By Doug Porter
Attorney General Sessions’ testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday mostly consisted of memory lapses and the rollout of a new legal strategy of refusing to answer questions “in case’ the President wants to invoke executive privilege in the future.
In between non-answers Sessions did his best to eat up the five minutes allotted to questioners, alternating between defending his honor and verbally wandering through the political landscape. The former Alabama senator denounced claims regarding his involvement with Russian active measures during the 2016 presidential campaign, calling those allegations “an appalling and detestable lie.”
California Senator Kamala Harris once again turned lemons into lemonade by asking so many direct questions as to cause the witness to complain of being nervous. Republicans correctly interpreted this as a cue the Attorney General was closing in on having a case of the vapors and asserted their prerogative as white males to interrupt her.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Later, after Sessions repeatedly claimed that he would not answer questions about his conversations with President Trump — citing both a Justice Department policy and the possibility that Trump could claim executive privilege — Sen. Kamala Harris grilled him. The Californian, a newcomer who was never Sessions’ colleague, did so as Sessions sat with his fingers knitted together, his eyebrows arched.
Sessions sometimes smiled at Harris. Harris did not smile back, except when she thought Sessions wasn’t answering her questions directly.
“Sir, sir, I have just a few,” Harris said, affecting a professional smile as she tried to steer Sessions back to her preferred line of questioning about whether Sessions had failed to disclose meetings with any Russian nationals.
“Will you let me qualify it? If I don’t qualify it, you’ll accuse me of lying, so I need to be correct as best I can,” Sessions said. “I’m not able to be rushed this fast.” Sessions then squinted and the corners of his mouth turned up ever so slightly. “It makes me nervous.”
What is it about Kamala Harris that makes her the only Senator Republicans interrupt at every hearing?
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) June 13, 2017
Republicans took to social media to call Kamala Harris ‘rude,’ even though Sessions was obviously running out the clock on her.
Over at CNN, former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller asserted that Sessions “knocked away some of the hysteria from Kamala Harris and some of the Democrats who wanted to make this a big partisan show.”
Political analyst Kirsten Powers wasn’t about to let the remark stand unchallenged:
“How was Sen. Kamala Harris hysterical?”
Miller: “It didn’t seem like there was any effort to try to get to a real question or to the bottom of things.”
Powers: “I think she asked a lot of questions. She was very dogged. I wouldn’t say she was any more dogged than Sen. Ron Wyden was, would you say that?”
Miller: “I think she was hysterical. “I don’t think Sen. Wyden was trying to get to the bottom of answers either.”
Powers: “But he wasn’t hysterical, she was.”
Miller: “She was trying to shout down Attorney General Sessions and I thought it was way out of bounds. This is the second hearing in a row.”
The interruptions of Harris were just part of a larger pattern of women being silenced, said Syracuse University professor Shana Gadarian, who took to Twitter to make her case:
- Female #SCOTUS judges are more likely to be interrupted than their male colleagues.
- Women get interrupted more in their everyday conversations & in deliberations (think juries).
- Women in tech get interrupted more than their male colleagues
- In the third presidential debate, @HillaryClinton got interrupted 4 times as many times as Trump.
Hillary Clinton endured 11 hours of GOP-led Benghazi hearing, but Jeff Sessions gets “nervous” from a tough question by Sen. Kamala Harris. pic.twitter.com/3gdobbotnW
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 14, 2017
For those outside the fright-wing political bubble, Senator Harris is a rising star.
From the Washington Post:
Harris’s treatment has not gone unnoticed.
The admonishments from men have in fact elevated Harris’s profile, prompting comparisons of her and fellow female Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), who was censured during Sessions’s confirmation hearing earlier this year and inspired the rallying cry, “Nevertheless, she persisted.”
After a contentious exchange between Harris and Sessions during Tuesday’s intelligence hearing, the senator wrote on Facebook: “The women of the United States Senate will not be silenced when seeking the truth.”
The attention being given to the California Senator has already translated into ‘investigations’ by fright-wing publications like the Free Beacon, which wants us to be disgusted because Harris once paid money to be included on a mailer put out by Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
There is no word on whether or not they’ve gone to Oakland, California to look for her birth certificate yet.
NOTE: I’m taking the day off on Thursday for some background research on a long-term writing project.
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