Tensions within House Democrats’ impeachment team appeared to boil over onto the Senate floor Thursday night as Rep. Jerrold Nadler ran to the lectern to deliver the final answer of the night, pushing by Rep. Adam Schiff, who’s been the party’s point man for the Senate trial.
Mr. Schiff stood to answer, but Mr. Nadler was already in place, and unloaded on senators and the president’s defense team, calling their arguments “nonsense” and “absurd.”
“This is a trial,” he said. “As any 10-year-old knows, we should have witnesses.”
The move to displace Mr. Schiff set Twitter afire, and drew the attention of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who highlighted Mr. Nadler’s bogarting of the spotlight.
Mr. Schiff could be heard saying “Jerry… Jerry… Jerry…” as Mr. Nadler ran past him to take the lectern.
Mr. Nadler is chairman of the House Judiciary, which usually leads impeachment proceedings.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instead tapped Mr. Schiff, chairman of the intelligence committee, to lead this effort against President Trump.
He conducted the hearings of fact witnesses and submitted a massive documentary record to Mr. Nadler, whose committee crafted the final articles of impeachment.
During the last two weeks of the Senate trial, Mr. Schiff has been first chair for Democrats, handling most of the questions — which made Mr. Nadler’s power move late Thursday so striking.
Mr. Nadler may have been repaying Mr. Schiff.
Last week, during a press conference, a question was directed at Mr. Nadler, who started to move to the lectern, but Mr. Schiff said he would answer instead.
Roll Call called said the moment hinted at “some internal discord” within the House impeachment team.