Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona prosecutor who questioned Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Ford Thursday, told Senate Republicans following the hearing that she would not have prosecuted Kavanaugh based on the existing evidence supporting Ford’s sexual assault allegation, the Washington Post reports.
Mitchell, who heads the special victims division of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, questioned Ford extensively but was relegated to the sidelines during Kavanuagh’s questioning after Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina refused to yield his time to her and instead delivered a heated tirade against his Democratic colleagues’s handling of Ford’s allegations.
Republicans were reportedly buoyed by Kavanaugh’s emotional opening statement, protesting what he considers an unfair process by which the Democrats revealed Ford’s sexual assault allegation through a media leak days before his confirmation vote.
“The committee’s going to vote in the morning, and we’re going to move forward,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday evening.
“I’m optimistic we’ll get to confirmation,” Senator John Cornyn of Texas said.
Republican Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, however, remained publicly undecided after meeting behind closed doors after the hearing with their Democratic colleague Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
“I’m not answering those kinds of questions,” Flake told reporters after the hearing when asked if he believed Ford’s testimony.
President Trump issued a strong statement in support of his Supreme Court nominee following the hearing.
“Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him,” he tweeted minutes after the hearing ended. “His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!”