There are 18 GOP members on the House Oversight Committee, but one Republican has dominated the minority’s time at Wednesday’s hearing with Michael Cohen.
Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the committee, took his initial five minutes to aggressively question the credibility of President Donald Trump’s former attorney and “fixer.”
But several of Jordan’s Republican colleagues yielded a portion of their five minutes of question time back to Jordan so the ranking GOP member could continue his assault on Cohen’s integrity as a witness.
Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee, for instance, asked Cohen if he had a book deal lined up (no, Cohen said) and who had paid his expenses to travel to Washington for the hearing (he paid the expenses himself, Cohen said). Green, after noting he was limited in his time, then yielded the remainder of his five minutes to Jordan, who proceeded to press Cohen on whether he was still in contact with the Office of the Special Counsel.
Numerous other Republican members followed suit, giving Jordan (and occasionally North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows) the chance to push forward their own lines of questioning.
In most congressional hearings, members are allotted equal time for questioning of witnesses, but a member can choose to yield all or a portion of their time to another member of the committee or even a staff member. This often has the effect of organizing one party’s questions and reducing the scatter-shot quality of inquiries from less-prepared members.
In last fall’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman who accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, Republican senators yielded some of their time to the committee’s staff counsel, Rachel Mitchell.