GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz complains after being kept out of closed-door hearing with former Russian affairs adviser to Trump

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz complains after being kept out of closed-door hearing with former Russian affairs adviser to Trump
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On Monday morning, Fiona Hill (a former Russian affairs adviser to President Donald Trump) testified in Washington, D.C. after being subpoenaed by three Democrat-led committees in the U.S. House of Representatives: the House Oversight Committee, the House Intelligence Committee (chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff) and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. And one GOP congressman who was kept out of the hearing was Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.

Hill was testifying in connection with House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against Trump, which came about because of the president’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A rough transcript of that conversation shows that Trump tried to pressure Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Manu Raju, senior congressional correspondent for CNN, reported, “Matt Gaetz emerges from closed-door interview with Fiona Hill saying he was kicked out by House Democrats (because) he’s not a member of the three committees conducting the interview. He said he consulted with the House parliamentarian, who ruled that he could not be there.”

Although Gaetz sits on the House Judiciary Committee (which is chaired by Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler), he is not part of the Oversight, Intelligence or Foreign Affairs committees. Gaetz has complained about being barred from the hearing with Hill on Twitter, posting, “Judiciary Chairman @JerryNadler claimed to have begun the impeachment inquiry weeks ago. Now, his own Judiciary members aren’t even allowed to participate in it. And yes, my constituents want me actively involved in stopping the #KangarooCourtCoup run by Shifty Schiff.”

USA Today/HuffPost contributor Kurt Bardella, a former Republican who became a Democrat in 2017, offered some context on Gaetz being kept out of the hearing. In an e-mail, Bardella said he “wanted to point out that when Rep. Darrell Issa, my former boss, tried to crash a deposition conducted by the Select Committee on Benghazi, the panel’s chairman, Trey Gowdy, also kicked him out.”

Republican Rep. Gowdy is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives via South Carolina.

CNN legal analyst Elie Honig was highly critical of Gaetz on Twitter on Monday, posting that the Florida congressman used the “same tactic” before Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testified before Congress earlier this year. Honig tweeted, “I’ve said this before, and it fits again: this is a mob tactic — send a tough guy into the courtroom to glare at the witness.”

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