Over the past hour, a contingent of House Republicans stormed into a secure SCIF room and, according to various major media reports, began illegally taking photos and video while inside. This was clear attempt at delaying and distracting from today’s House impeachment testimony, and if the reports are accurate, it was an illegal one. The thing is, ringleader Matt Gaetz may have just directly incriminated himself – though he’s now backpedaling.
Matt Gaetz tweeted this half an hour ago: “BREAKING: I led over 30 of my colleagues into the SCIF where Adam Schiff is holding secret impeachment depositions. Still inside – more details to come.” Wait a minute here. Gaetz just claimed that he not only took his phone into the SCIF, he tweeted from it while inside the SCIF. This would be a clear criminal act, and for that matter a written confession to the criminal act. After massive pushback across social media, this addendum was just added to Matt Gaetz’s tweet: “**Tweet from Staff**”
Okay, if this is true and Gaetz didn’t post the tweet himself, then he’s off the legal hook – at least for the tweet. But that would mean one of his staffers was impersonating him in the first person on Twitter while he was in the SCIF. We’re sure this isn’t the first instance of this kind of ghost-tweeting happening in Congress. But even if this is indeed what happened, it sure is chuckle-worthy that Gaetz’s staffers didn’t think it through first before posting a tweet to his account that read exactly like he was confessing to a crime. Oddly, even as this was playing out, House Republican Mark Walker tweeted “We are in the SCIF.” Is Walker’s staff also ghost tweeting for him?
In any case, this whole “standoff” situation is still playing out. House Democrats are probably hesitant to have the offending House Republicans arrested, because that could paint them as victims of overreach, and thus potentially paint Donald Trump as a victim. But there can’t be no consequences for this kind of behavior, which is not only illegal, it’s delaying impeachment proceedings by at least a few hours. That can’t be allowed to stand.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report