January 23, 2020
Lead House Manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) joked about imprisoning restless senators at the outset of the second day of the Democrat prosecutors presenting their case to the Senate.
Wednesday’s repetitious first session by the Managers and Tuesday’s late night marathon rules debate and votes have left senators “bored out of their minds” and in “agony” according to news reports, with senators nodding off, leaving their chairs, leaving the chamber or passing notes and candy to each other. Sen. Dianne Feinstein even left the Capitol Wednesday night during the trial, claiming through a spokesman to be under the weather.
Schiff: “But I also want to again take this opportunity to thank the senators for their long and considerable attention over the course of the last two days. I’m not sure the Chief justice is fully aware of just how rare it is, how extraordinary it is for the House members to be able to command the attention of senators sitting silently for hours–or even for minutes for that matter. Um, of course it doesn’t hurt that the morning starts out every day with the Sergeant at Arms warning you that if you don’t, you will be imprisoned. Um, it’s our hope that when the trial concludes and you’ve heard us and you’ve heard the President’s counsel over a series of long days that you don’t choose imprisonment instead of anything further.”
NY Daily News reporter Michael McAuliff took the remarks as Schiff taking a shot Republican senators, “Schiff opens with sly jab at restless Rs. Tell Roberts he may not be aware how extraordinary it is for senators to sit silently for the House. “It doesn’t hurt that the morning starts out every day with the sergeant at arms warning you that if you don’t you will be imprisoned.”
Members of President Trump’s impeachment defense team were not amused.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), “Adam Schiff starting off today with a joke about imprisoning Senators came off like a joke written by Jerry Seinfeld but delivered by George Costanza”
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), “Adam Schiff kicks off Day 3 of the Senate impeachment trial threatening Senators with imprisonment. Not sure what he’s worse at: reading his audience or telling jokes. Either way he is not helping his cause.”