Issa: 'I Broke No Rules' in Cummings' Flap

Thursday, 06 Mar 2014 10:27 PM

By Greg Richter

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House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa apologized to ranking member Elijah Cummings for cutting his microphone after a heated hearing with former IRS official Lois Lerner on Wednesday,  the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

But Issa avoided saying he was sorry when pressed by Fox News' Megyn Kelly on Thursday.

"I broke no rules," Issa told Kelly, saying he simply followed procedure. "I had a script in front of me that had been approved by the parliamentarian, and I followed it."

Story continues below video.

Issa accused Cummings  of having a "hissy fit" after Issa had adjourned the proceedings.

The Maryland Democrat had asked if he could ask a question, Issa said yes, and Cummings began railing against Issa for the way he has conducted the hearing. Issa had brought Lerner back before the committee to ask questions about emails in which conservative groups appeared to be targeted.

Issa said Cummings had asked him before the meeting whether he would have a chance to make a statement. Issa said he told him no, because it was a continuation of the hearing nine months earlier in which members had made statements already.

After Issa adjourned the hearing, he said, Cummings went into "what appeared to be a pre-staged event" saying he had a right to talk. Democrats have condemned Issa's actions and the Congressional Black Caucus has called for Issa's removal from his leadership post.

That effort failed on a party-line vote.

The Black Caucus accused Issa of racism because Cummings is black.

Issa said he got along well with the former committee chairman Edolphus Towns, and, "Elijah Cummings got this job, quite frankly, by saying he'd be different than Towns, that he'd hold me to a stop. He'd keep me from accomplishing anything."

Issa added that several years ago, Henry Waxman threatened to remove him from the room because he pointed out Waxman was breaking the rules. Republicans didn't launch any attempt to oust him, "and I certainly didn't say that he was anti-Arab-American," he said.

Kelly added that former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cut off the lights on the GOP more than once, and Senate Majority Leader in the past few months Harry Reid and invoked "nuclear option" to stifle debate.

Still, Issa admitted he would do it differently if given another chance."

"Yes, he did irritate me because he said wanted to ask a question then he went into this diatribe accusing me of somehow being on a witch hunt. If I had it to do over I probably would have sat there for a very long time, let him say a lot of things and then walked away," he said.

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