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GOP Lawmakers Storm Room in Capitol's Basement

Laura Cooper was set to give testimony in closed-door hearing
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2019 12:36 PM CDT
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Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., center, gathers with fellow House Republicans for a news conference after Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper arrived for a closed-door meeting to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – The Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility sits in the basement of the Capitol, and it's been the site of more than a little drama on Wednesday. More than two dozen House Republicans who had been giving a news conference outside the room stormed into it as Laura Cooper—deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia—was due to give testimony in a closed-door hearing. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said some who entered were "literally ... just screaming ... saying that the process is wrong." House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff reportedly exited the room with Cooper, essentially postponing the hearing.

Politico reports the "standoff" was unresolved "by mid-morning," with Republicans who had barged in refusing to leave. The Hill reports GOP lawmakers are reportedly upset that only members of the three House panels overseeing the impeachment inquiry are permitted to attend the closed-door hearings and say the interview transcripts should be publicly available to the American people. Politico's sources say some Republicans carried their cellphones with them into the room, a House rules violation that triggered a sweep of the room for security issues. (Read more House Republicans stories.)

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