House conservatives attempt to access closed-door impeachment hearing

House conservatives on Wednesday attempted to barge into a closed-door hearing where a former top aide to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats warn State Dept against punishing individuals who testify in impeachment hearings Pompeo condemns 'deplorable' killings of Iraqi protesters MORE was providing testimony in the Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

While none of the lawmakers sit on the committees leading the impeachment inquiry — House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform — they argued the process has lacked transparency and all members should have access to the information.


The conservatives, led by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), also attempted to view the transcript of testimony from Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerGeorge Kent: What you need to know Democrats announce public impeachment hearings with eight witnesses next week House Democrats circulate memo rebutting GOP impeachment defense MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE's former special envoy to Ukraine, arguing the information released so far has been "cherry-picked by Democrats."

Biggs accused Democrats of leaking selective information that doesn’t provide the full story and alleged they were holding “Soviet-style, secret hearings.”

"This is a secret, secret proceeding. And the only information you're getting out of what's happening there is coming from the leaks that are coming out from the Democrats," he told reporters.

“I've not heard of leaks [from Republicans] and I know people, I've got great friends that are sitting in there," Biggs said. "You know what they tell me? I can't tell you. I can't tell you what's going on in there, but I could read you The New York Times what the Democrats leak.”

Rep. Andy HarrisAndrew (Andy) Peter HarrisHouse conservatives attempt to access closed-door impeachment hearing GOP lawmakers, states back gunmaker in Sandy Hook appeal Conservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess MORE (R-Md.) said he was not allowed to read Volker's transcript.

“I went in there today, they denied me reading the transcript. That's egregious — I sit on the Appropriations Committee. We appropriate money to pay for that,” he said.

Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertGOP lawmaker invokes possibility of 'civil war' after House votes on Trump impeachment procedures Why the GOP march of mad hatters poses a threat to our Democracy Elijah Cummings, native son of Baltimore, gets emotional send-off from Democratic luminaries MORE (R-Texas), who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, argued members of the Judiciary panel should have access to the information.

"We're in there, we're told by security staff that they can't tell us who gave the order, but the order is that they can't allow elected members of Congress into a hearing. And they can't allow elected members of Congress to review the transcript of testimony before a congressional committee,” he said.

“Some of us are even on the impeachment committee by rule of precedent — that's the Judiciary Committee. And so we just spent all this time hearing from staff that somebody out there gave an order that the rest of us could not listen and could not hear and see what was going on.”

An official working on the impeachment inquiry told The Hill in an email on Wednesday that only lawmakers on the three panels working on the investigation are allowed to participate in the closed-door hearings under House rules and deposition regulations.

Members have been told the Volker deposition transcript will be made available to them, but GOP lawmakers attempting to enter the closed-door hearing expressed frustration with the uncertainty of when it will be provided.

“I've been trying to see the Volker transcript since yesterday afternoon, I was told I could see it at noon today, they canceled that as well. And now they are telling us the Volker transcript isn't ready,” Rep. Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallImproving maternal health with data and care coordination Trump tears into impeachment probe, witnesses in early Twitter spree Republicans storm closed-door hearing to protest impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Kan.), who is running for Senate, told reporters. “There's nothing fair about this, they're trying this in the court of public opinion right now so Americans deserve to hear both sides of the story in real time.”

The effort to gain access to the hearing comes two days after Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzSchiff told Gaetz to 'absent yourself' in fiery exchange: impeachment transcript Do Republicans understand the Constitution? Ocasio-Cortez: 'Major crime' against Katie Hill will deter other female candidates MORE (R-Fla.) attempted to attend the closed-door deposition of former Trump adviser Fiona Hill.