Furious about being left out of the Donald Trump impeachment process, USA congressional Republicans stormed a closed-door witness deposition and refused to leave for several hours in an escalation of the showdown over the investigation of the president.
The Department of Defense had directed Cooper, who had agreed to testify voluntarily, not to appear for her scheduled deposition. Cooper's testimony, which was delayed as a result of Wednesday's actions but resumed later that afternoon, is part of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.
Some Democrats said testimony earlier this week from the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, was particularly damaging to Trump.
Some brought their mobile phones in with them, leading Democrats and some officials to accuse them of a security breach. The lawmakers were ultimately kicked out after the sergeant-at-arms ruled that they had no right to be there.
Even if passed in the Republican-led Senate, the resolution would not affect the House inquiry.
"I do not believe it would be appropriate for any politician to link military aid to assistance in a future election, no", the Republican lawmaker said when Jackson kept pressing him to answer the question.
Since these lawmakers were not members of the committees overseeing the impeachment inquiry, they were denied access.
"From the beginning, that phone call with the president, I think, is the smoking gun". The lawmakers, nearly all Republicans, stretched out around her at a table shaped like a "U" for the rare chance to speak on-camera about something other than impeachment.
- Republicans briefly brought House Democrats' impeachment investigation to a halt Wednesday as around two dozen GOP House members stormed into a closed-door deposition with a Defense Department official. "But they won't be successful". Graham also lamented that the Democrats were not using the same procedures that House Republicans used two decades ago when they impeached Democratic President Bill Clinton concerning a sexual relationship with a White House intern.
"They are human scum!" he fumed.
Trump has urged Republicans to "get tougher and fight" against his impeachment.
Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California said Republicans did not want to hear from Cooper because they were "freaked out" by that testimony. The staff member who was checking identification at the entrance was "basically overcome" by the Republicans, she said.
The Republicans disrupted a deposition for Laura Cooper, the US defense official who oversees Ukraine and Russian Federation matters. "So we're doing the best we can".
United States Senate Republicans will introduce a measure on Thursday that condemns the ongoing impeachment enquiry against Donald Trump, arguing that the process examining the president is "illegitimate".
Democratic Representative David Cicilline told reporters that holding the depositions in private protects the integrity of the inquiry.
Neither he (Taylor) or any other witness has provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld. "It's how you protect the integrity of any investigation", Cicilline said. It's not going to work. "We're going to have more to say on that later", he told the Post on Thursday.
Melania Trump's visit to speak with lawmakers in the Capitol came as President Donald Trump faces a backlash from within his own party over his decisions on Syria and amid the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry. Trump and Putin also met during a world meeting in June, talking days after Trump's July call with Zelensky, per Mail. The aid was later provided.
USA election law prohibits candidates from accepting foreign help in an election.