The outside counsel who questioned Christine Blasey Ford told Republican senators Thursday night she would not have been able to prosecute Ford’s sexual assault claim against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh based on the evidence, a GOP aide told CNN.
Rachel Mitchell said she also wouldn’t have been able to obtain a search warrant, the aide said.
The guidance, first reported by The New York Times, could serve to strengthen Republican resolve ahead of critical votes in which Kavanaugh’s fate will be decided, likely by razor-thin margins in the Senate.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday listened to emotional testimony from Ford, the woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago when they were both teenagers, and from Kavanaugh, who emphatically denied the allegation from Ford.
Following the hearing, Mitchell, an Arizona prosecutor experienced in prosecuting sex crimes, walked the Senate Republican Conference through the facts that were and were not established, according to Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse who didn’t comment on his views of the nominee.
Mitchell has not spoken publicly since the hearing ended Thursday evening.
As Ford gave her emotional testimony before the committee, each of the 11 Republican senators deferred their five minutes to Mitchell to question Ford.
However, when Kavanaugh sat for questioning later in the day, the GOP senators effectively abandoned using Mitchell so they could defend Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh said he is “innocent of this charge” and that his family meant “no ill will” toward Ford. Ford testified that she was “100%” certain it was Kavanaugh who sexually assaulted her when they were in high school decades ago.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination Friday morning and decide whether to send his nomination to the full Senate for consideration.
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.