The confirmation hearing for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the CIA was abruptly halted by a power outage just as it was getting under way Thursday morning on Capitol Hill.
The lights went out about 10:15 a.m. in a hearing room at the Hart Senate Office Building, where the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was opening proceedings to consider the nomination of Rep. Mike Pompeo, Kansas Republican, to lead the spy agency.
The outage came just as Sen. Mark Warner, the committee’s ranking Democrat, was making opening remarks. He was commenting on how he and the committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, are committed to examining the intelligence community’s recent assessment of Russian meddling in the U.S election.
“Chairman Burr and I have committed to conduct a review of the intelligence supporting the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election in order to undermine public faith in our democratic process,” Mr. Warner was saying.
The lights went out just before he uttered the word “Russia.”
It was unclear what had caused the power outage. Moments later, lawmakers moved to hold a recess and then relocate the hearing to another building on Capitol Hill.
Some in the hearing room could be heard wondering aloud and joking about whether it was “the Russians” who’d made the power go out.