On Wednesday, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz looked to send a message to his Democratic colleagues.
Storming a secret impeachment inquiry with more than 40 of his colleagues, Gaetz said it was wrong for Democratic members to continue to conduct an impeachment inquiry without including the American people or even fellow members of Congress.
Gaetz and the group of Republicans said they should be allowed to sit in on the impeachment hearings to hear the testimonies of witnesses, despite them not being members of the three House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry.
If people scatter out of a room when you walk in & turn on the light, it begs the question: What are they hiding in there?
That's exactly what happened when my colleagues & I entered the backroom Schiff is trying to impeach @realDonaldTrump from to get the truth.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) October 23, 2019
BBC reports the group “stormed a high-security impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump,” which reportedly delayed the hearing for five hours.
It should be noted that there are more than 40 Republican members of the House Intelligence, Oversight or Foreign Affairs committees that are allowed to sit in on these hearings, the Washington Post reports.
From the report:
About two dozen Republicans pushed their way into the secure meeting room – known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF, on Wednesday morning.
Some brought their mobile phones in with them, leading Democrats and some officials to accuse them of a security breach.
SCIFs are built to prevent electronic eavesdropping, and allow people to review classified information. Electronic devices are not permitted.
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The protest delayed the testimony of Laura Cooper, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, for five hours, although she resumed her testimony later in the afternoon.
After failing to get House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to change his mind about allowing members who are not on the three committees hosting the hearings to join in, the Florida Republican and his colleagues left.
Gaetz clarified his actions later on in the evening during an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
“What was the purpose?” the host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” asked the lawmaker, per BizPac Review.
“We had the audacity to want to know what in the world was going on behind closed doors where Democrats have engaged in a strategy of secret interviews, selective leaks, theatrical, weird performances of transcripts that never happened and then lies about whistleblowers,” Gaetz answered. “So it’s reasonable to suggest that we would want more transparency on behalf of the millions of people we represent.”
“Do you have a right under Congressional rules to demand it?” Carlson pressed.
The lawmaker said there were “no rules” about allowing outside Republicans to sit in on the hearings.
“If we had rules, Nancy Pelosi would have put this issue to a vote and established rules like happened for President [Bill] Clinton, like happened for President [Richard] Nixon,” Gaetz said. He continued, per the report: “The Democrats want to preserve the most, like, operational flexibility. And so if they’re going to have a world with no rules, we have to stop thinking we can use the Marquis of Queensbury rules of engagement when we’re fighting against an angry pack of rabid hyenas and that’s what we’re facing.”
“I think the president is right, as Republicans, we need to be tougher in exposing this for the kangaroo court that it is,” Gaetz added.
Rep. Jim Jordan: "It's finally reached a boiling party where members just said they are so frustrated at the idea that they cant be a part of this, and see what's going on, so we're at a standstill here." pic.twitter.com/E9LC3434iT
— The Hill (@thehill) October 24, 2019
The Republican lawmaker said Democrats were conducting their secret hearings so that they can control what part of the testimony mainstream media covers via “selective leaks.”
Should the witness testify to Trump’s innocence, no voter would know.
Should the witness offer anything less than something that completely exonerates Trump, Democratic members can leak these statements to the media.
“They’re trying to use the natural advantage that they have with the mainstream media to have secret interviews and selective leaks, and they’re trying to pollute the American electorate with these lies about the president,” Gaetz said per BizPac Review.
Congressional Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have made clear that they want to impeach President Trump. And they continue to tell voters that Trump has committed egregious offense after egregious offense but continue to hold impeachment inquiry hearings behind closed doors.
Gaetz concluded: “I think impeachment was a functional certainty the moment that Nancy Pelosi grabbed that gavel because the radical left today cannot win a fair debate or a fair election. Everything is about trying to de-platform and destroy those who champion the America First agenda.”
Enough is enough.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) October 24, 2019