Video: Chaos Breaks Out in House Hearing After Witnesses Leave Without Cross-Examination


A prolonged period of chaos broke out in a House hearing after witnesses were dismissed without being cross-examined

On Thursday, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) testified before the subcommittee investigating the “weaponization of the federal government.”

However, they left before lawmakers were able to probe their testimony to see how accurate it was.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) suggested Landry and Schmitt presented testimony that was not accurate as he said, “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.”

Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said, “Those witnesses aren’t here.”

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After some debate over whether Lynch was recognized to speak, Jordan said, “I’m now recognizing Mr. Johnson because you’re not stating your point of order any longer, you’re making a speech.”

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) chimed in to defend the decision to let Landry and Schmitt leave. He also argued it was fair as he claimed Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) previously delivered testimony “that was pretty salacious” during a hearing and was allowed to leave before he could be cross-examined.

Watch the exchange below:

However, another member of the committee took Johnson describing Raskin’s comments as “salacious.” She said, “Salacious has to do with sexual content. And I don’t think that our colleague Mr. Raskin presented salacious content.”

The chaos continued with members talking over each other as Jordan sought to restore order in the hearing. He said, “The gentleman from Louisiana said it was not salacious, it was outrageous. He changed the term.”

Returning to the original issue, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) suggested that Landry is not “entitled to an extension of courtesy like we give to some our colleagues,” such as allowing him to be dismissed before being cross-examined.

Additionally, Lynch argued the testimony of Lynch and Schmitt should be struck from the record.

He added, “If we aren’t able to probe the veracity, the truthfulness of their statements…”

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Jordan tried to assure the Massachusetts congressman he would be given five minutes to cross-examine other witnesses. 

However, Lynch noted the witnesses he wanted to speak to had left the hearing, saying, “They’re not here! They’re absent. They have scurried away with your complicity!”

“In a country of 330 million people, you couldn’t find two people to defend their statements! That’s pretty disgraceful!” he added.

Finally, Lynch sought to adjourn the hearing as he claimed, “This is a mockery and a disgrace. And it’s shameful.”

Correction [03/31/23, 10:58 a.m. ET]: Rep. Jamie Raskin is a Democrat. An earlier version of this article stated his party affiliation incorrectly.

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