Republicans storm Trump impeachment secure hearing

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US Republicans have stormed a high-security impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, forcing a witness to delay her testimony by five hours.

The Republicans chanted “let us in” as they forced their way into the hearing, breaching US House security rules.

This week, Mr Trump urged Republicans to “get tough and fight” for him.

Three committees in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives are investigating allegations of wrongdoing by the president.

Democrats accuse him of illegally pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival, but Mr Trump and his supporters say he has done nothing wrong.

Reasons for barging in
The Republicans argued that Democrats were conducting the impeachment inquiry in secret, with Representative Steve Scalise describing it as “a Soviet-style process”

“Every member of Congress ought to be allowed in that room. The press ought to be allowed in that room,” he added.

The inquiry is led by a Democrat, Adam Schiff,  and being run by the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees.

However, more than 40 Republicans are members of those committees, and permitted to take part in the hearings.

Democrats have argued that it is common for the initial stages of a congressional investigation to be conducted behind closed doors, and say private hearings are needed at the start, to stop witnesses from coordinating their testimony.

“The special counsels in the Nixon and Clinton impeachments conducted their investigations in private and we must initially do the same,” Mr Schiff wrote in a letter to colleagues.

 

Nneka Ukachukwu