The White House press secretary revealed what President Donald Trump thought about the 30-or-so Republican lawmakers’ attempts to enter a secure impeachment inquiry meeting on Wednesday.
“I think they showed full support for the president,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said on Thursday during an interview on ‘Fox & Friends,’ according to media reports. She added: “He was happy to see it happen. He was very supportive of it, as he should be.”
“I’m glad they did it. The Dems have been doing everything behind closed doors and in secret and so it’s about time somebody made a very bold stand, which is I guess a sit-in, which is what they did. And it was great, and the point was well taken,” Grisham continued.
Later, Trump thanked House Republicans, but he didn’t mention Wednesday’s incident.
“Thank you to House Republicans for being tough, smart, and understanding in detail the greatest Witch Hunt in American History. It has been going on since long before I even got Elected (the Insurance Policy!). A total Scam!” he wrote on Twitter.
On Wednesday, the Republicans led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) entered a closed-door meeting in a secure room in the Capitol basement. The representatives delayed a House deposition with Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. The deposition re-started about five hours later.
Some lawmakers and officials claimed they endangered national security by allegedly bringing phones in the building.
“In short, they have compromised the security of the room. And they not only brought in their unauthorized devices, they may have brought in the Russian and Chinese with electronics in a secure space,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) told reporters, reported The Hill.
But Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said he collected lawmakers’ phones and brought them outside the room in accordance with the rules.
“You certainly want a secure environment, but at the same time I think everybody wants to hear exactly what’s going on,” Meadows told reporters, according to The Hill.
And, GOP lawmakers said that their staffers sent tweets as they were inside the secure room.
On Thursday, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, sent a letter to the House sergeant-at-arms over the incident, urging him to “take action.” He claimed it was an “unprecedented breach of security” that “raises serious concerns for committee chairman, including me, responsible for maintaining SCIFs,” or he sensitive compartmented information facility.
“As such, I am requesting you take action with respect to the members involved in the breach. More broadly, I urge you to take House-wide action to remind all members about the dangers of such reckless action and the potential national security risks of such behavior,” Thompson wrote in a letter (pdf).