- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 9, 2019

Among hundreds of pages of congressional transcripts released Friday was a stenographer’s detailed accounting of a hearing being disrupted by Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican.

The transcript of last month’s closed-door deposition of Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official specializing in Europe and Russia, includes several pages of a fiery argument among congressmen that culminates in Mr. Gaetz leaving the room.

Rules guiding the impeachment proceedings allow for related hearings to be held by three committees in the House of Representatives: the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Gaetz is a member of the House Judiciary Committee but not of any of the panels participating in the closed-door impeachment proceedings. He tried to attend Ms. Hill’s deposition anyway and accordingly was ordered to leave repeatedly by Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat and chair of the House Intelligence Committee leading impeachment proceedings, according to the transcript.

The transcript of the Oct. 14 deposition shows it starting at 9:55 a.m. with Mr. Schiff calling the hearing to order and introducing Ms. Hill, the former deputy assistant to the president and senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council staff.

Mr. Schiff paused the hearing moments later after noting the presence of Mr. Gaetz, according to the transcript.

“Excuse me, could we suspend? 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,” Mr. Schiff said in the transcript.

The next 2 1/2 pages — a fraction of several hundred released Friday — shows Mr. Schiff repeatedly telling Mr. Gaetz to leave the room before eventually pausing proceedings.

“You’re going to have someone remove me from the hearing?” Mr. Gaetz during one point in the exchange.

Mr. Gaetz and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the committee’s ranking Republican, both proceeded to argue against Mr. Schiff prior to the chairman ultimately putting proceedings on hold.

“You’re going to remove yourself, Mr. Gaetz,” Mr. Schiff replied.

Mr. Gaetz and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the committee’s ranking public, both proceeded to argue against Mr. Schiff prior to the chairman ultimately putting proceedings on hold.

Mr. Gaetz, why don’t you take your spectacle outside? This is not how we conduct ourselves in this committee,” said Mr. Schiff.

The hearing subsequently resumed at 10:43 with the committee’s general counsel stating that the House Parliamentarian had been consulted and concluded Mr. Gaetz was not permitted to attend the hearing.

“The record should reflect that Mr. Gaetz has left the room,” Mr. Schiff said a page later in the transcript.

Indeed, Mr. Gaetz held a press conference near the room shortly afterward in which he accused Mr. Schiff of “trying to run a kangaroo court” and limiting members of Congress from participating in impeachment proceedings.

Days later he joined several fellow Republicans in storming a secure room on Capitol Hill where a Pentagon official was similarly scheduled to be deposed behind closed doors as part of the impeachment proceedings.

House members have since voted to release transcripts of the depositions and to hold impeachment hearings in the public. The first of those hearings is slated to start this Wednesday.

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