Attorneys for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, are still fighting Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) over the parameters of Dr. Ford's Thursday testimony, objecting to Grassley's decision to hire an experienced, female sex crimes prosecutor to question both Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford, and complaining about Sen. Mitch McConnell's harsh language.
Despite claims over the weekend that Dr. Ford would testify on Thursday (she's even, reportedly, made it to Washington, D.C. unscathed), Dr. Ford's lawyers sent a letter to Grassley Monday night requesting the name and resume of Grassley's appointed inquisitor.
In new letter from Dr Ford’s Attorney to the Judiciary Committee, they again object to having outside counsel ask the questions for republicans at Thursday’s hearing, and ask for the name and resume of who that person will be.— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) September 25, 2018
This does not appear to be a done deal. pic.twitter.com/MwggIeBGbs
Grassley made it clear over the weekend that he might use outside counsel in questioning both Dr. Ford and Kavanaugh, and although he never detailed it, his rationale is pretty clear: the Senate Judiciary Committee would quickly turn the event into a circus, playing for reporters, recording soundbites, and asking nonsensical, self-serving questions, rather than pursuing whether Dr. Ford's allegations have merit.
Serious allegations merit serious inquiry — a task an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be better able to accomplish than, say, Sen. Cory Booker or Sen. Kamala Harris. Or even Sen. Ben Sasse, given his obvious, limited experience with prosecuting sex crimes.
It also prevents Grassley from coming under scrutiny for having only male Republican members of the Judiciary Committee appear in the hearing as part of the panel questioning Dr. Ford. It's, at its core, an attempt at visible neutrality and serious consideration, something neither Democrats, desperate for campaign material, or Dr. Ford, who hasn't substantiated her claims well to begin with, likely want.
At the time, Dr. Ford's attorneys seemed to agree that outside counsel was warranted, at least implicitly. So what changed?
The claims against McConnell might give some insight into Dr. Ford's strategy. McConnell was harsher than Grassley, but is utterly removed from the Senate Judiciary proceedings (not to mention, his comments were aimed at accusations made Sunday night by The New Yorker that quickly fell apart). His impact on Thursday's hearing is severely limited — but Dr. Ford's attorneys seem determined to make any excuse to derail Dr. Ford's testimony, almost as if she never intended to testify about her accusations to begin with.