Both witnesses were credible at the hearings yesterday. It is difficult to decide what is what and who is who. What bothers me is the preconceptions that were made before hand. I was also insulted by a women on CNN who refereed to committee as ” 12 White Men on the committee”. That is offensive to anyone either white or male. If a commentator said 12 black women, or 12 Latino women, there would have been no doubt an uprising asking for apologies. John Lemon also gets the award for being a jackass. He said if Kavanagh was innocent he would have asked for an FBI inquiry. Does Lemon not remember what Joe Biden said on Annetta Hill, Clarence Thomas hearings? FBI doesn’t do much in these inquiries. (The FBI doesn’t do much of anything). The media on both sides are quick to weigh in, however. Hollywood took the opportunity to weigh in, insult Mormons, Republicans. Deep thinkers like Mia Farrow and company has Kavagnah guilty so did Randi Singer as did George Takel.
In my mind, it is amazing what the left says and gets away with. The liberals come out with some beauts! Conservatives are usually more reserved wanting to hear the facts, but liberals on the other hand are quick to judge and quick to insult people, religions and families. Liberals hold back nothing, just look at the email;s Kavanaghs wife received. Classless and mean spirited, it is uncalled for. Leftie groups who have no shame. In the media, however, there needs to be accountability. The 12 white men comment needs to be addressed by CNN. These comments are very divisive and very prejudiced. Those comments by the women on CNN was made to be biased and she needs to be sanctioned.
Senate Republicans thought that bringing a female prosecutor to question Christine Blasey Ford would help them avoid looking like they were ganging up on an alleged victim of sexual assault.
But once the hearing was underway, they seemed to quickly regret outsourcing their work to former sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell. She lasted through the first part of the hearing featuring Ford, but was quickly relegated to the sidelines once Brett Kavanaugh started testifying, never to be heard from again.
At the outset of the hearing, Mitchell’s seemingly picayune lines of questioning failed to dent Ford’s credibility and put Republicans on the defensive over the sexual abuse allegations against Kavanaugh. The five-minute rounds of questioning — a request from Ford’s legal team that not every Democrat was comfortable with initially — didn’t help the GOP’s cause, either. Mitchell couldn’t establish any rhythm, clearly frustrating Republicans.
“I haven’t seen the whole thing, but I wish our counsel had a longer period of time rather than breaking it up into five-minute segments,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). “It’s just chopped up [so] you don’t have … a really good fact-finding type of exchange. That’s been unfortunate.”
During a lunch break a little more than halfway through Ford’s testimony, some Senate Republicans expressed concern on the chamber floor over where Mitchell was going with her questioning, according to a GOP senator present for the exchange. They were told that Mitchell was not trying to score points against Ford, but that she would put together a case that Republicans could lay out Friday during the committee vote on Kavanaugh.
The No. 2 Senate Republican, Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, said Mitchell was doing “very well” midway through her questioning of Ford, crediting the prosecutor with asking “respectful questions and [getting] pertinent information.” But Cornyn acknowledged that the format was “a little awkward with five-minute rounds.”
Despite Cornyn’s claim that Mitchell performed well, she asked only two rounds of questions of Kavanaugh and then was effectively yanked by Republican senators who chose not to cede more of their time to her.
Earlier in the day, toward the end of the questioning of Ford, it became clear Mitchell was chafing at her predicament. She asked Ford whether she knew about the ideal way to interview trauma victims.
“Would you believe me if I told you that there’s no study that says this setting, in five-minute increments, is the best way to do that?” Mitchell asked, prompting laughter from Ford and many in the room.
“We’ll stipulate to that,” one of Ford’s lawyers, Michael Bromwich, replied.
Moments later Mitchell raised the time limits again.
“Instead of submitting to an interview in California, we’re having a hearing here today — in five-minute increments,” the prosecutor said.
The negative reviews down at the other end of Pennsylvania Ave. were far more blunt, with one administration official calling the hearing a “disaster” for Kavanaugh’s confirmation hopes. The official said Republican lawmakers made a mistake by hiring a woman out of fear of the optics of Ford being questioned by an unbroken line of old white men.
Trump allies who want to see Kavanaugh confirmed were concerned that Mitchell had not managed to poke any holes in Ford’s account or character that would make her story less believable. But during the Judiciary Committee’s lunch break, they were still holding out hope that her lines of questions would lead to a breakthrough finale.
“Rachel Mitchell not only is not laying a glove on her, but, in my view, is actually helping her credibility by the gentility with which these questions are being asked and the open-ended answers that the witness is being permitted to give,” Trump ally and former Judge Andrew Napolitano said on Fox News. “The president cannot be happy with this.”
As the hearing continued with testimony from Kavanaugh in the afternoon, Republicans soon pushed Mitchell aside. She asked a couple of a rounds of questions at the outset of the session, laying out a definition of sexual activity and asking whether he’d ever engaged in such actions with Ford, which Kavanaugh denied.
Mitchell also asked him about drinking to the point of “blackout,” which he again denied. She may have actually done some damage to the nominee by beginning to question him about a party mentioned on his calendar, which appeared to involve at least two people Ford identified as being at the event where she says she was attacked. But Mitchell never returned to complete that line of questioning.
After that, the Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor remained at a small table in front of the dais, but became little more than window dressing as Republican senators asserted their right to handle subsequent rounds of questioning themselves, or to use their time to express outrage about at how Kavanaugh had been treated by Democrats.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina launched into a fiery diatribe against his Democratic colleagues, accusing them of deliberately smearing Kavanaugh to block Trump from filling the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement. Each of the other GOP senators followed in turn, but Mitchell was never heard from again.
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said he wasn’t aware of any plan to stop using Mitchell following Graham’s tirade, but it worked out that way.
“By that time, it had moved on,” Crapo said. “When it came my turn, I just went.”
Many outside lawyers watching the hearing panned Mitchell’s role, though there was disagreement about where blamed lied for the lackluster performance.
“I think the committee members have put Rachel Mitchell at a significant disadvantage by forcing her to conduct such a disjointed examination. She is unable to complete a line of questioning before her time expires,” said former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.
The Federalist Society distributed talking points, defending Mitchell’s line of questioning, noting that she had been able to show that “whoever drove [Ford] home doesn’t exist,” according to a person who received the talking points. The Federalist Society also noted that Mitchell had managed to prove that “there was no witness to support what she’s alleging happened.”
During the first half of the day, Mitchell steered clear of giving Ford more opportunities to describe the details of the assault she claims was perpetrated by Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, in an upstairs bedroom of a house in the early 1980s.
But Mitchell pursued some seemingly trivial rounds of questioning that didn’t elicit any information to undermine Ford’s testimony. Mitchell and Ford had a lengthy exchange over Ford’s fear of flying, although they established that Ford often flew for her job as a psychologist and to attend family events. Some of Mitchell’s precious time was used to question Ford about her fear of flying and to ask whether she’d been to Australia. She said she had not.
Mitchell clearly suffered from the fact that neither the committee, nor the FBI had questioned Ford previously, which left Mitchell probing a lot of dry holes and sometimes drawing answers that were unhelpful to the GOP side.
A question about why a polygraph was done in a hotel near an airport led to the sympathetic and probably unexpected answer from Ford that she was attending her grandmother’s funeral.
“She was out of her element,” said one defense attorney who knows Mitchell and asked not to be named. “Usually, she coddles the putative victim and excoriates the defendant and his witnesses. Her job for SJC Republicans is exactly opposite. And she has no second chair and staff with her at her table. Recipe for looking bad.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal argued that “the prosecutor is bolstering her credibility.”
“They’re nitpicking,” the Connecticut Democrat asserted. “Why did she cry in one place and not another? Irrelevant!”
He added: “There’s an old saying. As an old prosecutor, I learned it well: Don’t ask a question if you don’t know the answer. And she has no idea what the answer will be.”
Annie Karni contributed to this report.