WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) led over 50 Republican Members of Congress to confront Chairman Schiff face-to-face and demand access to ongoing impeachment proceedings. Upon the Republicans’ entrance into the hearing room, Chairman Schiff fled with the testifying witness. What is Chairman Schiff trying to hide? The American people, their elected representatives, and the press deserve to know what is going on in this sham impeachment inquiry. House Republicans will not stop fighting for access, fairness, and transparency in Speaker Pelosi’s partisan impeachment inquiry.
Whip Scalise also recently introduced a rules change, H. Res. 639, the Open and Transparent Impeachment Investigation Resolution, to allow all Members of Congress non-participatory access to committee proceedings related to impeachment.
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“Today dozens of my colleagues and I went into the hearing room where Adam Schiff has been conducting — behind closed doors — a secret impeachment inquiry on the President of the United States. This is a process that we’ve been highly critical of. The fact that it’s closed to the public, the fact that Members of Congress that aren’t on the relevant committees don’t even have access to the transcripts of the hearings.
“Maybe they do that in the Soviet Union but that’s not acceptable in the United States of America. And we came today to express our strong outrage at what’s happening in that secret room. What was interesting is as we got into the room to listen to the hearing — we wanted to hear what was going on so that we could know, so that our constituents can have a voice that they deserve in this impeachment inquiry — and as soon as we went into the room, Adam Schiff hadn’t even started the hearing, which by the way, Schiff pointed out himself was not a classified hearing. So again, begs the question why aren’t Members of Congress allowed to come into an unclassified hearing dealing with an impeachment of the President? Why aren’t you as the press allowed to go into an unclassified hearing to find out what’s really going on?
“But as we got in there, Adam Schiff got up and left with the witness. Now, you think about this, if you walk into a room and you turn on the light, and as soon as you turn on the light some of the people in the room run out of the room, it begs the question — what do they have to hide? What are they trying to hide from the American people that they won’t allow voting Members of Congress to hear what’s going on in that room?
“In fact, today they had a DoD (Department of Defense) official testifying and yet members of the Armed Services Committee were being denied entrance to that room to hear testimony — unclassified — from a DoD official. And so Adam Schiff has been conducting the secret inquiry on his terms, with his rules, throwing out all of the precedent of the three previous impeachment inquiries of Presidents of the United States.
“When you had the Nixon impeachment, when you had the Clinton impeachment, the House voted to start a process. They used the same rules. The same rules for Republicans, same rules for Democrats. Both sides could call witnesses. Today only Adam Schiff calls the witnesses. Only Adam Schiff is allowed to issue subpoenas. Adam Schiff doesn’t even allow the President’s legal counsel to be in the room to hear what’s going on, and yet it deals with impeaching a President of the United States. And [Schiff] wants to do it on one-sided terms to create some kind of file of his own to use as the basis of impeachment.
“Whatever Adam Schiff is putting together today is a tainted document because it’s a one-sided document. It’s a document that’s been created in secret behind closed doors. And when we showed up today to find out exactly what’s going on, [Schiff] got out of the room and left with the witness. It was disgraceful.
“This has been a disgraceful process. This is a Soviet-style process. This should not be allowed in the United States of America. Every Member of Congress ought to be allowed in that room. The press ought to be allowed in that room. And when we got there — and we were there peacefully, we were there to hear what was going on, we actually wanted to hear the witness — instead when [Schiff] left he threatened us.
“Adam Schiff threatened us. We’re not going to be bullied. We’re not going to bow down to his threats. We’re going to represent the voices of the millions of Americans that our districts represent. The vast majority of Members of Congress, by the way, who are not allowed to be in that room ought to be in.
“Everybody ought to be able to see what’s going on in this inquiry, including Members of Congress and the press, so that our constituents can see what’s going on.”