Mick Mulvaney defended his leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — an agency he once called a “joke” — in front of a House committee Wednesday, dismissing criticism from Democratic lawmakers that he was weakening the watchdog agency.

The four-hour-long hearing of the House Financial Services Committee was marked by partisan bickering about the Trump administration’s takeover of the CFPB, including the revelation that Mulvaney had spent more than $3,000 to frost the glass around his and other offices. Republicans repeatedly questioned whether the CFPB had so much power that Mulvaney could legally ignore their questions, while Democrats refused to even concede that Mulvaney was the agency’s legal acting director.

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