Van der Veen, a Trump lawyer, erupts at Democrats, drawing a call for ‘civil discourse.’
On Saturday morning, the Senate echoed with what had become, by Day 5 of former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial, a familiar sound: the raised voice of Mr. Trump’s most combative and animated defense lawyer, Michael T. van der Veen.
Mr. van der Veen erupted after House impeachment managers made a last-minute request to call a Republican congresswoman, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, as a witness — via video call — after she claimed knowledge of statements by Mr. Trump in which he sided with the mob that attacked the Capitol.
The exchange became so heated that the trial’s presiding officer, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, admonished Mr. van der Veen and others to observe the chamber’s rules of decorum. The scolding came shortly after Mr. Leahy had issued a similar warning when Democrats laughed at the defense lawyer.
The testy back-and-forth on Saturday came when Mr. van der Veen argued — in a tone that at times neared shouting — that Democrats had broken a pledge to wrap up the trial, followed by a threat to call top figures in the party to testify in person.
“There are a lot of depositions that need to happen,” he said. “Nancy Pelosi’s deposition needs to be taken. Vice President Harris’s deposition absolutely needs to be taken. And not by Zoom. None of these depositions should be done by Zoom.”
“These depositions should be done in person, in my office, in Philadelphia,” added Mr. van der Veen, a personal injury lawyer, who pronounced the name of his hometown with a distinct Philadelphia accent.
At that point, several senators began snickering audibly.
“I would remind everybody that we will have order in the chamber during these proceedings,” Mr. Leahy said.
“I haven’t laughed at any of you, and there’s nothing laughable here,” Mr. van der Veen interjected angrily.
A few moments later, he accused Democrats of cutting a “back-room deal” and went on to question their integrity.
“They have completely violated and ignored and stepped on the Constitution of the United States,” he said. “They have trampled on it like people who have no respect for it.”
At that point, Mr. Leahy leaned into the microphone at the presiding officer’s desk, with its commanding view of the Senate floor, and said, “All parties in this chamber must refrain from using language that is not conducive to civil discourse.”
It was not the first time Mr. Leahy had to intervene to rein in Mr. van der Veen. On Friday, he called for order after a testy exchange between the lawyer and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont nearly devolved into a shouting match.
On Saturday, after the Senate voted to allow witnesses, Mr. van der Veen got worked up again. That time, however, he reached for calm.
“Let me take my own advice,” he said, “and cool the temperature in the room a little bit.”
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