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Many Come To Cummings’ Defense After He Was Silenced At A Committee Hearing

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(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (WJZ)—Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings fires back a day after his mic is cut off in a committee hearing.

Mary Bubala has more on how his colleagues are backing him on Capitol Hill and calling for the removal of the committee chair.

The day after an explosive exchange on Capitol Hill, colleagues of Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings are rallying around him.

They’re demanding an apology after his microphone was cut off in a committee hearing. Others are calling for the committee chairman to be removed.

“What happened was so outrageous, so demeaning,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) at a news conference to discuss the incident.

On Capitol Hill on Thursday, House Democratic ranking members say they’re outraged that Maryland Congressman Cummings was silenced at a committee hearing Wednesday when House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) cut off his microphone.

“You see Republicans simply trying to shut down and suspend democracy in the House of Representatives, and it’s a sad day for the United States Congress,” said Rep Chris Van Hollen, (D) Maryland.

Congressman Cummings calls what happened to him an abuse of power and un-American.

Congressman Issa has not commented, but others across the aisle have reached out to Cummings.

“A number of Republican members on our committee have come up to me and said, ‘Don’t tell him, but I apologize. You should not have been treated that way,’” Cummings said.

House Democrats introduced a resolution condemning Congressman Issa’s actions and the Congressional Black Caucus called on House Speaker John Boehner to remove Issa from the oversight committee.

Instead he defended him.

“From what I understand Mr. Issa was within his rights to adjourn the hearing when he did,” Boehner said.

All this happened during a hearing into whether the IRS targeted conservative groups. The key witness, Lois Lerner, refused to answer questions.

Congressman Cummings said her attorney was ready to speak on her behalf before the hearing abruptly ended.

Lerner could potentially be held in contempt for refusing to answer questions.

UPDATE:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Elijah Cummings said Thursday night that California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa called him and apologized for refusing to let Cummings speak during the IRS hearing. The Maryland Democrat said he accepted the apology.

This evening, Chairman Issa telephoned me and apologized for his conduct, and I accepted his apology,” Cummings said in a statement. “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.”

Aides to Issa did not immediately respond to an email sent late Thursday night seeking comment.

House Republicans had blocked an attempt by Democrats to chastise Issa for his conduct at the committee hearing. Ohio Democrat Marcia Fudge offered a resolution condemning Issa for his “offensive and disrespectful manner.”

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