Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced Tuesday night that he has hired Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault during this week’s hearing.
“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, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “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.”
Grassley added that he’s appreciative Mitchell stepped forward to serve in this “important and serious role.”
The announcement that Mitchell, the sex crimes bureau chief for the Maricopa County Attorney’s office in Phoenix, will lead the questioning comes as Kavanaugh faces growing scrutiny over sexual misconduct allegations.
Multiple women have come forward in recent weeks to accuse him of sexual assault.
Christine Blasey Ford told The Washington Post earlier this month that Kavanaugh tried to pin her to a bed one summer while they were in high school in the 1980s. She accused Kavanaugh of groping “her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it.”
On Sunday, The New Yorker published a report in which a woman, Deborah Ramirez, accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself in front of her during a party while the two attended Yale University.
Kavanaugh has denied the claims.
The Washington Post reported earlier on Tuesday that Republicans were leaning towards selecting Mitchell, who is a registered Republican and someone who has worked for Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for almost three decades.
All 11 Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are men, and the GOP is attempting to avoid the optics of male Republican senators asking potentially challenging questions of Ford.
The only four women on the panel are all Democrats.
Kavanaugh and Ford will testify before the committee on Thursday. The White House has said it is open to having Ramirez testify as well.