Six Democrats in the House are asking Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) to apologize to Elizabeth Warren for accusing her of lying about an agreement she had with the Oversight Committee to end her testimony Tuesday at a predesignated time. But Republicans have released an email that appears to show there was no guarantee Warren could leave after an hour of testimony.
Warren and McHenry got into a heated exchange Tuesday at the subcommittee’s hearing on the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. McHenry accused Warren of lying about the terms of her testimony. “You had no agreement … you’re making this up,” he said.
A letter from six of McHenry’s colleagues calls for the “inappropriate and false accusations” to be retracted.
“It is unacceptable for any Member of Congress, let alone the Chairman of a Subcommittee, to treat witnesses in this manner,” the letter states. “Despite potential disagreement on substantive issues, we always have an obligation to maintain the decorum of Committee proceedings, to treat witnesses with respect, and not to defame them.”
“We ask today that you apologize to Professor Warren. We believe you should apologize to the Members of the Subcommittee, as well, for denigrating the proceedings and potentially compromising our ability to conduct our important work in the future,” the letter says.
The letter is signed by Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings (MD), Jackie Speier (CA), John Yarmuth (KY), Mike Quigley (IL), Jim Cooper (TN) and Carolyn Maloney (NY). Warren supporters have already come out in full support of the Harvard professor by swarming McHenry’s Facebook page with calls for him to apologize.
But the Republicans on the Oversight Committee say they never promised Warren’s staff that she could leave at 2:15 p.m. A staffer wrote in a message to a Treasury email address on Tuesday morning that they “can’t guarantee an exit time except to understand the hard stop at 3:30. I would expect that the earlier Prof. Warren can start, the more likely it is that she will not be asked to stay passed [sic] votes.”
Here’s the email released by Republicans on the Oversight Committee:
Here’s the video of the heated exchange: