During today’s congressional testimony by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sen. Kamala Harris (D–CA) frequently interrupted Sessions as he meandered off the topic she asked about. This is a standard game: senators get only a short time for questioning, so witnesses often meander as a way of chewing up time and running out the clock. On the other hand, sometimes witnesses legitimately need time to fully answer a question, and are being badgered into “yes or no, please” by showboating senators.
At one point during her questioning, Harris was trying to get a straight answer about why Sessions thought he could refuse to testify regarding conversations he had with President Trump. Harris was pressuring Sessions and Sessions was tap dancing artfully when John McCain suddenly interrupted to complain that Harris wasn’t allowing Sessions to respond. Committee chair Richard Burr admonished McCain (“Senators will allow chair to control the hearing”) but then admonished Harris too (“Senator Harris, let him answer”). Here’s the relevant part of the questioning:
And here are a few Twitter reactions:
Speaking for myself, I’d guess that McCain’s interruption was likely due to several things: Harris is a woman; Harris is new to the Senate; Harris is a Democrat; Harris’s questioning was pretty aggressive; Sessions is a former senator and colleague of McCain’s; and McCain is a cranky old man.
But I doubt that race was part of it, either consciously or otherwise. School me in comments if you think this is insufferably naive.