‘This is embarrassing’: Cold mic moments interrupt Amy Coney Barrett hearings

Sometimes the mics are hot. On this day they were cold

Chairman Lindsey Graham puts his finger near his ear on Wednesday as he confers with Sens. John Cornyn, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Richard Blumenthal and Richard J. Durbin during a break from the third day of Senate Judiciary confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.  (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
Chairman Lindsey Graham puts his finger near his ear on Wednesday as he confers with Sens. John Cornyn, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Richard Blumenthal and Richard J. Durbin during a break from the third day of Senate Judiciary confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
Posted October 14, 2020 at 5:40pm

“Are we diagnosing the problem?” Chairman Lindsey Graham asked aides, who were scurrying around testing audio equipment. 

“None of the mics are working,” someone said. 

“It’s the Russians,” Graham joked, before calling the committee into recess. 

That was the sound of technical difficulties hitting the Senate Judiciary panel on Wednesday, bringing confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett to a temporary halt.  

During the unexpected break, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle gathered together, chatting. For once, they were safe from the threat of “hot mic” moments, since the mics were decidedly cold. 

Shortly before the snafu, Barrett had signaled how she thought the week was going. 

“[Last night] I did have a glass of wine. I’ll tell you that I needed that at the end of the day,” the Supreme Court nominee joked as she addressed the panel. 

“Let me just say, on that kind of point, you have a right to remain silent,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal quipped.

After 40 minutes, the panel was back up and running, but soon the problem struck again. Graham began speaking and his mic was dead.

He shook his head in disbelief. “I think it happened again. Are we not paying the bills?” asked the chairman.

It must be the “curse of the Astros,” he said, referencing some baseball trash talk aimed at the Texas delegation earlier in the hearing.

Sen. John Kennedy offered his own assessment. “This is embarrassing,” he said loudly.

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Michael Macagnone contributed to this report.