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GOP senators abandon female outside counsel at Kavanaugh hearing

Senate Judiciary Republicans mostly questioned Brett Kavanaugh themselves on Thursday, apparently abandoning...

Posted: Sep 28, 2018 11:22 AM
Updated: Sep 28, 2018 11:22 AM

Senate Judiciary Republicans mostly questioned Brett Kavanaugh themselves on Thursday, apparently abandoning plans to use a female outside counsel to question both witnesses during their hearing to vet an allegation of sexual assault against President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Republican senators on the panel brought in Rachel Mitchell, a career prosecutor experienced in prosecuting sex crimes, to question witnesses at the hearing -- a move that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said would help "de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding," when he announced the decision earlier in the week.

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The decision by GOP senators to question Kavanaugh on their own was a striking contrast to earlier in the day when they had deferred to the sex crimes prosecutor to question a woman who claims she has been the victim of a sexual assault. Senate Judiciary Republicans did not provide a comparable experience to the man accused of that assault.

Mitchell questioned Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assaulting her, on behalf of the panel's Republican lawmakers during the first part of the hearing.

But when it came time to question Kavanaugh, who denies the allegation, GOP senators took over from Mitchell in favor of asking their own questions and began to defend the high court nominee.

Mitchell started off asking questions of Kavanaugh when he appeared before the committee, but not long after, Republicans on the panel jumped in with questions and comments of their own.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham used his time to angrily accuse Democrats on the panel of hoping to "destroy" Kavanaugh's life.

Graham went on to say, "I hope the American people can see through this sham."

And he concluded with a message to his Republican colleagues, saying, "if you vote 'no', you're legitimizing the most despicable thing that I have seen in my time in politics."

GOP Sen. Thom Tillis began his questioning of Kavanaugh by apologizing to the nominee for "what you're going through right now."

"I can't imagine," he said.

"I've gone through a campaign and had a lot of smears, but it pales in comparison with what you've had to deal with," he added.

Later, the North Carolina Republican said to Kavanaugh, "I think you've been treated unfairly."

Explaining the decision by Republican senators to ask questions themselves,Tillis told reporters after the hearing, "we didn't expect" that Mitchell was "going to go the full range." He added, "so we just decided that we were going to ask questions."

Mitchell remained in the hearing room as Republicans proceeded to ask questions in her place.

Democratic senators conducted their own questioning of both witnesses and frequently expressed sympathy for Ford when they questioned her.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
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Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
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Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
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Smith131926
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Walthall115438
Greene114929
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Lawrence107917
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Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
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Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
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Chilton348079
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Escambia342244
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Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
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Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
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Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
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Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
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Perry100518
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Sumter90828
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