Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has been plunging in the 2020 presidential polls of late, decided to try to make a splash at the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Because senators take every opportunity to bloviate before the cameras, they were forced to submit questions in writing, which would then be read by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who presided over the trial.
“At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government,” Roberts said, reading Warren’s question, “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, or Constitution?”
The room fell silent, with Roberts stone faced.
The question had huge ramifications, said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), declaring that it actually helped secure Trump’s acquittal, as well as the vote to reject calling more witnesses in the Senate trial.
“Elizabeth Warren helped defeat the impeachment of the president of the United States,” Cruz said late Friday on a new episode of his podcast “Verdict,” co-hosted by Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles. “That stunt helped deliver the votes of Lisa and Lamar,” he added.
“Lisa” is Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and “Lamar” is Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Both turned out to be the key votes in shooting down a demand by Democrats more witnesses be called.
Murkowski was the last Republican to announce that she would vote against witnesses, a stark turnaround from earlier in the week when she appeared to be leaning that direction. In a scathing statement, Murkowski said it had “become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice.”
“I will not stand for nor support that effort. We have already degraded this institution for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another,” she said. “We are sadly at a low point of division in this country.”
“Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything,” she said.
Democrats had quietly criticized Roberts, who had declared that he would not deliver a tie-breaking vote, meaning that a 50-50 vote to call witnesses would fail. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the minority leader, declared that a previous Chief Justice had cast tie-breaking votes — in 1868 — and pressed Roberts to do so. But Roberts smartly decided that the impeachment trial was solely an exercise in the Senate.
In his podcast, Cruz said that Republicans were angered by a left-wing group that put out an ad Friday showing Roberts wearing a superimposed Trump campaign MAGA hat. That, too, fueled the pushback from wavering Republicans who had previously been warm to the idea of calling more witnesses.
As for Warren, she’s tumbled into fourth place in the Iowa polls, and it looks like her little stunt will have some more fallout before it blows away.