An ongoing, marathon first day in the Senate impeachment trial against President Trump erupted into a shouting match well after midnight early Wednesday morning, as Trump's legal team unloaded on Democratic impeachment manager Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. -- in an exchange that prompted a bleary-eyed Chief Justice John Roberts to sternly admonish both sides for misconduct in the chamber.
Nadler began the historic spat by speaking in support of the eighth amendment of the day proposed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, after each of Schumer's previous attempted alterations to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's rules were rejected by a united Republican contingent by a vote of 53-47. The eighth amendment, issued as the clock struck midnight, was to issue a subpoena for former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has reportedly described Trump's conduct as akin to a "drug deal."
Nader, who was overheard apparently planning to impeach Trump back in 2018, said it would be a "treacherous vote" and a "cover-up" for Republicans to reject the Bolton subpoena, claiming that "only guilty people try to hide evidence."
“It’s embarrassing,” Nadler began. “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 the relevant evidence to be presented here? Or will you betray you 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 coverup? So far I'm sad to say I see a lot of senators voting for a coverup, voting to deny witnesses, an absolutely indefensible vote, obviously a treacherous vote.”
Trump's legal team immediately rose in response.
"We've been respectful of the Senate," an animated White House counsel Pat Cipollone fired back. "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've addressed the United States Senate. This is the United States Senate. You're not in charge here. ... It’s about time we bring this power trip in for a landing."
The outbursts prompted Roberts to admonish both sides of the debate, calling the Senate the "world's greatest deliberative body" and saying that "those addressing the Senate should remember where they are." (Roberts, who is overseeing the impeachment trial, was in for a short night of sleep: He's scheduled to attend oral arguments at the Supreme Court at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday morning.)
"It is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and the president's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliebrative body," Roberts said. "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. "
Roberts continued: "In the 1905 [Judge Charles] Swayne 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."
The vote on the Bolton amendment, like the roll call on Schumer's previous failed quixotic proposals on the day, was not a final determination on any witness or document request. Instead, Senate Republicans have indicated they will vote for McConnell's underlying scheduling resolution, which permits potential new witnesses and documents later in the Senate trial.
As of 1:30 a.m. ET, Schumer was introducing what he said would be his last amendment for the day. Read more at FOX News