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Photographer caught snapping pics of absent Congress members’ desks sparks controversy

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There seems to be no end to the bizarre antics associated with the Democratic Party’s partisan effort to impeach President Donald Trump — even the media is getting in on the fun.

On Thursday, during a break in the House Judiciary Committee markup session on the two articles of impeachment filed against the president, a Reuters photographer was caught on live camera sneaking a picture of documents left on a member’s desk

A second person is seen in the clip casually looking around before the photographer snapped a few pictures, as if playing the role of look out.

“Whoever this is, regardless of their party affiliation, should lose their press pass and be banned from the capitol building,” tweeted the popular Carpe Donktum account.

GOP Reps. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., were all tagged in the post.

Nunes responded to the video: “Media spy games!”


Another photographer is seen below also taking pictures of desks, though it’s not clear whose desk it is.

When the committee returned, Gaetz tactfully clarified that the documents were on the desks of Democrats — this coming amid lots of online chatter about the material belonging to careless Republicans, or that GOP lawmakers were being violated.

He also named the photographer.

“During the break, a Reuters photographer, Josh Roberts, approached the dais and took pictures of the notes of the desks of several of my Democratic colleagues,” Gaetz said.

“We noticed that — announced it to staff — and that reporter, that photographer, has been removed,” the lawmaker added. “And I would just say, no member, Republican or Democrat, should be subject to that. We ought to have the opportunity to take our notes, participate in debate, and have a fair discussion.”


Reuters denied in a statement that Roberts was removed, as Gaetz claimed, as the news agency shared images from the desk of Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif. — the Democrat was not in attendance, reportedly recovering from emergency surgery after having a stent implanted in his heart.

“His photos include members’ copies of the U.S. Constitution, the Holy Bible, The Federalist Papers and pieces of illegible paper that were sitting on the dais,” a Reuters spokesperson said in a statement. “He broke no rules and left the hearing voluntarily.”

As might be expected, a senior adviser to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Jesse Lee, took to Twitter to essentially defend the photographer and take a pot shot at a GOP member she fails to name.

“For the record, this was a Democratic Member’s desk, notwithstanding a Republicans Member’s claim to the contrary. The photo being taken was also not of notes, it was of a Bible and another book,” the tweet read.

It’s not clear who Lee was referencing, but Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., did tweet that the desks belonged to Republicans — which could be a reference to the photographer in the other tweet above.

Tom Tillison


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