Sen. Susan Collins sent a written note to Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. during Tuesday night’s proceedings, which prompted him to admonish both the impeachment managers and the president’s counsel.
After Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, suggested Senate Republicans were voting against more witnesses and documents at the start of the trial as a “cover-up” for the president, the Maine Republican sent a note to the Chief Justice, who is presiding over the hearings.
Ms. Collins said the arguments had become “too personal,” according to WCSH-TV.
“I had heard both sides impugn the integrity of one another and also cast aspersions on the Senate,” she said. “That is just not appropriate.”
Ms. Collins is one of a handful of moderate Republicans up for re-election in 2020 from a competitive state.
The actual scolding came a little after 1 a.m. Wednesday as the chamber wrapped up its Tuesday agenda of setting the rules and procedures for the impeachment trial.
The skirmish erupted with House impeachment manager Mr. Nadler accusing senators of casting a “treacherous vote” if they opposed a Democratic amendment to subpoena former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton.
“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,” Mr. Nadler told the chamber. “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.”
Mr. Nadler’s remarks drew a stern rebuttal from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, calling out Mr. Nadler by name for “making false allegations” and accusing the White House legal team and the Senate of “a cover-up.”
“The only one who should be embarrassed, Mr. Nadler is you, for the way you’ve addressed the United States Senate,” he said. “It’s about time we bring this power trip in for a landing.”
Following the exchange, Justice Roberts intervened in the proceedings for the first time to admonish the conduct.
He reminded both sides to “remember where they are” and that they are addressing the “world’s greatest deliberative body.”
“In the 1905 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,” Justice Roberts said. “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.”
He referred to the impeachment trial of U.S. District Judge Charles Swayne, who was acquitted of charges of corruption and misconduct.