They ordered pizza

Republicans: Law and order! National security! America First!

Also Republicans: Storm the classified hearing, cell phones in hand!

House Republicans took their impeachment grievances to a more confrontational level on Wednesday, barging in to a secure facility during a closed-door witness deposition and refusing to leave until Democrats held open hearings.

The gambit—cooked up by the pro-Trump brawler Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and endorsed by House GOP leadership—derailed the closed-door deposition of Laura Cooper, a Pentagon official with jurisdiction over Ukraine policy, before it even started. And it left Democrats indignant that their colleagues had violated long standing rules about interviewing witnesses in classified settings.

Long standing rules long standing shmules, this is a fight. You don’t bring rules to a fight.

Cell phones, for example, are not allowed in Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (also known as SCIFs). But the Republican members who barged into those facilities had taken their phones with them inside the room. Lawmakers and aides said that, as of noon on Wednesday, the SCIF was being swept for electronic surveillance devices because the Republicans brought in their phones, delaying the start of Cooper’s deposition. Democrats were also contemplating whether to bring in the U.S. Capitol Police in order to drag out the protesting members.

Welp, if you elect hoodlums to Congress, this is what you end up with. Never mind Mister Deeds Smith Goes to Washington, it’s Matt the Knife and Devin the Killer Go to Washington.

In a scheme that drew parallels to the infamous Brooks Brother riots that upended the 2000 Florida recount, Gaetz led about 25 House Republican lawmakers into the secure basement SCIF, where bipartisan members of the three committees leading the impeachment inquiry—and only members of those three committees—are allowed to go during the impeachment investigation.

According to Democratic lawmakers in the room, the Republicans blew past police officers to enter the room and began shouting once they got there, loudly denouncing the process and impeachment in general.

Which is to say they staged a coup. No biggy, just another Wednesday.

Close to two hours after they first went in, a core group of Republicans remained there, according to a tweet from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ). The number two House Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), was with them. Three hours into the standoff, the Republican crew remained—and they had ordered pizza from We The Pizza, a Capital Hill joint.

What do they want? Poor people are already poor; do they want to make them even poorer? Enslaved maybe? Do they want even more people of color in prison? To take away all health insurance from people who aren’t millionaires? Women forcibly impregnated throughout their childbearing years? Women literally chained to the stove? Fox News on every channel? Nuclear war? Global warming to happen even faster? What? 

House Republicans have held—and even supported—the use of closed door hearings for past congressional investigations, including the select committee that they spearheaded to investigate the 2011 consulate attack in Benghazi. That larger inconsistency and the timing on Wednesday’s gambit struck some Democrats as telling about the direction that the impeachment proceeding is heading.

“When you don’t have the law or the facts you attack and disrupt the process,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). “And you may wonder why is it happening now? Because Bill Taylor gave a devastating opening statement yesterday. They’re freaked out. They’re trying to stop this investigation.”

So what they want is to protect the most flagrant criminal who has ever befouled the presidency and the country.

What a glorious cause.

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