Mark Meadows Snaps at Congresswoman at Kellyanne Conway Hearing: ‘It’s My Time, Tlaib!’
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) caused a stir at a congressional hearing when he snapped at Democratic colleague Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and challenged the integrity of the witness.
On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing on White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s repeated violations of the Hatch Act, at which the Office of Special Counsel’s Henry Kerner faced questions about his agency’s investigation.
Democrats on the committee had Mr. Kerner establish, repeatedly, that he is a “conservative Republican” who was appointed by President Donald Trump, and who “voted for Ronald Reagan,” in an effort to refute the notion that the OSC’s recommendation for Conway to be fired was motivated by partisanship.
Meadows began his questioning by suggesting that Kerner’s actions were personal, saying, “Mr. Kerner, she made you mad, didn’t she? Kellyanne Conway made you mad.”
“I would not describe that, no,” Kerner replied.
“Well, you mentioned to numerous people that she poked you in the eye,” Meadows said, to which Kerner replied “Sure.”
“So, you don’t get mad when you get poked in the eye?” Meadows said.
“I would describe my reaction as being disappointed,” Kerner said.
“Well I know you’re describing it that way, but you talked to multiple people how you were mad, how you felt pressured to put out this report. Isn’t that true?” Meadows asked.
“No that’s not true, no,” Kerner said, at which point Meadows repeatedly reminded the witness he was under oath.
“I had a conversation which I expressed that because she had made those statements, I felt we ought to have an answer to those statements,” Kerner explained, and went on to add, “I did tell them that I thought that what she said was inappropriate, it was a poke in the eye, that’s correct, but there was no pressure in terms of, the report was written.”
Meadows told Kerner that, “that dog doesn’t hunt, because you’ve told multiple people, it wasn’t just the White House counsel.”
Meadows then began questioning Kerner about which senator was presiding the last time the Hatch Act was amended, for some reason, and when Rep. Tlaib tried to speak while Kerner consulted his staff, Meadows snapped, “It’s MY time, Tlaib!”
Meadows concluded his questioning by insisting that the Office of Personnel Management exempted Conway’s Twitter account, the source of one of her 13 Hatch Act violations. Kerner disagreed, and cited the statute.
Then, committee Chairman Elijah Cummings told Kerner, “I do believe, as I’ve listened to my colleague, that your integrity has been challenged,” adding that “one of the things I’ve noticed in this committee is that folks are anxious to find, allege that people perjured themselves, and in fairness to you, Mr. Meadows said it at least 4 or 5 times, reminding that you are under oath.”
Kerner said that he didn’t “understand the context of the question,” so Meadows interrupted to say “I can give the context, Mr. Chairman, if you want the context, since a truthful witness is key.”
“Mr. Meadows! You’re out of time!” Cummings exclaimed.
“Well, he was given 10 minutes for an opening statement, Mr. Chairman!” Meadows protested.
With what can only be described as peak agitation, Cummings pounded the gavel and said, “Please!” drawing audible laughs.
“I am trying to be fair to this distinguished conservative Republican,” Cummings continued, generating another wave of laughter, “who has simply come to give an opinion, now his integrity has been challenged.”
Kerner then proceeded to explain his answer once again, and the hearing continued.
Meadows has also threatened to bring the heat when Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before Congress in July, a spectacle for which this performance is an instructive prelude.
Watch the full exchange above, via C-SPAN.
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