Issa tries to ‘clear the air’ with Rep. Cummings
March 6th, 2014
11:42 PM ET
6 years ago

Issa tries to ‘clear the air’ with Rep. Cummings

One day after cutting off his Democratic counterpart's microphone, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa telephoned ranking member Elijah Cummings and apologized.

Issa tweeted Thursday evening, "I just wanted to clear the air with @RepCummings." The tweet included a link to a U-T San Diego article in which Issa says he had personally apologized to Cummings.

"I could have offered to reopen the hearing and allowed (Cummings) to make a second statement," Issa told the California paper. "As chairman, I should have been much more sensitive to the mood of what was going on, and I take responsibility."


Issa's apology came hours after the Congressional Black Caucus offered a resolution condemning Issa’s conduct and forced the full House of Representatives to vote on the motion. It was tabled by a 211-186 vote that split down partisan lines.

In response, the Maryland congressman's office released a statement saying he accepted Issa's apology.

"My sincere hope is that as we move forward, we will respect the opinions of all members of the committee, we will proceed in a deliberate and considered manner to obtain the facts, we will refrain from making accusations that have no basis in fact, and we will seek resolution rather than unnecessary conflict," the statement read.

The argument between the two grabbed headlines Wednesday and shifted the spotlight during a hearing that was meant to focus on IRS targeting of conservative groups.Issa called the hearing to again question former IRS manager Lois Lerner and determine if she would answer the committee's questions or again invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

After Issa repeatedly questioned Lerner and she consistently responded by invoking her Fifth Amendment rights, Issa said he was adjourning the hearing. Cumming immediately asked to give a statement and ask a question but Issa told him statements would not be allowed and within minutes had Cummings microphone turned off.

"I am tired of this," Cummings said, visibly upset. "You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something wrong with that. And it is absolutely un-American."

Issa defended his actions at the time.

"He was talking into a mic in an adjourned meeting. The fact is Mr. Cummings came to make a point of his objections to the process we'd been going through. He was, he was actually slandering me at the moment that the mics did go off by claiming that this had not been a real investigation," he said Wednesday.

However, according to the U-T San Diego report, Issa said that he and Cummings spoke about how they could "do a better job going forward."

– CNN's Lisa Desjardins and Halimah Abdullah contributed to this report.

soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    Tampa Tim

    Lerner's attorney was going to answer questions, but Issa knew that would end his witch hunt, so Darrell closed the hearing.
    ------–
    You've come up with some doosies... this one takes the cake. When someone is testifying under oath, an attorney cannot answer for them.

    March 7, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. Wake up People!

    Quite the norm in this country. Disrespect the black man, especially one that doesn't know his place. Then offer a phony, meaningless apology.
    End of discussion.

    All is right with the world.

    Rinse and repeat.

    March 7, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Hard ball politics need not to be played in the gutter. Both parties have been guilty in the current dysfunctional ideological driven environment.

    March 7, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. salty dog

    Tom, she is Republican? She would have thrown Obama under the bus long ago if she could, her husband is a deeply loyal Republican. Maybe she's pleading the fifth because she doesn't have anything incriminating to say, and make it look as though there is simply by not testifying.

    March 7, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. bcrunner

    @Rick McDaniel: "Cummings doesn't DESERVEE an apology" because his actions are political??? Really? What are Issa's actions? Please tell us... Because he starts investigations that go nowhere??? and they are not political? When we all know in the end the only political group that was denied status was a liberal group? And please Rick!! Don't forget that Rep Cummings was furious at the beginning when he heard the IRS was targeting groups...

    March 7, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. salty dog

    I believe he meant her lawyer would have her answer them, your being ridiculous now .

    March 7, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  7. Fair is Fair

    salty dog

    Tom, she is Republican? She would have thrown Obama under the bus long ago if she could, her husband is a deeply loyal Republican. Maybe she's pleading the fifth because she doesn't have anything incriminating to say, and make it look as though there is simply by not testifying.
    -----–
    Makes no sense, salty. The 5th protects from self-incrimination, so if she has nothing incriminating, she wouldn't need the protection.

    March 7, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. salty dog

    You underestimate their devious nature, does her taking the fifth make it seem likely there is a cover up going on? How do you know she's protecting herself?

    March 7, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. plain and simple

    All Issa had to say is that what he did was stupid. He would have gotten no arguments from anyone!

    March 7, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. salty dog

    I've watched this from the start, and tried to give it an honest assessment, but watching issa, you quickly realize this is not about irs scrutiny .why no witness for the defense, their were witnesses, issa refused to let them testify when he learned they would not support his agenda. He is not interested in the truth, and you know it, why not let all witnesses testify?

    March 7, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. salty dog

    You missed my point, she is not protecting anyone, she's playing the game.

    March 7, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    I would plead the 5th in front of Issa any day of the week, no matter what I knew or didn't know. Issa has been deeply embarassed by Lerner. He had told Fox News Sunday that he was bringing Lerner back, and promised that she would testify. He had also referred to the investigation as a "fact finding" investigation, which is merely a polite way to say "witch hunt", if you ask me.

    March 7, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. sammy750

    ISSA is the big LIE, like ex President G. Bush and Cheney. Republicans are good at LYING so they can get their way. Bush and Cheney actually lied about the reason for invading Iraq, it was to get Iraq OIL. MSNBC ran a show on it last nite with all the real facts. Can the American people really believe anything a Republicans says. NO WAY

    March 7, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    "Lerner's attorney was going to answer questions, but Issa knew that would end his witch hunt, so Darrell closed the hearing."

    You've come up with some doosies... this one takes the cake. When someone is testifying under oath, an attorney cannot answer for them.
    ------------------------------–
    You come up with some good ones yourself, as in this case. Rumor has it, Tampa Tim was correct insofar as Issa not wanting any responses to Cummings' questions. It's my understanding that Lerner would have responded with something other than the 5th Amendment.

    BTW – Contrary to what Issa & Co. would have you believe a person can pick and choose which questions that they wish to answer by pleading the 5th Amendment when they do not wish to answer. Congressmen do not decide when someone has "waived their rights."

    March 7, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. salty dog

    They didn't watch it, they value their ill informed hatred, can't jeaprodize that, the truth is not kind to the gop.

    March 7, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  16. Wake up People!

    Well Salty, the truth may not be kind to the GOP but the MSM damn sure is.

    March 7, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. rs

    Mr. Cummings is the next in line in authority for that committee behind Mr. Issa. Mr. Issa just committed his "Joe McCarthy" moment. This is not a trial, this is an investigational hearing, and people have the right, according to our Constitution to not answer questions. Mr. Issa is not an Inquisitor (although he obviously sees things differently). He has now broken that committee's structure by disrespecting and trampling on Mr. Cummings' authority.
    Time to say good-bye, thug.

    March 7, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. Kenman

    Three points:

    Issa was magnanimous, since Cummings was just wanting to make another political statement after the Democrat at the center of the IRS scandal refused once again to answer the committee's questions and Issa was rightly frustrated at their inability to get any answers from this administration.

    2nd: The Congressional Black Caucus should not have been the group to make a stink about this, as if there were some suggestion of racism!

    3rd: There should NOT BE a Congressional BLACK Caucus! What the hell!?

    March 7, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  19. rs

    Fair is Fair
    salty dog

    Tom, she is Republican? She would have thrown Obama under the bus long ago if she could, her husband is a deeply loyal Republican. Maybe she's pleading the fifth because she doesn't have anything incriminating to say, and make it look as though there is simply by not testifying.
    -––
    Makes no sense, salty. The 5th protects from self-incrimination, so if she has nothing incriminating, she wouldn't need the protection.
    ________________
    Really? You believe Mr. Issa has conducted this (or any other of his "investigations" in a fair or even legal fashion)? You don't strike me as being particularly naive. Issa has made no bones about making the facts fit his claims- and it blew up on him in his Benghazi hearing. If I were that woman (a Republican, appointed by G.W. Bush), I sure wouldn't give him anything he could spin against me. Look, she has the right to claim the 5th Amendment- if Issa is so inept that he can present no evidence against her beyond her testimony, then he has no case, legal or otherwise.

    March 7, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. bigdoglv

    Keep complaining about Issa. But when your prime witness pleads the 5th you continue to investigate. Cummings seems to care less about truth. His staged anger only made him look like a fool.

    March 7, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. Silence DoGood

    This sounds so much like the beginning of the Ken Starr inquisition of Bill Clinton. After heaven knows how much of tax payer money was wasted chasing down the Foster murder, Whitewater, etc. etc. and having nothing to show for it, they settled for lying about a personal affair. Now here we are again.

    Issa doesn't want a clear resolution so that it can be morphed into the next false accusation seamlessly. Notice how that technique also plays into the general conservative conspiracy theory folks. We are almost there – about to discover the Big Truth – a little farther – another million dollars – just around the corner......

    March 7, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Makes no sense, salty. The 5th protects from self-incrimination, so if she has nothing incriminating, she wouldn't need the protection.
    ------------------------
    I think the more significant question is, "What is Issa hiding"? Issa has been upset with Cummings since last June, and again in August, when Cummings disclosed findings that Issa didn't want disclosed. Findings that do destroy the narrative that Issa has been trying to build. I find it significant that Issa has now used the term "fact finding" to describe this investigation

    March 7, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. John

    Surprised he did not start crying when he apologized like when he lost his bid to be governor of California. He cried on national TV.

    March 7, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Isn't the real story that Lois Lerner, essentially a government employee, pled the 5th?
    -------------------------------------------------
    No that isn't the real story.
    See the headline?
    THIS story is about how Issa flipped off a Congressman aborting and ignoring all rules in Congress.
    I believe that what he did was a first.
    Republicans making history.....

    March 7, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. Pat

    If your're a republican, you can get away with anything.
    You know, like David Vitter and others.
    But we MUST vote against our own best interest.

    March 7, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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