White House Counsel Pat Cipollone blasted House impeachment manager Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on the floor of the Senate early Wednesday morning during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump for making “false accusations” against the president and the Senate.
“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,” Cipollone said.
The White House counsel was responding to Nadler’s lengthy speech advocating for an amendment to subpoena former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Bolton has said he would be willing to testify, though the House failed to call him to testify during its own impeachment inquiry. Democrats hope that he will shed light on what impeachment managers called a “scheme” by the president to pressure Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election.
But Nadler began by accusing the White House counsel of lying — a striking breach that would likely have been disciplined in any ordinary court of law. “They lie,” he claimed. “And lie, and lie, and lie,” he repeated.
Nadler went on to argue that if the Senate voted against the Democrats’ proposed amendment to a procedural resolution — which would only accelerate the decision on Bolton to an earlier stage of the trial — they would be “voting against the United States.” When it was Cipollone’s turn to respond, he had clearly had enough.
Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, members of the Senate. 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.
Turning to address Nadler, Cipollone concluded:
“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.”
As to the issue of Bolton’s testimony, Cipollone reminded Democrats that the House had decided not to call him in its own impeachment inquiry.
He then addressed Nadler again, reminding him that he had once argued that a partisan impeachment would deprive the American people of their vote. “What happened, Mr. Nadler?” Cipollone asked.
“Mr. Nadler, you owe an apology to the President of the United States and his family. You owe an apology to the Senate. But most of all, you owe an apology to the American people.”
Co-counsel Jay Sekulow then stepped in and attacked Nadler for calling executive privilege “nonsense,” and for arguing that “only guilty people try to hide evidence.”
“To shred the Constitution on the floor of the Senate — to serve what purpose?” Sekulow said. “The Senate is not on trial. The Constitution does not allow what just took place.”
Nadler tried to respond, repeating a false claim that President Trump claimed “monarchical powers” under Article II of the U.S. Constitution, alleging Trump believed “I can do whatever I want.” The claim is a misquote that ignores the context, which is that Trump was talking specifically about the power to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.