Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) was reportedly booted from a closed-door interview of President Donald Trump’s former top Russia aide, Fiona Hill.
According to CNN’s Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju and others, Rep. Gaetz, known as a vociferous defender of President Trump and his agenda, was ejected just before the proceeding began.
“Matt Gaetz emerges from closed-door interview with Fiona Hill saying he was kicked out by House Democrats [because] he’s not a member of the three committees conducting the interview,” Raju reported just before 11 a.m. Monday morning. “He said he consulted with the House parliamentarian, who ruled that he could not be there.”
Hill was testifying in front of the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs committees as part of their impeachment inquiry into Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and subsequent efforts to conceal the content of the conversation. Hill was subpoenaed by the committees.
Rep. Gaetz is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and does not sit on any of the committees that subpoenaed Hill. Gaetz, as you’ll see, was quick to point out that House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) claimed to have begun an impeachment inquiry before Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) backed one and before the three other committees got involved.
According to Raju, Gaetz “sharply criticized” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), calling the hearing a “sham process.” Wall Street Journal reporter Natalie Andrews said Gaetz told reporters after his ejection, “It’s not like I’m on the agriculture committee.”
Gaetz has since taken to Twitter:
Judiciary Chairman @JerryNadler claimed to have begun the impeachment inquiry weeks ago. 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.
Many were quick to recall Gaetz’s behavior ahead of now-incarcerated former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s testimony on Capitol Hill.
Gaetz is the Member who threatened Michael Cohen via tweet. https://t.co/Vm2DweShj0
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) October 14, 2019
Same tactic by @RepMattGaetz when he strode across the hearing room before Michael Cohen testified.
I've said this before and it fits again: this is a mob tactic — send a tough guy into the courtroom to glare at the witness. (And I've seen much tougher guys than Gaetz do it). https://t.co/FCLDDGMxDQ
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) October 14, 2019
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]