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Fed Up with Secrecy: Republicans Disrupt Impeachment Deposition, Demand Transparency

10-23-2019
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House Republicans gather for a news conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
House Republicans gather for a news conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON - The impeachment investigation on Capitol Hill is reaching a boiling point as two dozen angry House Republicans marched into a closed-door testimony Wednesday, demanding transparency. Hours later, they called for the whistleblower to come forward and give public testimony. 

Republicans say House Democrats are being selectively secretive in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. 

"We demand open hearings. The American people deserve nothing less," said Rep. Mo Brooks, (R-AL) "By golly, if they're going to do it, do it in public."

This interruption led House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff to postpone Laura Cooper's deposition, which was already underway when Democrats say Republicans "crashed the party".

"We're going to go in there and demand we get our rights as members of Congress," said Rep. Andy Biggs, (R-AZ).

GOP lawmakers lambasted House Democrats for making up the rules as they go. 

"This is a Soviet-style impeachment process. This is closed doors. It is unfair in every way," Biggs said. 

Republicans also still demand Democrats hold an official House impeachment vote to authorize the inquiry. 

"He wants us to believe that he's like a special counsel in these closed-door meetings over here," said Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ)

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who sits on one of the investigating committees, says nothing going on behind closed doors is classified. 

"This is the Democrats strategy," he said. "They like to cherry-pick leaks."

Hours after the storm in, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) kept up the pressure by calling for the whistleblower who filed the complaint about the phone call to come out of hiding and publicly testify. 

Democrats argue their secretive investigation is the way things are normally done. 

"Investigations are not public," said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). "When the investigation is done, there'll be public hearings. That's how it's always been done."

After Tuesday's hearing with acting US Ukraine Ambassador Bill Taylor, Democrats say his testimony proves there was an implicit quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukrainian officials. 

"This is my most disturbing day in Congress so far," said Rep. Andy Levin, (D-MI)

House Democrats also argue that more than 100 House members across three committees qualify to be in the standing-room-only hearing room. And they believe Republicans are trying to be disruptive because they don't want to hear the truth. 

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