It’s hard to drive to Hawaii—and other valuable lessons from last week’s Judicial Committee hearing.

The outside prosecutor hired by the Republicans to provide them cover for the questioning of Christine Blasey Ford last Thursday has issued her findings: Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor from Arizona, found that Professor’s Ford accusations were weak, have no corroboration, and seemed inconsistent. In addition Professor Ford did not offer a consistent account of when the alleged assault happened, “struggled” to identify her assailant by name, and had “no memory of key details.”

All this from the woman who, at one point, quizzed Ford about her fear of flying: how she had gotten to Washington, whether she has to fly for work, and how she reached the many island locations she said she had traveled to. (She should have asked Trump: he knows islands are surrounded by water.) Ms. Mitchell also asked who had paid for Ford’s polygraph test, implying that Ford was bankrolled by outside groups.

The only one bankrolled by an outside group was Mitchell herself.

As for Kavanaugh, who kept tripping over her questions until the committee rescued him, she simply reminded us that he was not on trial. No further comment.

Still, the only real mistake Ms. Mitchell made in releasing her findings is forgetting that tens of millions actually saw the proceedings—listened to the questions and answers. We heard Professor Ford’s attention to detail, the consistency of her responses, her 100% confidence that the assailant was Brett Kavanaugh. The only inconsistency came from Mitchell herself, more than likely because she asked questions in five-minute bursts while she covered for the committee Republicans. Professor Ford’s answers to the Democrats, asked at a more relaxed (i.e., normal) pace, may have sounded different. But they were not inconsistent.

At times it seemed Ms. Mitchell was trying to trip up Professor Ford. She never did—until she wrote her findings and turned them in.

I guess we should be used to this. Ever since twenty-seven people attended Trump’s inauguration (that’s my alternate fact—live with it!) and he claimed there were 1.5 million in the crowd (that’s his), we’ve grown accustomed to being told unabashed lies by shameless liars. I do not place Ms. Mitchell in that category, but because Jeff Flake is going all renegade in her home state, she may have felt pressured to placate the Republicans and avoid death threats. You know, like the ones Professor Ford received.

In the end Ms. Mitchell did herself no favors. Her attempts at empathy reminded me of Chuck Grassley and Donald Trump’s, two men who know that empathy is a good thing but don’t quite know how to carry it off. Her attempts at entrapment fell flat, as they always do with innocent people.

In a way I feel sorry for Ms. Mitchell: had she been effusive in her praise of Professor Ford, there’d have been accusations of gender bias. But at this point in our country’s history, when we feel no compunction about eleven Republican men deciding a women’s reproductive rights for the next thirty years, maybe it’s time for more of that.

 

 

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