— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 14, 2017
One of the standout moments from today’s testimony from Attorney General Jeff Sessions was definitely his testy exchange with Senator Kamala Harris. While it would be the second time that Harris was interrupted during a hearing within a week, it was also the perfect moment to define Sessions’ frustrating testimony.
It was also a moment that left people to draw political battle lines, with one side feeling that Sen. Harris was wronged and disrespected and the other saying she was once again out of line. This manifested itself on CNN following the hearing, where former Trump spokesman and aborted White House communications director Jason Miller praised Sessions for knocking away “the hysteria from Kamala Harris and others who wanted to make this a partisan show.” This did not sit well with CNN commentator Kirsten Powers, who immediately went on the offensive:
KIRSTEN POWERS: Can I just go back to something that Jason [Miller] said? How was Sen. [Kamala] Harris (D-CA) “hysterical?” I don’t really understand that. I mean, she was asking some tough questions —
JASON MILLER: I believe this is the second hearing in a row with completely partisan screed.
POWERS: But, how is that hysterical?
MILLER: It was. From my perspective, my, I would say objective, perspective, I mean it was — it didn’t seem like there was any effort to try to get to a real question or get to the bottom of it. She was purely out there to shout down —
POWERS: I think she asked a lot of questions, actually. She was dogged, there’s no question, but I wouldn’t say she was any more dogged than [Sen.] Ron Wyden was, would you? Would you say that?
MILLER: Look, I have my opinion on that. I think she was hysterical. I don’t think that Sen. Wyden (D-OR) was really trying to get to the bottom of answers either. I think he was trying to drive a partisan —
POWERS: But he wasn’t hysterical and she was. OK, I just wanted to clear that up. Got it.
They continue going back and forth from there until Trump’s biggest fan and CNN contributor Jeffrey Lord injects himself into the discussion and says that “hysteria is a neutral quality,” hitting at the reason Powers seemed to take offense to Miller’s description of Harris:
And yet, it’s just women that usually are called hysterical.
Powers then admitted that she was being hysterical herself and it was far from anything Harris did during the testimony. She also notes that many other senators had their own moments of frustration with the Attorney General, most of whom weren’t being referred to as hysterical.