The Senate’s chaplain began Wednesday’s proceedings in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump with a prayer urging senators to “remember that patriots reside on both sides of the aisle,” a pointed prayer that came hours after Chief Justice John Roberts scolded Democrats and Republicans for their bellicose tone on the trial’s first full day.
“Sovereign God, author of liberty, we gather in this historic chamber for the solemn responsibility of these impeachment proceedings. Give wisdom to the distinguished Chief Justice John Roberts as he presides. Lord, you are all powerful and know our thoughts before we form them,” Chaplain Barry Black said in his prayer before the proceedings.
“As our lawmakers have become jurors, remind them of your admonition in 1 Corinthians 10:31 — that whatever they do should be done for your glory. Help them remember that patriots reside on both sides of the aisle, that words have consequences and that how something is said can be as important as what is said. Give them a civility built upon integrity that brings consistency in their beliefs and actions. We pray in your powerful name, amen.”
The prayer kicked off the second official day of Trump’s impeachment trial, which has so far been marked by partisan bickering by both the President’s legal team and the Democratic House impeachement managers tasked with arguing the case before the Senate. Just before 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, Roberts, who is presiding over the trial, admonished both groups.
“I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and the President’s counsel, in equal terms ,to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body,” Roberts said. “One reason it has earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse.”
Roberts had just listened to the impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team rip into each other after House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler made the case for issuing a subpoena for former national security adviser John Bolton’s testimony. During that argument, Nadler accused Republican senators of “voting for a coverup” by killing amendments for documents and testimony of additional witnesses, a move that led to White House counsel Pat Cipollone firing back during his own remarks: “The only one who should be embarrassed, Mr. Nadler, is you. For the way you addressed this body. This is the United States Senate. You’re not in charge here.”
Wednesday’s proceedings will consist of the Democratic House managers presenting their case, a job that will take place over the next three days. After that, Trump’s legal team will also have 24 hours over three days for its opening arguments before senators will get to ask questions to each side.
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