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There was a tense exchange between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and California Rep. Maxine Waters over whether Mnuchin could leave a committee hearing for another engagement on Tuesday.

Mnuchin had been in the House Committee on Financial Services hearing that Waters was chairing for over three hours, but said he needed to leave at 5 p.m. to meet a senior official from the Bahraini government. He said he could handle a small delay, but told Waters that “it will be embarrassing” if he kept the official waiting.

After Mnuchin’s request to leave, Waters responded: “Unfortunately, we are all pressed for time,” adding that he could “choose to do whatever you want” but she would not close the hearing as other lawmakers had questions for him.

“I have the gavel at this point,” Waters said. “If you wish to leave, you may.”

Mnuchin then asked whether that meant the committee had been dismissed, to which Waters repeated: “If you wish to leave, you may leave,” suggesting that the meeting would continue.


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