House

Schiff told Gaetz to ‘absent yourself’ in fiery exchange: impeachment transcript

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif) sparred with Rep. Matt Gaetz as the Florida Republican attempted to access a closed-door impeachment hearing on Oct. 14, according to the transcript of former Trump adviser Fiona Hill’s deposition released on Friday. 

Gaetz, one of President Trump’s leading allies in the House, attempted to barge into a hearing held in a secured room, known as the SCIF, in the Capitol basement, arguing that as a member of the House Judiciary Committee he should have access to the testimony.

{mosads}In a fiery exchange, Schiff noted that only members of the House Intelligence Committee, House Foreign Affairs and House Oversight and Reform committees were allowed to attend the deposition, the transcript showed.

“Excuse me, could we suspend? Do we have any members here that are not members of the three committees authorized to be present?” the California Democrat said of Gaetz.

“You’re not permitted to be in the room,” Schiff added.

Gaetz shot back, arguing the Judiciary Committee traditionally has had jurisdiction over impeachment, therefore allowing him to attend. 

“You’re going to include members of Congress on committees that have roles of impeachment,” he said. 

Schiff then called for the Florida Republican to exit the SCIF so they could resume testimony.

“Mr. Gaetz, take your statement to the press. They do you no good here. So, please, absent yourself,” he said. 

The Florida Republican then inquired whether Schiff planned to have him removed from the room.

“You’re going to remove yourself,” Schiff shot back. “Mr. Gaetz, please absent yourself from the committee. It’s the ruling of the chair you’re not permitted to be here. Please leave the committee.”

Oversight Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) then came to Gaetz’s defense, requesting he be able to remain in the room for the hearing.

“Mr. Chairman, I think in the 20 hours of testimony we’ve heard in the two previous interviews, there have been a grand total of 12 members of Congress present. I don’t think it’s going to hurt to have a 13th member actually hear something that, in my judgment, all 435 members of Congress should be entitled to hear,” he said. 

Schiff asserted the hearing would not begin with Gaetz in the room, adding that the “dilatory tactic will come out of the minority’s time for questioning.” 

Gaetz denied that he was engaging in a “dilatory” tactic, but he ultimately left the hearing, according to the transcript.

Tags Adam Schiff Deposition deposition transcripts Donald Trump Impeachment impeachment inquiry Jim Jordan Matt Gaetz

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