We like to do point-counterpoint articles about important issues. In this case, we did another article, doing a play-by-play of prosecutor Rachel Mitchell’s performance, which most people would consider somewhere between bland and disastrous. But what did she bring up? Let’s look at the Wall Street Journal and The Federalist to see another way of looking at the hearing.
The Wall Street Journal says there’s insufficient evidence to prove that Supreme Court nominee Brent Kavanaugh was the one who attacked Christine Blasey Ford in 1982.
The sex-crimes prosecutor hired by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to question Christine Blasey Ford about her allegations of assault against Brett Kavanaugh told the panel she wouldn’t have prosecuted the case, according to documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, the Federalist offers more details of Mitchell’s final report.
“I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee,” Rachel Mitchell wrote in a five-page-long memo obtained by The Washington Post. “A ‘he said, she said’ case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that.”. . .
1. Witnesses Corroborate Not Ford, But Kavanaugh’s Stance
Ford named a friend, Leland Ingham Keyser, as at the drunken high school party where Ford says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. Keyser has repeatedly said that she does not remember any such event and has refused to corroborate Ford’s story.
2. Ford Keeps Changing Her Story On When The Alleged Attack Occurred
Initially, Ford kept altering the timeline about when the alleged attack took place, then suddenly narrowed it down to the summer of 1982 just before her testimony without explaining how she was able to do that. . .
3. Ford Didn’t Name Kavanaugh As The Attacker Until Now
Leading up to the hearing, Ford told The Post she had therapy notes from a marriage counseling session in 2012 in which she outlined the alleged assault. Post reporter Emma Brown noted that Ford did not name Kavanaugh as the assailant in these notes. The only time Ford has named Kavanaugh as the assailant on the record was after he was nominated as a Supreme Court justice.
4. Ford Has Changed The Description Of The Trauma She Allegedly Suffered
“When speaking with her husband, Dr. Ford changed her description of the incident to become less specific,” Mitchell notes. “Dr. Ford testified that she told her husband about a ‘sexual assault’ before they were married. But she told the Washington Post that she informed her husband that she was the victim of ‘physical abuse’ at the beginning of their marriage. She testified that, both times, she was referring to the same incident.”
5. Ford Can’t Recall Key Details That Could Corroborate Her Story
Mitchell noted that Ford doesn’t remember who invited her to the party nor does she remember how she heard about it. She doesn’t remember how she got to and from the party where she says the attack took place — which before cell phones is odd. . .
6. Ford Has Changed Her Story About The Alleged Attack
“According to her letter to Senator Feinstein, Dr. Ford heard Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge talking to other partygoers downstairs while she was hiding in the bathroom after the alleged assault,” Mitchell states. “But according to her testimony, she could not hear them talking to anyone.”
7. The Number Of People She Says Were Present At The Party Keeps Changing
As The Federalist reported last week, Ford’s testimony has been inconsistent in the number of people she says were at the party. She told Post there were four boys at the party, but in her polygraph statement, she said there were “four people boys and a couple of girls.”
8. Ford’s Recent Memory Is Full Of Gaps
Mitchell notes that Ford was unable to remember key details of events that have unfolded over the past couple of months. She couldn’t remember whether she showed the Post reporter her therapy notes or if she merely summarized them for her. When asked if she had a copy of the notes in her possession when she reached out to the newspaper’s tipline via WhatsApp on July 6, Ford couldn’t remember if she had a copy of her notes in her possession or if she reviewed them in her therapist’s office.
9. Stated Reasons For Coming Forward Are Not Consistent
When Ford’s letter was passed along to Sen. Dianne Feinstein in late July, Ford requested anonymity, but her stated desire to conceal her identity doesn’t match her actions. Mitchell notes: “the person operating the tipline at the Washington Post was the first person other than her therapist or husband to whom she disclosed the identity of her alleged attacker.”
10. Ford’s Polygraph Is Suspect
Ford was unable to recall if she took the polygraph on the day of or the day following her grandmother’s funeral in early August — a memory lapse Mitchell notes is troubling, adding that “It would also have been inappropriate to administer a polygraph to someone who was grieving.”. . .
11. The Claimed Psychological Effects Of The Trauma Keep Changing
Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee she needed the hearing to be delayed because she was afraid of flying due to trauma associated with the alleged attack. When pressed on her travel habits, however, Ford conceded that she does in fact fly frequently, including to Hawaii, French Polynesia, and Costa Rica.
12. Ford’s Lawyers Probably Affected Ford’s Story
When asked if Ford had considered taking up Senate Republicans on their offer to fly out to California, she said that was “unclear,” which could mean that her attorneys failed to communicate a key component of the negotiations.
The Intercept, the publication that has been calling the Russia investigation a witch hunt for two years, and which first published Ford’s letter, thinks Mitchell is getting it wrong.
The new argument from Republicans looking to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — in spite of Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault claims — is that he should be judged by the same standard extended to criminal defendants.
But is this a trial of Kavanaugh, or “job interview,” as Democrats have been saying? If you were interviewing someone for a job at your company and four women accused him of abuse, would you dare put him on staff? And your job would not be a lifetime appointment that would be the final voice on the meaning of the United States Constitution.
The burden of proof in a job interview is not the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard applied in criminal proceedings, where the threat to personal liberty is extraordinarily high.
The Intercept goes on to note that Mitchell was hired by Republicans to attack Ford, so her memo is not really an objective analysis.
That Mitchell critiques Ford’s ability to remember events from 36 years prior, while failing to comment on Kavanaugh’s inability to remember attending parties like the one Ford described (even as a similar event was marked on his much ballyhooed calendar) speaks volumes.
. . . her choice to weigh small memory lapses, like Ford’s inability to recall whether she showed a full or partial set of her therapy notes to the Washington Post, while ignoring Kavanaugh’s significant omissions. . .
Anyone who has strong memories of a traumatic event might relate to the notion that while some details are indelible, like, for instance, the sound of an attacker’s “uproarious laughter,” other, more quotidian details fall away.
The Intercept trashes each of Mitchell’s assertions, such as the fact that Ford was not at first sure of when the event took place but realized when it must have been.
Ford: I can’t give the exact date. And I would like to be more helpful about the date, and if I knew when Mark Judge worked at the Potomac Safeway, then I would be able to be more helpful in that way. So I’m just using memories of when I got my driver’s license. I was 15 at the time. . .
Notably. . .the abbreviated FBI investigation into the incident has been limited to exclude an inquiry into that store’s [Safeway’s] employment records.)
In one of her more blatant mischaracterizations, Mitchell argues that Ford “struggled to identify Judge Kavanaugh as the assailant by name.” There is no basis for this statement.
Whether you believe Ford or Kavanaugh will probably depend on your unrelated political views, but newer discussions have been about the fact that Kavanaugh did not bother to view Ford’s testimony. Is that the behavior of a judge? Likewise, his aggressive behavior, as well as his representations of the testimony. But most damning is his acting as an anti-Democrat, which suggests that he is incapable of hearing cases dispassionately.