How a question from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee led to a joke about Trump's son in the impeachment hearing

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U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, holds up copies of the Mueller Report as she questions constitutional scholars during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment Inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill on Dec. 4, 2019. Drew Angerer/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON — A question by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, at the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing Wednesday led to a comment about the president's son that set off demands by Republicans for an apology.

When it was her turn to ask questions of the witnesses, Jackson Lee drew a parallel between President Donald Trump and a monarch.

“What comparisons can we make between kings, that the framers were afraid of, and the president’s conduct today?” Jackson Lee asked Pamela Karlan, a constitutional law expert and professor at Stanford Law School.

"While the president can name his son Barron, he can't make him a baron,” Karlan responded, inciting light laughter in the room. Karlan was one of four legal experts called to testify on the constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment.

Republicans took issue with the mention of Trump's 13-year-old son, and used the comment to cast Karlan as biased. Karlan apologized for the remark later in the hearing.

The Trump campaign issued a statement calling on Democrats to repudiate “Karlan and call on her to personally apologize to the president and first lady for mocking their son on national TV.”