The dust has barely settled on yesterday’s bizarre stunt pulled by some two dozen House Republicans, in which members barged into a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the basement of the Capitol and refused to leave–delaying the testimony of a Defense Department official in the continuing impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump for five hours and creating a media spectacle in hope of squelching explosive testimony the day before from the acting ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor.
There was some confusion yesterday about who among the Colorado Republican congressional delegation took part in the protest. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs was reportedly part of a “relief supply” operation, bringing pizza and Chick-fil-A sandwiches to keep the protesting congressmen fat and happy during their five-hour occupation. And after this Tweet from Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley, who moonlights as the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, many assumed that Buck was inside the SCIF as well:
House Dems are conducting an impeachment inquiry in the basement of the Capitol behind closed doors & denying the GOP access to basic docs. If this was truly a ‘joint investigation’ then we would ALL have access to the same materials. #StoptheSchiffShow https://t.co/OsUxGEUVUw
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) October 23, 2019
But as it turns out:
A representative for Rep. Ken Buck, who’s on the Foreign Affairs Committee and was listed as a lawmaker who planned to attend, told BuzzFeed News that Buck did not attend but tweeted criticism of the closed testimony.
This confirmation that Rep. Buck was not part of the group who “stormed” the SCIF does settle some of the questions about consequences he might have faced for barging into a secure area of the Capitol, which many Republican members apparently did carrying their unsecured personal electronics with them in a big no-no violation of the rules. As a former assistant U.S. Attorney and county prosecutor, Buck better than most of his colleagues should know and be respectful of security protocols.
But there’s a more rudimentary problem with Buck’s blasting of the “behind closed doors” impeachment hearings going on in the secure basement of the Capitol. Because Rep. Buck currently sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee–one of the three committees jointly holding the impeachment hearings–Buck is allowed to attend the hearings along with all of the other Republicans who serve on those committees. Every Republican member of the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs committees is just as able to participate as the Democrats who serve on those committees. The letter from the committee Republicans Buck links to complains about lack of access to hearing transcripts after the fact, which Democrats say they will provide in due course–but that’s a red herring anyway because Buck is allowed to participate in the hearings.
The fact that Buck not just could have been there but should have been as part of his job, and instead chose to throw the digital equivalent of spitwads via Twitter, only proves that yesterday’s protest was a sham.
With that, once again Rep. Buck becomes an unintentional Democratic asset.