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Mitchell, who is asking questions for Republicans on the committee, asked: "Would you believe me if I told you that there's no study that says that this setting in 5-minute increments is the best way" to question someone about a sexual assault?

An experienced sex-crimes prosecutor has been tabbed to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who has accused him of sexual assault.

Bringing in Mitchell is "a transparently clumsy attempt to avoid the visual of a panel of all-male Republican Judiciary Committee members grilling a survivor about her sexual assault allegations", said Michael Polenberg, vice president of government affairs for Safe Horizons, a victims' advocacy organization in NY.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., changed all that late Thursday afternoon. Instead, they have hired Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona prosecutor with experience dealing with sex crimes, the Arizona Republic reports.

In discussion with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, former assistant US attorney Mimi Rocah weighed in on the shamelessness of Republicans ditching their own strategy to go after Ford when it started blowing up in their faces.

"I think the prosecutor is very tuned into Ford's needs", she said.

Comedian Kathy Griffin has a huge problem with the fact that Republicans chose a sexual violence prosecutor to question Christine Blasey Ford - and it has nothing to do with the questions the prosecutor asked.

Montgomery says Mitchell's role will be to test the legitimacy of Ford's allegations.

Arizona criminal defense attorney Tracey Westerhausen, who is also a close friend of Mitchell's, told CNN that Mitchell's reputation in the courtroom is that she's "extremely prepared" and "extremely methodical".

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"I'm committed to providing a forum to both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh on Thursday that is safe, comfortable and dignified".

On Wednesday, a third woman, Julie Swetnick, came forward, alleging that Kavanaugh was sexually aggressive with girls in high school and was present at a party where she was "gang-raped".

In the glare of television lights, the a strict five-minute time limit that seemed to get in Mitchell's way repeatedly. Our job is not to determine whether Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of a crime.

Dr. Ford's attorney: "We'll stipulate to that".

Hill faced a blistering set of questions in nationally televised hearings, sparking liberal energy heading into the 1992 elections, in which female candidates won campaigns at historic levels to that point - 1992 was dubbed the "Year of the Woman".

But Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said using a trained lawyer allows for less grandstanding by senators with political aspirations. They said they want to avoid an overtly political process. "Now Republicans don't even need to hear her before they move ahead with a vote", she said. After Kavanaugh came to the witness table around 3 p.m. Thursday, delivering an enraged 45-minute statement attacking the Democrats, Republicans chose to follow suit.

"I think this was the wrong assignment at the wrong time for her", Romley said.

In a 2012 interview with FrontLine magazine, which is associated with the church group Foundations Baptist Fellowship International, Mitchell said she did not initially plan to go into prosecuting sex crimes but was inspired after working with an attorney who prosecuted a youth choir director.