The outside prosecutor Senate Republicans hired to lead the questioning in last week’s hearing about the sexual assault allegations against Brett M. Kavanaugh is arguing in a new memo why she would not bring criminal charges against the Supreme Court nominee.
In the five-page memo, obtained by The Washington Post, Rachel Mitchell outlines more than half a dozen reasons why she thinks the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford — who has accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a house in suburban Maryland when they were teenagers in the early 1980s — has some key inconsistencies.
“A ‘he said, she said’ case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that,” Mitchell writes in the memo, sent Sunday night to all Senate Republicans. “Dr. Ford identified other witnesses to the event, and those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them.”
Mitchell continued: “For the reasons discussed below, I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the [Senate Judiciary] Committee. Nor do I believe that this evidence is sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.”
The memo is likely to prompt significant pushback from Democratic senators, who have argued that Ford is not on trial and that Kavanaugh is merely interviewing for a job. But the memo is clearly aimed at assuaging the concerns of a handful of GOP senators who are on the fence about whether to vote to confirm Kavanaugh and are considering whose story — Ford’s or Kavanaugh’s — to believe.
I invite you to read the thing yourself. Here’s the kind of thing that she thinks seriously undermines Blasey Ford’s credibility:
She says she doesn’t like flying, but she has flown on airplanes — including to this hearing! CHECKMATE LIBS!
A few notes:
- Her declaration, in the memo addressed to “all Republican senators,” that this is “weaker” than the typical he said/she said case is reached without considering Kavanaugh’s testimony at all. Evidently, the Republicans on the judiciary do not want a side-by-side comparison, which in addition to the obvious would make plain how trivial the things Mitchell believes or pretends to believe substantially undermine Blasey Ford’s credibility are.
- The document completely loses sight of the fact that Kavanaugh is the person under scrutiny here, making the isolated consideration on Blasey Ford (who Mitchell treats as if she was the one being considered for a life-tenured judicial position) even more problematic.
- This problem is reinforced by the prejudicial language frequently used to describe ordinary behavior by Blasey Ford. (As Garance Franke-Ruta observes. this is a serious problem with sex crimes prosecutors in general.)
- No ally of Trump comes out with their self-respect or dignity intact, and Micthell’s willingness to put her name on this ridiculous document after she was without explanation pulled from questioning because the hearing was getting too close to being engaged in actual fact-finding is certainly a classic example.
I’ll let The Left have the final word:
I may be as unfamiliar with my own Canons of Ethics as I am string theory, but putting out something that make Devin Nunes' "committee reports" seem fair and balanced by comparison can't reflect well upon one as an attorney.
— The Left (@Norbizness2049) October 1, 2018
So, the question I have about the Mitchell memo: is this just pure partisan hackery, or is this how Mitchell treats every woman who reports a sexual assault in her jurisdiction?
— stepped pyramids (@steppedpyramids) October 1, 2018