Senate hearings interrupted to stop testimony
TEXT ON SCREEN: In a highly unusual move, Senate Republicans shut down proceedings in the Senate Judiciary Committee two days in a row. ANP happened to be filming at both hearings.
June 10, 2008
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Interrogation Techniques
PHILLIPPE SANDS, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: —on August 1, 2002 memo, number one of which was most certainly intended for use, also, by the DOD. On the basis of these conversations, I believe that the administration has spun a false narrative. It claims that the impetus for new interrogation techniques came from the bottom up. It’s not true. The abuse was the result of pressure driven from the highest levels of government. It claims the so-called torture memo of August 1, 2002 had no connection with the policies adopted by the administration. That too is false, as it is that memo that truly provided cover for Mr. Hames. It claims that in its actions, it simply followed the law. To the contrary—.
DIANNE FEINSTEIN, US SENATOR (D-CA): I must interrupt you. Apparently, the Republican leader has just objected to committees proceeding. So for the moment we will have to stop, and we will know as soon as it’s acceptable to go ahead.
SANDS: Thank you, Madam Chairman.
FEINSTEIN: Thank you.
SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, US SENATOR (D-RI): Madam Chairman, would it be in order to ask what has caused this and whether it’s pertinent to all committees?
FEINSTEIN: Well, that’s a good question. It applies to all committees, that’s correct. —Only judiciary.
WHITEHOUSE: Only judiciary?
FEINSTEIN: Oh. Only judiciary. Clearly, somebody doesn’t want this to go ahead.
WHITEHOUSE: So it would seem.
FEINSTEIN: It would.
WHITEHOUSE: I’m new here. I’ve only been here a year and a half.
FEINSTEIN: Yes, but you learn very fast.
WHITEHOUSE: I’ve never seen this happen before. I’ve never seen a hearing *interrupted by minority leadership.
FEINSTEIN: *It’s very unusual.
WHITEHOUSE: It is very unusual?
TEXT ON SCREEN: The next day…
June 11, 2008
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Regulation
WHITEHOUSE: —self-interested point of view, there can almost be no greater prize for a special interest than to own or control or dictate terms to its regulatory agency.
ROBERT LAWLESS, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS: Completely agree with that, Senator. What we’re talking about, the modern administrative state was unknown to the founders, but you’re absolutely right about their genius, in that they set up checks and balances that are still with us today.
WHITEHOUSE: I’m afraid—.
WHITEHOUSE: I’m sorry. I have to interrupt this hearing. Certain checks and balances have just been deployed in the United States Senate. This hearing has gone beyond two hours. There is a rule that requires hearings to conclude within two hours, unless unanimous consent, which is ordinarily provided as a matter of courtesy and formula, is given. A Republican senator has invoked the two-hour rule, which means that this committee hearing cannot take place for more than two hours after the Senate was called into session, and the Senate was called into session at 9:30 this morning. It is now just after 11:30. I regret that this tactic has been deployed again. It was done yesterday when a committee was exploring questions of torture and of abuse of interrogation techniques. It has now been employed here. But the hearing must be suspended due to an objection of an unnamed Republican senator. This is an important hearing. I thank the witnesses for their testimony. I particularly thank Ms. Rob and Ms. ["KUR-tek"] for their testimony. And I consider it an embarrassment on the part of my institution that after the effort that you have taken to come here today, and after the nature of the testimony that you have given, that we should be put in this position and obliged to interrupt the hearing. So on behalf of the United States Senate, I apologize to you. The hearing is now recessed.
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