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LANGUAGE

Hill aide interferes with Fox News camera crew during Tlaib interview

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “war criminal” in fiery remarks Thursday that were made even more controversial when a Capitol Hill staffer used an umbrella to obstruct a Fox News cameraman who was filming the exchange.

The unidentified aide is seen on video of the encounter repeatedly opening and closing an umbrella, an action that obscures the camera’s view, and at one point the umbrella appears to make contact with the aide, who witnesses said was shot in the face and upper body.

The exchange occurred as Fox News Channel senior congressional correspondent Chad Pergram was questioning Tlaib about the possibility that Netanyahu might be invited to address members of Congress. The possibility of such an invitation has gained momentum following the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Netanyahu, who has overseen Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Tlaib has consistently criticized Netanyahu, but the ICC’s move has drawn bipartisan anger.

“What would you do if Prime Minister Netanyahu came to speak?” Pelgram asks Tlaib in the video, before a staff member opens an umbrella to block the camera’s view, forcing Pelgram to move away.

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The incident, which was captured on film, happened as Fox News Channel’s senior congressional correspondent Chad Pergram was questioning Tlaib about the possibility of Netanyahu addressing lawmakers. (Fox News)

“Ms. Tlaib, what if Mr. Netanyahu comes to speak? Would the chairman have made a mistake in extending this request?” Pergram continued.

Staff members were then shown closing the umbrellas, and Pelgram asked Tlaib: “Are you going to be there? Are you going to protest in any way?”

Tlaib responded by slamming Netanyahu and those considering inviting him to address Parliament.

“I don’t know, but inviting a war criminal to Congress is a sham,” Tlaib said. “It’s shameful.”

As she responds, the staff member positions himself between the cameraman and Pelgram, who is still questioning Talib, and opens the umbrella again, and the camera pans wildly as the umbrella makes contact with the operator.

“He hit me with the umbrella,” the cameraman can be heard saying in the video.

“I didn’t hit you with the umbrella,” the staff member replied.

“It’s on video. He hit him with an umbrella,” Pergram told Tlaib and the aide. “This is assault.”

Tlaib and her aide kept walking, past Capitol Police officers and up the steps inside the Capitol building.

Tlaib’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Tlaib’s refusal to answer Pelgram’s questions came after House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, drafted an invitation for Netanyahu to address Congress.

Johnson told reporters on Thursday that he had issued an ultimatum to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to either sign the draft invitation or the House would extend the invitation on its own.

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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (left) and Senator Chuck Schumer (right)

House Speaker Mike Johnson said he had issued an ultimatum to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) over Netanyahu’s expected speech to Congress: either sign a draft invitation or the House must send one of its own. (Getty Images)

“My office told Senator Schumer’s office yesterday that they need to sign the joint letter, and if they don’t, we will invite Mr. Netanyahu to the House of Representatives and send individual invitations to each senator,” Johnson said.

Tlaib, an outspoken critic of Israel’s war with Hamas, earlier this month called for the arrest of Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials for violating international genocide conventions.

In a May 7 press release, Tlaib condemned the Israeli government’s ground operations in Rafah and also slammed the United States’ continued support for the Jewish state.

“It is no coincidence that shortly after our government transferred more than $14 billion to the Israeli apartheid regime with no strings attached to protecting human rights, Prime Minister Netanyahu launched a ground invasion of Rafah and continued the slaughter of Palestinians with munitions and bombs paid for with our tax money,” she said at the time. “More than 1.5 million Palestinian civilians, including over 600,000 children, are trapped in Rafah, living in makeshift tents without food, clean water, sanitation, medicine or any form of shelter.”

Tlaib accused Israeli forces of killing more than 35,000 Palestinians in Rafah, displacing their families and subjecting them to further “unimaginable human suffering.”

In a statement, she warned voters that her colleagues who voted in favor of giving the funds to Netanyahu would also raise concerns about “crimes against humanity” in Rafah.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (REUTERS/Ronen Zvurn/Pool/File Photo)

“Make no mistake: they consented to these atrocities, and our country is an active participant in the genocide,” Tlaib said. “For months, Netanyahu has made his intentions clear: to invade Rafah, but most of my colleagues and President Biden sent more weapons to make the slaughter possible.”

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She argued that Prime Minister Netanyahu would remain in power as long as the fighting continued, adding that the United States must stop funding Israel.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Capitol Police for comment.

Fox News’ Greg Wehner contributed to this report.

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