Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) had to eject Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida from a closed-door deposition in the impeachment inquiry, a new transcript released on Friday revealed.
Republicans have been complaining for weeks that witness interviews in the inquiry were held in closed session, despite this process being fully consistent with the House rules and, as Schiff has argued, a prudential tactic when conducting a preliminary investigation into potential wrongdoing. At one point, to demonstrate their objections with a cheesy stunt, Gaetz led a group of fellow Republicans to storm a secure room where a deposition was set to take place in the inquiry. Several of them appeared to bring their phones into the location, a gross violation of security rules.
What these theatrics overlooked was that many Republicans were permitted to be inside the deposition room, as long as they were assigned to the committees relevant to the investigation. In fact, many of the Republicans who joined Gaetz’s storming of the deposition were actually permitted to be there.
The new transcript of former White House official Fiona Hill’s interview reveals that Gaetz’s childish displays weren’t solely for media consumption — they occurred behind closed doors as well.
Read the exchange from the transcript below:
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Gaetz, you’re not permitted to be in the room.
MR. GAETZ: I am on the Judiciary Committee.
THE CHAIRMAN: Judiciary Committee is not a part of this hearing.
MR. GAETZ: I thought the Judiciary Committee had jurisdiction over impeachment.
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Gaetz, you’re not permitted to be in the room. PIease 1eave.
MR. JORDAN: Mr. Chairman, real1y?
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, rea11y.
MR. GAETZ: You ‘re going to include Members of Congress on committees that have roles of impeachment
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Gaetz, take your statement to the press. They do you no good here. So, please, absent
Mr. GAETZ: You’re going to have someone remove me from the hearing?
THE CHAIRMAN: You’re going to remove yourself , Mr. Gaetz.
MR. JORDAN: Mr. Gaetz is going to stay and listen to the testimony.
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Gaetz, you’re going to leave the
MR. GAETZ: No, I think I have a right to be is there a rule you can cite as to why I am not
THE CHAIRMAN: You’re not a member of this committee. This is conducted in closed session. You’re not permitted to
MR. GAETZ: I’m on the Judiciary Committee.
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Gaetz, please absent yourself from the committee. It’ s the ruling of the chair you’re not permitted to be here. PIease leave the committee.
MR. JORDAN: Mr. Chairman, I think in the 20 hours of testimony we’ve heard in the two previous interviews, there
have been a grand total of 12 Members of Congress present. I don’t think it’s going to hurt to have a 13th Member actually hear something that, in my judgment, all 435 Members of Congress should be entitled to hear.
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Gaetz, you’re not a member of the three designated committees that are participating in this
interview. You’re not permitted to be here. That is the ruling of the chair, and you are required to 1eave.
MR. GAETZ: Do you have a rule that you’re able to cite for that?
THE CHAIRMAN: I am citing the House rules and the deposition rules. You are not permitted to be here.
MR. GAETZ : Which rule?
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Gaetz, you are simply delaying the procedures in violation of the rules. Please absent
MR. GAETZ : Which rule?
THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Gaetz, why don’t you take your spectacle outside? This is not how we conduct ourselves in
MR. GAETZ: I’ve seen how you’ve conducted yourself in this committee, and I’d like to be here to observe.
THE CHAIRMAN: We’ll wait until Mr. Gaetz leaves before we begin. I do want to say that this dilatory tactic will
come out of the minority’s time for questioning.
MR. GAETZ: This isn’t dilatory. You can begin any time you like.
THE CHAIRMAN: We’re going to begin the clock. This will come out of the minority’s time for questions.
Later, Schiff added:
THE CHAIRMAN: The record should reflect that Mr. Gaetz has left the room.