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.
Developing: House GOP members storm a secure hearing room to interrupt witness testimony in the impeachment inquiry… https://t.co/7UGUH18qYi— Washington Examiner (@Washington Examiner) 1571847295.0
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.
BREAKING: I led over 30 of my colleagues into the SCIF where Adam Schiff is holding secret impeachment depositions.… https://t.co/tq6LalUrA2— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@Rep. Matt Gaetz) 1571844740.0
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":
**Tweet from Staff**— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@Rep. Matt Gaetz) 1571846544.0
And he wasn't the only one.
Updates from staff outside the room.— Rep. Mark Walker (@Rep. Mark Walker) 1571847309.0
All tweets sent out when I’m in the SCIF are being transmitted to staff for publication.— Rep Andy Biggs (@Rep Andy Biggs) 1571847805.0
Given that lawmakers were clearly seen bringing their personal devices into the facility, people were skeptical.
@RepMattGaetz ... it kinda looks you tried to bring your phone into a SCIF, realized that was a huge violation, and… https://t.co/1bGc31GtRB— Caroline Orr (@Caroline Orr) 1571847321.0
@RepMarkWalker Wait how do the staff outside the room, totally plausibly tweeting from your phone which you totally… https://t.co/c2iVA0plON— Jessica Shortall 🧂 (@Jessica Shortall 🧂) 1571847514.0
@RepAndyBiggsAZ HOW? That would require access to communications devices not ALLOWED in a SCIF... “When the facts… https://t.co/IAyilnMXYr— C Ellen Hogan 🏳️🌈 (@C Ellen Hogan 🏳️🌈) 1571850098.0
@RepMattGaetz LOL, sure champ. Nice job flagrantly breaking the law.— Carrie.Dobs.Esq (@Carrie.Dobs.Esq) 1571854269.0
Journalists and former National Security officials pointed out just how blatant the violation was.
Foreign adversaries are constantly trying to figure out what goes on inside those rooms to figure out what the US k… https://t.co/M6GjQAzNRj— Mieke Eoyang (@Mieke Eoyang) 1571845649.0
Objectively speaking, Republicans violated the SCIF's security rules and took a classified briefing hostage to dema… https://t.co/w2HEal3fDJ— Eric Geller (@Eric Geller) 1571844600.0
There was definitely a double standard at play.
Imagine if The Squad, 4 Congresswomen of color, did this? What would happen to them? https://t.co/k9mbaDszkR— Wajahat "Abu Khadija" Ali (@Wajahat "Abu Khadija" Ali) 1571854860.0
"Lock her up" and "storm the SCIF with cameras" are pretty inconsistent, guys— Seth Mandel (@Seth Mandel) 1571848867.0
If an employee of the intelligence community brought their personal device into a secure facility and live-tweeted… https://t.co/g7QyYRtlqq— Josh Campbell (@Josh Campbell) 1571847966.0
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.