Republicans storm Donald Trump impeachment inquiry hearing, putting testimony on hold


Republicans, encouraged by President Donald Trump to get tougher in fighting the Democrats’ attempts to impeach him, have disrupted the US House of Representatives impeachment inquiry and delayed a Pentagon official from testifying.

The Republicans stormed into a hearing room where Pentagon official Laura Cooper, who oversees Ukraine and Russia matters, was due to testify behind closed doors, politicians and aides said.

The stand-off delayed a deposition with Ms Cooper until mid-afternoon on Wednesday (local time).

The impeachment inquiry focuses on Mr Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate a domestic rival — Democrat Joe Biden — for his personal political benefit.

In a dramatic confrontation during an escalating probe that threatens Mr Trump’s presidency even as he seeks re-election next year, Capitol police were called in to clear the room and bring order, a Republican congressional aide said.

A witness inside the room said the Republicans brought mobile phones into the high-security facility where electronic devices were forbidden.