Matt Gaetz demands 'transparency' after helping shield Trump's taxes for months


House Republicans are very angry that the majority is investigating Donald Trump.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a conspiracy theorist and staunch Trump defender, hosted a press conference on Wednesday with dozens of fellow House Republicans to complain that the impeachment inquiry was not "transparent" enough.

The group then attempted to storm a secure hearing room to make their demands heard.

Upset that several House committees were investigating Trump's actions with regard to Ukraine behind closed doors — with Republican members of those committees present and free to ask questions of the witnesses — Gaetz and several Republican members on Wednesday morning demanded that all GOP members be able to see transcripts of every interview and attend future hearings.

"I'm gathered here with dozens of my congressional colleagues, underground in the basement of the capitol because if behind those doors they intend to overturn the results of a presidential election, we want to know what's going on," Gaetz said, adding that House Democrats were focused only on "attacking the president whom we believe has not done anything to deserve impeachment."

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise piled on. "Maybe in the Soviet Union this kind of thing is commonplace," he said.

Scalise tried to introduce Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who was scheduled to attend, but was instead absent. "He's probably in that room right now, fighting," Scalise said.

Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) then accused Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry of "bypassing constitutional norms and basic standards of due process."

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) went a step further, calling the inquiry a "Soviet-style impeachment process."

If the House votes to impeach Trump, the Senate would need a two-thirds supermajority to actually remove Trump from office — far from the Soviet-style impeachment process Biggs was suggesting.

Gaetz, who was previously removed from another impeachment inquiry hearing he attempted to sneak into last week, concluded the event by announcing that he and his followers were going to "see if we can get inside" the investigation room.

The group of lawmakers then reportedly tried to storm the secure room, or SCIF — a classified area — to interrupt a hearing with Laura Cooper, a top Pentagon official who oversees the United States' Ukraine policy. The group reportedly had their phones with them, despite the fact that such electronics are banned inside the area for security purposes.

According to CNN, Reps. Louie Gohmert and Bradley Byrne were "yelling in the room and railing on what they call a sham process."

Gaetz and his fellow Republicans have not always held such hardline beliefs about transparency.

Back in 2017, Gaetz and the vast majority of the Republicans taking part in Wednesday's "transparency" press conference voted to shield Trump's tax returns from Congress, which sought to conduct oversight of Trump's finances. Trump, who once promised to make his tax returns public like every other modern president, has repeatedly blocked efforts to let Congress review them.

Among those who also voted to protect Trump's finances at the time were Reps. Scalise (R-LA), Brian Babin (R-TX), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Ken Buck (R-CO), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Jody Hice (R-GA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Steve King (R-IA), Mark Meadows (R-SC), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Pete Olson (R-TX), Gary Palmer (R-AL), Scott Perry (R-PA), David Rouzer (R-NC), Mark Walker (R-NC), Randy Weber (R-TX), and Lee Zeldin (R-NC).

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who is currently under federal indictment for his own alleged corruption, was also listed as a participant in Wednesday's event, though he missed the 2017 tax return vote.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.