A group of House Republicans attempted to enter a closed-door hearing on Wednesday, decrying the secrecy surrounding the lower chamber’s impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
They were told by security they were not allowed to attend.
Michael McKinley, a former adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was expected to testify about Pompeo’s role in Trump’s negotiations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, The Hill reported.
Pompeo was reportedly on the now-infamous phone call between the two heads of state in which Trump brought up Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden’s history with Ukraine and his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country.
None of the GOP lawmakers who tried to access the hearing serve on the three committees that are conducting the inquiry — the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees.
Nevertheless, the Republicans protested what they saw as the clandestine nature of the Democratic push for impeachment.
“This is a secret, secret proceeding. And the only information you’re getting out of what’s happening there is coming from the leaks that are coming out from the Democrats,” Biggs, who led the group of Republican lawmakers, said, according to The Hill.
“I’ve not heard of leaks [from Republicans] and I know people, I’ve got great friends that are sitting in there,” Biggs continued.
“You know what they tell me? I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you what’s going on in there, but I could read you The New York Times what the Democrats leak.”
Biggs was not the only GOP congressman to fault the Democrats for their handling of the impeachment inquiry.
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said that members of his committee should be able to see transcripts from the hearings.
“Some of us are even on the impeachment committee by rule of precedent — that’s the Judiciary Committee,” Gohmert said. “And so we just spent all this time hearing from staff that somebody out there gave an order that the rest of us could not listen and could not hear and see what was going on.
“We’re in there, we’re told by security staff that they can’t tell us who gave the order, but the order is that they can’t allow elected members of Congress into a hearing. And they can’t allow elected members of Congress to review the transcript of testimony before a congressional committee.”
Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland criticized Democrats for not allowing him to read the transcript of former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker’s House testimony.
“I went in there today, they denied me reading the transcript. That’s egregious — I sit on the Appropriations Committee. We appropriate money to pay for that,” he said.
Another Republican, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, attempted a similar move to enter a hearing on Monday, when Trump’s former Russia adviser, Fiona Hill, was testifying before the Intelligence Committee.
Like Biggs and others, Gaetz was also denied entry into the hearing.
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