Washington Post: Sen. Harris Being Called “Hysterical” For A Style That Won Her Praise As A Prosecutor

440px-Kamala_Harris_Official_Attorney_General_PhotoThere is an interesting article in the Washington Post entitled “As A Prosecutor, Kamala Harris’s Doggedness Was Praised. As a Senator, She’s Deemed ‘Hysterical.'”  The Los Angeles Times also described Harris’ style as prosecutorial in nature and referenced her skills in court examination.  The articles raise a common comparison between court and congressional hearings in terms of questioning.  When I served as lead counsel in the last impeachment, I constantly spared with Senators over the failure to follow basic rules of evidence or practice.  The Senators would respond that such rules do not apply to them — which is technically correct though good practices are not always required practices.

Former Trump aide Jason Miller was confronted by USA Today columnist over his description of Harris as “hysterical” in the hearing. Her point is a valid one but the Washington Post suggests that this type of questioning would be considered praise worthy in a prosecutor.  The comparison between actual litigation and congressional examinations is an interesting one.  I have great respect for Sen. Harris and her experience. However, while her questioning began well, it quickly fell into improper questioning if viewed from a litigation viewpoint.  As a criminal defense attorney, I can say that it would not only be viewed as improper but judges would immediately sustain objections to such badgering of a witnesses. Indeed, I was surprised watching the hearing as Democratic senators pummeled Sessions with questions and demanded rapid answers.  Sessions had just been attacked for failing to fully and truthfully answer an earlier (and rather unclear) question from Sen. Al Franken.  Now however they were giving him rapid questions and cutting off his answers. Harris was the most extreme in that respect.

Harris’ question on what Sessions used to refresh his recollection is a standard litigation question and a good approach. Harris was also under a time restriction and reasonably noted that the questions asked of Sessions were “predictable.”  Thus, I felt that she started well.  Moreover, she was under tough time limitations. However, the questioning then became highly problematic in my view.  Sessions was right to decline to continue to answer as he was being interrupted.  Some questions were vaguely worded like whether Sessions had any interactions with Russian business people.  Sessions correctly objected to being rushed into answers but Harris continued to push for such answers.

Harris questioning would have been challenged by any defense counsel and would have led to an admonishment from the bench. It would not be viewed as “praiseworthy.”  I thought that it looked like a perjury trap for Sessions who was trying to answer. Moreover, the questions were not the type that could be easily answered without an explanation like explaining the basis for Sessions declining to answer some questions.


If the Post wants to compare the questioning with actual litigation, Harris questioning (and some of her colleagues) would have been stopped by the Court under a variety of objections from asking compound questions to assuming facts not in evidence to badgering to misstating the law.

Sessions may have been trying to eat time — a standard technique to slow answers to run the five-minute clock. Harris was clearly trying to stop that from happening. However, she went further in asking compound and open-ended questions that could be used to, as Sessions claimed, as a trap.

Of course, congressional proceedings do not follow the rules of litigation. However, the questioning by Harris and her colleagues should not be treated as version of dogged and commendable examinations in court.  The interruptions and rapid fire style are characteristics of Congress not the courts. I do not view Sen. Harris as “hysterical” but I also do not view her questioning as fair or lawyerly.  Indeed, neither attribute is particularly common in the questioning in congressional hearings.

You could certainly see Harris’ experience and training in the first part of the questioning but the second half was not a model of any kind for litigation.

44 thoughts on “Washington Post: Sen. Harris Being Called “Hysterical” For A Style That Won Her Praise As A Prosecutor”

  1. You should know, Jon, given all of your experience: they are all mostly pricks, even the women. They are ridiculous, and they open themselves to ridicule with their absurd behavior, ridicule I don’t feel an ounce of guilt about. The things in life outside of their job description they value don’t matter to me, and I will laugh all the way to a clear conscience (alas more than many of them can say again, ever). Money, recognition, prestige, control – it turns out those are actually indicators of precisely NOTHING when people think you are a clown. Whoopty-do.

  2. I must have been watching a completely different hearing. There are several things that can be true at the same time. Yes, Harris is doing her best to obtain a national profile and possibly/likely has a run for the Presidency in the future. Sounds like half the Senate in that regard. She also fund-raised off these hearings and the personal attacks on her. Again, many Senators fit that profile.

    Like all other Senators except the Chair and Co-Chair, she was limited to 5 minutes. I saw Sessions answering questions other than the ones that were asked and trying to filibuster and run out the clock. I saw her interruptions as an attempt to stop him from rambling and using up her time. Can anyone remember a specific question that was too complicated and unfair to the Attorney General of the United States who none of you seemed to mind pulled some never before seen policy out of his ass that isn’t in writing and that he didn’t review before relying on it in lieu of citing Executive Privilege.

    1. Dear Eningmaindemocraticparty,

      Let me explain this to you as a simple matter of physics. As far as we know, the Arrow of Time only runs in one direction. That is from the present, to a subsequent time frame.

      Now, if a President has the right to exert a privilege over a particular conversation, when does the President have any knowledge that the details of a particular conversation is going to be queried? Is it BEFORE the question is asked, or is it AFTER the question is asked.

      Now, on Planet Earth, most of us will choose the AFTER option. I am not sure about you. Perhaps, you believe that President Trump, or any President should possess the quality of CLAIRVOYANCE. Based on some of your other fantastical beliefs, it would certainly not surprise me. But, I am going to go with the vast majority of humans who think the proper answer is, that a President would not know about a query about a particular conversation until AFTER the question was asked.

      Therefore, with this simple basis of PHYSICAL REALITY, someone answering the question before knowing whether or not the President might wish to assert the privilege, would be be effectively preventing the President from being able to assert the privilege.

      Therefore, what Sessions told the sassy-a$$ goofy b*tch, was simply a matter of reality. He could only answer the question AFTER the President had a chance to make his choice.

      See, just a tiny lick of common sense and your nonsensical concerns evaporate away!

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  3. Kamala Harris is a Leftist. By definition, she’s an enemy of Civilization. What more need be said?

    1. Ralph, Harris pretends to be left – she is a corporate-owned pol with no discernible values except the pursuit of $$ and power — just like the majority of the pols who profess to be right. It’s all about THEM the country be damned.

      1. Now you understand the Trump phenomenon.

        He’s not in it for fortune and fame – he’s already got that.

        He really means, “Make America Great Again!”

  4. Probing questions to arrive at the truth are one thing–but political grand-standing is another. That’s just what Sen. Harris was doing. I’m no fan of Trump or Sessions–but the basic rules of civility require that a witness is permitted to answer the questions.

    I watched the Sessions Hearing– other Democrat Senators asked tough questions, but they allowed Sessions to answer. Even when they didn’t like his answers & would challenge him or even confront him–he was allowed to complete his sentence. Harris was rude & acted in an opportunistic manner–as though she was playing to the TV audience as opposed to attempting to arrive at the truth.

    To be frank, i found the Sessions Hearing to be pathetic. The vicious attempt to blame Russia for what was Hillary’s election fraud; cheating–and voter suppression/rigging is disgusting. As a nation, we should be better than that. I have been a life-long Democrat–but no more. I do not support Republican policies– but it’s clear that neither party cares about the American people

    The current agenda–spurred on by the Deep State Oligarchy– is to engineer a coup d’etat. I do not support overturning a POTUS simply because he disliked. That’s not the way in which our government is supposed to operate. Currently, the temper-tantrum being thrown by Hillary & her donors & her lackies all of whom were promised a lot, by the Cilntons, is undermining our democracy. It’s not Russia–we’re imploding from within.

  5. Is CNN doing its part to set up this latest post-modern liberal firebrand for a 2020 run at the presidency?

    Actually, she was not “cut off”, but admonished for chiding and berating a witness who voluntarily appeared before a senate committee to answer to innuendo in defense of his honor.

    Her means may ingratiate her among extreme leftist ideologues, but will do nothing for her with the majority of the electorate.


  6. I watched this itchBay and could not stand the interruptis. The Chairmen never reeled her in. Sessions should have told her to shut the F up and listen to his responses. She is awful.

  7. While we understand the liberal, Clinton-like “greed” and “power” trip of Terry McAuliffe,

    however, this Harris campaign is a bigger scam than the “Empty Suit” Obama

    (did she smoke pot with Obama in high school?).

    Send this to research and develop a “dossier” on Harris.

    High School GPA and Mentors (who put her in university?)

    Law School GPA and Mentors (who got her through to graduation?)

    Career Resume (who prepared her cases?)

    Criminal/Civil Record

    I smell a rat.

  8. She’s just another California watermelon green on the outside and red on the inside.LOL

  9. But she’s blaaaaack! (or at least half blaaaaaack.) So of course Democrats think that whatever behavior she exhibits is just wonderful! Plus, she is half Indian! (Not the Kemo sabe type, but the Asian type.) Plus, she is a woman!

    And Democrats are not permitted to say bad things about blaaaacks, or women, unless they are conservatives or Republicans. Because that would violate Identity politics. Asians are kind of in a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Phantom Zone for Democrats.

    Frankly, I thought she came across as an ignorant mouthy b*tch. Which, I can relate to being a mouthy b*tch, but not an ignorant one.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  10. “Tytler’s Dictatorship”

    This triple affirmative action project was ensconced by the communist party of California.

    California is a one-party collectivist, redistributionist state dictatorship.

    The 2016 election for U.S. Senate presented two democrat candidates and no republicans.

    Voters in California had a choice between a democrat and a democrat,

    evoking memories of the sham elections in the communist Soviet Union.

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

    ― Alexander Fraser Tytler

    The American Founders established a restricted-vote republic, not a one man, one vote democracy.

    The Founders knew that the “poor” would sell their votes.

    Ben Franklin, we gave you “a republic, if you can keep it.”

    The Supreme Court has failed the Constitution for 228 years.

  11. Maybe she wants to run for VP of the Progessive Socalist Party that he is putting together from the shreds of the former Democat Socialists. One thing about it she’s already rejected her USA Citizenship and violated her Oath of Office and taken allegiance with that foreign ideology so at least it would be more honest possibly in terms of transparency.

    That performance yesterday was such a rapid example of speech making it was not at all understandable but unlike Perez-Castro and some others skipped the four letter words for a change.

    Makes it easy to decide early on why we should continue to support a conversion of the other side minus the RINOs and continue supporting OUR Constitutional Republic while Comrade Sanders and Comrade Harris continue thier cnversion of the left sort of. Foreign ideolog sure but still establishment white ID for the ruling class.

    For the unrepresented center representing 40% of the vote that counted last Nov the counter revolution continues.

    Pass It On

    Ballots Not Bullets.

  12. I was listening to it live, and after a while I wanted AG Sessions to just say, Senator Harris, please go ahead and vomit out all of your questions, and then let me answer them.

  13. Harris sees 1600 Pennsylvania Ave as her next residence. She is beloved by Obama and vice versa. This was the beginning of her 2020 Presidential campaign. Easy read, folks!

    1. America already has one black mark on its record. Doesn’t need another.

      TRUMP 2020
      PENCE 2024
      PENCE 2028

      Ok, 2032 is up in the air….

      How old will Biden, Clinton, Warren, Stein, Schumer, Pelosi, Reed and Bernie be then? Who will still even be alive.

      If the dems think this is their way of resurgence for the mid terms then just wait. They are going to have a mouth full of chicklets for teeth and get their f’n (_!_) kicked.

      1. Au con·traire!

        Have you seen “real life” photos?

        Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

        Not to put too fine a point on it –

        can you say “butt ugly?”

        1. obviously there is a lot of speculation about 2020 and I am sure the Dems look her over… but if so, she will need all the support and cover, careful re-shaping provided to Obama. Her best public demeanor is defense by way of dodging whatever is coming at her. No answers and leaving quickly. She also picked up a white husband, dispensed with the black husband…. Not sure how that will play, no idea.

  14. Folks we are in serious crapola.

    I don’t give a rat’s (_!_) what you f’n believe, what party or how left or how right you or they are.

    It’s stopped…..it’s stopped being about our country and everything that matters.

    It was all about me me me, party, bent and where you were on the political continuum with ha ha ha I GOTCHA NOW IN DUKIE SHxx.

    It was all about MY TIME of 5 minutes. My ah ha moments. My God people, make the f’n thing no time limit. Would that be ok Mr. AG? HELL YEAH. How rude, how disrespectful they have all become.

    I’m so fkning pessed I am disgusted and you stupid fxks here are their cousins.

    Hint: No one cares what you write or say here…me neither and more so. No one cares or remembers what you said yesterday….so cute and quip.

    Blogs are no more than the 21st Century CB 📻 RADIO. Banter for hours when all all you had to do was pick up your Princess phone or walk next door and knock.

    Yet how many hours of your life have f’n fritted away and at what expense?
    Who paid the price ? Your wife, your husband, your kids and grandkids? I bet more time is spent here than in conversation with them.

    How do we let the Colberts and Kimmels tare down the fabric of our country. Not a party thing…theirs is pure hatred.

    The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.

    Eric Schmidt

    NOTE TO SELF: Don’t swear.

  15. Senator Harris’ questioning was mediocre at best. She made no points, brought out no new important facts, failed to discredit the witness or to bolster the testimony of other witnesses, and succeeded only in dancing around the periphery of relevant issues. Who cares whether Sessions read the executive privilege policy or discussed its contents with other DOJ officials? The privilege exists or does not exist regardless of who is aware of it and what people are saying about it. As a former prosecutor, Harris should be cognizant of testimonial privileges. If she is not, she can read the DOJ policy herself.

    1. “Senator Harris’ questioning was mediocre at best.”

      You don’t get it. She is the princess-in-waitng. She is in line for the throne. She is due the obedience of the serfs and peasants. She shall not be delayed or denied. She simply awaits coronation.

      Just ask Governor “Moon Beam,” the Chairman of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the Socialist State of the People’s Republic of California

      (Wow! That’s a big title, Jerry).

  16. I think her problem goes to her non-alliance with the overall purpose of the investigation, which Chairman Burr has articulated clearly as understanding how Russia tried to interfere in the election, so that we can take counter-measures to prevent it from reoccurring.

    Se. Harris is working a partisan agenda, which is to disparage and discredit the Trump Administration. It’s hard to tell what level of sympathy she has to the Burr statement of purpose, but her actions show it is not as important as pushing a “fishing expedition” (political-judicial harassment) as far as possible in furtherance of the false narrative of collusion.

    It was proper for Chairman Burr to try to reign in Harris’s polemic, argumentative style of questioning. Like him, I worry that a Democrat like Harris will not care about election interference very much once it becomes well known that there was no collusion. We have a major challenge to our election process to deal with.

  17. Harris fell into the trap set by Sessions. Sessions set up the demeanor of the proceedings with the “I don’t recollect.” etc. routine. This is believable given the circus that was going on at the time. Sessions said as much. Smug and ensconced in a familiarity with this sort of proceeding; he has certainly experience from the other side and as an observer, Sessions could be seen as frustrating the Democrats who interviewed him. If there was a way to trap Sessions, the approach by Harris was not it. Sessions misspoke several times referencing dictums that did not exist when giving reasons for not answering. This has been documented. Harris needs to think a little deeper.

    1. “Harris fell into the trap set by Sessions. Sessions set up the demeanor of the proceedings with the “I don’t recollect.” etc. routine.”

      Sessions is not at fault for Harris’s broad based questions that would test anyone’s recollections. Harris, though being an intelligent lawyer, wasn’t being honest in her search for the truth. She was trying to get an inadvertant gotcha. That type of behavior leaves the nation in a bind since one can never obtain agreement when there is vitriol and deceit behind the questioning.

  18. She sounded like an inexperienced grandstanding attorney who fancied herself the smartest lawyer in the room. She has much to learn about respectful behaviors – unless her plan was to blow her entire case in front of the “jury”, in this case the American people. She blew it. We will be using her behavior with our younger associates as an absolutely perfect example of how a case can be lost by a pompous arrogant lawyer.

    1. I think her plan is simple, fund raise off rabid, frothing Democrats. Which she is actively doing. As a native and still local, to me, she is nothing more than a former GF of Willie Brown. East Bay origins, cleaned up for public presentation and consumption. At 53, I am sure the D plan is she stay in congress for the next 35 years.

      1. SF re “I think her plan is simple, fund raise off rabid, frothing Democrats.” You nailed it – I saw her “performance” as grandstanding for her supporters. And you can bet those Dims in your district will continue to support her.

    2. I saw this as showboating on Harris’s part–to provide “powerful” looking video clips for her next fundraiser, for her next campaign, and for use by the sycophant media in their campaign against the Trump administration. Nothing lawyerly about it. Propaganda pure and simple.

    3. What could be better for a socialist-cum-communist than slicing and dicing an old white man?

      This is her slay-the-dragon moment in South Central.

      I’ll bet Maxine Waters is in “heat!”

  19. She reminded me of the famous Russian prosecutor at Nuremberg.

    Russian: I now show you a document, Heir Schmidt. Can you read it?

    Schmidt: Yes, it’s in German.

    Russian: Do you now admit that you are a worthless war criminal?

    Schmidt: No.

    Russian: I show you another document. Do you see that, too?

    Schmidt: Yes.

    Russian: Do you now admit that you are a worthless war criminal?

    Schmidt: No.

    Russian: No more questions. I think I’ve made my point, Your Honors.

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