Republicans Barged Into Classified Hearing With Their Cell Phones, Now They're Trying to Claim They Didn't

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images // Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

You may recall that Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) recently tried to infiltrate the closed-door testimony of White House Deputy Assistant Fiona Hill as she answered questions regarding President Donald Trump as part of the impeachment inquiry against him.

Gaetz is not on the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, or Oversight Committees, which are overseeing the inquiry, but he nevertheless believed he was entitled to be there. The House Parliamentarian disagreed, and Gaetz was ejected.


Now Gaetz is up to his old tricks. On Wednesday morning, Gaetz returned—and he brought two dozen other House Republicans with him.

Despite numerous Republicans on the relevant committees overseeing the hearings along with their Democratic counterparts, Gaetz accused Democrats of obstruction for holding the hearing behind closed doors. He and other House Republicans proceeded to storm the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), which is reserved for classified hearings, brandishing their personal devices in an unequivocal violation of the rules protecting national security.

Trump had advance knowledge of and supported the demonstration, which now has police scouring the facility for potential national security breaches.

Republicans like Gaetz and others proceeded to stage a sit-in, delaying the scheduled testimony of top Defense Department official Laura Cooper.

Gaetz proceeded to tweet, apparently from inside the facility, which violates the ban on personal devices in a SCIF.

Upon realizing his mistake, he walked it back with this eye-roller of a tweet, claiming that it was actually a "Tweet from Staff" outside the room, even though his tweet was quite clear that he was "still inside":

And he wasn't the only one.

Riiiight.

Given that lawmakers were clearly seen bringing their personal devices into the facility, people were skeptical.

Journalists and former National Security officials pointed out just how blatant the violation was.

There was definitely a double standard at play.

House Republicans chose to do this at a time that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was at her brother's funeral, giving her no chance to immediately comment or intervene.

The scheduled hearing has finally commenced, after five hours of delay thanks to House Republicans.

ABC News

As more information becomes available regarding the virus that's caused a public health crisis in the United States, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have urged Americans in hard-hit areas to begin wearing cloth masks to cover their faces.

Unlike medical professionals, who need N95 masks (of which there is a shortage) when treating virus patients, average Americans can wear makeshift cloth masks that block the saliva droplets through which the virus is spread.

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Given President Donald Trump's propensity for lying and his administration's constant misinformation regarding the current global pandemic, Americans across the country have become selective about which sources they deem as credible in seeking potentially lifesaving information in the face of a national health crisis.

Iowa's Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, is in stark disagreement with most Americans on whom to trust regarding measures designed to curb the virus.

Iowa is one of a few states that still has yet to issue a stay-at-home order to slow the virus's spread. Reynolds has resisted taking the step despite a unanimous recommendation from the Iowa Board of Medicine to do so.

National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said that all states should institute these orders.

Reynolds's response was...telling.

After calling stay-at-home orders a "divisive issue," the governor said:

"I would say that maybe [Fauci] doesn't have all the information"

Fauci has quickly become one of the most notable figures in the pandemic's response, and one of the few officials in President Donald Trump's virus task force that Americans widely trust to deliver accurate information. He's been an integral part of curbing health crises from the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States to Avian Flu to H1N1 and more.

If Fauci doesn't have all the information, then the country is—for lack of a better word—completely screwed.

People were appalled at the governor's defense.





It's safe to say that Fauci has more information and experience in these situations than any governor in the nation—including Reynolds.



The death toll in the United States from the virus recently surpassed 6000.

Information saves lives. Ignorance endangers them.

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