A group of over two dozen House Republicans on Wednesday barged into a secure room in the U.S. Capitol building ahead of a closed-door deposition and delayed the testimony of Pentagon official Laura Cooper, a witness in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
“The GOP members who protested the Cooper deposition have essentially shut down the impeachment inquiry for a time,” reported the Washington Post‘s Rachel Bade.
Many of the Republicans involved in the stunt are not members of the House Intelligence, Judiciary, and Foreign Affairs Committees and were therefore not authorized to enter the hearing room.
“Let’s see if we can get in,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), the leader of the group, said at a press conference Wednesday.
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
WATCH: here's the video of when 2 dozen GOP members, led by @mattgaetz entered the secure hearing room (SCIF) to interrupt witness testimony in the #ImpeachmentInquiry as they demand access, despite not being committee members. They're complaining it's a "Soviet-style process". pic.twitter.com/8KddYz3r9D
— Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman) October 23, 2019
Ben Siegel of ABC News reported that some of the GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), were “screaming” as they entered the hearing “and all brought phones into the secure SCIF room,” a major violation of House rules. Several Republican lawmakers, including Gaetz, appeared to tweet from inside the secure room and later claimed the tweets were sent by staff.
**Tweet from Staff**
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) October 23, 2019
According to CNN,
A source in the room said that as the witness, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Laura Cooper, was sitting down to testify, the Republicans stormed through the room’s three different doors. Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama was yelling at House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, but the California Democrat did not engage, the source said. Other Democrats, including Rep. Val Demings of Florida, shouted back at both Byrne and Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, who were yelling about the process.
Cooper left the room while the Republicans refused to vacate the space.
Schiff, in response to the interruption, briefly left the hearing room to consult the sergeant-at-arms about removing the unauthorized Republican lawmakers.
“That’s a lot of sitting members of Congress who are physically obstructing justice,” tweeted Sludge reporter Alex Kotch.
California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report
On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.
"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."
Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.
‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation
Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a
"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."
Trump spoke with Giuliani on unsecured phones that were vulnerable to Russian surveillance: report
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has communicated with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani via unsecured and unencrypted phone lines that are potentially vulnerable to interception and monitoring by Russian intelligence officials and other hostile foreign powers.
"Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as '-1' in the files," stated the report. "And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines."