On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced that the committee had retained sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. By Wednesday, liberals had concocted three baseless attacks against Mitchell and the GOP.
“The majority members have followed the bipartisan recommendation to hire as staff counsel for the committee an experienced career sex-crimes prosecutor to question the witnesses at Thursday’s hearing,” Grassley announced in a statement. “The goal is to de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding and giving senators an opportunity to launch their presidential campaigns.”
Grassley explained that the committee hired Mitchell “to have questions asked by expert staff counsel to establish the most fair and respectful treatment of the witnesses possible.”
Mitchell has served as a prosecutor since 1993. She spent 12 years running the bureau responsible for the prosecution of sex-related felonies, including child molestation and adult sexual assault. She has received numerous awards for her work, including a 2003 Outstanding Arizona Sexual Assault Prosecutor of the Year.
So, how did liberals respond?
1. Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Rachel Mitchell served as sex crimes prosecutor in Maricopa County, the same county where Joe Arpaio was elected sheriff. Liberals seized on this connection.
“11 Fraidy Cat Republican *men* need a ringer to do their dirty work: Rachel Mitchell, 26 years in Arizona’s Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, will interrogate Ford, ask Kavanaugh his favorite color. Maricopa County. Rings a bell. OH, Joe Arpaio was sheriff for 25 of her 26 yrs,” tweeted Phillippe Reines, former advisor to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of State.
11 Fraidy Cat Republican *men* need a ringer to do their dirty work: Rachel Mitchell, 26 years in Arizona’s Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, will interrogate Ford, ask Kavanaugh his favorite color. Maricopa County. Rings a bell.
OH, Joe Arpaio was sheriff for 25 of her 26 yrs. https://t.co/dRdz8Y0tFn
— Philippe Reines (@PhilippeReines) September 26, 2018
John G. Hertzler, a former Star Trek actor who ran for Congress in New York this year, claimed that Rachel Mitchell was “former prosecutor under Joe Arpaio of Arizona. She handled nearly all his immigration cases and the cases involving sex crimes. In legal circles familiar with that relationship…she was referred to as ‘Arpaio’s Bit-ch.’ So I heard.” Hertzler did not back up his claims or refer to any source.
Perhaps the most widely-publicized version of this claim came from the Washington Post‘s resident former conservative-turned-rabid-anti-Trump-activist Jennifer Rubin. “Only this crowd of clueless old white guys wold pick someone from Sheriff Joe’s operation,” Rubin tweeted. “I was saying no self-respecting lawyer would take the job of giving cover to GOP cowards. I was right.”
Only this crowd of clueless old white guys wold pick someone from Sheriff Joe's operation. I was saying no self-respecting lawyer would take the job of giving cover to GOP cowards. I was right.
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) September 26, 2018
Rubin rightly received a great deal of criticism from this tweet. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) noted 2,900 retweets (it’s up to more than 24,000 now) “for a tweet maligning someone with patently false information. Mitchell works for the Maricopa County Attorney, not Maricopa County Sheriff.”
2,900 tweets and counting for a tweet maligning someone with patently false information.
Mitchell works for the Maricopa County Attorney, not Maricopa County Sheriff. https://t.co/yXyhpZknEf
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) September 26, 2018
Brahm Resnik, a 12 News reporter in Arizona, directly addressed the “Joe Arpaio connection. Rachel Mitchell works for elected Maricopa County attorney. She has worked under at least 3 elected county attorneys during time as a prosecutor in that office. Joe Arpaio was Maricopa County sheriff. Two separate elected offices.” [Located in two separate buildings, according to their separate websites.]
People are asking about Joe Arpaio connection. Rachel Mitchell works for elected Maricopa County attorney. She has worked under at least 3 elected county attorneys during time as a prosecutor in that office. Joe Arpaio was Maricopa County sheriff. Two separate elected offices.
— BrahmResnik (@brahmresnik) September 26, 2018
Resnik also shot down claims that Rachel Mitchell was responsible for Arpaio’s failure to investigate sex crimes. He referenced Cindi Nannetti, Mitchell’s predecessor, who told the Washington Post, “She is one of the finest prosecutors in the country.”
Re questions about Rachel Mitchell's connection to Joe Arpaio's failure to investigate sex crimes, some insight from Cindi Nannetti, Mitchell's predecessor & a very well-regarded former prosecutor (via WaPo) pic.twitter.com/nELasNvYzh
— BrahmResnik (@brahmresnik) September 26, 2018
Also in that Post article, Antonia Noori Farzan reported that Rachel Mitchell was part of the solution, not the problem, with Arpaio. “Under the leadership of then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office did not thoroughly investigate hundreds of sex crimes that were reported between 2005 and 2007. After those files were turned over to the county attorney’s office [again, a separate office], Mitchell was one of the prosecutors who sorted through them to figure out which cases were still viable, Nannetti said,” Farzan reported.
The kicker? Rachel Mitchell “later conduced training sessions for the sheriff’s office, in hopes of avoiding a repeat.”
Naturally, the New York Times only mentioned the Arpaio connection, not the clear separation between Arpaio’s office and Mitchell’s. “Second, she works in the Maricopa County attorney’s office in Arizona. (And yes, that is the very same Maricopa County where Joe Arpaio was sheriff from 1993 to 2017),” the Times‘ Matt Stevens reported.
By the way, NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard shed some important light on the situation. “Joe Arpaio says he does not know who Rachel Mitchell is. He could not identify where she worked/background.”
FWIW: Joe Arpaio says he does not know who Rachel Mitchell is. He could not identify where she worked/background.
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) September 26, 2018
2. Biblical sexual morality.
Beyond Rachel Mitchell’s stellar reputation and record as a prosecutor, little is known about her personal life. This did not stop Talking Points Memo (TPM)’s editor and publisher Josh Marshall from suggesting Mitchell is some kind of sexual radical — because she gave an interview for a publication that upholds biblical sexual morality (oh, horror!).
“Grassley’s choice to question Blasey Ford is an AZ sex crimes prosecutor whose only interview ever is with a publication which espouses strict ‘biblical sexual morality’ and hyper-traditional views on gender, sex and sexual ethics,” Marshall tweeted.
Grassley's choice to question Blasey Ford is an AZ sex crimes prosecutor whose only interview ever is with a publication which espouses strict 'biblical sexual morality' and hyper-traditional views on gender, sex and sexual ethics. https://t.co/XNPzU2yNVU via @TPM
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 26, 2018
“It turns out one of the only at-length interviews Mitchell has ever done is with a publication put out by the far right ‘fundamental baptist’ organization Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International (FBFI), an organization closely tied to Bob Jones University and espousing a range of hyper-traditionalist views on gender, sexuality and sexual ethics,” Marshall wrote.
What are the “hyper-traditionalist” views? The TPM publisher quoted FBFI’s complete belief statement on biblical sexual morality (which he put in scare-quotes):
Sexual relations do not alone constitute a genuine marriage (John 4:17–18) due to the fact that sexual activity and relations outside the marriage bond as defined above are always considered to be sinful (Heb. 13:4; Matt. 19:9).
All other forms of sexual activity outside of monogamous, heterosexual marriage are forbidden in Scripture, including fornication (“any sexual activity outside of marriage” 1 Cor. 7:2; 1 Thess. 4:3), adultery (“with someone other than one’s own spouse” Exod. 20:14; Matt. 5:28), homosexuality (“any same-sex sexual activity” Gen. 19:5–7; Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:27; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10; Jude 7), incest (“sexual activity with family members or relatives” Lev. 20:11–21; 1 Cor. 5:1), obscenity (Eph. 5:3–4), pornography (Matt. 5:28; Mark 7:21–22; 1 Thess. 4:5; Rev. 18:9), prostitution (Prov. 5:1–23; 7:4–27; 1 Cor. 6:15–18), transvestitism (Deut. 22:5; 1 Cor. 11:4–15), criminal sexual behavior (rape, molestation, pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, pederasty, etc., Rom 13:1–6; Lev 18–22), and impurity (“moral filth in one’s heart and thoughts,” James 1:21; Rev 22:11; Rom 1:24; 2 Pet 2:10).
WOAH! This publication quotes the Bible?! How dare they?
These “hyper-traditionalist” views come from a plain reading of the Bible verses FBFI rightly cited. Conservative Christians across America agree with these views, despite attempts from liberals — led by the smear group the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) — to exile biblical sexual morality from public discourse by labeling it “hateful.”
Interestingly, Marshall admitted that “Mitchell’s comments in the interview are not really controversial. The interview is about helping organizations and particularly churches develop standards and best practices for dealing with child sexual abuse.”
The TPM publisher also admitted, “What got my attention is how the interview came about. This is a publication and organization that espouses hyper-traditional positions on gender, sexual ethics and sexuality. … It doesn’t seem like a big stretch to think that this may be part of her own worldview.”
Then Marshall wondered how Grassley chose Rachel Mitchell. “How did this fall to her?” This questioning suggests her “hyper-traditionalist” views might have something to do with it.
Brahm Resnik, again a local Arizona reporter, addressed the question of how Grassley found her. “Unconfirmed but obvious connection is US Sen. Jon Kyl, recently appointed by AZ Gov [Doug Ducey] to fill McCain seat. Kyl was Kavanaugh’s ‘sherpa.’ guiding him thru confirmation. Kyl still has extensive GOP ties in AZ,” Resnik tweeted.
HOW DID SJC FIND HER? Unconfirmed but obvious connection is US Sen. Jon Kyl, recently appointed by AZ Gov @dougducey to fill McCain seat. Kyl was Kavanaugh's 'sherpa.' guiding him thru confirmation. Kyl still has extensive GOP ties in AZ.
— BrahmResnik (@brahmresnik) September 26, 2018
You mean it’s not some oppressive conservative Christian “Handmaid’s Tale” cabal? Who would have thought?
3. Republicans are “too chicken” to question Ford themselves.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. When liberals weren’t busy tying Rachel Mitchell to Joe Arpaio or suggesting she’s a secret proponent of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” they attacked Senate Republicans for being “too chicken” to question Ford themselves.
Duke University social media staffer Sergio Tovar tweeted, “So [Thom Tillis] and his Republican colleagues are too chicken to question a woman about sexual assault? If you want to outsource your job, we can take care of that in 2020.”
— Sergio Tovar (@sergiotovar) September 26, 2018
MSNBC contributor Jill Wine-Banks attacked the idea of hiring Rachel Mitchell as a “Bad R idea.” She argued, “this is not a criminal case, but a search for truth re Kavanaugh’s character for a unique lifetime job. A better solution=electing women or men who could handle the job.”
Bad R idea. First, this is not a criminal case, but a search for truth re Kavanaugh's character for a unique lifetime job. A better solution=electing women or men who could handle the job. https://t.co/YV4PTYCBex
— Jill Wine-Banks (@JillWineBanks) September 26, 2018
These attacks echoed Phillippe Reines’ slam on the “Fraidy Cat Republican *men.*” Not only are such attacks ridiculous ad hominem smears, but they are utterly hypocritical.
Had Republicans not hired Rachel Mitchell to question Christine Blasey Ford, but instead decided to question her themselves, they would have been attacked as misogynistic pigs for thinking eleven men should question a female alleged victim of sexual assault.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Republicans did their best to honor Christine Blasey Ford’s requests, and they have chosen an eminently qualified sexual assault prosecutor to question her.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.