Chris Cuomo Repeatedly Shuts Down GOP Rep.’s Impeachment Hearing Objections: ‘You Changed the Rules… Now You Got to Deal’
In a long, contentious segment, CNN’s Chris Cuomo repeatedly shut down Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-OH) objections to and talking points about the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, pointing out: “You changed the rules that took away power from the minority, now you got to deal with it.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Johnson and several dozen other House Republicans joined Florida Congressman and media provocateur Rep. Matt Gaetz in forcing their way into a secure, closed-door impeachment session of the House Intelligence Committee in a contrived, political stunt. Several of the Congressmen also brought their cell phones with them, which violates House electronic security rules and is a federal crime.
Starting with a direct challenge to Johnson about whether he violated the SCIF’s rule on cell phones, Cuomo pushed back hard on the Republican’s spin on topic after topic.
“Congressman, did you bring a phone in there?” Cuomo asked, point-blank. After Johnson threw off verbal chaff without answering, Cuomo followed up: “Did you bring a phone in there? So I can have it for the record?
“My phone was turned off.”
“Did you have it on you?”
“Yes, I had it on me.” Johnson acknowledged.
“That’s a violation.”
“There was no classified — you don’t set the rules there, Chris. The House does.”
“Right. It’s a violation of House rules, not my rules. I don’t care where you bring a phone.”
“Do you want to talk about how many House rules have been violated?” Johnson offered by way of distraction.
“Does that make it okay for you to violate it? I’m wondering from a consistency statement,” Cuomo said, lowering the boom.
Cuomo then turned to Republican outrage over their claims about House Democrats’ “secret hearings” and lack of transparency.
“How are you being denied access? There are Republicans in the [hearing] room,” Cuomo pointed out.
“They are, but they are being denied access to the information you and I are talking about,” Johnson said, before adding that all members of the House have yet to be provided transcripts of every impeachment witness’s testimony.
“Do you know whether the transcripts have been made?” Cuomo asked.
“That’s what we’re being told,” Johnson said.
“By the majority. By [House Intelligence Chairman] Adam Schiff,” Johnson said.
“So he has said the transcripts are done and I won’t give them to you?” Cuomo pressed.
“No, I haven’t talked to Adam Schiff myself…” Johnson began, at which point Cuomo broke in, saying: “Aahhh!”
And then Cuomo turned to GOP claims that the Democrats are violating House rules and the Constitution by conducting closed-door hearings.
“One of the reasons that [former Republican House Oversight Committee Chair] Trey Gowdy said that these things work better in private, the way he conducted most of Benghazi, I don’t remember you complaining about that. I don’t remember you guys complaining in 2015 when you guys changed the rules to empower the majority with subpoena power to suppress the minority,” Cuomo noted. —
“There has been no vote by the House to pursue an impeachment inquiry,” Johnson complained.
“There’s no need for one,” Cuomo shot back.
“It is in the Constitution. What constitution are you reading?” Johnson responded.
“It says there will be a full chamber vote to start an impeachment inquiry?” Cuomo followed up.
“It says the House has the sole responsibility for impeachment, not the Speaker, not the chairman of the Intel Committee,” Johnson replied.
“It doesn’t say you have to have a full chamber vote to start an inquiry,” Cuomo accurately noted.
“That’s what it refers to,” Johnson claimed.
“That’s your interpretation,” Cuomo pointed out. “[House Democrats] are doing the investigation right now and Republicans are part of it. You’re not running it, you’re not in the majority but you changed the rules that took away power from the minority, now you got to deal with it.”
Watch the video above, via CNN.
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