Several House Republicans, who gathered outside a secure room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor’s Center Wednesday made a public attempt to force themselves into a secure area of the House they had been barred from entering.
The area, known as the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), is where Republican and Democratic Members of the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees heard testimony from Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. Cooper is the latest witness to provide testimony to the panels leading the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.
The SCIF is designed to be a secure space for members of congress to handle classified or sensitive materials.
After speaking briefly to members of the press, a group of 20-30 members, according to an estimate of one congressman involved, were able to gain access to the facility and interrupted the proceedings.
Most of the members who tried to gain access are not on any of the three committees charged with overseeing inquiry, hence why they were not allowed in. Members interrupted the proceedings being held in the SCIF when they entered, according to one member involved.
Outside of the secure room Rep. Jim Jordan, who serves as the ranking member on the Oversight and Reform Committee, told reporters that the temperature between members had reached a boiling point.
He accused the Democrats leading the inquiry of getting “so petty,” that they “even took the chairs out,” referring to the benches designated for staff members.