Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, reacted to the first day of President Trump’s impeachment trial on Wednesday, saying on “America’s Newsroom” that only Democrats' House managers deserved to be called out by Chief Justice John Roberts.
The trial erupted into a shouting match well after midnight Wednesday morning, as Trump's legal team unloaded on Democratic impeachment manager Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. -- in an exchange that prompted a bleary-eyed Roberts to sternly admonish both sides for misconduct in the chamber.
Lee, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pointed out that he thought House managers were “personally insulting.”
“At one point, the chief justice had to step in and remind them not to do that. This is the Senate,” Lee said.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS ADMONISHES BOTH SIDES AT SENATE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL, AFTER MARATHON SESSION ERUPTS INTO SHOUTING MATCH
He then acknowledged that Roberts did not just direct his comments to only the House impeachment managers but, "should have.”
“I'm grateful to the chief justice, he did a good job, his demeanor was great, he maintained his patience,” Lee said. “I thought that was unfair of him to direct that at both sets of counsels because it felt to me like collective punishment for isolated guilt.
“This was the fault of the House management prosecution team,” he continued. “They were rude, they were insulting, they were demeaning not just to the president, but to the opposing counsel and indeed to the Senate itself.”
Lee also addressed the debate over witnesses and reacted to House Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff’s comments regarding the idea of a deal between the sides to have testimony from former National Security Advisor John Bolton in exchange for testimony from Hunter Biden.
“This isn't like fantasy football here, we’re not making trades, or we shouldn't be,” Schiff, D-Calif., said on the Senate floor.
“We’ll trade you one completely irrelevant immaterial witness that allows us to smear the president’s opponent in exchange for ones that are really relevant that you should hear. Is that a fair trial?”
Lee responded by saying he doesn’t think witnesses are necessary.
“I still think the impeachment charges themselves are sufficiently flawed and sufficiently baseless,” he said. “There's not a genuine issue of material fact here. Meaning, we don't have any facts that are in dispute that are sufficiently critical to the charges and to their success. I'm not seeing any need for witnesses at all.”
On Wednesday morning Nadler said it would be a "treacherous vote" and a "cover-up" for Republicans to reject the Bolton subpoena amendment, claiming that "only guilty people try to hide evidence." Bolton has reportedly described Trump's conduct as akin to a "drug deal," and he has indicated he would be willing to testify and provide relevant information.
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow responded by hammering Nadler for suggesting that executive privilege, a longstanding constitutional principle protecting executive branch deliberations from disclosure, wasn't legitimate. The White House has said the privilege prevents Democrats from forcing administration officials to provide testimony before Congress.
Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.