‘This is a mockery and a disgrace’: House weaponization panel descends into yelling
A hearing of the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government descended into a shouting match on Thursday when Democrats raised objections to the Republican decision to allow witnesses to leave the hearing without being cross examined.
The committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), used the hearing to target what it alleges is abuse by the President Biden’s administration to try to control social media companies and manipulate what information users see on the platforms.
The committee called Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), a former congressman, to testify against the Biden administration at the hearing.
But after their testimony, in which Schmitt and Landry both accused the administration and the federal government as a whole of attempting to strong-arm social media platforms and alleging a scheme that tipped the scales in the favor of then-candidate Biden in 2020, Jordan allowed both witnesses to leave the hearing without taking questions from Democrats. It was a move that incensed Democrats on the panel.
“These witnesses are being dismissed without the ability to cross examine their statements, they’ve made some outlandish allegations here,” Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) said to Jordan. “Consistent with the work of, especially this select committee, and congressional hearings in general, we should have the ability to question their statements.”
Jordan argued that it was a “long-standing practice” to allow members of the Senate and “other officials” to testify and not take questions. Lynch argued that Schmitt and Landry were direct witnesses to the allegations they had made.
“These two witnesses have just presented evidence that I think in part is false, and I would like the opportunity to cross examine those witnesses,” Lynch said.
When another Republican was recognized by Jordan to argue on behalf of him, Lynch interrupted, shouting that he was reclaiming his time to speak. The committee then broke into members talking over each other, arguing over whether the witnesses should have been made to take questions.
“They have scurried away with your complicity,” Lynch shouted at Jordan. “In a country of 330 million people, you couldn’t find two people to defend their statements. That’s pretty disgraceful.”
When another witness began their testimony, Lynch again interjected, asking that the committee vote to adjourn.
“This is a mockery and a disgrace,” Lynch said when he asked for the motion to adjourn.
When Jordan tried to not recognize Lynch’s motion to adjourn, the Massachusetts Democrat yelled at him: “If you don’t know the rules of the committee, then talk to your parliamentarian.”
The committee did not adjourn after all of the Republican members voted to stay in session.
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