SOUNDBITE (English) REP. BUDDY CARTER, REPUBLICAN LAWMAKER FROM GEORGIA SAYING:
"This needs to stop. It needs to stop right now."
Taking up President Donald Trump's demand that Congressional Republicans fight harder for him, dozens of House Republicans gathered in front of the press Wednesday not just to condemn the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry, but to disrupt it.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) REP. MATT GAETZ, REPUBLICAN LAWMAKER FROM FLORIDA, SAYING:
"Let's see if we can get in."
Lawmakers and aides said Republicans stormed into a secure room where Laura Cooper, a senior Pentagon official, was due to testify.
A Republican congressional aide told Reuters that Capitol police were called in to clear the room and bring order, and that Republicans brought in cellphones to the room, a high-security facility where electronic devices are not allowed.
The political stunt comes as Republicans try to shift the impeachment conversation away from accusations of presidential abuse of power to procedural complaints, protesting that interviews are being held behind closed doors and not out in the open.
But Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has likened this phase of the probe to a "grand jury" collecting evidence. The public trial will be in the Senate. And Republicans are present and asking questions during the proceedings.
The testimony from Cooper, a career official, has been sought by lawmakers interested in her knowledge of alleged efforts by Trump to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine until its president committed to investigating Joe Biden.
Cooper's testimony follows that of William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who told House investigators Tuesday that Trump made the release of that aid contingent on Kiev publicly declaring it would carry out politically beneficial investigations that he demanded.
The testimony from Taylor, a career diplomat appointed by Trump and former Army officer, ran counter to Trump's contention that there was no quid pro quo or wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the flood of revelations coming from concerned diplomats seems to be sticking…at least, among independents. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday, support for impeaching Trump rose among independents to 45%, that's up three percentage points since last week.