Rachel Mitchell is an experienced sex crimes prosecutor, she has also been tasked with the monumental job of questioning Brett Kavanaugh and his sexual assault accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Mitchell, despite working in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Arizona for almost 30 years, was called a “female assistant” by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell was asked by a reporter if having an all-male Senate Judiciary Committee was a problem. “We’re looking for the truth here. I don’t think because you happen to be a male you’re disqualified from listening to the evidence and making a decision based upon the evidence,” McConnell said.
“As I said earlier, and I think you already know, we have hired a female assistant to go on staff and to ask these questions in a respectful and professional way. We want this hearing to be handled very professionally, not a political sideshow like you saw put on by the Democrats when they were questioning Kavanaugh,” McConnell added.
This isn’t really surprising considering a Republican woman has never served on the committee in its 202-year-old existence. The Democrats currently have four women on the committee, specifically Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). All four of those women are expected to also ask questions during the hearing on Thursday.
The all-male issue has been surfacing a lot since accusations were raised against Kavanaugh, last week the Huffington Post reported that the committee was thinking about having female aides for its Republican committee members question Blasely to avoid obvious all-male biases.
Dr. Blasey Ford’s own layer, Michael Bromwich, is already not pleased that a prosecutor will be asking questions in a non-trial setting. He sent the following letter to the committee:
“This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate. Neither Dr. Blasey Ford nor Judge Kavanaugh is on trial. The goal should be to develop the relevant facts, not try a case.”
The central point is that there is no precedent for this Committee to bring in outside counsel for the sole purpose of shielding the members of the Committee from performing their responsibility to question witnesses.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley answered the letter by claiming the GOP wants to de-politicize the process. Here’s his statement:
“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.
Here’s Mitch McConnell’s statement:
McConnell: "We have hired a female assistant" to question Blasey Ford. pic.twitter.com/RVhpoDZB7o
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 25, 2018
The tone-deaf nature of Mitch McConnell’s “female assistant” statement is yet more proof that the committee is openly slanted against women, at least on the Republican side of the aisle.