Chief Justice Roberts admonishes impeachment managers and Trump team, reminds them to 'remember where they are'

Catherine Garcia

Things got testy in the Senate chamber early Wednesday morning, with Chief Justice John Roberts admonishing both the impeachment managers and President Trump's legal team for their sharp words.

It started when Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) argued in support of an amendment seeking to subpoena former National Security Adviser John Bolton. During the House impeachment investigation, Bolton said he would fight a subpoena, but then changed his tune, saying he would testify in the Senate trial if ordered to do so. Nadler said Trump and his allies "are afraid to hear" from Bolton "because they know he knows too much," and "only guilty people try to hide the evidence."

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow loudly responded, banging the podium and accusing Nadler of attempting to "shred the Constitution on the floor of the Senate." White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told Nadler he owed Trump, his family, the Senate, and every American "an apology." When it was once again his turn to speak, Nadler scoffed at the Trump team saying he wasn't being truthful. "President's counsel has no standing to talk about lying," he said.

After they were finished, Roberts said he felt it was "appropriate 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 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." He then brought up a 1905 impeachment trial of a judge, where a manager objected to the term "pettifogging." Roberts said while he doesn't "think we need to aspire to that high a standard ... I think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are." The amendment to subpoena Bolton, like all others before it, was voted down along party lines, 53-47. Pettifogging, by the way, means "placing undue emphasis on petty details."

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