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Rep. Jim Hagedorn among Republicans that tried to access impeachment hearing

The inquiry being held behind closed doors, for now.
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Minnesota Rep. Jim Hagedorn was among the Republicans who attempted to access a behind-closed-doors impeachment inquiry hearing in Congress on Wednesday.

In what has been denounced by Democrats as a political stunt, dozens of House Republicans "stormed" the Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF) room that was hosting a closed deposition as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

The maneuver was led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, who claims that Republicans are being locked out of the impeachment proceedings, despite the fact that 100 members from both parties are involved in the hearings as they are members of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight Committees.

Rep. Hagedorn was not part of the larger group that entered the hearing, though the 1st District representative did share a video of himself being asked by security to leave the area having apparently entered the room.

It was subsequently reported that some of the Republicans in the group that entered the secure room are already on the committees and could have attended anyway. Several of those who stormed the hearing were criticized for bringing and using their cellphones, which are barred from SCIF rooms.

Rep. Hagedorn's spokesman has said that he also did not bring a cellphone into the secure room. 

"I just went in and asked what the procedures would be for members of Congress to be part of the proceedings or review the transcript, and was told at this point there would be no procedures apart from certain people on a few committees," Rep. Hagedorn said.

"I'm on agriculture and small business which are very important, I just said under typical procedures of the House every member of Congress should be afforded the opportunity to see what's going on in real time and we should have Republicans be able to call and examine witnesses, the President's counsel should be involved in these proceedings.

"On top of all that they said nothing of this is classified ... yet for whatever reason people aren't allowed in to see what's happening in real time."

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As Vox reports, the reason that House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff is keeping the impeachment hearings behind closed doors for now is because it requires interviews with several witnesses, and keeping the hearings private precludes them from coordinating their testimony "to match their description of events, or potentially conceal the truth."

This has happened before except the Republicans were in charge of the hearing, with Republican Trey Gowdy having his GOP colleague, former Rep. Darrell Issa, escorted out of a Benghazi deposition in 2015 because he was not a committee member.

The transcripts of the impeachment hearings will be released to other members in the future, Schiff has said, as well as the public once redactions of classified or sensitive information have been made.

Some has already been made public, including the opening statement of the former top diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor.

He said he'd been told that President Trump would withhold aid to the Ukraine unless the country announced publicly it would be launching an investigation into a company linked to Joe Biden's son – the so-called "quid pro quo" that sparked the impeachment inquiry.

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