As tempers flared in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts tried to restore some decorum by issuing a stern admonition in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
Roberts took both sides of the impeachment battle to task, but the “extraordinary” rebuke was likely prompted by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) told Tucker Carlson Wednesday evening, as the Washington Examiner reports. Hawley, who formerly served as a law clerk for Justice Roberts, said he had never seen the judge get so testy before.
“It’s really extraordinary. I can say as somebody who has actually worked for John Roberts,” Hawley said. “I have never seen him do that before from any bench that I have ever seen him sit on.”
“World’s greatest deliberative body”
Many have wondered how Roberts, a decorous Supreme Court justice, would handle a matter as vulgar and hyper-partisan as the impeachment spectacle now unfolding in the Senate. Roberts gave an indication of his impatience early Wednesday morning after the rhetoric got particularly heated.
“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 deliberative body,” Roberts said, according to Fox News. “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 slammed the gavel immediately after Jerry Nadler accused Republicans of treason for blocking amendments to allow additional witnesses in the trial, prompting a fiery response from Trump’s legal team. Hawley opined that Roberts was probably moved to speak primarily by Nadler’s dramatic accusation.
The Senate voted to approve a resolution Wednesday that gives Democratic impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers 24 hours each, over three days, to make their arguments. In two days of opening arguments so far, Democrats have reiterated claims that Trump has already “cheated” in the run-up to the 2020 election by pressuring Ukraine to investigate corruption involving Hunter Biden.
Nadler’s “extraordinary” accusation
Hawley has been on the forefront of defending Trump from the Democrats’ charges, even floating a proposal to dismiss them outright, Axios noted.
However, the president’s lawyers do not plan to file a motion for dismissal, according to The Hill, and Republicans are largely backing the strategy laid out by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): to move through a trial as quickly as possible.
The likelihood of Trump’s acquittal makes the fight over witnesses essentially the only remaining variable. Democrats insist that Republicans are engaged in a “cover-up,” but Republicans have fired back that Democrats can’t assert a need for more witnesses and cite the existence of “overwhelming” evidence to remove Trump at the same time.
Hawley dismissed Nadler’s “extraordinary” claim that Republicans are traitors because they do not agree with Democrat strategies designed to drag out the trial. The Republican said that Democrats are just trying to play to their base, since they don’t expect to actually remove Trump from office.
“It’s really extraordinary to basically accuse senators of treason,” he told Carlson. “I’m not sure what the implication was supposed to be except we are being unpatriotic by not agreeing to their dilatory tactics.”