Graham walks back rebuke of GOP storming of SCIF: 'Good reason to be upset'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump pushes back on book claims, says he spent 'virtually no time' discussing election with Lee, Graham The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden meets with lawmakers amid domestic agenda panic MORE (R-S.C.) on Wednesday walked back an initial rebuke of the GOP congressman who stormed a closed-door hearing earlier in the day to protest the Democrats' impeachment inquiry, first calling the move “nuts” before saying he changed his mind after learning that it had been a “peaceful protest.”


“CORRECTION: I was initially told House GOP took the SCIF by force – basically like a GOP version of Occupy Wall Street,” Graham tweeted. “Apparently it was a peaceful protest. Big difference. I understand their frustration and they have good reason to be upset.” 


Graham had originally voiced criticism of the move by the GOP House members, telling The Associated Press, “That’s not the way to do it. That's nuts.”

Dozens of Republican members of the House, including some members of leadership like House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), barged into the secure hearing room in the Capitol basement, delaying the testimony of Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.


Graham also told the AP he didn't like the process being behind closed doors and said transcripts should be made available from any impeachment inquiry interviews, according to the AP.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel subpoenas four ex-Trump aides Bannon, Meadows Schiff: Criminal contempt charges possible for noncooperation in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks MORE (D-Calif.) reportedly responded to the Republicans entering the sensitive compartment information facility (SCIF) by exiting the room with the witness. 

Some GOP lawmakers also brought cell phones into the SCIF, which is against the rules, and refused to leave.

Republicans have called out the Democrats for only allowing members of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs committees to be present during testimonies involved in their impeachment inquiry and have requested the transcripts from these hearings be accessible for all members.

Graham has been a staunch defender of the president as the impeachment inquiry unfolds, agreeing with Trump on Tuesday that it was appropriate to call the process a “lynching.” 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Sunday shows preview: Pelosi announces date for infrastructure vote; administration defends immigration policies GOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation MORE (D-Calif.) launched the impeachment inquiry in response to a whistleblower report that said President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE pressed the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE and his family’s dealings with the country.

This report was updated with Graham's additional comments at 4:59 p.m.