House Republican defends protest of closed-door hearing

One of the House Republicans who interrupted a closed-door hearing on Wednesday to protest the Democrats' handling of the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald TrumpMajority of Americans in new poll say it would be bad for the country if Trump ran in 2024 ,800 bottle of whiskey given to Pompeo by Japan is missing Liz Cheney says her father is 'deeply troubled' about the state of the Republican Party MORE defended the move on Thursday.

“I don’t think storming is the proper word,” said Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pa.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told Hill.TV in response to coverage of the protest. “Everything that we did was very orderly.”

“This process is certainly not fair to anybody — most of all the American people,” he added.

More than a dozen GOP lawmakers, including House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublican who went maskless now says coronavirus 'wants to kill us' Republican governors revolt against CDC mask guidance House to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance MORE (R-La.), on Wednesday barged into the sensitive compartmented information facility, delaying the deposition of a top Defense Department official who was set to give a private testimony about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Proceedings were delayed five hours as a result of the disruption.

Democrats have expressed concerns that Republican congressmen potentially put national security at risk by going into the hearing room with cell phones, a violation of security procedures. One member — Rep. Alex MooneyAlexander (Alex) Xavier Mooney14 Republicans vote against resolution condemning Myanmar military coup Republicans block 25th Amendment resolution to oust Trump House to vote on impeaching Trump Wednesday MORE (R-W.Va.) — even made a phone call in the room and posted the audio on Twitter.

In response to criticism of this move, Keller refocused the narrative on GOP criticism of the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry.

“If we want to talk about censure and things that are happening, lets talk about due process and make sure that when we’re talking about undoing the vote of the American people,” he told Hill.TV.

While some Trump allies praised the stunt, the conservative House Republicans faced some heat from their Democratic counterparts, including Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan Omar'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium Press: Inmates have taken over the asylum Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban MORE (D-Minn.).

"This is what happens when people elect members more interested in media hits than the protection of our national security," Omar tweeted.

— Tess Bonn