Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has denounced the secretive nature of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) impeachment inquiry proceedings after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) was denied entry into a closed-door deposition on Monday, Oct. 14.
Gaetz, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said House Democrats kicked him out of the closed-door deposition of Fiona Hill. Hill is the former special assistant to President Donald Trump and the National Security Council senior director for European and Russian Affairs. The Democrats reason—Gaetz is not a member of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees—who are leading the impeachment probe, according to a CNN reporter.
The judiciary committee has historically handled impeachment inquiries but has not been directly involved in the probe against Trump.
Jordan reacted to the news on Twitter, questioning Schiff’s intentions in refusing to allow a congressman to participate in the proceedings.
“@RepAdamSchiff is conducting his secretive impeachment proceedings in the basement of the Capitol, and now he’s kicked @mattgaetz out of today’s deposition,” Jordan wrote.
“This testimony should be available to every member of Congress and every single American. What is Schiff hiding?”
This testimony should be available to every member of Congress and every single American. What is Schiff hiding?
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 14, 2019
Similarly, other Republicans shared similar sentiments over the lack of transparency of the proceedings.
“Why are Democrats holding a private impeachment investigation? If there was proof of wrongdoing, wouldn’t they want to expose that to the American people?” President of Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk wrote.
Adam Schiff just banned Republicans from an impeachment deposition
This is outrageous
Why are Democrats holding a private impeachment investigation?
If there was proof of wrongdoing, wouldn’t they want to expose that to the American people?
RT if you are tired of this HOAX
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) October 14, 2019
After he was kicked out of the hearing, Gaetz told reporters that not being a part of the panels leading the inquiry should not prevent him from participating in the proceedings.
“I appeared just to participate, just to observe as a member of Congress, as a member of the Judiciary Committee. Traditionally the Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over impeachment. If Adam Schiff and House Democrats were so proud of their work, they would be willing to show it,” he said.
“Why is Adam Schiff trying to run a kangaroo court? Why is he continuing to limit access to evidence, limit access even from members of Congress?” he added.
Trump and House Republicans have repeatedly criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats for the way the inquiry was launched and for the lack of transparency in the inquiry process. Pelosi announced the investigation based on media reports about the whistleblower and before reviewing the transcript of the call between Trump and Ukraine that prompted the impeachment inquiry.
Meanwhile, Republicans have repeatedly called for Schiff to release the transcripts of the depositions to the public. Schiff said Sunday that having witnesses appear behind closed doors would prevent them from knowing what other witnesses said.
“We want to make sure that we meet the needs of the investigation and not give the president or his legal minions the opportunity to tailor their testimony and in some cases, fabricate testimony to suit their interests,” Schiff said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.