Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz was asked to leave a Monday deposition with a former top Russia aide to President Donald Trump because he was not on one of the three committees tasked with conducting the interview, the Daily Caller has learned.
California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Gaetz he could not be in the deposition room, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Gaetz later told reporters that he was officially asked to leave after consulting with the House Parliamentarian, and referred to the impeachment inquiry against the president as a “sham process.”
The dispute centered over whether Gaetz could attend the proceedings despite not being a member of the three committees — Oversight, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence — that are in charge of the deposition. Gaetz is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which has traditionally been involved in impeachment proceedings, a source pointed out to the Caller. Republican members of Congress have criticized Democrats for refusing to hold a formal vote to launch an impeachment inquiry, which would give the minority party more power to subpoena witnesses and documents. (RELATED: Trump Tells Democrats To Put Up Or Shut Up)
Gaetz told the Daily Caller that the incident is an indication that Democrats don’t feel “good about the facts in their case.”
“If Adam Schiff and House Democrats felt good about the facts in their case, they would want everyone to see them. But because this is a Kangaroo Court impeachment, there is no method of concealment or misrepresentation they will not deploy – from lying about contact with the Whistleblower, to reading a fake transcript, to refusing to release transcripts, to even barring members of Congress from official proceedings. Sad!”
The deposition involves Fiona Hill, a former Trump aide who advised the president on matters involving Russia. House Democrats called her to testify about her knowledge of Trump’s alleged pressure on Ukraine to investigate political opponents and the ouster of the ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.