The Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee admonished Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) during her questioning of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on June 7. (The Washington Post)

“I’m not going to stop asking the questions.”

Asking the questions at Senate Intelligence Committee hearings related to Russian interference in the presidential election has added to the aura around Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). The former California attorney general and San Francisco district attorney’s victory was among the few Democratic victories the night that Hillary Clinton lost the presidency. The fuss over Harris at the hearings is as much about her line of questioning as it is about the reaction to it among Republicans on the committee.

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“I just want to get to the truth of what happened,” Harris told me in her office during the latest episode of “Cape Up.” “We should know what happened, and there should be the appropriate consequence and accountability for what happened.” She expressed frustration with the pace of the investigation, saying, “We need to do this as swiftly as possible.” But she added, “We need to be precise. We need to be careful. But we need to get this done. The American people have a right to know.”

Of course, you can’t talk to Harris about all that without asking her about her reaction to the “listen here, little lady” mansplaining she has endured from Republican men on the intelligence committee. “That Sista Girl look,” Harris laughed when I asked her about her steely-eyed, hair-flipping gif-worthy reactions. “I’m truly focused on, ‘I gotta get the answer to this question. We need to know the answer to this question,’ ” Harris said.


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) speaks with The Post’s Jonathan Capehart during an interview for the “Cape Up” podcast on July 18. (Carol Alderman/The Washington Post)

One of the questions the junior senator from California was trying to get answered was about whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions would make a commitment to give “full independence” to the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. “It’s about asking questions that are about focused on getting the answers because the American public has a right to know.” With President Trump still making noises about undermining or even firing Mueller, Harris’s probing then is even more relevant now.

Listen to the podcast to find out how Harris’s visit to the Central California Women’s Facility fits in with her commitment to criminal justice reform, how she met her husband and her view of the Democratic Party in the age of Trump.

“We have nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to run from in terms of who Democrats have always stood for,” Harris said. “Democrats have always stood for working people.”

“Cape Up” is Jonathan’s weekly podcast talking to key figures behind the news and our culture. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever else you listen to podcasts.