GOP lawmaker shares audio of phone call he made from highly classified SCIF room

Rep. Alex MooneyAlexander (Alex) Xavier MooneyOcasio-Cortez calls out GOP lawmakers asking to be arrested, citing privilege Ocasio-Cortez, Mooney spar on Twitter over closed-door impeachment hearings House Republican defends protest of closed-door hearing MORE (R-W.Va.) shared audio of a phone call he made from inside a secure room at the Capitol where Democrats were attempting to interview a witness as part of the impeachment inquiry into 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

The interview was delayed for hours after a group of conservative Republican lawmakers, including Mooney, stormed into the room to protest what they say has been an unfair impeachment process.

The protest took place inside what's known as a SCIF — an acronym for sensitive compartmented information facility. Such rooms are used when secure, nationally sensitive information is to be shared or discussed.

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During his call from the SCIF, the West Virginia lawmaker said he and other Republicans stormed the closed-door hearing because House Democrats “refuse to have a hearing in a transparent way for the people of West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District can be aware of what’s going on.”

“I represent over 600,000 people in West Virginia who are not given a right to know what’s even being said in these hearings. It is a brazenly attempt for no reason to impeach the president of the United States,” he continued. “I’m proud that over 30 members of Congress, including our whip, Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseLive updates on impeachment: Schiff fires warning at GOP over whistleblower Bottom Line Trump allies assail impeachment on process while House Democrats promise open hearings soon MORE, walked into that room and demanded transparency and justice for our president.”

The call drew criticism from people who felt the representative was acting in violation of the rules governing the SCIF, which prohibit the use of cellphones.

However, Mooney said in the short clip that he was making the call from a secure line inside the room because Republicans had to “give up our cellphones as we were coming in.”

Republicans have also said that while the deposition was taking place in a SCIF, it was not a classified deposition. 

The GOP demonstration prompted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to leave the room. The panels had been set to hear testimony from Laura Cooper — the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia — who was scheduled to testify at that time. Her testimony did begin later Wednesday.