The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump appears to be drawing to a close, and the Democratic House impeachment managers — perhaps frustrated by the seemingly inevitable failure of their efforts to result in Trump’s removal — appear to be at odds with one another.
At the end of Thursday night’s hearing, during which President Trump’s defense team and the House managers fielded written questions from senators, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) stole the spotlight from House Intelligence Committee Chairman and lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
A Democratic senator asked the House managers to respond to a previous answer from the president’s lawyers, and asked them to offer any other information they felt senators needed to hear before adjourning for the evening. It was, in effect, an open invitation for an impeachment manager to offer closing remarks to end the questioning segment of the trial.
Nadler hopped out of his seat and walked briskly to the podium. As he sped by, Schiff tried to stop him. “Jerry. Jerry. Jerry,” Schiff called out — but Nadler would not be denied. He ignored Schiff, went to the podium, and began addressing Chief Justice John Roberts and the Senate.
I can’t get over this video.
Dems ask for a closing statement on the night. Nadler, clearly fed up, jumps to his feet and scurries to the mic, ignoring audible protests of lead manager Schiff.
Then Nadler gives a terrible lecturing close.
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) January 31, 2020
Schiff and Nadler were, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most significant people leading the House impeachment effort. However, there has been some evidence of tension between the two men.
The decision to have Schiff’s Intelligence Committee take the lead in the high-profile impeachment inquiry hearings was seen by some as both unusual, and an indictment of Nadler’s ability to handle such an important task as impeachment. The Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings, which occurred later in the process, were much less significant.
During a debate early in the trial over whether to hear testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton, Nadler accused senators of voting for a “cover-up,” an allegation that offended some senators and led Roberts to admonish both sides to conduct themselves appropriately when addressing the Senate.
When a reporter tried to ask Nadler about that situation on Wednesday during a news conference, Schiff stepped in and prevented Nadler from speaking for himself, saying, “I’m going to respond to the questions.”