Elijah Cummings loses it when Darrell Issa cuts off his mic at hearing

Cummings accused Issa of being 'un-American' for shutting down a hearing and refusing to let his colleagues speak.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  Updated March 5, 2014 at 1:30 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 5 (UPI) -- A congressional hearing turned into a verbal slugging match when Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa cut off the mic of Ranking Member Elijah Cummings.

Lois Lerner, a former IRS official and a target in the Republican chairman's investigation into an alleged political targeting scandal, refused to testify at the hearing Wednesday. Saying he had "no expectation Ms. Lerner would cooperate with this committee," Issa, R-Calif., abruptly adjourned the meeting.

But Cummings, D-Md., wanted a chance to read his prepared remarks, insisting he be heard.

“Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this," Cummings said, as Issa stood up and began to gather his belongings. "You just cannot do this."

“We’re better than that as a country. We’re better than that as a committee,” Cummings continued, even as his microphone was muted, forcing him to shout. "I want to ask a question. What are we hiding? What’s the big deal?”

“You’re all free to leave, the meeting is adjourned, but the gentleman may ask his question,” Issa said.

After Cummings began to speak, Issa cut him off to cries of "shame! shame!" from the audience.

“Let me say what I have to say. I’ve listened to you for the last 15 or 20 minutes or so,” he said, as Issa drew his hand across his neck to get the microphone shut off again. He eventually sat down as Cummings continued to speak, his voice raised over his muted mic.

“I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America, and I am tired of this,” Cummings shouted. “You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something wrong with that and it is absolutely un-American.”

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