said.
“I promised Dr. Ford that I would do everything in my power to avoid a repeat of the ‘circus’ atmosphere in the hearing room that we saw the week of September 4.”
The testimonies are scheduled to take place on Thursday. The committee’s vote has been scheduled for the very next day.
Some politicians and media figures are upset with Mitchell already, taking to Twitter to vent their frustration.
I’m a former prosecutor. If Rachel Mitchell was interested in the truth, the first thing she would do right now is demand that she be allowed to question a witness that the victim remembers was at the scene of the crime. Why is the GOP hiding Mark Judge from the American public? https://t.co/ZbztfsXss7
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 26, 2018
Why does the GOP have a sex crimes prosecutor questioning the victim but not alleged perpetrator or witnesses? https://t.co/EBSPOrCkAz
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) September 26, 2018
Only this crowd of clueless old white guys wold pick someone from Sheriff Joe’s operation. I was saying no self-respecting lawyer would take the job of giving cover to GOP cowards. I was right.
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) September 26, 2018
That last tweet, of course, was referring to former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. However, it should be noted that the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is a different institution the the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
With complaints already starting, it’s clear that Mitchell has her work cut out for her.
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