Issa tries to 'clear the air' with Rep. Cummings

CNN
Friday, March 7, 2014 - 11:07am

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."
 

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