By The Hill Staff - 09/29/05 12:00 AM EDT
10:05 a.m. Asked whether he had a comment about the looming expiration of Ronnie Earle’s probe, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) says no.
12:13 p.m. Members of the House congregate on the floor for a series of votes.
12:36 p.m. Associated Press reports DeLay has been indicted by a Texas grand jury.
12:40 p.m. As the second vote in the series begins, word of the indictment spreads among lawmakers and surrounding reporters.
12:42 p.m. Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is sitting in a room adjoining the House floor, checking messages on his cell phone, when a reporter tells him the news. “Nobody knows what the charge is,” he says, then quickly hurries out of the room, saying, “I’ll have a statement later” five times.
12:45 p.m. Rep. Roy BluntRoy BluntSenators hope for deal soon on mental health bill Cruz: VA secretary 'should resign' Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo MORE (R-Mo.), the House majority whip, leaves the floor and is met by four news camera crews and a dozen reporters. “Somebody just told me,” he says. Asked if he is leader now, he replies, “No.”
12:49 p.m. DeLay’s office sends out a statement announcing he has temporarily stepped down. Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) embraces him on the floor.
12:50 p.m. DeLay begins to leave the House floor but turns around when he sees the assembled media waiting. DeLay later escapes through another exit and holes up in his office just off the floor.
12:53 p.m. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the Government Reform Committee, emerges from the House floor. Asked who is leader now, he says, “I don’t know.”
12:55 p.m. DeLay’s office issues another statement, calling the charges “purely political.”
1 p.m. Sources say House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) will temporarily replace DeLay.
1:28 p.m. Reynolds issues statement in support of DeLay.
1:41 p.m. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issues a statement calling the indictment the “latest example that Republicans are plagued by a culture of corruption.”
1:48 p.m. DeLay, holed up his Capitol office with three Capitol Police officers guarding the door, steps out for a bathroom break. Nearly 20 reporters come running down the hall after him call out questions. “I’m going to the bathroom, people,” he says. “I’ll have a statement later.”
1:50 p.m. DeLay emerges from bathroom to find the same reporters waiting. “I appreciate you guys doing your job, but I’ll have a statement later,” he says.
2:14 p.m. Blunt sends out statement in support of DeLay.
2:30 p.m. DeLay press conference begins. He starts it by asking, “Got any news?” and then adds, “Just another day at the office.”
2:38 p.m. Pelosi arrives at the Capitol, emerging from a black SUV and smiling. “I think it’s a sad day for the Republican caucus,” she says.
2:45 p.m. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, meets with House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).
2:58 p.m. Hastert sends out a statement announcing a GOP conference meeting. “The leadership has a plan,” he says.
3 p.m. GOP conference meets.
3:57 p.m. A source says that Blunt — not Dreier — will temporarily replace DeLay and that Blunt will also retain his post as whip.
4:10 p.m. Asked if DeLay would resume his post if exonerated, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) says, “There was not a doubt in the room.”
4:15 p.m. Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) describes DeLay as “very calm, very strong,” adding, “Other members were more angry than he was. … In many ways, it unified the party. This is the first day of a war.”
By Josephine Hearn, Patrick O’Connor, Jonathan E. Kaplan and Jeffrey Young