UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 27: Rachel Mitchell, counsel for Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, questions Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as Senators, from left, Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah.,  and John Cornyn, R-Texas, listen during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, focusing on allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 27: Rachel Mitchell, counsel for Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, questions Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as Senators, from left, Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, listen during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, focusing on allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)
PHOTO: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL/Getty Images
Now playing
03:46
In 4 hours of testimony, Ford stuck to her story
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27:  Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) shouts while questioning Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was called back to testify about claims by Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) shouts while questioning Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was called back to testify about claims by Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Win McNamee/Pool/Getty Images
Now playing
04:26
Lindsey Graham erupts during Kavanaugh hearing
Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on September 27, 2018. - University professor Christine Blasey Ford, 51, told a tense Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that could make or break Kavanaugh
Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on September 27, 2018. - University professor Christine Blasey Ford, 51, told a tense Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that could make or break Kavanaugh's nomination she was "100 percent" certain he was the assailant and it was "absolutely not" a case of mistaken identify. (Photo by Gabriella Demczuk / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read GABRIELLA DEMCZUK/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: GABRIELLA DEMCZUK/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:30
Kavanaugh asked about Fox News interview
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington.  (Win McNamee/Pool Image via AP)
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Win McNamee/Pool Image via AP)
PHOTO: Win McNamee/POOL/AP
Now playing
05:03
Durbin to Kavanaugh: Would you want FBI probe?
Christine Blasey Ford swears in at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for her to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
Christine Blasey Ford swears in at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for her to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
PHOTO: Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
Now playing
03:46
In 4 hours of testimony, Ford stuck to her story
Lindsey Graham 09272018
Lindsey Graham 09272018
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:32
Graham on hearing: I feel ambushed
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 27, 2018. - Kavanaugh was to testify in front of the panel next on Thursday afternoon, having stridently rejected the allegations of sexual abuse by Blasey Ford and two other women in prepared remarks. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 27, 2018. - Kavanaugh was to testify in front of the panel next on Thursday afternoon, having stridently rejected the allegations of sexual abuse by Blasey Ford and two other women in prepared remarks. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:01
Kavanaugh: This is an orchestrated political hit
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
00:48
Kavanaugh gets emotional during hearing
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh arrives to testify before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 27, 2018. - Kavanaugh was to testify in front of the panel next on Thursday afternoon, having stridently rejected the allegations of sexual abuse by Blasey Ford and two other women in prepared remarks. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh arrives to testify before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 27, 2018. - Kavanaugh was to testify in front of the panel next on Thursday afternoon, having stridently rejected the allegations of sexual abuse by Blasey Ford and two other women in prepared remarks. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:51
Kavanaugh: This is a national disgrace
Brett Kavanaugh speaks at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 27, 2018. (Photo by MICHAEL REYNOLDS / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MICHAEL REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Brett Kavanaugh speaks at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 27, 2018. (Photo by MICHAEL REYNOLDS / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read MICHAEL REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: MICHAEL REYNOLDS/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
00:58
Kavanaugh: I've never sexually assaulted anyone
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) speaks at a tax reform hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill September 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump has indicated that tax reform should be a major legislative goal this fall. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) speaks at a tax reform hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill September 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump has indicated that tax reform should be a major legislative goal this fall. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
Now playing
01:05
GOP Sen. Hatch: Ford is attractive and nice
PHOTO: pool
Now playing
00:57
The detail Blasey Ford remembers the most
Blumenthal Ford hearing
Blumenthal Ford hearing
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:16
Blumenthal to Ford: Should Judge be interviewed?
Now playing
02:58
Kavanaugh accuser gives vivid details of alleged assault
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:19
Christine Blasey Ford chokes up: I'm terrified
Now playing
01:08
Senator interrupts Feinstein during her statement
(CNN) —  

Senate Judiciary Republicans mostly questioned Brett Kavanaugh themselves on Thursday, apparently abandoning plans to use a female outside counsel to question both witnesses during their hearing to vet an allegation of sexual assault against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

Republican senators on the panel brought in Rachel Mitchell, a career prosecutor experienced in prosecuting sex crimes, to question witnesses at the hearing – a move that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said would help “de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding,” when he announced the decision earlier in the week.

The decision by GOP senators to question Kavanaugh on their own was a striking contrast to earlier in the day when they had deferred to the sex crimes prosecutor to question a woman who claims she has been the victim of a sexual assault. Senate Judiciary Republicans did not provide a comparable experience to the man accused of that assault.

Mitchell questioned Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assaulting her, on behalf of the panel’s Republican lawmakers during the first part of the hearing.

But when it came time to question Kavanaugh, who denies the allegation, GOP senators took over from Mitchell in favor of asking their own questions and began to defend the high court nominee.

Mitchell started off asking questions of Kavanaugh when he appeared before the committee, but not long after, Republicans on the panel jumped in with questions and comments of their own.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham used his time to angrily accuse Democrats on the panel of hoping to “destroy” Kavanaugh’s life.

Graham went on to say, “I hope the American people can see through this sham.”

And he concluded with a message to his Republican colleagues, saying, “if you vote ‘no’, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing that I have seen in my time in politics.”

GOP Sen. Thom Tillis began his questioning of Kavanaugh by apologizing to the nominee for “what you’re going through right now.”

“I can’t imagine,” he said.

“I’ve gone through a campaign and had a lot of smears, but it pales in comparison with what you’ve had to deal with,” he added.

Later, the North Carolina Republican said to Kavanaugh, “I think you’ve been treated unfairly.”

Explaining the decision by Republican senators to ask questions themselves,Tillis told reporters after the hearing, “we didn’t expect” that Mitchell was “going to go the full range.” He added, “so we just decided that we were going to ask questions.”

Mitchell remained in the hearing room as Republicans proceeded to ask questions in her place.

Democratic senators conducted their own questioning of both witnesses and frequently expressed sympathy for Ford when they questioned her.

CNN’s Jasmine Wright and MJ Lee contributed to this report.