A pair of House committees are hearing Tuesday from the Department of Justice’s inspector general (IG) to review the Hillary Clinton email investigation, but top Democrats seemed more interested in talking about immigration.
Rep. Jerold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, interrupted House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) before he even had finished his opening statement.
Nadler seized the microphone to blast President Donald Trump’s administration for its zero tolerance policy of bringing criminal charges against first-time illegal border crossers — even if they are traveling with children who must be separated from the parents.
“Mr. Chairman, before we hear from the inspector general, I feel compelled to say something about a topic that is of more immediate priority,” he said. “We’ve all seen the pictures of immigrant children ripped from their parents at the border. These children are not animals. They’re not bargaining chips. They’re not leverage to help President Trump build his wall.”
“Every day they are separated from their parents is a day we do irreparable harm to their health and well-being. The United States should be better than this. We should not put children in cages.”
Eventually, Gowdy shut Nadler down.
“The gentleman from New York has been afforded more time than would have been afforded to the other side had we pulled something like that,” he said.
Gowdy then had to wait until Capitol Police officers removed protesters from the hearing room.
But the Democrats were not finished. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of Gowdy’s committee, used part of his opening statement to raise the immigration issue. He called temporary holding facilities for children “child internment camps.”
Cummings blasted the administration.
“We will not do that,” he said. “We are better than that. We are so much better … What country is that? This is the United States of America.”
Cummings accused Trump of lying about what precipitated the crisis.
“This was a policy invented, implemented and executed by President Donald Trump,” he said.
Cummings called on lawmakers to reject the “mean” policy.
“We need you. Those children need you,” he said. “I’m talking directly to my Republican colleagues. We need you to stand up to President Trump.”
Then lawmakers returned to the actual purpose of Tuesday’s hearing.