MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson appeared frustrated Thursday when Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz took issue with Democratic California Rep. Jackie Speier and other Democrats’ conduct during the impeachment proceedings.
Gaetz — who had led the charge as Republican lawmakers stormed into closed-door impeachment hearings a day earlier — pushed back on Jackson as she pressed him on the issue.
Gaetz and other Republicans disrupted and delayed Wednesday’s interviews with Department of Defense official Laura Cooper, who was testifying about claims that the U.S. withheld military aid from Ukraine as Trump allegedly tried to get officials to look into Joe and Hunter Biden. They argued that the minority party and the American people should be able to see what was going on as Democrats pushed forward with impeachment.
The Florida congressman criticized Speier for referring to the group of Republicans who entered the Sensitive Comparted Information Facility (SCIF) as “white men.”
“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. “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. The people we serve are diverse.”
Jackson then pressed Gaetz on the “substance,” asking how he would classify his actions as anything but “a stunt.” (RELATED: Republicans Storm Closed Impeachment Proceeding)
Gaetz responded by pointing out the fact that he sat on the Judiciary Committee — the committee that officially opened the impeachment inquiry — and he was consistently being denied access to the fact-gathering process.
“You’re speaking for yourself. You are a member of Judiciary and Armed Services. None of those committees are conducting these depositions. It’s Intel — ” Jackson began.
“I don’t know that. I don’t know that. No,” Gaetz replied.
“It is a fact,” Jackson insisted.
“It’s not a fact,” Gaetz fired back. “Go back and look at the 12th hearing of the Judiciary Committee. 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 reframed the argument, saying, “You have not subpoenaed these individuals for a deposition. That is a fact.”
Gaetz pushed back again.
“No. You’re shifting ground now. Right. First you say we’re not involved and then you say we didn’t issue the subpoenas. Those are two different things. We are involved because our chairman launched the inquiry. That is a fact,” he said.
Jackson later asked Gaetz why he felt the rules did not apply to him.
“The rules — oh, I do think the rules apply to all of us,” Gaetz agreed.
“But the rules would typically require the Speaker of the House — I shouldn’t say the rules, the precedent that was applied to president Clinton and President Nixon, would necessitate some articulation of the rules so we have an understanding of what the due process requirements will be,” he continued. “We see Democrats now sacrificing due process on the altar of their hatred for Donald Trump. And that should concern all Americans.”