Rep. Alex MooneyAlexander (Alex) Xavier MooneyFour states to feature primaries with two incumbents in 2022 West Virginia lawmaker slams GOP colleague over support for infrastructure law McBath to run in neighboring district after GOP redrew lines 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 TrumpFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition 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.
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 ScaliseSarah Palin's defamation case against New York Times heads to trial Supreme Court handcuffs Biden on vaccinations House GOP campaign arm rakes in 0M in 2021 MORE, walked into that room and demanded transparency and justice for our president.”
BREAKING--> My report from inside the SCIF hearing room where we are exposing Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffMask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House CIA says 'Havana syndrome' unlikely a result of 'worldwide campaign' by foreign power The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to make voting rights play in Atlanta MORE's secret so-called impeachment inquiry. pic.twitter.com/fPcPJ94R9y— Rep. Alex Mooney (@RepAlexMooney) October 23, 2019
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.
these idiots are live-streaming their own federal crimes now to distract from Trump's https://t.co/l1WSBtjYEP— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) October 23, 2019
This appears to be a congressman not only violating national security protocols by bring his phone into the SCIF, but broadcasting himself doing it https://t.co/osyT19BHPW— Pema Levy (@pemalevy) October 23, 2019
These Republicans have been trying to lie and pretend they weren't in violation of security. Here's one broadcasting "live, inside the SCIF." https://t.co/4coAAomx1R— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) October 23, 2019
Just, you know, a guy with a security clearance tweeting from INSIDE a secure facility in violation of every security rule.— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) October 23, 2019
If this had been me, I'd be in jail. https://t.co/GtAF7cPVJW
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.”
Developing: House GOP members storm a secure hearing room to interrupt witness testimony in the impeachment inquiry into @realDonaldTrump @RepMattGaetz led the charge. https://t.co/mWBdJSGZdh pic.twitter.com/Lj1P7mSnVb— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) October 23, 2019
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.