The Senate chamber erupted in laughter Saturday after Donald Trump‘s defense attorney demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris appear at his ‘Philly-delphia’ office for in-person depositions.
Mike van der Veen, during impassioned remarks from the Senate floor during the fifth day of impeachment trial, pronounced his hometown Philadelphia with an accent, which sparked prolonged laughter from the lawmakers.
He also said if House managers call witness depositions, then he would ‘slap subpoenas on a good number of people.’
Trump’s senior adviser Jason Miller said Saturday they have a list of 301 witnesses they would like to call – and he said that number is growing.
That list, according to pictures taken of a paper Miller was holding at the Capitol, includes Pelosi, Harris, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House impeachment managers Ted Lieu and Joaquin Castro, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Mazie Hirono and Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Maxine Waters.
‘For the House managers to say we might need depositions about things that happened after, it is just not true. But, if he does, there are a lot of depositions that need to be happening,’ van der Veen said of House impeachment managers lead Jamie Raskin if he goes forward with calling for depositions on the events following the storming of the Capitol on January 6.
‘Nancy Pelosi’s deposition needs to be taken. Vice President Harris’ deposition, absolutely, needs to be taken,’ he said.
‘And not by Zoom. None of these depositions should be done by Zoom,’ van der Veen asserted, raising his voice and banging his hand on the podium. ‘We didn’t do this hearing by Zoom.’
‘These depositions should be done in person in my office in Philadelphia,’ he continued with a snarl on his face, using the pronunciation ‘Philly-delphia’. ‘That’s where they should be done.’
At this point, senators on both sides of the chamber burst out into laughter.
The Senate chamber exploded in laughter on Saturday after Donald Trump’s defense attorney pronounced Philadelphia as ‘Philly-delphia’
During a fiery speech on the Senate floor Saturday, Mike van der Veen sparked chamber-wide laughter with his pronunciation as he banged on the podium and snarled
The Pennsylvania-based attorney was demanding that if Democrats called for depositions in the impeachment trial, than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris should give their own in-person at his Philadelphia office
‘I don’t know why you’re laughing,’ he said, appearing to think the laughter was related to his legal argument. ‘It is civil process. That is the way lawyers do it’
Senate President pro tempore Patrick Leahy had to call order in the chamber as the laughter persisted
‘I don’t know how many civil lawyers are here, but that’s the way it works, folks,’ van der Veen said in explanation, appearing confused over the laughs. ‘When you want somebody’s deposition, you send a notice of deposition, and they appear at the place where their notice says, that’s civil process.’
‘I don’t know why you’re laughing,’ he said. ‘It is civil process. That is the way lawyers do it, we send notices of deposition –’
Van der Veen was then interrupted by Senate President pro tempore Patrick Leahy who called the chamber back to order as the bipartisan laughter persisted.
‘I would remind everybody that we will have order in the chamber during these proceedings,’ the Democratic Senate leader said.
‘I haven’t laughed at any of you, and there’s nothing laughable here,’ van der Veen said.
Before the trail kicked off on Tuesday, Raskin sent a letter demanding Donald Trump appear to testify in the proceedings, to which the former president’s lawyers rejected.
‘He mentioned my client coming in to testify, that is not the way it’s done,’ van der Veen lamented during his fiery remarks Saturday. ‘If he wanted to talk to Donald Trump, he should have put a subpoena down. Like I’m going to slap subpoenas on a good number of people if witnesses are what is required here for them to try and get their case back in order, which has failed miserably.’
Following the ordeal, and as the Senate voted on whether to call witnesses, Republican Senator Rand Paul is seen talking to van der Veen and lead impeachment attorney Bruce Castor – also based in Pennsylvania
Miller said there is already a list of more than 300 witnesses Republicans would like to call.
‘We’re currently at 301 and counting…’ he tweeted of the witness count after Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham voted in favor of calling witnesses.
Graham tweeted after the vote: ‘It is my firm belief that the House Managers are trying to investigate the case AFTER it was brought to the Senate. It is better for the country to go to a final vote.’
‘However, if the body wants witnesses,’ he continued in a thread, ‘I am going to insist we have multiple witnesses.’
‘We can start with Speaker Pelosi to answer the question as to whether or not there was credible evidence of pre-planned violence before President Trump spoke?’ he said.
The South Carolina senator added: ‘Her testimony is incredibly relevant to the incitement charge.’
While even Republicans chuckled at van der Veen’s suggestion some of the top Democratic leaders appear in-person at his Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office for depositions, the interruption from Democratic senators continued through Leahy calling order.
Pennsylvania’s Republican Senator Pat Toomey was seen by reporters in the chamber gallery giving a hearty laugh to the suggestion while chatting with seat mate Kevin Cramer, Republican senator from North Dakota.
Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jason Miller said Satruday that they are prepared to call more than 300 witnesses if that’s the route Democrats want to take in the impeachment trial
Miller was pictured Saturday at the Capitol with a list of names titled in black sharpie ‘Witness List 301 (so far)’
That list includes Pelosi, Harris, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House impeachment managers Ted Lieu and Joaquin Castro, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Mazie Hirono and Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Maxine Waters
There were a few times on Saturday when van der Veen incited laughter.
A few minutes before saying Pelosi and Harris should be deposed at his office, the animated attorney was yelling about how there are multiple reasons Donald Trump should be acquitted.
‘Let me take my own advice and cool the temperature in the room a little bit,’ he suddenly said calmly after shouting his previous point.
He was greeted with a few chuckles from the chamber.