The much-talked about hearing, which is set to scrutinize sexual assault allegations against President Donald Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, is just around the corner.
However, the Republicans, in spite of the accusations and widespread resistance, appear to be pretty optimistic about the alleged sexual abuser heading the nation’s highest court.
Just recently, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the press he believed Kavanaugh would be approved to succeed former Justice Anthony Kennedy.
In response, a reporter asked McConnell one very important question.
“All of you standing here today, all men. Everyone on the Judiciary Committee, all men. You don’t have women making decisions about Judge Kavanaugh. What message does that send to the American people?” asked the reporter.
The senator replied by assuring not to worry about the all-male GOP Judiciary Committee, as a “female assistant” has been hired to ask Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University in California, about the alleged sexual incident dating back to 1982.
“We have hired a female… assistant to go on staff and 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 Judge Kavanaugh,” McConnell replied.
So, who is the “female assistant” the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have hired to lead the round of questioning in the upcoming hearing?
The Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who initially didn’t reveal the woman’s identity, recently announced Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona prosecutor specializing in sex crimes, will reportedly ask questions from Kavanaugh’s first accuser.
“I’m very appreciative that Rachel Mitchell has stepped forward to serve in this important and serious role,” said Grassley. “Ms. Mitchell has been recognized in the legal community for her experience and objectivity.”
Mitchell, who has up until now kept a fairly low-profile, is a Maricopa County attorney. She has been actively working for 26 years and currently heads the special victims division, which handles sexual assault cases.
The Arizona Republican’s most high-profile case is the one she fought in 2005 against the former Catholic priest, Rev. Paul LeBrun, who had been accused of molesting six boys between the ages of 11 and 13 during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
According to the Arizona Republic, LeBrun was the first priest to go before a jury and fight the charges.
After her relentless efforts, in what amounted to a major victory for Mitchell, the priest was sentenced to 111 years in prison.
More than a decade later, Mitchell has been chosen to oversee an even more controversial case — this time involving a potential Supreme Court judge.
“Rachel will do her job as a professional,”Cindi Nannetti, Mitchell’s predecessor and former supervisor told The Washington Post. “And she will do it with the utmost respect to the committee. She does not play politics when it comes to anything involving her work.”
Nannetti added that under the leadership of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office failed to thoroughly probe number of sex crimes that were reported in between 2005 and 2007.
However, when those neglected files were turned over to the county attorney’s office, Mitchell was one of the lead prosecutors who looked into those cases to determine which of those were still viable, according to Nannetti.
Other professionals in the field weighed in on Mitchell’s credibility and work ethic.
“She’s one of these career prosecutors who specializes in sex crimes,” Paul Ahler, who worked at the county attorney’s office years ago, told The Arizona Republic. “It’s hard to find those people because a lot of people get burned out on those issues, but it’s kind of been her life mission.”
In the past, Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona had recognized her as the “Outstanding Arizona Sexual Assault Prosecutor of the Year.”
For obvious reasons, the new role Mitchell has undertook has brought her under immense scrutiny, where Democrats and Republicans alike would keep a close eye on her.
On the other hand, advocates of Kavanaugh might naturally expect her to grill the alleged victim with difficult questions.
However, the former Arizona Republic reporter, Reaves predicted Mitchell will please neither parties.
“She’s going to be so good that both sides are going to have problems with her,” he said.
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