House Democrats on Friday released a transcript from the closed-door deposition from White House adviser Fiona Hill showing the dramatic moments when Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) ordered a Republican lawmaker out of the room.
Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, interrupted an opening statement from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to ask why Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was present in the closed hearing.
“Excuse me, could we suspend?” Schiff said, according to the transcript. “Do we have any members here that are not members of the three committees authorized to be present? Mr. Gaetz, you’re not permitted to be in the room.”
Gaetz protested, saying he served on the Judiciary Committee, which he argued had jurisdiction over impeachment, but Schiff repeated his command to leave.
“Mr. Chairman, really?” Gaetz said.
“Yes, really,” Schiff said. “Mr. Gaetz, take your statement to the press, they do you no good here, so please absent yourself.”
Gaetz asked whether the California Democrat would have someone remove him from the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility beneath the Capitol, and Schiff said that wouldn’t be necessary.
“You’re going to remove yourself, Mr. Gaetz,” Schiff said.
Jordan then tried to defend Gaetz’s presence, saying the impeachment inquiry had heard about 20 hours of testimony with only 12 lawmakers present, and he asked whether having an additional lawmaker present would hurt.
“Mr. Gaetz, you’re not a member of the three designated committees that are participating in this interview,” Schiff reiterated. “You’re not permitted to be here. That is the ruling of the chair, and you are required to 1eave.”
Gaetz asked the chairman to cite a rule justifying his removal, and Schiff again told him to leave.
“I am citing the House rules and the deposition rules,” Schiff said. “You are not permitted to be here. Mr. Gaetz, you are simply delaying the procedures in violation of the rules. Please absent yourself.”
Schiff told the GOP lawmaker to take his “spectacle” outside, and then told the inquiry they would wait until Gaetz left — and he ordered a penalty to the Republican minority for their colleague’s misconduct.
“I do want to say that this dilatory tactic will come out of the minority’s time for questioning,” he said.