Interview with GOP's Matt Gaetz devolves into shouting match after he proclaims ‘I should be allowed’ into closed hearings
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) led a crowd of Freedom Caucus members to storm a secure room where Democrats and Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee have been holding depositions.
According to committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), once depositions are finished the open and public hearings will begin. He explained the depositions are important to do in secret so witnesses don’t coordinate with each other as they seemed to do in the Russia investigation.
An MSNBC interview with Gaetz on Thursday began after he overheard the introduction and sound of a Q&A with Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), who mocked the Republicans as a bunch of angry white men conducting a stunt. Gaetz was livid asking why his whiteness had anything to do with it.
“Did she say we were a bunch of white men? What does the fact that we are white men have to do with our desire to represent the millions of constituents we serve?” he asked rhetorically. “I was deeply offended. When Jackie Speier walks in I don’t say, ‘a white woman comes in.’ This is the type of Identity politics from the left that seems to permeate any substantive or procedural arguments they make and it’s sickening to me that’s how we would be thought of. People we serve are diverse and it’s just really kind of sickening.”
Gaetz represents the Florida First District where 77 percent of his district is white.
“We started on this conversation on the idea that Republicans walked into this secure area of the capitol yesterday, including some Republicans who could have just gone in and participated as members of those committees as the rules allowed. What was the point of this? Was this really anything more than a stunt?”
Gaetz proclaimed it was to highlight the inequities and lack of “due process” in the investigation. Investigations don’t have due process, proceedings are where due process occurs. Until then, the Republicans in the room are there to ask questions of the witnesses behind closed doors. Republicans who want to posture for the cameras, however, can’t do so publicly in the classified room.
“We’re showing a picture, I don’t know if you can see it, some of the members of Congress walking in, your Republican colleagues, who could be in the room anyway, 47 are on the committees able to go in and participate on depositions and many have in these depositions,” MSNBC host Hallie Jackson shot back, chuckling.
“I’m speaking for myself,” Gaetz shot back. “I should be allowed. I tried to go in last week as a member of the Judiciary Committee and that’s a reasonable thing to do, on September 12th, Jerry Nadler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said I am hereby launching the impeachment inquiry, the impeachment investigation. So, I think the bizarre element here is that you would exclude members of the committee that launched the impeachment inquiry from the factual development that Adam Schiff is trying to do in secret…”
Schiff, who runs the Intelligence Committee, is running depositions pertinent to his committee, where Nadler is running his own investigation through the Judiciary Committee.
“I think that’s why we were trying to get in there, but like, I only speak for myself. I should be allowed in that room as a member of the Judiciary Committee, Armed Services Committee and they wouldn’t let us in. It begs the question of what are they hiding,” Gaetz said. The Armed Services Committee doesn’t have anything to do with the impeachment inquiries.
Jackson shot back that neither of the committees he is on are conducting depositions, which seemed to anger Gaetz, who began yelling back and forth with the host. Gaetz’s committee hasn’t subpoenaed anyone.
“I don’t know that. I don’t know that. No,” Gaetz insisted.
“It is a fact,” she shot back.
“It’s not a fact. Now you’re shifting ground. Go back and look at the 12th hearing of the Judiciary Committee,” he shouted. “You cannot misstate that as a fact. How can you tell me it’s a fact that my committee is not involved when it was the Judiciary Committee who launched the investigation.”
Jackson explained that the Judiciary Committee may be launching their own impeachment inquiry, but they are not doing closed-door depositions, which Gaetz would be able to be part of. Schiff’s Intelligence Committee is.
“You’re playing the game, Hallie,” Gaetz claimed, saying that Democrats are only strategically leaking testimony and he can’t verify if the testimony is true. There are nearly two dozen Republican members on the committees on the impeachment inquiry.
“So you don’t trust the Republicans on these committees?” Jackson asked.
“I want to see the consequence of their work,” he claimed. “It’s not — they put out their opening statement we engage in cross-examination, you want to ask me about the opening, but I don’t have the benefit of the cross-examination to be able to test the allegations made in the opening statement.”
He went on to attack Schiff for creating the “rules” where he is not allowed to ask questions. As a fact-check, members who are not on the committees don’t get to ask questions. If Gaetz wanted to ask questions to witnesses he probably should have gotten a seat on the relevant committees, but his Republican leadership did not put him on said committees.