BP CEO Tony Hayward took the hot seat before a special joint committee of Congress today. The co-chairmen, Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) raked Hayward over the coals. The session began with over an hour of sharp tongue lashings. Tony Hayward was scolded, told to quit, be fired, take no salary (estimated at over $5 million per year) and yesterday, Joe Cao (R-LA) suggested Hayward commit Hari kari, (hari kiri) a form of seppuku, ritual ‘honor’ suicide. Even before Hayward could speak, the hearings were disrupted when Code Pink co-founder, Diane Wilson, went on a wild ranting rage demanding Hayward be charged as a criminal. Wilson was handcuffed and hauled out of the room like a large sack of pole cats.

Due to several key floor votes, the testimony was interrupted. The first came after Hayward gave his prepared remarks. He again offered apologies and contrition for the deadly accident and resulting oil spill. Hayward also again vowed that BP is, would and will do everything it can to stop the spill and clean it up. Likewise, he promised that BP will pay the full cost of this disaster.

After the first pause, Hayward began fielding direct questions from members of Congress. However, since BP is under a criminal investigation, Hayward was less than forth coming in direct answers. One interesting note is when Waxman himself declared that after careful examination of some 35,000 BP internal documents, memos and emails, it would appear that Hayward, nor any other top executive at BP, was aware of any safety issues or other irregularities in connection with the Deepwater Horizon drill rig.

Hayward’s vague answers and lack of details only makes the perception that his critics are right. That he should step down, be fired, not take his salary or even commit hari kari. But many of the questions were of a technical nature and Hayward was not ordered to bring any technical experts with him today. The hostility among the Congressmen spilled over against each other in several exchanges. Joe Barton (R-TX) had called the Obama Administration’s pressure for BP to set up a $20 Billion dollar escrow account “unconstitutional” and a “shake down”. Bart Stupak came under fire for not scheduling hearings with past and current members of the Mineral Management Service after Hayward confirmed that BP did submit an accident response plan to the MMS last summer and it was approved.