According to CNN:

Roughly two-dozen House Republicans on Wednesday stormed a closed-door deposition in secure House Intelligence Committee spaces to rail against the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, a political stunt ratcheting up the GOP complaints about the process that threw the deposition into doubt.

The conservative lawmakers, led by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, barged into the deposition and demanded they be allowed to see the closed-door proceedings. [...]

The Republicans say they forced their way into the secure spaces because Democrats are holding impeachment depositions behind closed doors, denying the public the ability to see what's being said by witnesses that could be used to impeach President Donald Trump.

Are there some historical precedents for this type of action, i.e. Congresspersons going in uninvited to some closed-doors committee proceedings?

  • Aren't committee meetings open for all members of Congress, even when closed to public?
    – Sjoerd
    Oct 23, 2019 at 21:28
  • 1
    @Sjoerd: apparently no. It looks like the Intelligence committee needs some kind of approval for people to join. That might make a good separate question. As would Max's.
    – Fizz
    Oct 23, 2019 at 21:35
  • @Fizz Some specific Security Clearance might be required for the Intelligence Committee, but I don't think that would be a limiting factor in this case.
    – Sjoerd
    Oct 23, 2019 at 21:37
  • 3
    It seems that it wasn't a hearing, but a deposition.
    – phoog
    Oct 24, 2019 at 6:48
  • 2
    You have the complication that several representatives brought their cell phones into a skif facility - a clear violation of security clearance rules. Anybody with any security clearances would know the rules.
    – doneal24
    Oct 24, 2019 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


Are there precedents for Congresspersons going in uninvited to closed-doors committee proceedings?

While there seems to be no list of such actions, here is one incident.

[Congressional Record Volume 150, Number 77 (Friday, June 4, 2004)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1038-E1040]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office


When the House and Senate each passed their own version of the Medicare bill, the Republican leadership at first followed routine procedure by appointing a 17-member conference committee to work out the differences between the two pieces of legislation. Seven Democrats were appointed to the committee. However, only two of those Democrats, Senators Max Baucus (MT) and John Breaux (LA), were included in the closed-door meetings that had actually produced the final legislation. Why? Because they were among the few Democrats who would not raise significant objections to the bill. According to conference members from both parties, when the bill was made available to the rest of the committee, they were given just one hour to review the 678-page document before they voted.

The ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Charles Rangel (NY), was among the members of the original conference committee. However, he was excluded from the closed-door meetings. He arrived uninvited to one meeting, and Rep. Thomas, the conference chairman, stopped substantive discussion of the legislation until Rep. Rangel left.

Democrats and others have complained the tactics like those employed during the conference on the Medicare bill are becoming more common. Similar lockouts were staged during crucial conference committee meetings on huge energy and transportation bills. More and more the role of the full conference committee is perfunctory while the details of the legislation are hammered out in closed meetings that include only a small coterie handpicked by the party leadership.

[Emphasis added.]

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