In this way: The two previous impeachment interviews, with former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, were conducted in the format of what is known as a transcribed interview. Rep. Adam Schiff, who is running the Democratic impeachment effort, decreed that transcripts not be released to the public. At the same time, there were no heavily restrictive rules on what would happen should any member of Congress, acting from memory, reveal things that were said in the interview.

The Yovanovitch session was different. Democrats conducted the interview in the format of a deposition, which is different from a transcribed interview. One key difference is that there are serious penalties for lawmakers who reveal the contents of a deposition. Doing so would almost surely subject the offending member to a House ethics investigation.

All Republicans remember the price paid by Rep. Devin Nunes, who in 2017, as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, faced an ethics investigation based on a complaint from a Democratic-allied outside group alleging he leaked classified information. Nunes was later cleared of all the charges, but he had to distance himself from some committee activities as the investigation slowly proceeded.