White House Impeachment Counsel Lies About GOP House Disruption

During the impeachment trial of United States President Donald Trump on January 21 2020, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone flagrantly pushed disinformation concerning an October 2019 meeting that House Republicans “stormed” for attention.

Cipollone accused Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) and other House Democrats of not giving Trump due process, and misrepresented a meeting held inside a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF.)

Cipollone said:

The proceedings took place in a basement of the House of Representatives. The president was forbidden from attending. The president was not allowed to have a lawyer present. In every other impeachment proceeding, the president has been given minimal due process. Nothing here. Not even Mr. Schiff’s Republican colleagues were allowed into the SCIF. Information was selectively leaked out. Witnesses were threatened. Good public servants were told that they would be held in contempt. They were told that they were ‘obstructing.’ What does Mr. Schiff mean by ‘obstructing’? He means that unless you do exactly what he says regardless of your constitutional rights then you’re obstructing.

His remarks were posted in video form by journalist Aaron Rupar, who called the allegation that no House GOP members were allowed into the meeting “a blatant lie”:

“Not even Mr. Schiff’s Republican colleagues were allowed into the SCIF” — this is a blatant lie from Cipollone pic.twitter.com/A4cWhwRSUo

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 21, 2020

In reality, the deposition taking place inside the SCIF was hardly closed to Republicans; it was open to any of the 48 GOP members serving in the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, or Oversight Committees, which oversaw the impeachment process. Furthermore, according to BuzzFeed, 12 Republicans had actually RSVP’d to the October 23 2019 hearing when a group of around 40 of them attempted to enter the secure room, with some of them carrying their cellphones — a violation of the policy banning cameras and recording devices in the SCIF, where classified material is viewed by House members. As documented by one Twitter user:

If only there were clear instructions pic.twitter.com/FoMJwWGfxF

— Eric Sandeen (@esandeen) October 23, 2019

Besides being criticized online, Cipollone’s false claim was also debunked by NBC News and CNN.