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 PompeoKobach has lead in Kansas Senate race unless Pompeo enters: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial 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 VolkerPush to investigate Bidens sets up potential for Senate turf war Senate confirms Brouillette to replace Perry as Energy secretary How Democrats' missing witnesses could fill in the Ukraine story MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed 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 HarrisOvernight Defense: Trump clashes with Macron at NATO summit | House impeachment report says Trump abused power | Top Dem scolds military leaders on Trump intervention in war crimes cases House conservatives attempt to access closed-door impeachment hearing GOP lawmakers, states back gunmaker in Sandy Hook appeal 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 GohmertLive coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Tempers flare at tense Judiciary hearing on impeachment Judiciary hearing gets heated as Democratic counsel interrogates GOP staffer 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. MarshallMeat industry is trying to stifle plant-based food innovation Improving maternal health with data and care coordination Trump tears into impeachment probe, witnesses in early Twitter spree 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) GaetzThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Judiciary Democrats approve articles of impeachment setting up House vote next week Democrats approve two articles of impeachment against Trump in Judiciary vote Photographer leaves Judiciary hearing after being accused of taking photos of member notes MORE (R-Fla.) attempted to attend the closed-door deposition of former Trump adviser Fiona Hill.