Kamala Harris: DOJ Would Have To Prosecute Trump After Presidency In an ongoing series, the NPR Politics Podcast is hitting the road and interviewing 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. In this episode, Scott Detrow and Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters sit down with Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris to ask about why she's the best pick for president. This series is produced in collaboration with NHPR and Iowa Public Radio.
NPR logo

Harris: Justice Dept. 'Would Have No Choice' But To Prosecute Trump After Presidency

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/730941386/731879651" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Harris: Justice Dept. 'Would Have No Choice' But To Prosecute Trump After Presidency

Harris: Justice Dept. 'Would Have No Choice' But To Prosecute Trump After Presidency

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/730941386/731879651" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BIGTOP ORCHESTRA'S "TEETER BOARD: FOLIES BERGERE (MARCH AND TWO-STEP)")

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

Hey there, it's the NPR POLITICS PODCAST. I'm Scott Detrow. Throughout the summer, we're taking you on the road to meet the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. These special episodes are a collaboration with New Hampshire Public Radio and Iowa Public Radio. This weekend, we were in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where there was a lot going on.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Donald Trump has go to go. Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go. Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go.

DETROW: On the street in front of a big convention center, there were clusters of Elizabeth Warren supporters, Amy Klobuchar fans, Kamala Harris campaign volunteers in bright yellow shirts. They were all cheering and chanting for their candidates.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Kamala, Kamala, Kamala, Kamala, Kamala, Kamala.

DETROW: The reason for all the rallying - a big dinner put on by the Iowa Democratic Party that drew 19 presidential hopefuls, the largest single gathering yet of the sprawling primary field. In the middle of all that, I found Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters.

Hey, Clay Masters.

CLAY MASTERS, BYLINE: Hey, Scott Detrow. Welcome back to Iowa.

DETROW: It's great to be here. And I don't even know how to begin describing what we're looking at right now where we're standing.

MASTERS: Yeah. So we are in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which is the second-largest city in the state of Iowa. We're on the eastern side of the state in the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Cedar Rapids. This is a common place for presidential candidates to use as a place for cattle calls, where numerous presidential candidates get up, they give their stump speech, and they try to connect with those ever-important activists from the Democratic Party here in Iowa.

DETROW: We were both there to interview California Senator Kamala Harris, who had just rallied all those yellow-shirted volunteers in a packed room down the hall from the main dinner.

(SOUNDBITE OF RALLY)

KAMALA HARRIS: And I have to tell you - I love campaigning. I really do. And even I love being a presidential candidate. I'm not sure what that says about my personality.

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: But I love people, and I love the interactions...

DETROW: Harris has been campaigning for a long time - first, for San Francisco district attorney, then California attorney general and, in 2016, for the U.S. Senate. She quickly built a national profile in Washington mostly by grilling witnesses like Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in high-profile Senate hearings. In January, Harris made a big splash, kicking off her presidential campaign in front of 20,000 people in downtown Oakland. In Cedar Rapids, a lot of people were talking and thinking about a new Iowa poll that showed where Harris has settled in this crowded field. I asked Clay about that poll.

MASTERS: It still shows Joe Biden sitting at the top. But what is really interesting is kind of the race for second place right now seems to be between South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts, as well as Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, and Senator Harris is the next one kind of down there. And so she's really needing to make her mark in Iowa right now.

DETROW: Harris tried to do just that when she took her turn on the main stage.

(SOUNDBITE OF RALLY)

HARRIS: He promised health care, and then he tried to rip health care away from millions of people. What's that called? Health care fraud. He said he was for working people, then he passed a tax bill benefiting the top 1% and the biggest corporations in this country. That's tax fraud. He believes the president of Russia and a North Korean dictator over the word of the American intelligence community - securities fraud. And then he claims to be the best president we've seen in a generation. Well, I say let's call Barack Obama 'cause that's identity fraud.

(APPLAUSE)

DETROW: After that, Senator Harris sat down with Clay and me to talk more.

So welcome to the NPR POLITICS PODCAST.

HARRIS: It is great to be with you.

DETROW: And I want to start with probably the most politically fraught question that I'm going to ask you today.

HARRIS: OK.

DETROW: You recently said at a speech that you consider yourself a Sangelino (ph) now. You're from the Bay...

HARRIS: Yeah (laughter).

DETROW: ...You live in LA now. So that being said, is it Giants or Dodgers at this point?

HARRIS: Giants.

DETROW: OK.

HARRIS: And you've got to be loyal to your teams. My heart is big enough to have a definite, you know, pride in the Dodgers if they're playing a non-California team. But it's the Giants. But my husband is the Dodgers fan, so I guess in the household there's some equity (laughter).

DETROW: Luckily, one of them has been terrible where the other's been good at this point.

HARRIS: Yes. And we've had that conversation many times.

MASTERS: Well, last night, the latest Iowa poll came out, and the four candidates that are ahead of you each sum up their campaigns pretty simply. Joe Biden is on a rescue mission for the United States. Elizabeth Warren wants to unrig the economy. How do you define your campaign?

HARRIS: For the people. There's so much of our campaign that, for me, is about - I mean, honestly I think of it often through the lens of my mother, you know, and a parent who, after putting, you know, giving - feeding the kids and putting them to bed is sitting at the kitchen table, you know, until midnight figuring out how to make everything run, make everything work. And that's why I think about issues like what we need to do to lift people up who are making less than $100,000 a year. It's why I think about issues like rent and the fact that, you know, there's so many people in our country - 99% of the counties in our country, a minimum wage worker cannot afford a one-bedroom apartment.

That's why I think about issues like teacher pay because so many of these parents have their kids in public schools, and we are not paying our public school teachers enough to get through the end of their month, much less pay them their value. It's why I think about equal pay and, you know, that being a subject we've been discussing since the mid-1960s and still have made no progress on. And that's why I have an initiative that's about shifting the burden from women to prove that they're not being paid equal to men and put the burden on corporations. And if they don't do the right thing, fining those corporations a percentage of their profits. So that's how I think about it.

DETROW: A lot of voters, you know, when you talk to them in so many states, if they know anything about you or the first thing they know about you - it's those moments in these hearings...

HARRIS: Mmm hmm.

DETROW: ...Where you grilled General Kelly, Attorney General Sessions, later, Justice Brett Kavanaugh. That's such a particular skill. How would that translate to the Oval Office? How would you bring...

HARRIS: Yeah.

DETROW: ...That approach to the presidency?

HARRIS: My state of mind during those hearings is about the fact that the American public and the American people deserve the truth, and they deserve transparency, and they deserve to have a voice in those, you know - those gilded rooms. So that's my perspective about policy. It's my perspective about the nobility of public office, which is that you are there not for yourself. You're there to serve the interests of the people. And what do they need, and what do they want to have happen in those rooms? And what I believe they want is that they are seen, they are heard, and their priorities and their concerns are reflected. It's not about you.

When I'm in those rooms, it's not about giving some, you know, lovely speech and grand gestures. It's about, hey, let's get down to brass tacks. What's going on here? Where are my taxpayer dollars going, and what's going on with my government, and is my government solving problems? That's how I think about it. And it's the way I've always judged myself, frankly, and my work, which is - are we relevant, right? It's - again, it's so much bigger than giving a lovely speech. It's about, on a daily basis, are we addressing people's real-life problems and solving them? And frankly, if we're not, we need to move over...

DETROW: Mmm hmm.

HARRIS: ...Because people have a right to expect that their leaders are actually aware of, interested in and concerned in the lives of the people we represent.

DETROW: It's more the mindset, the approach, if not, you know, grilling your Cabinet across the Cabinet table in the same style.

HARRIS: Well - but it's about accountability.

DETROW: Yeah, yeah.

HARRIS: Yeah, you're right. It is certainly about accountability. And the question being then - accountable to whom? And the point being accountable to the American people, right?

MASTERS: You want the Department of Justice to pre-approve new abortion restrictions. There was a...

HARRIS: Yeah.

MASTERS: ...Recent NPR poll that came out that showed that people want to keep Roe v. Wade in place, but there's also a lot of support on some level of restrictions on abortion. What restrictions do you think, if any, are appropriate?

HARRIS: I am in favor of - and without any hesitation or ambiguity - placing that decision in the hands of that woman. And she will make that decision in consultation with her physician, with her family members, with her priest or her rabbi or her pastor. I do not believe that government should be in the business of telling women what they should do with their bodies. And certainly, I believe that these politicians should not be in the business of telling women what they should do with their bodies. Women are capable of making decisions about their own bodies by themselves.

MASTERS: What do you make of Joe Biden's reversal on the Hyde Amendment?

HARRIS: Listen; I'll speak for myself. I am, without any question, always and continue to be opposed to the Hyde Amendment for a number of reasons, both that have to do with restricting a woman's ability to make decisions about her reproductive health but access to meaningful options in terms of how she makes those decisions. And the bottom line on the Hyde Amendment is that it is directly, in effect, targeting poor women and women who don't have money. And if we are going to be true to what we say we want in a democracy, which is that all people are treated equal regardless of their economic status and so many other things, then there should not be support for any law that would treat women differently based on how much money they have in their pocketbook.

DETROW: You've been very clear for a long time where you stand on this issue. But you and basically every other Democrat running for president who's in Congress right now, in one way or another, in one moment or another, has essentially voted for it as part of a broader spending bill. And you were one of the Democrats who voted, in early 2018, against government funding because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Hyde Amendment - is that an issue that you would think would be worth voting against government funding or, as president, vetoing government funding in order to get out of a spending bill?

HARRIS: Well, let's be clear. I've not voted for the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment is the law, and so it has been attached to other funding bills. And until we repeal it, which is what I am in favor of, it will be attached to federal government funding bills. That's the problem with the Hyde Amendment. It's an amendment that was passed that says no federal dollars - when you're spending on a variety of things - whatever you're spending it on - those federal dollars cannot go to abortion services. And so it's kind of - it's almost a disclaimer on federal funding, and we need to get rid of it.

And I will fight, as president of the United States, not only to ensure that women have the right to choose what happens to their own bodies, I will fight to make sure that we not only repeal the Hyde Amendment but, as was mentioned, that my department of justice will review any state law in a state that has a history of restricting a woman's right to choose. We will review those state laws to determine the constitutionality of those state laws before they go into effect, before they're implemented. Otherwise as we have seen in Alabama most recently and we are seeing around the country, women will be in a situation where, frankly - and this - it sounds alarmist, but it's not - where they're going to have to resort to back-alley abortions. Women will die. Women will die. It's such a serious matter. And so I obviously feel strongly about it.

And as president, I will be prepared to do whatever is necessary to make sure that a woman is not restricted in terms of her health care options. And I think it's just a fundamental point. You know, you spoke of the Kavanaugh hearings. You'll remember I asked that nominee, are there any laws that you're aware of that restrict or tell a man what to do with his body? You remember what his answer was? I don't think so. No (laughter). It's fundamental.

DETROW: I mean, given the makeup of the judiciary at this point and the fact that the Senate is clearly prioritizing confirming as many justices as they can - or judges, rather, as they can, are you concerned that whether it's you or any other Democrat who goes into office it would be hard to walk all of that back going forward?

HARRIS: Listen; to your point - and, again, I've been in the Senate now for two years, and I've seen it firsthand. I am a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And the judges that are being nominated and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate, a lot of them, it's a scary situation. And it highlights for me, and I think all of us, the significance of not only taking back the White House in 2020 but taking back the Senate because elections have consequences.

MASTERS: During your remarks that you just gave here in Iowa, you mention that one of the first groups that you talked to was a group of teachers. One of your first policies that you rolled out was to raise teacher pay. I think $12,200 is what you would say that the policy would do for teachers here in Iowa.

HARRIS: Correct.

MASTERS: Setting aside how you'd pay for something like that...

HARRIS: Yeah.

MASTERS: ...How do you get states like Iowa that have a Republican-led legislature that are always fighting with Democrats who want to raise funding for schools in the state more than Republicans allow it - how do you have those conversations, and how do you get state buy-in?

HARRIS: What I'm finding across our country - and there are examples from Arizona to Utah to West Virginia - this is increasingly becoming a nonpartisan issue. Listen; Republicans and Democrats have children in public schools and are fully aware that over a significant period of time, there has been a deterioration of the resources we're putting into our public schools and our teachers. And so what I'm finding is that this is increasingly a nonpartisan issue. And so we've seen it. Remember, the West Virginia teachers that went on strike. We've seen it with Republican governors who are increasing teacher pay because their constituents are telling them this is unacceptable. It is unacceptable that across the board in America teachers on average make 11% less than similarly educated professionals. It is unacceptable that 94% of the teachers in our public school come out of their own pocket to help pay for school supplies. It is unacceptable.

As I have seen traveling the country, I've met many teachers who are working two and three jobs. Those teachers who have a passion to teach and instead of, you know, being compelled to do the second job at night would prefer to spend that time, you know, creating great lessons for the kids the next day or putting those beautiful posters up on the wall and engaging in continuing education. So I have to believe that this is going to continue to grow as a movement that is about all of us understanding that regardless of our party affiliation, our kids deserve better. And to put a fine point on this - I strongly believe that you should judge a society based on how it treats its children.

MASTERS: Do states have too much right in setting funding for teachers?

HARRIS: Well, I believe that there is a greater role for the federal government to play, which is why my proposal would be the first in the history of our nation which is to basically put federal investment into closing the teacher pay gap. I think there is a greater role for the federal government to play - there's no question - to create incentive. So my proposal would be a matching fund - three federal dollars to one state dollar. And it is because - listen; I think the education system in our country, and in particular public education in our country, the quality of it, I believe, is a measure of the strength of our nation as a whole. And right now, we're receiving a failing grade.

MASTERS: Moving on to another Iowa subject here - the president is going to be here, and he will likely be talking about what happened with Mexico. He was saying that there were going to be tariffs and tweeted his tariffs worked and that they're going to introduce stern ways of curbing immigration into the United States. Do you think that tariffs are a good tool to use for non-economic issues like this?

HARRIS: Well, let's talk about what the president has been doing, this current administration. And on the issue of Mexico being the most recent example that you're offering, it was a crisis of his own making - a crisis of his own making. I'm told that the supposed negotiation that he's talking about of which he believes he is the victor was actually a negotiation that took place under his previous head of DHS, Kirstjen Nielsen. It was already on the - it had already been negotiated. And his pomp and circumstance around issuing tariffs against Mexico had no impact on a deal that was made months before.

Let's talk more about tariffs. Let's talk about China and the fact that as a result of his trade policy by tweet, the American people on a monthly basis are spending $1.4 billion - with a B - more on groceries, on clothing, on washing machines. Let's talk about the fact that because of this supposed trade policy, we've got farmers in Iowa who have soybeans rotting in bins, farmers who over a decade built up relationships with a market in China. And now guess what. When you leave the game, people will find other players. So now we're looking at our farmers in Iowa trying to compete with people in Brazil who are selling substandard products. Let's look at the fact that we've got almost 700,000 autoworkers in the Midwest who may lose their jobs by Christmas because of this supposed trade policy. You know what I call it? The Trump trade tax. It's a tax on farmers, on autoworkers and on American consumers and families.

DETROW: Well, given all that, why do you think that the top line numbers at least have continued to move in the right direction on the economy to the point where the unemployment levels and a lot of the other indicators, including the stock market as we know the president likes to tweet about a lot, are in their best position in decades - I mean, given all these decisions that he's making and the impacts that you're talking about.

HARRIS: Well, listen, first of all, let's be really clear. There are pretty much two indicators for this president of the supposed greatness of his economy. The stock market - well, that's fine if you own stocks. Or the jobless numbers, the unemployment numbers - well, yeah, people are working in our country. You know what? They're working two and three jobs. And in our America, people should not have to work more than one job to be able to put food on the table and have a roof over their head. And so when we talk about the lives of real people in our country, they're not doing better under this president and his policies. You look at this tax bill that he passed benefiting the top 1% in the biggest corporations in America.

This president has betrayed a lot of people. He made a lot of promises, which he broke. He said he was going to help farmers. He was going to help working people, but he passes a tax bill benefiting the top tier of the country. He said he was going to, you know, bring back jobs. And you see - you look at Lordstown in Ohio shutting down. This is a person, this president, who has betrayed, I think, the people that believed in him and has a lot of broken promises. And I think that the American people are smart enough to know that they can't trust him to keep his word.

DETROW: You gave a speech recently in South Carolina talking big picture about your career as a prosecutor, responding to some of the criticism that's come up since you began your campaign.

HARRIS: Yep.

DETROW: One of the refrains was talking about it matters who's in the room.

HARRIS: Yes.

DETROW: And I'm curious. Given what you're talking about and how you've written about in the past when you were a young prosecutor, one of the only black prosecutors - let alone black women - in the room at the city level - later at the state level - what would you have made then of some of the criticism you've gotten now as a presidential candidate that you were part of the problem and not part of the solution when it comes to these things that you've been thinking about for decades?

HARRIS: It is my belief that when you want to reform systems, when you want to change systems, there is no question that there's a very extremely effective role to be played in terms of advocacy from the outside of the systems. In fact, you know, there's so much change that has happened for the better because of strong advocacy from the outside of certain systems. But I also believe that it is important to be in the room where the decisions are being made. I'm a - my parents were active in the civil rights movement. I grew up acutely aware of the inequities in the criminal justice system. And so when I made a decision to become a prosecutor, it was because - I mean, it was a very, extremely conscious decision. Listen; the people in my community were, like, what? You're going to go do that? Why would you do that? Why aren't you going to be a public defender? And I said, well, because it is the prosecutors who make the decisions about who's going to be charged. Is the juvenile going to be charged as a juvenile or an adult? Are you going to seek the death penalty or not? Are you going to understand that probable cause should not be based on the color of somebody's skin? Are you going to understand that communities have a right to be concerned about excessive force and racial profiling? These are the things I brought to having the power to do the job. I understood that with the swipe of my pen as a prosecutor, I would have the decision in my pen to make a decision about someone's life. And I wanted to be present in the rooms where those decisions are being made to be sure that the people in those rooms understood the impact it would have on communities.

DETROW: Well, I want to ask you about a possible future prosecutorial decision. Whether or not you're in the room, you would be appointing the people who would be in the room. You ended that recent speech talking about the 10 counts of obstruction of justice as you've framed it (laughter)...

HARRIS: Indeed.

DETROW: ...In the Mueller report.

HARRIS: No, I didn't frame it. The Mueller report framed it (laughter).

DETROW: But of course, as Robert Mueller said...

HARRIS: Uh-huh.

DETROW: ...There's that current DOJ policy...

HARRIS: Yeah.

DETROW: ...That you can't charge a sitting president. You have been very clear that you want impeachment proceedings to begin. If you become president, if he was never impeached, would you want the Department of Justice, now that he is no longer a sitting president, to go forward with those obstruction of justice charges?

HARRIS: I believe that they would have no choice and that they should. Yes. There has to be accountability. I mean, look; people might, you know, question why I became a prosecutor. Well, I'll tell you one of the reasons - I believe there should be accountability. Everyone should be held accountable, and the president is not above the law.

DETROW: Even if it meant a former president going on trial, serving jail time?

HARRIS: Well, the facts and the evidence will take the process where it leads. But I have read the Mueller report. I do believe that we should believe Bob Mueller when he tells us, essentially, that the only reason an indictment was not returned is because of a memo in the Department of Justice that suggests you cannot indict a sitting president. But I've seen prosecution of cases on much less evidence. And I think that if we're going to talk about the integrity of our criminal justice system - you know, one of the most beautiful, magnificent I think works of architecture in our nation is in our nation's capital, and it is named the United States Supreme Court - beautiful building. And on one side etched in the marble are the words equal justice under law. It doesn't say except for the president. There you go.

DETROW: OK. We're going to take a quick break. Back soon with more from our interview with California Senator Kamala Harris, including what she can't let go of this week.

And we're back. Over the next few months, the NPR POLITICS PODCAST, New Hampshire Public Radio and Iowa Public Radio are going to be interviewing a lot of the presidential candidates and bringing those conversations to you. This is the fourth interview in that series. And you can check out other interviews in your NPR POLITICS PODCAST feeds. Now, here's more from a conversation with California Senator Kamala Harris.

MASTERS: Can you give us a moment in your past, your personal life, that you felt like you failed?

HARRIS: I failed the bar the first time I took it. It was awful, awful, awful. Oh, it was awful. I, you know - and I know that I didn't - I wasn't taking studying seriously enough. I, you know - and I'll never forget getting that letter that I had not passed the California bar the first time. I was devastated - devastated.

MASTERS: How'd you turn it around then?

HARRIS: I passed it the second time.

(LAUGHTER)

MASTERS: So more studying, I guess?

HARRIS: Yeah, more studying and really focusing. And, you know, it takes - you want to achieve something that is significant, you got to put the work into it. So it was an important lesson for me at that stage of my life.

MASTERS: There was no hesitation there. That was very specific. You knew what the failure was.

HARRIS: Yeah, yeah. Right. Exactly.

MASTERS: Don't need to think about it.

HARRIS: No. It said I failed (laughter).

DETROW: Yeah.

HARRIS: There was F-A-I-L-E-D (laughter).

MASTERS: Got it.

DETROW: One of the things I've always been struck by watching you campaign even back when you were attorney general - and I saw you do it again this morning actually - is when the event is over and you're talking to people, and you talk to a younger person, a younger girl specifically, and you always take a lot of time to talk to them to give them specific advice, especially if they're someone looking at a political career.

HARRIS: Yeah.

DETROW: You talk so much about your mother as a role model, but I'm wondering who were those political role models for you...

HARRIS: Oh, that's a great question.

DETROW: ...And what were the lessons they told you?

HARRIS: I had a lot of - I mean, there were a lot of people in my life who've mentored me along the way - men and women. And, I mean, I told a story recently about my uncle Sherman who was a lawyer who - when I was a kid, he said I'm going to teach you how to play chess because you need to - you need to understand strategy. You need to understand because chess is a metaphor for life in so many ways. It's a - you know, there's the board, and there are all these different players that can move differently - right? - and they each have a power, a pretty profound power. And he taught me through teaching me chess how, one, everyone can move differently, each has power - a pawn can take out a king - and also taught me to learn that you have to, you know, try to really think about the 10th step before you take the first step. So that's early in my life a mentor. I had many - people who mentored me through law school. I had a mentor when I was a young prosecutor. I've had mentors all along the way.

And, you know, my mother had many sayings, and one of them is she would say, Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you're not the last. And I just - I think of it as part of the - frankly, the joy of achieving any success is being able to lift other people up and pass that on to them. And, you know, whenever you can validate someone in terms of their desire to soar or to take risks, it's a really great thing. I mean, it's a powerful thing. And so when I see these young women at these events and, you know, they're here - they could be doing a thousand other things, right? And they're coming to political events, and they're engaged and they've got thoughts. They are exercising their power. And when you can lift people up and empower them, that's great.

I mean, that's - I think the measure of one's strength and power is how much you actually strengthen and empower other people. And I will now shamelessly say that this is the contrast between that thought and the guy who's currently in the White House because there's a skewed perception of power. What we have seen over the last two years and some months is a display of power that is used to beat people up, to belittle people, to demean people, to make people feel small. That's not a sign of strength. That's a sign of weakness. A sign of strength is when you lift people up.

MASTERS: At the end of every one of these episodes, people go around and talk about what they can't let go of this week, politics or otherwise. So what is your can't let it go, Senator Harris?

HARRIS: OK. I'm embarrassed to tell you. What I can't - I honestly can't let go -, like I don't - I have to find my iPad whenever I have a break today. I promised after - I have, like, a bunch of events every night, but this week, I promised a collection of girlfriends I would cook and have them over. And I love to cook, and they know I love to cook. And so I can't just order pizza out because this is also a matter of personal pride for me (laughter). So I am trying to figure out how to make this recipe that I've made before when I lived another life and I was not campaigning for president of the United States. And I cannot let go of it. So I'm thinking about it because it's this incredible pork stew and, you know, I like to marinate it the first night and then the second night cook it. And it really is best to eat on the third night. And I'm trying to figure out - I can't let the recipe go (laughter). And I'm trying to figure out logistically...

DETROW: Is it, like, a slow cooker, a pot or...

HARRIS: Well, no, I have this really great Dutch oven.

DETROW: OK.

HARRIS: And - but I like to cook this - you know, some of the best things that I love to eat and cook. My mother was always like, you like to eat good food, you better learn how to cook, right? I love to eat good food, so I like to cook. And it - so I put it in the oven for, like, three hours after I sear everything on the stove and then I put in the oven for, like, three hours.

DETROW: This is a hobby that really doesn't translate to hotel living at all. Like, how are you making it through?

HARRIS: Not at all. Well, you know, it's my - this is my guilty pleasure. I just read recipes, and then whenever I - whenever the - my team is kind enough to me to give me, like, a Sunday evening off, you know, my biggest joy is to make Sunday family dinner for my family. And that's when I do it. So I'll, you know, kind of have my fantasies about what I will make that Sunday when it happens, and then I just cook it.

DETROW: All right. Well, Senator Kamala Harris, thanks for coming on the NPR POLITICS PODCAST.

HARRIS: Thank you, guys. It's been great to be with you. Thank you. Thank you both.

DETROW: That's one of many interviews we're doing this summer with the Democratic candidates for president. Next week, we'll hear from Montana Governor Steve Bullock. We talk to him in Sioux City, Iowa. We also want to let you know about Caucus Land. It's a podcast produced by Iowa Public Radio that will tell you all about Iowa's role in shaping the nominating field for presidential candidates. Clay Masters and Kate Payne, who you're hearing in this interview series, will give you an in-depth look at the importance of the Iowa caucuses and how people in Iowa shape the national conversation. You can find it at caucusland.com.

We'll be back in your feed soon as soon as there's news to talk about. Thanks to Clay Masters and everyone else at Iowa Public Radio. I'm Scott Detrow. Thank you for listening to the NPR POLITICS PODCAST.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BIGTOP ORCHESTRA'S "TEETER BOARD: FOLIES BERGERE (MARCH AND TWO-STEP)")

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.