The House parliamentarian later ruled Gaetz had to leave, he added.
“I went into the committee room and Mr. Schiff told me I had to leave,” the Florida Republican told reporters in the Capitol after leaving the secure room where Hill was being deposed. “And we waited for a ruling from the parliamentarian. And at that time, I had to depart.”
Gaetz said he left voluntarily.
Rep. @mattgaetz: “This morning we see further evidence that Adam Schiff’s clown show of an impeachment proceeding continues. Adam Schiff lied when he said that he & his team had not had contact with the whistleblower. He lied when he read a false transcript into the record.” pic.twitter.com/5QRqCiWbGC
While the House Judiciary Committee had led the charge in the Democrats’ investigation of Russian election interference, three different committees — Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs — have taken the baton since the focus has shifted to questions surrounding Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Gaetz, a Judiciary Committee member, argued that not being on the panels leading the inquiry should not preclude him from sitting in on Hill’s testimony.
“If Adam Schiff and House Democrats were so proud of their work, they would be willing to show it,” he said.
“It’s even more troubling when we look at the selective leaks from Adam Schiff, where information will be taken out of context and provided to the press,” he continued.
“If Democrats really are trying to build a legitimate case, they would use legitimate tools. They would hold a vote on the House floor to establish procedures,” he added. “But we continue to see this as the sham and the charade that it is.”
“In the absence of any rules the House Democrats have adopted, I found it only reasonable to look at prior precedent on impeachment,” he said, noting that the Judiciary Committee has taken the lead on the country’s most recent impeachment proceedings. “It’s not like I’m on the Agriculture Committee. I’m on a committee that has jurisdiction over impeachment, and I’m not able to participate.”
An official working on the impeachment inquiry told The Hill in an email that only members of the three panels working on the investigation are allowed to participate, according to the House rules and the chamber’s deposition regulations.
The official said that Gaetz tried to attend the deposition even though he is not on these committees, and that his refusal to leave delayed the deposition. The person confirmed that Gaetz left after a ruling from the parliamentarian’s office.
In tweets on the matter, Gaetz echoed Trump’s rhetoric on the impeachment inquiry, calling it a “coup” and a “hoax.”
“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 wrote.
“Chairman Schiff and Speaker Pelosi are equally complicit in hiding and obfuscating the truth,” he added, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “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,” Gaetz continued.
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.
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.