Thursday’s special session of the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee is beginning to shape up. Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, will both appear before the committee, with Ford testifying first. According to a statement by the committee today, the members of the committee will not ask questions of the witnesses, but questioning of both will be handled by a special prosecutor from the Maricopa County, Arizona district attorney’s office, Rachel Mitchell, a career sex-crimes prosecutor who reportedly has specialized in handling cases involving dated allegations of sexual assault.
“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,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley said. ‘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.”
Notably, Mitchell is currently on the Republican staff of the Judiciary Committee, where the committee described her role as “nomination investigative counsel for the majority members on the committee for consideration of this nomination.” It would appear that Mitchell has already been working with the majority for some period of time, shaping Kavanaugh’s responses to Ford’s allegations in the media and preparing him for testimony.
Also late today, the committee set a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday, signaling that the majority desires to move quickly beyond the Ford allegations and put the nomination on the floor for a full vote by the Senate early next week.