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Jeff Sessions to Kamala Harris: Being Rushed 'Makes Me Nervous'

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California Sen. Kamala Harris questions Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

She didn't get any answers out of him, but Sen. Kamala Harris notched another political win at Tuesday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing when she pushed and pushed against Attorney General Jeff Sessions' refusal to answer questions.

Harris, a former district attorney and California attorney general, was in prosecutorial mode Tuesday, pressing against Sessions' repeated statements that he couldn't recall certain facts and conversations and would not discuss conversations he's had with President Trump.

California's junior senator was again among the last to ask questions at the hearing, but managed to delight her fans and burnish her reputation as a Trump critic with one of the more entertaining exchanges of the day.

Harris was asking Sessions whether he had any conversations during last year's presidential campaign with any Russians that he has not previously disclosed. She and Sessions repeatedly talked over one another as he tried to give long, meandering answers to what she wanted to be yes-or-no questions. (Each senator had only five minutes to grill the attorney general.)


Finally, Sessions told Harris he wanted to qualify his answer with -- you guessed it -- statements that he may not recall everything that took place last year.

"If you don't let me qualify it you will accuse me of lying, so I need to be correct as best I can," Sessions said.

"I do want you to be honest," Harris said.

"I am not able to be rushed this fast, it makes me nervous," Sessions responded.

And Twitter exploded:

Supporters of Harris ate it up:

Here's the exchange:

It was the second time in recent weeks that Harris delighted her base at a hearing. In May, she made headlines after she was cut off by Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, as she questioned Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is No. 2 behind Sessions at the Justice Department.

Harris again was interrupted today, but this time by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, an ex-officio member of the Intelligence Committee who got annoyed at the end of Harris' five minutes that she kept interrupting Sessions. At that point, Harris was grilling Sessions on which government policy he kept invoking when he refused to discuss conversations he's had with Trump -- and whether he actually read the policy as he prepared for testimony.

With that and other questions, Harris seemed to be laying the groundwork to request written documents from the Justice Department and White House.

But Harris wasn't the only one confused about Sessions' refusal to discuss his interactions with the president, even though he wouldn't claim executive privilege. Sessions said at one point that he was just reserving the president's right to claim privilege later.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein questions Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein questions Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

California's senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, also pressed Sessions on the issue earlier in the hearing. She was trying to figure out why Sessions wrote a memo recommending the termination of former FBI Director James Comey. The White House initially cited that letter to justify his firing, but the president later admitted that he would have fired Comey with or without Sessions' letter.

"I am puzzled about that recommendation. The decision had been made -- what was the need to write that recommendation?" Feinstein asked.

Last week, she made news questioning Comey.

Sessions responded that he had previously expressed his opinion to the president and was asked to put it in writing. Feinstein seemed miffed but resigned by his refusal to answer most of her questions.

Feinstein and Harris were the only California lawmakers in the room, but Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, who's made headlines for his pull-no-punches Twitter feed, was clearly watching.

And Rep. Adam Schiff, who has made a name as Democrats' top watchdog in the House, weighed in with this:

We haven't seen any California Republicans weigh in yet. Most seemed focused on the Veterans Affairs legislation that cleared the House today.

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