A civil servant responsible for ensuring public impeachment hearings run smoothly appeared to forget he was supposed to swear in witnesses on Dec. 9. Despite the fact they have had days of rehearsals to get the script right.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) was caught not administering the oath to Democrat Counsel Barry Berke and Republican Counsel Stephen Castor before they gave their opening statements.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) pointed out the error was a direct breach of House rules.
“I have a parliamentary inquiry: pursuant to rule 7b of the House rules the chairman is allowed to administer an oath not mandated to but it has been the practice of this committee to administer oaths to witnesses,” Buck said in a public video uploaded by Breitbart. “I am wondering why we have not administered the oath in this situation?”
Nadler tried to cover up his mistake by claiming he had planned to swear in the witnesses after they delivered their opening remarks. He also appeared to be confused when he denied the people who testified were not witnesses.
“I am going to administer the oath to the two witnesses who are now coming before us to the presentation,” he said. “The two gentlemen who just testified were not witnesses, they were making opening statements to the committee. We will now administer an oath to Mr. Castor and Mr. Goldman will now testify as a witness.”
However, Buck showed he was much more familiar with House rules and stated oaths should have been administered before the testimonials.
“Typically we would administer oaths before opening statements,” Buck said.
Nadler continued to deny the pair were witnesses and tried to end the discussion by agreeing to swear them in.
“Mr. Castor was here with Mr. Berke presenting the report of the committee that is the opening statement for this committee. There were not witnesses before this committee,” he said. “Mr. Castor now and Mr. Goldman are witnesses before the committee and I will now administer the oath.”
Buck continued to press the chairman to admit his error because House rules should apply to all elected representatives.
“Mr chairman if they were making presentations then the general rule should apply,” Buck said.
However, Nadler refused to admit fault and chose to instead use his power as chairman to overrule Buck.
“The gentleman is not recognized, the gentleman is not recognized,” Nadler said.
Breitbart speculated the chairman could have deliberately postponed administering an oath to allow the counsels to make allegations without fear of perjuring themselves.
“It was also significant for another reason: when Republicans raised a point of order, objecting to Berke impugning the president’s motives, which is forbidden under House rules, Nadler ruled that the point of order was invalid because Berke was not a witness,” the paper said.