Rep. Alex Mooney (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 Trump.
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 Scalise, walked into that room and demanded transparency and justice for our president.”
— 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.
If this had been me, I’d be in jail. https://t.co/GtAF7cPVJW
— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) October 23, 2019
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.