Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Thursday concluded with some confusion over the final question and resulted in Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar approached Chief Justice John Roberts to clarify her inquiry.
It offered a rare moment of levity for senators who had spent the day in the chamber.
There was laughter as Roberts, who had been presiding for nine and a half hours Thursday, struggled to read the card.
‘I think this is the right question,’ he said scrutinizing the card. Then he put it down. ‘We don’t have the question before us,’ he said.
Klobuchar then approached the desk where Roberts sat in the well of the Senate to fix the card. Under Senate procedure, Senators write their questions on a card that includes their name, state and what they are asking. Roberts reads the questions aloud.
The card senators fill out to ask their questions
Chief Justice John Roberts studies the question card
Senator Amy Klobuchar, in red, goes to the desk to fix her question card
The Minnesota senator, who’s running for president, later explained to reporters what happened and got in a pitch for her White House campaign.
She explained that she submitted one question but noticed the time was running out on the Q&A period. Her question – Number 89 – ended up being the last of the evening.
So she submitted another inquiry but only signed it with her initials – A.K. Adding to the confusion, it also featured with Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland’s name when it was Klobuchar who Roberts called on to submit an inquiry. Senators can jointly submit questions
‘I had a different question, but we only have four minutes left, so I did the closer question,’ she told reporters at the end of the evening.
‘And it had a Cardin’s name on it. I put my name on it,’ she said. ‘I wrote AK but it wasn’t enough so I went down there and fixed it myself in a very hands on manner.’
‘It technically was probably not with the rules. The funniest part was that I hands on took care of the problem myself as I would as president,’ she said, getting in part of her campaign pitch.
Sen. Klobuchar said she signed the card with her initials – A.K. – instead of her full name
Klobuchar asked the last question of the Thursday’s session
Senate pages have been taking the question cards from senators and bringing them to the Senate clerks to hand to Roberts. Senators had been staying at their desks during the question and answer process.
Klobuchar is running for the Democratic presidential nomination and has had her husband and daughter Abigail campaigning in Iowa for her ahead of Monday’s caucus vote.
Iowa has the first vote in the primary contest and the senators running to be the nominee against Donald Trump – Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Michael Bennet – have been at the president’s trial in the Senate instead of on the campaign trail.
Klobuchar said she expects to be back in the state on Sunday. Senators are scheduled to resume Trump’s trial at 1 p.m. on Friday. Her plans could change if the trial wraps on Friday night.
‘Well I can’t tomorrow because we’re going to be there at one and so unless I teleported in. I’ve got my daughter there,’ she said. ‘I’m going to go on Sunday for sure.’
Compounding to the confusion in the trial’s final moments, Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead manager for House Democrats, got up to answer Klobuchar’s question but Rep. Jerry Nadler, one of his fellow managers, beat him to it.
Schiff rose and was walking toward the lectern but Nadler was ahead of him and beat him to it.
‘Jerry, Jerry,’ someone was heard whispering.
Amy Klobuchar shows reporters photos of her daughter Abigail campaigning for her in Iowa
Amy Klobuchar said she expects to back in Iowa campaigning this weekend
Day 10 of the trial had a few memorable moments.
In the opening minutes, Chief Justice John Roberts declined to read a question from Republican Senator Rand Paul on Thursday that would have named the alleged whistleblower.
Roberts looked at the card containing Paul’s question carefully and then set it aside, saying: ‘The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.’
Paul immediately left the impeachment trial to hold a press conference on Roberts’ move.
‘I can tell you that my question made no reference to the whistleblower or any kind of person,’ the senator from Kentucky said.
Chief Justice John Roberts declined to read a question from Republican Senator Rand Paul on Thursday that would name the alleged whistleblower
Senator Rand Paul immediately left the trial to hold a press conference
Rand Paul holding his question that Chief Justice Roberts wouldn’t read
He read his question to the press but DailyMail.com is not naming the alleged whistleblower, whose public identity has not been disclosed.
Here is Senator Paul’s question with the names in it redacted: ‘Are you aware that House Intelligence Committee staff … has a close relationship with … when at the National Security Council together. Are you aware and how do you respond to reports that … and … may have worked together to plot impeaching the president before there were formal House impeachment proceedings?’
Roberts – who is tasked with reading senators’ questions aloud – had told the lawmakers he would not say the name of the whistleblower during the Q&A session. The person has not publicly identified themselves and is protected by federal law from having their identity revealed.
Democrats don’t want the whistleblower named publicly to protect the person and several Republicans agree with them.
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to reassure Roberts the lawmakers would support his position amid reports Paul was going to try to name the person in his question.
‘We appreciate the judge reading our questions, and I want to continue to assure him that that level of consideration for him will continue,’ McConnell said before the Q&A period began.
But Paul made his inquiry and then left the trial to talk to the press.
‘I don’t know who the whistleblower is,’ Paul told reporters.
‘My question is not about the whistleblower. My question is about two people who are friends who work together the National Security Council, who are having overheard talking about impeaching the president years in advance of a process that then was created,’ he said.
He said he was ‘still contemplating’ trying to ask his question or some other form of his question again.
He was asked if he shouldn’t be in the trial instead of holding a press conference.
‘Yeah, I will be there very shortly. Thanks for the question,’ he said.
Republican Senator Joni Ernst said it was ‘concerning’ that Roberts would not read Paul’s question.
‘That’s concerning. I think that all questions need to be considered,’ she told reporters during a break in the trial.