Judiciary hearing gets heated as Democratic counsel interrogates GOP staffer

The House Judiciary Committee's hearing on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday Eighty-eight years of debt pieties MORE's impeachment grew especially heated on Monday after the Democratic counsel, who had previously appeared as a witness, began aggressively questioning the GOP counsel for the Intelligence Committee. 

Republican members of the committee raised repeated objections to Judiciary counsel Barry Berke's questioning of GOP Intelligence counsel Steve Castor as Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler wins Democratic primary Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November Clyburn threatens to end in-person coronavirus committee hearings if Republicans won't wear masks MORE (D-N.Y.) gaveled them to stop.

They were particularly upset that Berke was questioning Castor after previously being a witness. 


"I’ve been a judge and I know that you don’t get to be a witness and a judge in the same case,” Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertGOP-Trump fractures on masks open up Democrats start cracking down on masks for lawmakers Justice Department officials say decisions are politicized MORE (R-Texas) said during Berke’s questioning of Castor.

“That’s my point of order. He should not be up here,” Gohmert added, to which Nadler replied: “It’s not a point of order.”

Nadler cited House Resolution 660 as the grounds for allowing Berke to conduct questioning. After conducting his own questioning of Castor, he yielded back to Berke, prompting a parliamentary inquiry from Rep. Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonHouse Republicans call for cutting office budgets of lawmakers who use proxy voting The Hill's Morning Report - Treasury, Fed urge more spending, lending to ease COVID-19 wreckage Floyd's brother urges Congress to take action MORE (R-La.), only for Nadler to tell him he was not recognized.

Gohmert spoke up again to ask if the committee was going to “ignore rules and allow witnesses to ask the questions, then how many other rules are you going to disregard?”

“This is not appropriate to have a witness be a questioner … it’s just wrong,” Gohmert said, repeatedly attempting to raise a point of order and eventually asking “how much money do you have to give to get to do that?”


“The gentleman will not cast aspersions on members or staff of the committee,” Nadler responded.

Johnson raised another point of order and said Berke was “presenting his opinions as a witness” rather than “present[ing] the material facts of the report.”

“We operate by rules and if there’s nothing in the rules specifically permitting this we go by precedent. It is unprecedented for a person to come and sit who you’ve described as a witness to then return to the bench and begin questioning,” said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)

“I will point out that the gentleman has been designated by me to do this questioning, pursuant to House Resolution 660,” Nadler said eventually.

Berke also questioned the Democratic counsel for the House Intelligence Committee. 

Republicans accused Berke of badgering Castor with his questions, but Nadler said it was simply tough questioning of a witness and not badgering. 

"Sharp cross-examination of a witness is not badgering the witness," he said in response to Rep. Jim SensenbrennerFrank (Jim) James SensenbrennerLobbying world House Judiciary Committee calls on Bezos to testify as part of antitrust probe GOP, Democratic senators call for more assistance to local media in coronavirus stimulus MORE (R-Wis.), who had asked him to rule on a point of order that Berke was badgering the witness.