WASHINGTON - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., denounced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for the Senate vote that rejected witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
"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," Pelosi said Saturday on Twitter.
The Republican-controlled Senate on Friday voted down the motion to hear from witnesses, including Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, by a 51-49 vote. Just two Republicans, Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, joined Democrats in their votes for witnesses. The Senate vote made this the first presidential impeachment trial not to hear from witnesses.
What comes next: Senators will vote next week to acquit or convict Trump
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.
- Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 1, 2020
Democrats were pushing for enough Republican senators to tip the vote in favor of calling witnesses such as Bolton, who was expected to give testimony contradicting Trump's defense. The New York Times reported that Bolton wrote in his forthcoming book that Trump told him nearly $400 million in withheld military aid was tied to Ukraine pursuing investigations into Trump's political rivals.
Bombshell book: What we know about John Bolton's allegations about Trump and Ukraine
Republicans and Trump's impeachment defense team argued that it was not up to the Senate to call additional witnesses, and that the Democrats leading the House impeachment inquiry could have pursued subpoenas of witnesses they wanted through the courts.
Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski was considered a potential swing vote on witnesses until she announced Friday she was a "no." She also indicated she had Roberts on her mind, saying she would "not stand for or support" efforts to "drag the Supreme Court into the fray."
Who is John Bolton?: The former national security adviser is now a focus in Trump's impeachment trial
Contrary to claims by Trump and some Republican allies, House Democrats did seek testimony from Bolton, but he declined to appear for his deposition under White House orders. The House did not issue a subpoena because, Democrats said, it would only prolong the process. Since then, Bolton has said he would be willing to testify in the Senate.
First Sen. Warren, & now Speaker Pelosi question the legitimacy of Chief Justice Roberts & the Judicial Branch.
This is all Democrats have. Their case fell apart so they will attack the legitimacy & credibility of everything in sight: the 2020 election, the Judiciary, & more. https://t.co/plmxmhC9Am
- Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) February 1, 2020
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., a vocal Trump supporter, accused Democrats of attacking "the legitimacy & credibility of everything in sight: the 2020 election, the Judiciary, & more."
"First Sen. Warren, & now Speaker Pelosi question the legitimacy of Chief Justice Roberts & the Judicial Branch," Biggs tweeted.
He was referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who submitted a question during the trial pointed at Roberts and his role in the process.
"At a time where large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, Supreme Court of the United States and Constitution?" Warren's question read.
'He shouldn't have done it': GOP senator who scolded Trump on Ukraine explains why he backs acquittal
Throughout the trial, it was unclear whether Roberts could or would play a deciding role in the attempt to have witnesses appear. He said Friday he felt it would be "inappropriate" to break a tied vote.
As it turned out, Roberts was able to keep out of the middle of a drawn-out tug of war. Republicans had the votes to reject witnesses, opening the door to a final vote on whether to convict or acquit Trump on Wednesday.
Contributing: Richard Wolf
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump Impeachment trial: Pelosi says McConnell humiliated John Roberts