California Senator Kamala Harris, a likely presidential candidate in 2020, was among the toughest inquisitors of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during the past week’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.
The senator, a former attorney general of California and a former San Francisco district attorney, seemed to have tripped the Kavanaugh at least a couple of times with her sharp questioning skills, especially on Wednesday, the third day of the hearing.
The freshman senator’s performance led pundits to speculate more about her viability as a presidential candidate.
Harris was in the limelight the moment the Republican Chairman of the committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley began opening remarks. “Mr. Chairman, I’d like to be recognized for a question before we proceed,” the senator, who is of Indian and Jamaican descent, said.
READ: Kamala Harris’ meetings with Clinton donors spark talk of presidential run (July 18, 2017)
“We have not had an opportunity to review or read or analyze [documents],” she said referring to some 42,000 pages of Kavanaugh-related documents released the previous night.
On Wednesday evening, Harris asked Kavanaugh if he had spoken to anyone at a Trump-connected law firm about the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the Russian meddling of the 2016 presidential campaign. Marc Kasowitz, the firm’s founder, is the president’s attorney in a lawsuit filed by a former “Apprentice” contestant.
Kavanaugh appeared to be unprepared for the question. Here is how the round went:
Kavanaugh: “Is there a person you’re thinking of?”
Harris: “I’m asking you a very direct question. Yes, or no?”
Kavanaugh: “I’m not sure I know everyone who works at that law firm.”
Harris: “I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us.”
The exchange prompted the conservative National Review, a huge supporter of the judge, to declare Harris as the winner of “the Democrats’ ‘Kavanaugh primary.’”
By pursuing that line of questioning, Jonathan S. Tobin, the author of the piece, wrote that Harris, a former California attorney general, “not only gained the kind of publicity that is fundraising gold for a potential candidate, she also made it clear that she would stop at nothing in her efforts to smear opponents.”
Tobin wrote, “If Democrats are looking for someone who is willing to be ruthless enough to take on President Trump even if that means engaging in gutter politics — and that seems to be exactly what their base is longing for — then Harris’s approach may give her the boost she needs to fuel interest in her presidential prospects.”
Another area Harris tried to trip Kavanaugh was women’s reproductive rights, a bread and butter issue of the Democratic party base.
“Can you think of any laws that give government the power to make decisions about the male body?” Harris asked.
“I’m not thinking of any right now, senator,” Kavanaugh responded in a not so convincing manner.
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 6, 2018