Charlie Rangel Walked Out of Ethics Hearing

Charlie Rangel’s ethics hearing began this morning. Rangel winked at reporters before entering the hearing room. He wasn’t in there very long before he turned around and walked out.

Embattled Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel walked out on the House panel weighing ethics charges against him Monday. announcing he was “excusing myself from these proceedings.” “I respectfully remove myself from these hearings,” the 80-year-old Rangel said with a dramatic flourish before bolting from the startled subcommittee.

Despite having had months to prepare for the hearing, Rangel showed up without a lawyer and claimed he was too broke to hire one.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” Rangel said, claiming he had already spent $2 million on lawyers and needed time to raise another $1 million to retain new counsel for the hearing.

“I fought in wars, I love this Congress, I love this country,” an emotional Rangel said. “I think I’m entitled” to more time to set up a legal defense fund.

As Rangel left the hearing room, the eight members of the clearly confused Committee quickly withdrew to consider whether to proceed with what amounted to prosecution of Rangel without his presence.

What, the $400K he stole from a PAC wasn’t enough?

The committee decided to continue the proceedings without Rangel present. How much of this is just for show? What’s going to happen to Rangel? A reprimand? Ed Morrissey noted that Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a fellow Democrat, who will chair the hearing said Rangel doesn’t even need to put on a defense because this isn’t a trial. So again, I ask, is this just for show?