Is there no depth that President Donald Trump’s defenders in Congress won’t sink to? No line they’re not willing to cross? Probably not. This Wednesday, a group of staunch conservatives led in part by Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz tried to simply barge in on a secure House Intelligence Committee hearing that was a part of the House Democratic majority’s ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump. Considering the fact that according to basic rules of who gets to see what information, all these belligerent showboaters don’t get access to the content of the proceedings, they were slated to get kicked out right from the get-go.
Led by @MattGaetz and assisted by @SteveScalise, House Republicans stage a publicity stunt in which they try to storm the doors of the House Intelligence Committee as they hold the Trump impeachment inquiry. This is an attempt to squelch the negative news about quid pro quo, etc pic.twitter.com/4EsfsVo38k
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) October 23, 2019
Testimony has been delayed because of the theatrics, which apparently included at least two of the participants walking in and yelling. Many of them had their personal electronic devices, which is flatly prohibited in a secure hearing room.
The ongoing process is not some conspiracy against Trump and his cronies. This is a manifestation of the longstanding basic rules of information-sharing among various Congressional committees and members of Congress. Sensitive information doesn’t get just handed out to whoever wants it — but as if he’s willingly humiliating himself by acting like he has no idea what he’s doing, Gaetz and the rest of his crew (including high-profile Republicans like Iowa’s Steve King, New York’s Lee Zeldin, and more) staged their Wednesday publicity stunt anyway.
The stunt came after those involved held a press conference in the same building in which they complained about being duly kept out of impeachment proceedings, as if there is some right for supporters of a target of a judicial investigation who happen to be in Congress to simply barge in to whatever hearing they want.
CNN’s Manu Raju explained:
‘More than two dozen House conservatives rail on Schiff and the process outside the closed impeachment proceedings, and have now entered the SCIF – and they are bound to be kicked out bc they don’t serve on the three committees conducting the probe. It is being led by Matt Gaetz’
Political strategist Simon Rosenberg added:
‘We are beyond parody here. History is going to be very unkind to today’s GOP, hopefully for generations. Having said that Ds need to explain more forcefully why this process is normal, routine, used by both parties; and that DOJ passed on a CIA criminal referral of Trump.’
Journalist Oliver Willis noted that their stunt was “an attempt to squelch the negative news about quid pro quo, etc.”
Just recently, more news has come out about the scope of the attempt by President Donald Trump and his cronies to get Ukraine to produce potentially politically useful dirt on the Bidens. This Tuesday, Ukraine Ambassador Bill Taylor explained to Congress how Trump wanted every request of the Ukrainians, ranging from military aid to a summit in D.C., held up until they produced that dirt. The ongoing impeachment inquiry was sparked by a whistleblower complaint centering on a phone conversation in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for that dirt and pointed him to personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr to get the process going.