WASHINGTON — It’s “excruciating.” It smells like a “locker room.” And what happens there is supposed to stay there.
When history is written about President Donald Trump’s presidency, a key chapter in the House’s drive to impeach him will be set in a spy-proof bunker tucked beneath a spiral staircase just to the east of the U.S. Capitol. There, three House committees have been hearing about Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine, gathering testimony that could serve as the foundation for articles of impeachment.
The Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility — SCIF for short — seems poised to join Washington impeachment lore. But unlike, say, the former Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge of Watergate fame or the White House Rose Garden, the SCIF is an axis of political intrigue out of sight by design. Nowadays, more people surrender their cellphones and cram inside than the space was designed to hold, with little distraction from the proceedings or each other.