WATCH: here’s the video of when 2 dozen GOP members, led by @mattgaetz entered the secure hearing room (SCIF) to interrupt witness testimony in the #ImpeachmentInquiry as they demand access, despite not being committee members. They’re complaining it’s a “Soviet-style process”. pic.twitter.com/8KddYz3r9D
— Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman) October 23, 2019
I joined @RepMattGaetz and dozens of other @HouseGOP colleagues for a press conference to demand @RepAdamSchiff open the “impeachment inquiry” hearings and be transparent. We then went to the SCIF and the @HouseDemocrats ended the hearing and left the room. My reaction ⬇️⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/1WpF6CzF24
— Congressman Fred Keller (@RepFredKeller) October 23, 2019
Adam Schiff just SHUT DOWN his secret underground impeachment hearing after I led a group of Republicans into the room. Now he’s threatening me with an Ethics complaint! I’m on the Armed Services Cmte but being blocked from the Dept. Asst. SecDef’s testimony. This is a SHAM! pic.twitter.com/6qUMerxENC
— Rep. Bradley Byrne (@RepByrne) October 23, 2019
Three of President Trump’s most vocal congressional defenders led a group of House Republicans into a closed-door impeachment hearing demanding increased transparency.
Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) bum-rushed a closed doors Democratic hearing with Laura Cooper, a Pentagon staffer who works on Ukrainian matters, while flanked with an entourage of other House GOP members in an attempt to shut down Cooper’s Tuesday impeachment inquiry session.
Close White House allies Zeldin and Gaetz set up a presser outside the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) where Democratic lawmakers were questioning Cooper regarding President Donald Trump’s potential misconduct with Ukraine, during which Gaetz slammed Democrats for being “obsessed with attacking” the president via a series of “secret interviews, selective leaks” and announced that the group of Republicans were “going to go and see if we can get inside.” After describing the hearing as a “Soviet-style process,” two dozen GOP lawmakers entered the SCIF where Cooper was testifying while carrying their personal cell phones with them — a move that is a violation of SCIF security policies.
An ABC News reporter noted that Capitol Police were forced to collect phones that GOP members brought into the SCIF and a Democratic lawmaker accused pro-Trump hardliner Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) of “screaming” in protest.
Gaetz had previously tried to sit in on a hearing but was kicked out as he does not serve on one of the three committees assigned to oversee the impeachment inquiry.