Republicans tried to storm closed-door impeachment hearing held at the Capitol on Wednesday, prompting Rep. Adam Schiff, who was leading the hearing, to call the sergeant-at-arms to control the crowd.
Republicans were reportedly surrounding the House Intelligence Committee’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the basement of the Capitol building where the committee was holding depositions, including that of Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, the New York Times reported.
About two dozen House Republicans protested outside the SCIF in opposition to the secretive nature of the hearings, shouting “Let us in! Let us in!” and refusing Schiff’s attempts to disburse the crowd.
In addition to calling the sergeant-at-arms, Schiff threatened to hit Republicans with ethics violations.
Republicans brought well phones inside the area and took photos, to which police responded and conducted a security sweep to check for potential breaches.
Rep. Matt Gaetz was said to have led the protests into the area, and he delivered a press conference from the Capitol basement.
“Behind those doors, they intend to overturn the results of an American presidential election,” he said. “We want to know what’s going on.”
I’m gathered here with dozens of my congressional colleagues underground in the basement of the Capitol.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) October 23, 2019
Rep. Andy Biggs reportedly called the secret hearing a “Soviet-style impeachment process.”
“It’s finally reached a point where members just said they’re so frustrated at the idea that they can’t be a part of this and see what’s going on,” Rep. Jim Jordan said. “So we’re at a standstill.”
Jorden posted on Twitter, saying, “435 Members of the House. Only one knows who the “whistleblower” is and who their sources are: @RepAdamSchiff. Why?”
435 Members of the House.
Only one knows who the “whistleblower” is and who their sources are: @RepAdamSchiff.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 23, 2019
Republicans have demanded transcripts of the depositions.
Rep. Ted Lieu said the Republicans violated House Rules.
“All this is an attack right on the investigation, and so when you don’t have law or the facts, you attack and disrupt the process,” he said.