House Republicans stormed a closed-door impeachment hearing and refused to leave — and Trump approved of it

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesU.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks to members of the media outside the hearing Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testifies at before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at Rayburn House Office Building February 27, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
  • About 30 House Republicans, headed by Rep. Matt Gaetz, stormed a closed-door impeachment hearing on Wednesday to protest the inquiry and refused to leave until Democrats held an open hearing.
  • They forced their way in as Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defence for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, was providing private testimony, according to Axios.
  • They said they were protesting the lack of transparency in the impeachment process, and refused to leave until the hearings were made public, despite longstanding rules that witnesses are interviewed in classified settings.
  • Many Republican lawmakers reportedly tweeted from inside a classified area where mobile phones are not allowed, The Daily Beast reported.
  • President Donald Trump had advance knowledge of the protest and supported the group of Republicans, according to a report from Bloomberg.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

House Republicans stormed a closed-door impeachment hearing on Wednesday to protest the inquiry and refused to leave until Democrats held an open hearing.

About 30 House Republicans, headed by Rep. Matt Gaetz, forced their way into the hearing as Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defence for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, was providing private testimony as part of the impeachment inquiry inside the House Intelligence Committee’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), according to Axios.

They said they were protesting the lack of transparency in the impeachment process, and refused to leave until the hearings were made public, despite longstanding rules that witnesses are interviewed in classified settings.

Many Republican lawmakers reportedly tweeted from inside the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility or SCIF – a classified area where mobile phones are not allowed, The Daily Beast reported.

President Donald Trump had advance knowledge of the protest and supported the group of Republicans, according to a report from Bloomberg. Sources told Bloomberg that Trump met with 30 House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss Syria and the impeachment inquiry.

Bloomberg reported that Trump supported the group’s plan to storm the secure room because he wanted transcripts released that he said would exonerate them.

Gaetz’s Twitter account tweeted from inside the area: “BREAKING: I led over 30 of my colleagues into the SCIF where Adam Schiff is holding secret impeachment depositions. Still inside – more details to come.”

He later added “**Tweet from Staff**”

The group even, reportedly, ordered pizza.


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The tweets from inside the secure area forced police to perform a security breach sweep of the area, Axios reported.

In response to the protest, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff left the hearing with Cooper and postponed the testimony indefinitely, according to The Hill.

Rep. Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas, said Schiff said nothing before leaving with Cooper.

“He doesn’t have the guts to come talk to us,” Marshall told The Hill. “He left, he just got up and left. He doesn’t have the guts to tell us why we can’t come in the room, why he doesn’t want this to be transparent. It’s the biggest facade, biggest farce of my life.”

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