Issa Apologizes After Cutting Off Critic's Microphone

Says he could have handled situation with Elijah Cummings better

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 7, 2014 12:45 PM CST

(Newser) – The normally unrepentant Darrell Issa has personally apologized to a fellow congressman over a high-profile snub on the House floor, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. The chairman of the House Oversight panel offered his mea culpa to Democrat Elijah Cummings after a testy exchange amid this week's grilling of former IRS official Lois Lerner. When Issa peppered Lerner with questions, she took the Fifth, and he abruptly adjourned the hearing. When Cummings, the ranking Democrat, tried to speak, Issa cut off his microphone (complete with finger-dragging motion across the throat) and left with other Republicans on the panel.

"I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America," Cummings declared as Issa tried to get him to stop. Yesterday, the Congressional Black Caucus sent a letter to John Boehner calling Issa a "disgrace" and demanding he be stripped of his committee leadership, reports the Washington Post. Boehner stood by Issa, who later said: “I could have offered to reopen the hearing and allowed him to make a second statement. As chairman, I should have been much more sensitive to the mood of what was going on, and I take responsibility.” A New York Times analysis agrees and sees a pattern: Issa has made a big deal out of his various White House investigations, but he "has proved to be his own worst enemy, stepping on his own message with his antics and clouding whatever political impact his investigations might be having." A Democratic bid to censure him failed along party lines.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., right, gets up to leave as Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., left, begins his statement.   (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
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A video of the exchange between the two congressmen.   (U-T San Diego News)

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