Republican lawmakers staged an impromptu protest against the Constitution on Wednesday, intentionally obstructing justice and delaying testimony from a key witness in the impeachment inquiry investigation into crimes that Donald Trump and White House staff already publicly admitted to.
Yes, this is a thing that happened.
On Wednesday, members of the House Intelligence Committee were set to interview Laura Cooper, a senior Defense Department official in charge of Ukraine policy. The deposition took place inside a Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) which Democratic House members argue is necessary to prevent witnesses from coordinating testimony (although there is no evidence that Donald Trump would support any kind of collusion or obstruction).
But before the proceedings began, the Associated Press reports that about two dozen Republican lawmakers stormed into the room and demanded that they should be allowed to break the rules and disregard the law because the Democrats are making them look bad.
Seriously, that’s their reason.
“The members have just had it and they want to be able to see and represent their constituents and find out what’s going on,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is spelled a little differently than “House Intelligence Committee,” the name of the group in charge of Cooper’s deposition.
The group reportedly overwhelmed the officer in charge of securing the facility and burst in with phones and electronics, both of which are banned inside SCIFs. Chanting “let us in,” conservative lawbreakers demanded that the depositions be made public, even though the proceedings of grand juries and impeachment investigations are usually kept secret.
The Washington Post reports:
Several in the group accused Democratic leaders of trying to undo the 2016 election result, rallying behind a talking point promoted by House GOP leaders.
“If behind those doors, they intend to overturn the result of an American presidential election, we want to know what’s going on,” [Florida Rep. Matt] Gaetz said, accusing Democrats of being “obsessed with attacking a president who we believe has not done anything to deserve impeachment.”
The group walked into the restricted area en masse, and chants of “let us in” were heard from outside.
A shouting match ensued between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and some Democrats in the room as [House Intelligence Committee Head Adam] Schiff left to consult with the Sergeant at Arms, according to Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), who witnessed the scene.
At one point, Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, started to collect the Republicans’ phones, appearing to realize having the electronics there was a bad idea, Connolly said.
Gohmert, one of Trump’s top defenders, used the opportunity to rail against what he described as injustice toward the president. Many Democrats sat watching, not wanting to engage.
Undeterred by law, protocol or common sense, several GOP insurgents tweeted inside the unsecured secure room.
The scene was so absurd that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Donald Trump’s designated doormat, called the incident “nuts.” Rep Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said that the staged protest shows how “freaked out” the GOP has become over the impeachment inquiry. Order was finally restored when both sides came to an agreement that they would respect the rule of law and…
I’m just bullshitting. Everything is still crazy.
The president has a personal lawyer traveling the world in a Scooby-Doo van trading foreign aid for election interference. His Chief of Staff is confessing to quid pro quos during press conferences. The U.S. military is backing down from fights against armies whose only weapons are rocks and firecrackers. The G-7 canceled the all-white Yacht Party and Nicki Minaj’s real name is “Mrs. Petty.”
Well, at least no one was lynched.