A group of Republican lawmakers stormed a closed-door hearing, prompting Democratic leaders to halt the proceedings. Laura Cooper, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, was scheduled to testify to the House Intelligence Committee as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry in President Donald Trump.
Cooper was slated to deliver testimony in the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility when a group of two dozen Republicans tried to enter the secure room.
When the lawmakers entered, some of them carrying cell phones in violation of security protocols, Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff ordered the Capitol Police to remove the Republicans and threatened to charge them with ethics violations.
"Clearly the White House was devastated by yesterday's testimony, and these witnesses have been willing to defy the admin and follow the law and come testify," Schiff said, "So the president's allies are trying to stop them through other means, but they won't be successful."
The Republicans believe Cooper should testify publicly and that the impeachment proceedings should not be conducted behind closed doors.
"Behind those doors, they intend to overturn the results of an American presidential election," Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz said. "We're going to try to go in there ... on behalf of the millions of Americans that we represent that want to see this Congress working for them, and not obsessed with attacking a president who we believe has not done anything to deserve impeachment."
The hearing eventually resumed, following a five-hour delay.
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