House Republicans celebrated their newfound majority earlier this year by forming a special subcommittee to investigate supposed anti-conservative bias throughout the government. The Weaponization of the Federal Government Committee has largely been a flop, with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) helming a series of hearings that instead of unearthing “deep state” conspiracies have highlighted just how little the GOP is concerned with actual governance.
The committee’s hearing on Thursday, meant to examine whether the Biden administration influence how social media companies handled the Covid-19 pandemic, was no different. Jordan called far-right Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry as witnesses, before dismissing them without allowing for cross-examination. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) was not happy.
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“These witnesses are being dismissed without the ability to cross-examine their statements,” he said. “They’ve made some outlandish allegations here. … These two witnesses have just presented evidence that I think in part is false, and I would like the opportunity to cross-examine those witnesses.”
Parliamentary chaos breaks out in House Judiciary hearing after GOP majority dismisses witnesses without cross-examination:
Chair Jim Jordan: “You’ll be given your 5 minutes here.”
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA): “They’re not here! … They have scurried away with your complicity!” pic.twitter.com/nbImR6JOXo
— The Recount (@therecount) March 30, 2023
The proceedings turned chaotic as other Democrats sprung to Lynch’s defense and pressed Jordan about letting the witnesses go without cross-examination. “They’re not here! They have scurried away with your complicity!” Lynch continued after Jordan said he’d be given five minutes to question anyone he wants. “In a country of 330 million people, you couldn’t find two people to defend their statements! That’s pretty disgraceful!
Jordan then lied that the Democrats who led the Jan. 6 committee didn’t allow Republicans to cross-examine witnesses. “That is false,” multiple Democrats responded. “What basis in fact do you have for making that?” asked Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.). “Are we just here to allege wild allegations and not have anything factual to back them up?”
Jordan: I’d point out that Democrats ran a committee for a year and a half which gave no ability to Republicans to cross examine witnesses pic.twitter.com/tmM54tj7zz
— Acyn (@Acyn) March 30, 2023
The Jan. 6 committee was led by Democrats but featured two Republican members, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. The committee would have featured more Republicans if then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy hadn’t pulled them off the committee after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vetoed the appointment of Jordan and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Pa.) to the panel given their participation in the effort to overturn the 2020 election results. The committee ultimately held several devastating hearings detailing how former President Donald Trump and his allies worked to prevent Biden from taking office, culminating in a violent insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
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