During Sen. Kamala D. Harris’s 25-year career in law enforcement, she has established herself as a formidable presence in the courtroom, on the campaign trail and ultimately in government.

She grew up watching her Jamaican American dad and Indian American mother protest for civil rights in Berkeley and took that fierce fight for justice with her to law school. She served two terms as San Francisco’s first female district attorney and was the first woman elected as California’s attorney general.

It’s the résumé of hard-charging legal advocate, not unlike many others in Congress, where she is now a freshman senator from California. Those who know her also know she doesn’t back down.

While such attributes are often rewarded in Washington, they’re not going over so well for Harris — at least with some male colleagues and cable commentators. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee responsible for investigating Russian interference with the 2016 election and connections between the country and Trump campaign officials, Harris has landed a star role in the country’s political drama.

She has used her prosecutorial background to ask pointed, tough questions — and for that she is being admonished. One former Trump campaign adviser on CNN called her “hysterical.”

To those who have observed hearings on Capitol Hill, especially high-visibility televised hearings involving partisan subjects, there has been little or nothing unusual about Harris’s behavior. Members get a small amount of time to ask questions and make their points. Unfriendly witnesses are inclined to string out their answers and let the clock run.

The result, one side rushing, the other stalling, is never pretty. The phrase, “just give me a yes or no answer,” is so often heard it ought to be engraved on the Capitol portico.

But twice now, Harris has been interrupted and chastised by male senators for her style of questioning during the hearings. It happened first last week during questioning of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and then again Tuesday when Attorney General Jeff Sessions was testifying.

Each member of the committee had a limited number of minutes to question Sessions, who was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had failed to disclose his contacts with Russian diplomats during the campaign.

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SOURCE: Katie Mettler 
The Washington Post

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