As my Slate colleague Christina Cauterucci noted of the Twitter reaction at the time, "two long-serving white male legislators working together to stop a new female senator of color from getting an answer to a simple question was not a good look".
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., listens to testimony from top national security chiefs during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on gathering intelligence on foreign agents, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 7, 2017.
In this hearing, she asked Sessions what was his legal basis for refusing to answer questions about his communications with President Trump. Harris then asked Sessions about how he communicated with Donald Trump both during the campaign and following election night and pressed him on a Department of Justice policy that he referenced as the reason why he couldn't directly comment on his conversations with Trump regarding Russian Federation.
Question Trump administration officials during hearings despite interruptions by Republican colleagues.
The exchange was an nearly exact repeat of last week, when McCain cut in on her intense questioning of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and committee Chairman Richard Burr told her to stop and let Rosenstein answer.
Harris: that you would be asked these ...
When Harris then pressed Sessions on a Justice Department policy he cited as his rationale for not answering questions, McCain spoke up.
Harris' questions, though persistent, have never crossed the line of being rude or disrespectful.
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"The chair is going to exercise the right to allow the witnesses to answer the question, and the committee is on notice to provide the witnesses the courtesy - which has not been extended all the way across - extend the courtesy for questions to get answered", Mr Burr said.
Harris: I do want you to be honest.
BILA: No, no. She doesn't let them answer to the point where they're like, can I answer the question? When fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey testified, Harris managed to inject brilliant humor with her dead-serious questioning about Russian Federation and Trump's reasons for firing him: "In my experience of prosecuting cases", Harris said, "when a robber held a gun to somebody's head and said, "I hope you will give me your wallet, ' the word 'hope" was not the most operative word at that moment". One of her questions, she tweeted, would be, "Did Sessions violate the terms of his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation by being involved in the firing of James Comey?"
For me, Harris represents every woman who's ever made a decision to stand up and be heard, no matter how large or small our platform. I also think Sessions and McCain hoped their actions would evoke a stereotypical response from Harris - perhaps the rolling of her neck or eyes, or even a response in an angry tone.
But on CNN that evening, former Donald Trump campaign spokesman-turned-pundit Jason Miller had another word to describe Harris' behavior: "hysterical".
Unsurprisingly, this still garnered a non-answer, although her question was relatively straightforward and she's still very clear about it. Ron Wyden (D-OR) was at the hearing. Do you think they would use the word hysterical against a male senator? "In this setting and this climate, the more information the better, so I think you can qualify as much information as you need to".
Miller said he thought there was no real effort to get a real question answered.
"Hysteria is a neutral quality", Lord said.
"And yet it's just women that usually are called hysterical", she said.