A House Judiciary Committee hearing erupted into a heated clash between lawmakers after Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert started banging on his desk and refused to stop as lawmakers heard testimony from a pair of Justice Department whistleblowers and two former senior officials over allegations that the Trump administration has politicized the agency.
The back and forth began as former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer was delivering an opening statement on Wednesday.
As Ayer ran over his allotted five minutes, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) began making a tapping noise to drown him out.
Gohmert’s disruption angered the Democrats on the committee and prompted one to call for the sergeant-at-arms to intervene.
“Mr. Chairman, I would ask that the sergeant-at-arms be called upon to stop the disruption of this meeting,” Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) said. “I can’t hear this witness. This is a very important witness.”
“Yeah, well he’s way beyond his time,” Gohmert fired back. “And if there are no rules about when people can talk, there are no rules about when you can make noise.”
Gohmert called the situation “outrageous,” rhetorically asking Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) if he had “no respect for the rules whatsoever,” saying Ayer was “two minutes beyond concluding and you don’t let us have that kind of time, you gavel us down immediately. You’re being grossly unfair.”
Ayer continued to speak, raising his voice, while Gohmert continued to make the tapping noise.
Johnson noted that rules permitted the chair to allow extra time at his discretion. He continued to call for Gohmert’s removal by the sergeant-at-arms.
Democrats ask for the Sergeant at Arms to remove Gohmert from the hearing room because he refuses to stop banging on a table pic.twitter.com/PY3x4yWcYn
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 24, 2020