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GOP hires Arizona sex crimes prosecutor to question Ford -- and Democrats cry foul. Here's why.

Image source: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) revealed the identity of the "experienced sex crimes prosecutor" the GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee hired to question Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford, according to a news release.

The GOP hired Rachel Mitchell, deputy county attorney for Maricopa County, Arizona, who specializes in the prosecution of sex-related felonies.

Democrats aren't pleased with the GOP's decision to hire a prosecutor to question Ford rather than having the senators do it themselves.

"Dr. Blasey Ford isn’t on trial," Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) wrote on Twitter. "This hearing is to determine whether Kavanaugh is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. By hiring a private attorney to cross-examine Dr. Blasey Ford, Republicans are trying to intimidate her and avoid being held accountable by voters."

Why did the GOP pick Mitchell?

Grassley said in his statement that the decision to hire outside counsel to question Ford was made, at least in part, to avoid a "circus" environment that existed in the early September Kavanaugh hearings (like Sen. Cory Booker's "I am Spartacus" moment).

"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 said. “I’m very appreciative that Rachel Mitchell has stepped forward to serve in this important and serious role."

Grassley’s statement also highlighted why Mitchell’s experience was relevant to this hearing.

“In particular, Mitchell has for many years instructed detectives, prosecutors, child-protection workers and social workers on the best practices for forensic interviews of victims of sex crimes,” the statement said.

Will Ford even show up?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) cast doubt about whether Ford would show up to testify on Thursday, citing the use of an outside prosecutor to question her.

Feinstein told Fox News on Tuesday that she has "no way of knowing" whether Ford will show, and Ford's attorney slammed the decision to bring Mitchell into the hearing.

"This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate," attorney Michael Bromwich said. "Neither Dr. Blasey Ford nor Judge Kavanaugh is on trial. The goal should be to develop the relevant facts, not try a case."

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