By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: September 28, 2018 ~
Apparently, somebody on the Republican staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee forgot to give Rachel Mitchell the memo advising her that she was supposed to lob softball questions at Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee now accused by two separate women of sexual assault and by a third of aiding and abetting the gang rape of women during his teen years.
Rachel Mitchell is the long-tenured sex crimes prosecutor from Maricopa County, Arizona who was hired by the Republican majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee to avoid the optics of 11 male Republicans questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford yesterday over the intimate details of her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
The Republicans allowed Mitchell to conduct all questioning of Ford, who testified first, on behalf of Republicans, and to proceed with questioning Kavanaugh in the afternoon session that followed. The way the proceeding worked up until the point that Mitchell was fired from her post was that the Chair of the Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley, would name a Republican Senator and then designate his five minute slot for questions to Mitchell to conduct on his behalf. After that five minutes was up, Grassley would then call on a Democratic Senator, who would personally conduct the questioning, not using Mitchell as a surrogate.
This is the point in Mitchell’s questioning of Kavanaugh that doomed Mitchell to get her walking papers. After this exchange, Mitchell continued to sit at her little desk in the hearing room but her voice was never again heard. The Republican Senators from that point on took over their own five minute slots. But instead of questioning Kavanaugh, most of the time was spent lavishing praise on the nominee or demonizing Democrats.
Mitchell: Okay. Are you aware that in Maryland there is no statute of limitations that would prohibit you being charged even if this happened in 1982?
Kavanaugh: That’s my understanding.
Mitchell: Have you at any time been contacted by any members of local police agencies regarding this matter.
Kavanaugh: No ma’am.
An inquiring mind might wonder why Kavanaugh, if he is innocent, has looked into the statute of limitations in Maryland. Mitchell then asks Kavanaugh if any of the women he has worked with as an adult have made any complaints of a sexual nature against him and he answers no. Then comes the fatal, final end to Mitchell being allowed to probe further.
Mitchell: Since Dr. Ford’s allegation was made public, how many times have you been interviewed by the committee?
Kavanaugh: It’s been three or four. I’m trying to remember now. It’s been several times. Each of these new things, as absurd as they are, would get on the phone and kind of go through them.
Mitchell: So you have submitted to interviews specifically about Dr. Ford’s allegation?
Mitchell: And what about Deborah Ramirez’ allegation that you waved your penis in front of her?
Mitchell: What about Julie Swetnick’s allegation that you repeatedly engaged in drugging and gang raping or allowing women to be gang raped?
Kavanaugh: Yes. Yes. I’ve been interviewed about it.
Mitchell: Were your answers to my questions today consistent with the answers that you gave to the committee in these various interviews.
Kavanaugh: Yes ma’am.
From that point on, Mitchell sat silent at her lonely little desk, shuffling file folders and watching as the Republican Senators took over her role.
It’s highly likely that the Republicans were hoping that Mitchell would not be invoking the imagery of Kavanaugh’s penis waving about or plant in the committee’s mind that the bellicose man appearing before them might also be capable of plotting the gang rape of women. (Not helping himself out in terms of demonstrating the temperament to get a lifetime appointment to serve on the highest court in the land, Kavanaugh vacillated between tears and rage during the first half hour of his testimony, then turned aggressively belligerent to Democrats on the committee throughout the afternoon. That behavior stood in stark contrast to the calm, polite demeanor of Dr. Ford throughout her portion of the hearing.)
After Mitchell’s last questions were uttered, it was Democratic Senator Dick Durbin’s turn to question Kavanaugh. Durbin asked Kavanaugh, in every way humanly possible, if Kavanaugh would be willing to ask the FBI to investigate these charges. Kavanaugh evaded each question regarding the FBI, giving the distinct impression that it was not part of his game plan. Durbin was just one of a multiple number of Democratic Senators who asked Kavanaugh why he is not asking for, or insisting on, an FBI investigation in order to deliver the truth to the American people.
All of Kavanaugh’s female accusers have asked that the FBI be allowed to investigate as have the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee in writing. Grassley and President Donald Trump, the two men who could get the FBI to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh and investigate the charges, have refused to make the request to the FBI. Grassley has also refused to issue a subpoena for the testimony of Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s high school friend whom Dr. Ford’s says was present in the locked room at the time of her attack by Kavanaugh.
In a stunning development last evening, the President of the American Bar Association, Bob Carlson, sent a letter to Grassley and Senator Dianne Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asking that the FBI be allowed to investigate before the Senate votes on Kavanaugh’s nomination. The letter reads in part:
“We make this request because of the ABA’s respect for the rule of law and due process under law. The basic principles that underscore the Senate’s constitutional duty of advice and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the FBI.
“Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote. Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court. It must remain an institution that will reliably follow the law and not politics.”
Despite that well-reasoned letter from an organization of 400,000 lawyers, as of this writing the Republican majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee has a committee vote scheduled for 9:30 a.m. this morning and a full Senate vote slated for next week — with no word of any planned FBI investigation.