Rep. Matt Gaetz Kicked Out of Impeachment Inquiry Hearing: ‘What Are Democrats So Afraid Of?’

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 14: U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks to members of the media on Capitol Hill on October 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. Fiona Hill, former Special Assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump and Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs on the United States National Security …
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The Democrat chairman of the House intelligence panel pursuing the impeachment probe booted Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) out of a private interview Monday with the top former U.S. National Security Council expert on Russia, Fiona Hill.

Irked by the move, Gaetz, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told reporters, “It’s not like I’m on [the House panel on] agriculture,” Gaetz said. “What are the Democrats so afraid of?”

The Florida Republican added:

I appeared just to participate, just to observe as a member of Congress, as a member of the Judiciary Committee… Why is [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff [D-CA] trying to run a kangaroo court? Why is he continuing to limit access to evidence, limit access even from members of Congress?

Gaetz noted that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) was allowed to play a role in the impeachment probe.

Fox News reported:

Gaetz, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, attempted to attend the testimony of Fiona Hill, a former deputy assistant to the president, but was told that because he was not a member of the House Intelligence Committee that he had to leave. The House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees are conducting the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

A frustrated Gaetz aired his disappointment to reporters after being told he was not allowed to sit in on the hearing, venting his anger over what he says are “selective leaks” by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and questioning why he was not allowed to be present during Hill’s testimony. Gaetz added that the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., was involved in the impeachment inquiry.

Gaetz also expressed his frustration over being kicked out of Hill’s testimony via Twitter, saying:

Chairman Schiff and the radical democrats are now active participants in the coup. To exclude Members of Congress from hearings confirms the American people’s suspicions: this is not a legitimate “impeachment inquiry” — it is a charade.

He added in a different tweet:

Chairman Schiff and Speaker Pelosi are equally complicit in hiding and obfuscating the truth. Blocking Members of Congress from attending “impeachment” hearings is not only unfair, it runs counter to our Democracy.

“The perpetrators of this impeachment hoax must be held accountable — both by the Congress, and by the American people,” he also tweeted.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, also expressed outrage at Gaetz being kicked out of Hill’s interview.

Jordan tweeted:

[Schiff] is conducting his secretive impeachment proceedings in the basement of the Capitol, and now he’s kicked [Gaetz] out of today’s deposition.

This testimony should be available to every member of Congress and every single American. What is Schiff hiding?

Republican congressmen who have witnessed the testimony provided by the impeachment inquiry witnesses interviewed so far have lambasted the House Democrats for conducting the probe behind closed doors.

Jordan revealed that only about 12 members of Congress have witnessed the testimonies so far, telling reporters Monday:

In those total of 20 hours of interview that [Former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt] Volker and [Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie] Yovanovitch, I think there have been a total of 12 members of Congress in those interviews, which means 423 members of Congress weren’t present to hear testimony from the witnesses that Mr. Schiff has called. Four hundred and twenty-three members of Congress who represent three quarters of a million people don’t know what frankly is going on and at some point it looks like they’re going to be asked to vote on this and that just seems, to me, exactly the wrong way to do this.

The problem with this whole process is we don’t get to hear some of the substantive stated in these interviews particularly things stated by Amb. Volker where he said there is no quid pro quo whatsoever.

Jordan and other GOP lawmakers have called on House Democrats to release the transcripts of the impeachment inquiry witnesses. The Republican lawmakers argue that the transcripts contradict Democrats’ allegation that President Trump made his Ukrainian counterpart a quid pro quo offer to investigate Joe Biden and his son. Trump and the Ukrainian president deny the claims.

Over the weekend, Schiff has defended keeping the impeachment inquiry away from the public eye.

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