A hearing of the House Judiciary Committee turned to chaos after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) objected to the time given to a witness by continuing to knock on his table and drown out the witness.
The incident occurred on Wednesday as former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer was giving his opening statement to the committee.
Ayer was excoriating Attorney General William Barr when Gohmert began banging on his table with his ring.
“Here though the wrong is much worse, as Barr is using a criminal investigation to produce fodder for the president’s campaign propaganda mill. Which can have its effect even if it is false!” said Ayer.
Here Gohmert began to knock his ring against the table. After about a minute, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) asked for Gohmert to be stopped by force.
“Mr. Chairman,” said Johnson, “I would ask that the sergeant-at-arms be called upon to stop the disruption of this meeting. I can’t hear this witness, this is a very important witness.”
“Well, he’s way beyond his time,” responded Gohmert, who continued knocking, “and if there are no rules about when people can talk, there’s no rules about when you can make noise!”
Gohmert addressed Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) directly and accused him of selectively using the congressional rules to aid Democrats. Then he continued knocking.
“Mr. Chairman!” Gohmert interrupted. “This is outrageous! Do you have no respect for the rules whatsoever?!”
Then he continued knocking.
Ayer, who was once Barr’s supervisor, finished his opening address on the what he considered to be the politicization of the Department of Justice.
“I believe that William Barr poses the greatest threat, in my lifetime, to our rule of law and to public trust in it,” Ayer said. “That is because he does not believe in its core principle: that no person is above the law.”
Here’s the video of the heated interaction:
Hearing goes off the rails when lawmaker keeps banging table