The four Democratic senators running for president were stuck in the Senate chamber for the second consecutive day of impeachment trial questions Thursday, but that didn't prevent one of them from making some headlines ahead of Monday's Iowa caucuses.
Below are the queries the Democratic presidential candidates – two of them at the top in the polls – asked the House impeachment managers and Trump's defense team Wednesday.
To the House managers: "At a time when 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 to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution?"
Answer: "Senator, I would not say that it contributes to a loss of confidence in the chief justice. I think that chief justice has presided admirably." - Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
Amy Klobuchar and Warren with Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
To the House managers: "Yesterday you referenced how President Trump's perpetuating and propagating Russian conspiracy theories undercut our national security objectives. If acquitted in the Senate, what would prevent the president from continuing to side with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and other adversaries instead of our intelligence community and career diplomats? And what are the implications on our national security agenda if such behavior continues unchecked?"
Answer: "We've been having this debate for several days now. There's a lot of discussion on the legal aspects of this. So I don't want to get in again to the issues of our troops in Europe. The hot war that continues to happen right now as we're speaking in Ukraine. But I will reiterate the precedent that we set with regard to Russia and foreign adversaries. You know this idea that it's OK to continue to peddle in Russian propaganda and debunked conspiracy theories. Because counsel for the president would have you believe that, you know, this is a policy discussion that, that we have not resolved this, that there's a lot of debate about this issue." - Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.
To the House managers and Trump defense with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.: "Mr. Sekulow said earlier that the president's counsel would expect to call their own witnesses in this trial if Mr. Bolton or others are called by the House managers. Can you tell the Senate if any of those witnesses would have firsthand knowledge of the charges against the president and his actions?"
Answer: "Mr. Justice, Senator, there certainly are witnesses that the president could call with firsthand information. I don't know that they're the witnesses that they have described so far. Their position is, apparently, if you're the chairman of a committee doing an investigation, that makes you a relevant witness. It doesn't. Or you've all become witnesses in your own investigations. They want to call Joe Biden as a witness. Joe Biden can't tell us why military aid was withheld from Ukraine while it was fighting a war. Joe Biden can't tell us why President Zelensky couldn't get in the door of the White House while the Russian foreign minister could. He's not in a position to answer those questions." - Schiff
Answer: "Besides the fact that Mr. Schumer said it and it's on page 675 of the transcript that I can call, we could call any witnesses we want. Mr. Schiff just said we ... don't really get, we can call their witnesses. And that's what he said, you'd call their witnesses. Because under their theory, if we wanted to talk to the whistleblower, even in a secure setting, to find out if he, in fact, may have worked for the vice president or may have worked on Ukraine or may have been in communication with the staff, that's irrelevant. We can't talk to Joe Biden or Hunter Biden because that's irrelevant, except the conversation that is the subject matter of this inquiry, the phone call transcript that you selectively utilize has a reference to Hunter Biden. The conversation with Burisma, they raised it for about a half a day, saying there was nothing there. Well, let me find out through cross-examination." - Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president
To the House managers and Trump defense with Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.: "Mr. Sekulow cited individuals like the Bidens as being, quote, not irrelevant to our case, end quote. Are you opposed to having the chief justice make the initial determinations regarding the relevance of documents and witnesses, particularly as the Senate could disagree with the chief justice's ruling by a majority vote? "
Answer: "Again, to make our position clear, we think constitutionally that would not be the appropriate way to go. Where, again, no disrespect to the chief justice at all who's presiding here is the presiding officer. But our view is that if there are issues that have to be resolved on constitutional matters, that it should be done in the appropriate way. You have Senate rules that govern that as to what you would do. And then there's, you know, if litigation would to be necessary for a particular issue, that would have to be looked at. But this idea that we can short circuit the system, which is what they've been doing for three months, is not something we're willing to go with." - Sekulow
Answer: "The president says that would not be constitutionally appropriate. Why not? Where is it prohibited in the Constitution that in an impeachment trial, upon the agreement of the parties, the chief justice cannot resolve issues of the materiality of witnesses? Of course, that is permitted by the Constitution." - Schiff
To House managers with Van Hollen and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.: "Could you please respond to the answer just given by the president's counsel [on Biden's alleged conduct compared to Trump's] and provide any other comments the Senate would benefit from hearing before we adjourn for the evening."
Answer: "What we've just heard from the House and from the president's counsel is the usual nonsense. There are only three, as we draw to a close tonight, there are only three things to remember. One, this is a trial. And the trial is, any 10-year-old knows, we should have witnesses. We are told we can't have witnesses because after all, the House says we proved our case as we have, and so why should we need witnesses? ... Second, there's only one real question in this trial ... Did the president abuse his power by violating the law to withhold military aid from a foreign country, to extort that country into helping him, into helping his reelection campaign by slandering his opponent?" - Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.
To the House managers with Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J, and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii: "If the Senate accepts the president's blanket assertion of privilege in the House impeachment inquiry, what are the consequences to the American people? How will the Senate ensure that the current president or a future president will remain transparent and accountable? How will this affect the separation of powers? And in this context, could you address the president's counsel's claim that the president's advisers are entitled to the same protections as a whistleblower?"
Answer: "Senate privileges are limited. We have voted to impeach the president for, among other things, article 2 of the impeachment is total defiance of House subpoenas. And the president announced in advance, 'I will defy all the subpoenas.' What does this mean? It means there is no information to Congress. It means a claim of monarchical dictatorial power. If Congress has no information, it cannot act. If the president can defy -- now, he can dispute certain specific claims, you can claim privilege, etc. -- but to defy categorically all subpoenas, to announce in advance you're going to do that, and to do it, is to say that Congress has no power at all, only the executive has power." - Nadler
To the House managers with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.: "Mr. Sekulow said that if the Senate votes for witnesses, he will call a long chain of witnesses that will greatly lengthen the trial. Isn't it true that the Senate will establish by majority vote which and how many witnesses there will be? Isn't it also true that prior impeachment trials in the Senate commonly have heard witnesses who did not testify in the House?"
Answer: "Certainly it is the case that all we are asking the Senate to do is to hold a full and fair trial consistent with the Senate's responsibility. Article 1, Section 3 of this Constitution, the Senate shall have the sole power with respect to an impeachment trial. And this great institution has interpreted that during the 15 different impeachment trials that have taken place during our nation's history, that a full and fair trial means witnesses, because this institution, every time it's held a trial has heard witnesses. All 15 times. Including in several instances where there were witnesses who did not testify in the House, who testified in the Senate." - Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.
Sanders did not ask any questions at the impeachment trial Thursday.