The tense relationship between Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) lead impeachment manager and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) boiled over on the Senate floor on Thursday.
Nadler outpaced Schiff to snatch the spotlight as the curtain came down on the second day of questioning by Senate jurors during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
The two created a scene on the Senate floor at the close of a brutal 16-hour session where senators posed questions to House managers and the president’s defense team. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) asked a final question to give House managers the opportunity to “provide any other comments the senate would benefit from hearing before we adjourn for the evening.”
Chief Justice John Roberts directed his last request to the House managers: “Could you please respond to the answer just given by the president’s counsel and provide any other comments the Senate would benefit from hearing before we adjourn for the evening?” he read from a card.
Nadler is then seen jumping out of his chair, flabby potbelly heaving, and rushing to the center podium to nab the spotlight, quickly getting the attention of Schiff, who also leaped from his seat. He was preparing to step to the podium when Nadler caught him off guard.
“Jerry. Jerry. Jerry,” Schiff said, as he reached out to restrain him without success.
As the moment went viral on social media on Friday the president couldn’t resist weighing in.
“Nadler ripped final argument away from Schiff, thinks Shifty did a terrible job. They are fighting big time!” Trump tweeted.
The dust-up exposed the power struggle playing out behind the scenes of the Democrats’ impeachment extravaganza. It was not the first time that hostilities between the two publicly surfaced.
Last Wednesday the House impeachment managers held their first news conference and a CNN reporter directed a question to Nadler.
Nadler attempted to step toward the podium when Schiff abruptly cut off the reporter.
“I’m going to respond to the questions,” Schiff said, then turned to call on another reporter for a question on a different topic while a somber Nadler kept his mouth shut.
Nadler has often irked many of his colleagues with his overzealous, outspoken style. He was rebuked by the Chief Justice after his Senate presentation last Wednesday offended many Republican senators. Nadler said, “I see a lot of senators voting for a cover-up.”
He ran afoul of the same senators he needed to win over to support Democrats in their quest to introduce more documents and witnesses into the trial. Their attempts failed spectacularly on Friday after Republicans voted 51-49 to block witnesses.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had snubbed Nadler when she picked Schiff, the Intelligence Committee chairman, to lead the impeachment inquiry.
Nadler, the chairman of the Judiciary panel had jump started the impeachment process last year until he was upstaged by Schiff. Nadler’s committee has historically had sole jurisdiction over drafting impeachment articles.
She also picked Schiff to lead the impeachment team for the Senate trial. He seems to have a tough time keeping the tubby little lawmaker in check.