On Wednesday, a group of Republican members of Congress stormed into a secure room where three committees were holding an impeachment inquiry hearing, demanding to be allowed inside and claiming that Republicans have been shut out from the process.
But a rundown of the Republicans involved in the incident showed that one-quarter of those taking part in the protest were actually on the committees inside the room and were allowed to be inside and take part — all while they were claiming that they were shut out. The Washington Post noted that the incident was an attempt to paint Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry as one-sided and unfair, saying that it is all taking place behind closed doors and that Republicans are not allowed to take part.
The report noted that none of these claims are true, as Republicans members of the three investigative committees are given equal time to question potential witnesses, and that Trump himself will have the chance to defend himself if the House ends up voting to impeach him. It went on to note that there are 48 Republicans between the three committees, all of whom are allowed to take part.
“According to a news release sent from [Congressman Matt Gaetz’s] office that was spotted by journalist Marcy Wheeler, 41 Republicans joined Gaetz’s sit-in protest Wednesday,” the report noted. “Of that group, more than a quarter — 13 — were members of the three relevant committees and, therefore, allowed to attend the hearings! Those 13, in fact, make up more than a quarter of all of the Republicans allowed to attend the hearings. They also included Rep. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.), who bragged during an interview on Fox News this week that he’d attended more of the hearings than Schiff.”
Critics said the storming of the hearing was a disingenuous attempt to feed into Donald Trump’s claims that the impeachment inquiry is a witch hunt and being unfairly conducted by Democrats. Others point out that Democrats have been abiding by rules for congressional investigations that Republicans themselves put in place back in 2015 in what was seen as an attempt to strengthen investigations into presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Congressman Matt Gaetz, who led Wednesday’s effort to storm the hearing, had previously tried to force his way into a previous impeachment hearing but was turned away. Republicans did the same during Benghazi hearings, when Congressman Trey Gowdy was kicked out by Republican leaders when he tried to take part in a hearing for a committee he did not belong to.