Senators were accused of sexism and possible racism Tuesday after the only minority woman on the Senate Intelligence Committee was shut down by male colleagues during the questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, was reprimanded by GOP Sens. John McCain and Richard Burr for interrupting Sessions' answers while she was questioning him, NBC reports. Critics accused senators of having a double standard, noting that male senators before and after Harris interrupted Sessions without being told off for doing so. Less than a week ago, the same scene played out with McCain and Burr interrupting Harris's questioning of deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, CNN reports.
Harris, the second black woman ever to serve in the Senate, is a former prosecutor who uses what the New York Times calls "a rapid-fire questioning pace more commonly seen in courtrooms." During Tuesday's questioning, Sessions complained that she was making him nervous. "I'm not able to be rushed this fast," he said. When Harris asked what policy allowed him to refuse to discuss his conversations with President Trump, she interrupted him when he started describing the principle instead of the policy—and was cut off by McCain. After the hearing, Harris tweeted: "It was a simple question. Can Sessions point to the policy, in writing, that allows him to not answer a whole host of our questions today." She added: "The women of the United States Senate will not be silenced when seeking the truth."