Former chairman appears at House Oversight contempt debate

Former chairman appears at House Oversight contempt debate
© Greg Nash

Former House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaWhy the GOP march of mad hatters poses a threat to our Democracy Elijah Cummings, native son of Baltimore, gets emotional send-off from Democratic luminaries Lawmakers come together to honor Cummings: 'One of the greats in our country's history' MORE (R-Calif.) appeared Wednesday at a committee hearing on whether to hold Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrGOP rep predicts watchdog report on alleged FISA abuses will find 'problems' Barr defends Trump's use of executive authority, slams impeachment hearings GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse MORE and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossTrump trade adviser pushes back on reports of US-China tariff deal China, US agree to reduce tariffs amid trade talks, Beijing says Income for poorest Americans fell faster than previously thought: study MORE in contempt.

Issa, who retired from Congress this year, sat in the front row of the proceedings, offering a moment of levity to a sometimes contentious back-and-forth between Republicans and Democrats on the panel.

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He laughed and joked along as lawmakers discussed his return to the chamber where he used to lead the panel, then called the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The committee's current chairman, Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaya Rockeymoore Cummings reports surgery was a success, will return to campaign trail The Hill's Morning Report — Public impeachment drama resumes today Maloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump MORE (D-Md.), welcomed Issa back.

"We're very pleased to have our distinguished former chairman in the room," Cummings said to some cheers.

"Let me make it clear, when I became chairman I said 'Let's make sure the portraits go up,' it's out of respect," he continued. "Mr. Issa and I went toe-to-toe quite a bit, but when all the dust settled I have a lot of respect for him ... taught me a lot and I'm sure I taught him a lot of things too"

"We wish he hadn't taught you quite so well," joked Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsDemocrats seize on new evidence in first public impeachment hearing House Republicans call impeachment hearing 'boring,' dismiss Taylor testimony as hearsay Key takeaways from first public impeachment hearing MORE (R-N.C.).

Former Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzElijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke MORE (R-Utah) reportedly removed portraits of Issa and other past chairmen from the walls of the Oversight Committee hearing room when he assumed the committee leadership role in 2015.