Republican protest delays impeachment testimony from Pentagon’s Ukraine expert

The planned impeachment testimony from a Pentagon official responsible for Ukraine policy was delayed Wednesday after several of President Trump’s congressional allies staged a demonstration against the probe and barged into a secure facility on Capitol Hill.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper was due to speak at 10 a.m. in a closed-door session about the mechanics of U.S. security assistance for Ukraine and the fallout from the White House’s decision to withhold it for several months over the summer. But her session was disrupted as it was about to begin, with conservative lawmakers refusing to leave the specially protected room known as a SCIF where impeachment witnesses have met with lawmakers.

The protest caused House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) to consult the House Sergeant at Arms about how to proceed, according to one Democratic lawmaker who witnessed the scene.

By noon, several of the protesting members had apparently tweeted from inside the SCIF, a security breach. The area is tightly restricted to allow lawmakers to review sensitive material without the risk of surveillance, and cellphones are prohibited.

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