There is an interested 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.