Fireworks as Ben Sasse Calls Committee Meetings "BS...Trolling for Soundbites"; Lindsey Graham Sees It Differently

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool

There were some fireworks this morning during the Judiciary Committee meeting regarding the investigation into the Russia Collusion…er … investigation and the issuance of subpoenas to Obama-era officials. The meeting was carried on C-Span — and it’s worth the watch, particularly the exchange between Ben Sasse (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Ben Sasse raised the question as to how long the meeting was expected to last, noting that some of the members had other committees to attend to and elaborating that: “With all due respect — I don’t think anybody in private ever disagrees with me when I say its bullsh*t, the way people grandstand for cameras in here.”

Sasse went on to posit that the discussion would be different if it weren’t for the cameras in the room, contending that:

The Senate doesn’t work; it doesn’t diffuse the partisan tensions that are leading the country towards dissolution. I’m for transparency, I’m for print reporters being everywhere, I’m for audio transcripts being everywhere, but 90% of our committees are about people trolling for soundbites.

Graham, Chairman of the Committee, shot back, “I don’t think they’re trolling for soundbites. I think they’re genuinely upset with what I’m doing.”

I think we’d be having the same conversation if there wasn’t a television camera….We’re gonna do what this Committee needs to do. And we’re gonna fight it out, and we’re gonna vote….We’re not gonna be done today, so I don’t see a resolution this day — if you need to go somewhere, go. But we’re gonna let our colleagues talk on that side, and we’re gonna let Senator Cruz talk, and we’re gonna vote on all these motions.

Senator Leahy then weighed in, noting that he’d been sitting in that Committee long before there were television cameras covering it (you don’t say, Senator?!) and that he was there for hearings/meetings that would go on long into the evening. “We would have debates that would go on well into the evening, and there was no radio, there was no TV, there was just somebody taking notes; there may have been some print press. And, at the end, we were a better Committee and a better Senate for it.”

Sounds like everyone’s tempers are a bit frayed at this point.