Gabbard Hits Harris Over Record as Prosecutor, Harris Spox Says Russia Backs Gabbard

By Zachary Stieber

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) hit Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) over the latter’s record as a prosecutor in California during the Democratic debate on July 31.

“I’m deeply concerned about this record [of senator Harris]. … She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said at Detroit’s Fox Theatre.

“She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California, and she fought to keep cash bail system in place that impacts poor people in the worst kind of way.”

Harris responded, saying: “I did the work of significantly reforming the criminal justice system of the state of 40 million people which became a national model for the work that needs to be done. And I am proud of that work.”

“And I am proud of making a decision to not just give fancy speeches or be in a legislative body and give speeches on the floor, but actually doing the work of being in the position to use the power that I had to reform a system that is badly in need of reform,” she added.

Gabbard hit back, telling Harris: “When you were in a position to make a difference and an impact in these people’s lives, you did not and worse yet in the case of those who are on death row, innocent people, you actually blocked evidence from being revealed that would have freed them until you were forced to do so.”

Gabbard said she owes people “who suffered under your reign as a prosecutor” an apology.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) (L-R), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), former housing secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) , former tech executive Andrew Yang, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio during the Democratic Presidential Debate in Detroit, Michigan at the Fox Theatre on July 31, 2019. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Critics have assailed Harris over her hardline positions as a prosecutor, including trying to keep Daniel Larsen, exonerated from a conviction of possession of a concealed weapon, in prison, saying he hadn’t presented enough proof to show he was innocent, reported NBC LA.

According to Google Trends during the debate, Gabbard was the most searched for Democratic candidate in all 50 states during the debate.

Harris after the debate continued criticizing Gabbard, telling one reporter: “That criticism is coming from someone who had been an apologist on [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad.”

Harris spokesman Ian Sams also claimed that Russia is backing Gabbard, sharing an article that said in part: “The Russian propaganda machine that tried to influence the 2016 election is now promoting the presidential aspirations of a controversial Hawaii Democrat.”

President Donald Trump was among those reacting to the debates, writing on Twitter: “The people on the stage tonight, and last, were not those that will either Make America Great Again or Keep America Great! Our Country now is breaking records in almost every category, from Stock Market to Military to Unemployment. We have prosperity & success like never before.

“It will soon be time to choose to keep and build upon that prosperity and success, or let it go. We are respected again all around the world. Keep it that way! I said I will never let you down, and I haven’t. We will only grow bigger, better and stronger TOGETHER!”