Gaetz Kicked Out of Impeachment Hearing, Claims Democrats Barring House Judiciary Committee Members

October 14, 2019 Updated: October 14, 2019

After Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) attempted to enter a closed-door impeachment hearing on Monday, he accused the Democratic House leadership of barring the House Judiciary Committee members from hearings.

Gaetz, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said he believed he should be allowed inside the hearing because impeachment inquiries are traditionally held by the Judiciary Committee.

“Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler claimed to have begun the impeachment inquiry weeks ago,” Gaetz said on Twitter. “Now, his own Judiciary members aren’t even allowed to participate in it. And yes – my constituents want me actively involved in stopping the #KangarooCourtCoup run by Shifty Schiff.” He was referring to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who is one of the key Democrats involved in the inquiry into impeaching President Donald Trump.

Gaetz asked on Monday night: “Why is Adam Schiff trying to run a kangaroo court? Why is he continuing to limit access to evidence, limit access even to members of Congress?”

In an interview with Breitbart later in the day, he accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of preventing Judiciary Committee members from attending.

“Nancy Pelosi has chosen to reshuffle the legislative deck because her Democrats were getting worked silly on the Judiciary Committee following the Lewandowski hearing, the John Dean hearing, it really was not a forum that fielded results for Democrats,” Gaetz said.

He claimed that Pelosi took the inquiry away from Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and handed it to Schiff, claiming that they are “making up the rules as they go along.” He then speculated that Pelosi has “such diminished trust in Jerry Nadler that our entire committee is now paying the price.”

Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.),  Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)—known Trump supporters—are part of the Judiciary Committee.

The Congressional Research Service says formal impeachment proceedings are usually referred to the Judiciary Committee.

“The House impeachment process generally proceeds in three phases: (1) initiation of the impeachment process; (2) Judiciary Committee investigation, hearings, and markup of articles of impeachment; and (3) full House consideration of the articles of impeachment,” it says.

Monday’s House interview included Fiona Hill, the former Russia specialist on Trump’s National Security Council, who resigned in August. She was deposed by the House Oversight, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs Committees on Monday.

Gaetz’s move, meanwhile, drew ire from fellow members of Congress.

Another Congressman, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), slammed Gaetz by saying that “you can’t kick someone out who was never invited in. Rep. @mattgaetz is not on any of the committees and your side’s stunt wasted an hour of time.”