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Unusual Standoff Delays Start of Impeachment Hearing

GOP's Matt Gaetz tries to sit in on testimony of Fiona Hill, but is ordered to leave
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2019 1:21 PM CDT
Fiona Hill, a former White House adviser on Russia, arrives on Capitol Hill Monday, Oct. 14, 2019.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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(Newser) – The Trump impeachment hearings continued Monday with the closed-door testimony of a former National Security Council staffer named Fiona Hill. But not before an unusual standoff between pro-Trump Republican Matt Gaetz and Democrat Adam Schiff, who is leading the inquiry. Gaetz showed up Monday morning and tried to sit in on the testimony, reports the Wall Street Journal. The problem? He's not on any of the three committees conducting the investigation. After a 45-minute delay, the House parliamentarian agreed with Schiff, and Gaetz had to leave. “It’s not like, you know, I’m on the Agriculture Committee,” he said afterward. It's a reference to his position on the powerful Judiciary Committee, which the Journal notes has traditionally led impeachment investigations.

As for Hill, she is expected to tell lawmakers that she strongly objected to the push by the White House and Rudy Giuliani to remove the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, reports the New York Times. Hill viewed that as an "egregious abuse of the system," per the newspaper. Giuliani and others reportedly wanted to oust Yovanovitch because they saw her as a hurdle in their push to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son. Hill, a Russian expert and longtime skeptic of Vladimir Putin, left the NSC in July, before President Trump's famous phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart. Also of note: She is the first person who worked in the White House to testify in the proceedings. (Read more Matt Gaetz stories.)

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