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Pelosi Says McConnell Humiliated Roberts

After witness vote, speaker says seeing chief justice preside made it 'a sad day for America'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2020 9:46 AM CST

(Newser) – The Senate vote Friday against permitting more testimony or documents in the impeachment trial did more than put President Trump on the fast track to acquittal, Nancy Pelosi says; it forced John Roberts into a bad place. "It is a sad day for America to see Senator McConnell humiliate the Chief Justice of the United States into presiding over a vote which rejected our nation’s judicial norms, precedents and institutions which uphold the Constitution and the rule of law," she tweeted on Saturday. The 51 votes against witnesses all came from Republicans, NBC reports, including Mitch McConnell, the majority leader. Had the Senate vote been 50-50, Roberts could have stepped in to break the tie. The chief justice ruled that out Friday, saying, "I think it would be inappropriate."

Two other senators alluded to the awkwardness for Roberts. In announcing Friday that she was voting against witnesses, Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, said she didn't want to "drag the Supreme Court into the fray." The day before, Democrat Elizabeth Warren asked about the effect of the trial on the judiciary, per the Hill, saying that many Americans lack faith in their government. "Does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?" she asked. A final vote is expected on Wednesday. (Read more John Roberts stories.)

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