I posted earlier about House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler’s (D-NY) “midnight tirade” following Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) proposal of an eighth amendment to the Senate rules. (All previous amendments had been rejected by Senate Republicans.)
Nadler accused the Republicans of voting against an honest trial, against the U.S. and of casting “treacherous votes.” Here is an excerpt:
The President is on trial in the Senate. But the Senate is on trial in the eyes of the American people. Will you vote to allow all of the relevant evidence to be presented here? Or will you betray your pledge to be an impartial juror? Will you bring Ambassador Bolton here? Will you permit us to present you with the entire record of the President’s misconduct? Or will you instead choose to be complicit in the President’s cover-up? So far, I’m sad to say, I see a lot of senators voting for a cover-up, voting to deny witnesses. An absolutely indefensible vote. Obviously, a treacherous vote. A vote against an honest consideration of the evidence against the President. A vote against an honest trial. A vote against the United States. A real trial we know has witnesses. We urge you to do your duty, permit a fair trial. All the witnesses must be permitted. That’s elementary in American justice. Either you want the truth or you (pause) and you must permit the witnesses or you want a shameful cover-up. History will judge and so will the electorate.
Naturally, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was not pleased with Nadler’s comments. He took the podium.
We came here today to address the false case brought to you by the House managers. We’ve been respectful of the Senate. We’ve made our arguments to you and you don’t deserve and we don’t deserve what just happened. Mr. Nadler came up here and made false allegations against our team. He made false allegations against all of you. He accused you of a cover-up. He’s been making false allegations against the President.
The only one who should be embarrassed, Mr. Nadler, is you for the way you addressed this body. This is the United States Senate. You’re not in charge here.
That’s when Chief Justice Roberts stepped in. Like a parent who scolds both children, instead of the one most responsible, he issued a warning to both sides:
I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House Managers and the President’s counsel in equal terms to remember they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body. One reason it has earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse.
In the 1905 Swain trial, a senator objected when one of the managers used the word ‘pettifogging’ and the presiding officer said the word ought not to have been used. I don’t think we need to aspire to that high a standard, but I do think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are.
Schumer’s eleventh proposed amendment was to agree to allow Chief Justice Roberts to make the decisions on witnesses and documents. Given the rift that opened up between Roberts and Trump in November 2018 after Roberts “bluntly rebuked the president for denouncing a judge who rejected his migrant asylum policy as an “Obama judge,” it’s fortunate that amendment was rejected.
At 1:40 am, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) rules for the trial were approved and the session was adjourned. The trial is scheduled to resume on Wednesday at 1 pm.
McConnell thanked Roberts for his patience. Roberts replied, “Comes with the job.”
An eleventh amendment — allowing Chief Justice Roberts to rule on motions to subpoena witnesses and documents — has been tabled in a 53-47 vote on party lines https://t.co/nS4r69Hbee pic.twitter.com/pNm6JpCmTm
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 22, 2020