House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa cut the microphone on Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings Wednesday morning at a hearing to investigate the IRS for targeting conservative groups.
After IRS official Lois Lerner repeatedly took the Fifth during her questioning at Wednesday’s hearing, Issa adjourned the meeting, saying, “Seeking the truth is the obligation of this committee, and I can see no point in going further.”
As he stood up to leave, Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, spoke into his mic. “Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman, I have a statement.” Issa ignored him and started to leave while Cummings continue. “Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this. You just cannot do this. We’re better than that as a country, we’re better than that as a committee. I have asked for a few minutes–”
Issa reached over and muted Cummings’ mic as Cummings spoke. Issa eventually returned to his seat and turned the mic back on, telling the rest of the chamber they were free to leave. “We’ve all adjourned, but the gentleman may ask his question,” Issa said.
Cummings spoke for roughly 30 seconds before Issa cut off his mic again. “We’re adjourned,” he ordered. “Close it down.”
Cummings continued to speak without the use of the microphone, before Issa interrupted him to ask him to get to his question.
“Then you will sit down and allow me to ask the question! I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America! I am tired of this,” Cummings responded. “You cannot have just a one-sided investigation.”
Issa repeated that the hearing had adjourned and left.
Following the hearing, Issa told reporters he allowed Cummings the opportunity to ask a question, but that Cummings used his time to make a speech instead. “The fact is, Mr. Cummings came to make a point of his objections to the process we have been going through. He was actually slandering me at the moment that the mics did go off by claiming that this had not been a real investigation.”
This is not the first time the two congressmen have clashed. Issa and Cummings have been in a back-and-forth over the House Oversight Committee’s Benghazi investigation.