A House hearing spiraled out of control when a GOP congressman asked misleading questions.
He refused to let Secretary of State Antony Blinken respond and repeatedly yelled at others.
“I don’t want to hear from you,” GOP Rep Brian Mast said, even after his time was up.
See more stories on the Insider business page.
A House of Representatives hearing Monday on the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan erupted into chaos when a Republican congressman used his time to spread misleading information and yell at others, even after learning his time of word had elapsed.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee held the hearing, during which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified on the timeline surrounding the withdrawal of US troops and the collapse of the Afghan government.
When Florida Representative Brian Mast was standing he opened his questioning by referring to a report on a phone call between President Joe Biden and then Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. During the July 23 phone call, according to Reuters, Biden said Afghanistan had a “perception” problem indicating “that things are not going well in terms of fighting the Taliban.”
“And there is a need, whether it’s true or not, there is a need to project a different image,” Biden said, according to Reuters.
Mast, a U.S. veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan after a bomb exploded in 2010, referred to the comments on Monday and falsely suggested that they indicated that “Biden worked with the Afghan president in exile cowardly to manipulate information on the Taliban “.
Blinken brushed aside this characterization, saying: “What the president said privately to then-President Ghani is exactly what he said in public: the question was not whether Afghanistan had the capacity. to resist the Taliban is whether he had the will and the plan to do so – “
Mast interrupted him by saying, “So you say the transcript was a lie, that it is false, that it is incorrect … he didn’t work to falsify information about the Taliban?”
“Absolutely not,” Blinken said.
“So the transcription is incorrect?” »Mast pressed. “Is that your testimony today?” “
Blinken replied that Congress was already aware of what the intelligence had said and its implications, but Mast went on to say that “anyone looking for an explanation as to what happened and how everyone went. is mistaken, how your administration went wrong should consider only the most likely explanation: asking the [Afghan] president to manipulate intelligence about what was really going on with the Taliban. “
The Florida Republican then posted photos of the 13 U.S. servicemen who died on August 26 after an Islamic State activist detonated a bomb at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, killing more than 200 people.
The House hearing turned into chaos soon after, as Mast said, “I don’t believe at all what you are saying about the administration not working to manipulate this information.” .
“Put simply, Congressman, what you said is completely wrong,” Blinken said as he began to respond, but Mast cut him off. “I don’t wish to hear from you. I won’t give in to you for a moment. I don’t wish to hear your lies.”
As Mast continued to speak over Blinken, HFAC President Rep. Gregory Meeks stepped in to say Mast’s time had expired, but Mast continued.
“The same goes for the secretary,” Mast said, but Meeks replied, “The secretary can answer the question. “
“I didn’t ask him a question,” Mast said.
“Yeah, you asked him a question,” Meeks said.
“I don’t want to hear from the secretary,” Mast said, but Meeks spoke above him and repeated that his time had expired.
“He lies to us when he walks past the camera, that’s what he does,” Mast said as Meeks tapped his hammer to restore order.
“People have to use common sense, Mr. Secretary,” Mast said, before Meeks interrupted him again. “Sir’s time has expired,” Meeks said. “We’re here to hear from the secretary.”
“Don’t hear any lies,” Mast said.
Blinken finally got a chance to respond when Meeks gave him time over Mast’s persistent objections.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman,” said the Secretary of State. “Just to give a quick answer: What the congressman said is just plain wrong. Full stop. Second, I think virtually every member of this committee has had access to or been made aware of intelligence assessments throughout this period. year, and you know what they were, you know And we’ll continue to provide these assessments and briefings in the months to come.
“You heard the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff say he saw nothing to indicate to him or anyone else that the Afghan government and army would collapse in 11 days.” , added Blinken. “The director of national intelligence said that even in the days leading up to the Taliban takeover, intelligence agencies did not say the collapse was imminent. It happened faster than expected, including in the intelligence community. And I could go on. So what has been said and alleged is simply not true. “
Despite Blinken’s response and repeated reminders from Meeks that his time was up, Mast again intervened after Blinken’s comments, claiming without evidence that he “adds” that the Biden administration manipulated information surrounding the withdrawal of Afghanistan.
Read the original article on Business Insider