House

Gaetz calls Democrats ‘angry pack of rabid hyenas’ after storming impeachment hearing

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), a vocal supporter of President Trump, lambasted Democratic members of Congress as an “angry pack of rabid hyenas” just hours after a group of Republican lawmakers stormed a closed-door impeachment proceeding taking place in the Capitol. 

Asked on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday night whether the GOP had a right to conduct such a protest, Gaetz shot back, saying there “are no rules.”

{mosads}”If we had rules, Nancy Pelosi would have put this issue to a vote and established rules. But the Democrats want to preserve the most operational flexibility,” Gaetz said. “So if they’re going to have a world with no rules, we got to stop thinking that we can use the Marquis of Queensbury rules of engagement when we’re fighting against an angry pack of rabid hyenas. And that’s what we’re facing.

“I think the president’s right, as Republicans we needed to be tougher in exposing this for the kangaroo court that it is.”

Dozens of Republicans, including some members of the party’s leadership, barged into a secure hearing room in the Capitol basement on Wednesday in a demonstration against what the GOP has argued is an unfair impeachment inquiry into Trump. 

The lawmakers delayed a House deposition with Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, by about five hours. 

The demonstration caused a stir in the Capitol, with many Democratic lawmakers taking issue with the fact that Republicans violated congressional rules by carrying cellphones into a secure facility.

“In short, they have compromised the security of the room. And they not only brought in their unauthorized devices, they may have brought in the Russian and Chinese with electronics in a secure space,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) told reporters.

Gaetz appeared to dismiss those concerns while speaking on Fox News, stating that Republicans had the “audacity to want to know what in the world is going on behind closed doors.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump last month following revelations about the White House’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate, and his son.

Multiple House committees have conducted closed-door depositions with several Trump administration officials as part of the inquiry, prompting outrage from Trump and Republicans over what they view as a lack of transparency. 

“It’s reasonable to suggest we would want more transparency on behalf of the millions of people we represent,” Gaetz said on Fox. 

Democrats, meanwhile, have criticized Republicans over their failure to follow protocol.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote a letter to the top congressional law enforcement asking that “action” be taken against the Republicans who took part in the protest. 

“As such, I am requesting you take action with respect to the members involved in the breach. More broadly, I urge you to take House-wide action to remind all members about the dangers of such reckless action and the potential national security risks of such behavior,” Thompson wrote.

Tags Bennie Thompson Donald Trump Eric Swalwell Joe Biden Matt Gaetz Nancy Pelosi Tucker Carlson

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