Republican Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert refused to stop banging his desk during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, arguing that the witness had exceeded his allotted time.
Donald Ayer — a former deputy attorney general under then-President George H.W. Bush and a staunch critic of Attorney General Bill Barr — was a key witness during the hearing. A video on Twitter appears to show Gohmert tapping his desk loudly as Ayer attempts to speak. (RELATED: Bill Barr Memo Orders U.S. Attorneys To Be On The ‘Lookout’ For Civil Liberties Violations Amidst Coronavirus Crisis)
“I can’t hear this witness,” Democratic Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson said, as Gohmert continued to make a noticeable tapping noise. “This is a very important witness.”
“Well, he’s way beyond his time, and if there are no rules when people can talk, there’s no rules about when you can make noise,” Gohmert responded. “Either we have rules or we don’t.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert is making a loud tapping noise throughout witnesses statements in today’s hearing on the DOJ. pic.twitter.com/Mr5Hjj5rMs
— The Recount (@therecount) June 24, 2020
The hearing was scheduled over alleged political interference within the Department of Justice. The key witnesses during the hearing were Ayer and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served under former President George W. Bush.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler has pledged to increase oversight over the Department of Justice, and recently threatened to subpoena Barr over the firing of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman. (RELATED: DOJ Taps U.S. Attorney To Oversee Matters That ‘Potentially Relate To Ukraine’)
Barr announced Friday night that Berman was stepping down from his role, which Berman refuted in a statement that same night.
“I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York,” Berman said at the time. “I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate.”
Berman ultimately did agree to step down, and was replaced by Audrey Strauss, who will take over as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in an acting capacity.