elephant in the room
November 8, 2019

This publicity stunt is worth watching from both sides of the aisle.

When Fiona Hill, a former top National Security Council adviser on Russia and Europe, testified for impeachment investigators last month, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) barged into the high-security hearing even though he wasn't on any of the committees allowed in. The result was a deadpan, amusing back-and-forth between the very insistent Gaetz and very unamused House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who tried to force Gaetz out with his words.

In a transcript of Hill's testimony released Friday, Schiff starts by explaining Hill's credentials. And then he seems to notice the literal elephant in the room, calling out Gaetz as "not permitted to be in the room." Gaetz tried to insist he's "on the Judiciary Committee," which isn't relevant in this case, and Schiff tells him to "please leave." The conversation devolves into a "Really?" and "Yes, really" exchange between Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Schiff, and then Schiff repeatedly tells Gaetz to "absent yourself" and "remove yourself."

A week later, Gaetz brought a whole squad of Republicans on his misguided mission, including some of the 48 members of his party who were welcome inside that hearing. Find all of Schiff and Gaetz's banter here — it's right at the beginning of the transcript. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads