Chief Justice John Roberts drew little attention to himself in the beginning 12 hours of his first impeachment trial. But it was just before 1 a.m., as tempers on the floor had started to wear thin, that he reminded senators, House impeachment managers and President Donald Trump's defense team who was in charge.
"I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and the president's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body," Roberts said, after a particularly tense exchange between House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and the president's lawyers.
Roberts asked them to "avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse."
He did not say what prompted his comments, but they came after Nadler told senators that voting to deny certain witnesses in the trial, as many GOP senators had, was a "treacherous vote" and a vote against the United States. Trump's defense team then said Nadler should be embarrassed and should apologize to the president and the American people.
Roberts' new role presiding over the trial is one of two jobs he is juggling as the impeachment session gets underway. On Tuesday morning, he donned his black robe and oversaw two arguments at the Supreme Court before heading across the street to the U.S. Capitol where he is presiding over the trial in the Senate chamber. His busy schedule meant he didn't have time to join his fellow justices for a group lunch, a high court custom following arguments.
And he was scheduled to be back again in the Court on Wednesday morning — just hours after the first day of the trial adjourned at 2 a.m.
Just before the day ended, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thanked Roberts for his service.
"I want to say on behalf of all of us, thank you for your patience," McConnell told him, as senators clapped.
Over the past 14 years, Roberts has gotten comfortable in the role of chief justice of the United States, but presiding over Trump's trial is a new, public role for Roberts, who is used to proceedings that aren't televised as they are in the Senate.
It is only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, coming just weeks before the first primaries of the 2020 election season and as voters are assessing Trump's first term and weighing the candidates who want to challenge him in the fall.
House Democrats impeached the president last month on two charges: abuse of power by withholding U.S. military aid to Ukraine as he pressed the country to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, and obstruction of Congress by refusing to comply with their investigation.
Trump's legal team has argued that the Republican president did "absolutely nothing wrong" and urged the Senate to swiftly reject the "flawed'' case against him.
Roberts' added responsibilities shouldn't affect the work of the court. That's because the justices generally finish their joint business in the mornings, giving Roberts time to preside over oral arguments and lead the justices' regularly scheduled private conferences before beginning his Senate duties in the afternoon.
Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in written responses to questions from reporters that it's expected to be "business as usual" at the court during the trial.
And if there's a good time in Roberts' schedule to take on added responsibility, this is it, since it's a relatively quiet time at the court. After one more oral argument scheduled for Wednesday, the court is taking its standard break from oral arguments until late February.
It's not until later in the spring that it gets to be crunch time for opinion writing for the justices, who finish their work in June before adjourning for the summer. The court did acknowledge it scheduled only one argument Wednesday instead of the more standard two in anticipation of a possible impeachment trial. That made Roberts' day at the court shorter.
Trump's trial could be over by the time oral arguments resume at the Supreme Court on Feb. 24 — but maybe not. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for a quick conclusion, though there could be delays. If the trial stretches into five weeks, Roberts would be expected to be with his fellow justices in the morning and lawmakers in the afternoon.
In the unlikely scenario Roberts had to leave an oral argument, the most senior associate justice, Justice Clarence Thomas, would handle duties like calling the cases and telling lawyers to begin their arguments. But the chief justice would still participate in voting on those cases.
At the Capitol, the chief justice is using the ceremonial President's Room as an office. It's the same space used by Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 1999 during former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial. One of Roberts' four law clerks, Megan Braun, will join him every day when he travels to the Senate, Arberg said.
Roberts' colleagues will have to plan one celebration around his new schedule. The chief justice's 65th birthday is Monday, and the justices generally make time to celebrate birthdays at the court. They get together to sing "Happy Birthday" and have a toast.
No word if the senators will do the same.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday minimized the severity of head injuries sustained by US troops during an Iranian missile strike on an Iraqi air base as he was pressed on why he'd claimed no troops had been injured in the attack.
"I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things ... and I can report it is not very serious," Trump said at a press conference in Davos, Switzerland, arguing that potential traumatic brain injuries are less severe than, say, missing limbs.
"No, I don't consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I've seen," the Republican president said. "I've seen what Iran has done with their roadside bombs to our troops. I've seen people with no legs and with no arms. I've seen people that were horribly, horribly injured in that area, that war."
"No, I do not consider that to be bad injuries, no," he added.
In addition to the 11 service members who were flown out of Iraq on Jan. 10 and Jan. 15 for further examination of concussion-like symptoms, defense officials said that about 10 more were flown to Germany in recent days. Most were being treated for symptoms related to possible traumatic brain injury; a smaller number may have been suffering from psychological trauma, according to two defense officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.
The exact nature and severity of the apparent brain injuries has not been publicly released.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that no Americans were harmed in the Iranian missile strikes on Jan. 8, which came in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran's most powerful military general.
The question of American casualties was especially significant at the time because Trump cited the fact that no Americans were killed or inured as driving his decision not to retaliate further and risk a broader war with Iran.
But in the days following the attack, medical screening determined that some of the U.S. troops who took cover during the attack were suffering from concussion-like symptoms. Last week, 11 U.S. service members were flown from Iraq to U.S. medical facilities in Germany and Kuwait for further evaluation of concussion-like symptoms. This was not reported to Defense Secretary Mark Esper until the day it was publicly announced, last Thursday; this comports with the usual practice of not reporting injuries to the Pentagon unless they involve the loss of life, limb or eyesight.
Trump told reporters he was informed of the concussion issue "numerous days" after the attack.
U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, said in a statement Tuesday evening that given the nature of the reported injuries, "it is possible additional injuries may be identified in the future."
Police in Thailand have arrested a man on suspicion of ruthlessly killing three people, including a toddler, during a gold shop robbery that shocked the country.
Local media said the suspect is the director of a primary school. It was unclear when he was arrested.
Thai TV stations on Wednesday broadcast live as police marched the man, wearing a face mask and baseball cap, into a police station in Lopburi, about 145 kilometers (90 miles) north of Bangkok, while a crowd of onlookers shouted abuse at him.
National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said the suspect was cooperating and did not deny involvement.
The robbery took place Jan. 9 at a gold shop inside a shopping mall in Lopburi. Security video showed a man wearing a balaclava and camouflage pants approach the store, carrying a pistol with a long silencer attached.
He opened fire at staff and passersby. A 2-year-old boy was hit as he walked past with his mother. A security guard and a shop assistant were also killed. Four others were wounded.
The robber then jumped over the counter and grabbed a number of gold necklaces before fleeing.
The incident caused outrage in Thailand, putting authorities under pressure to make a swift arrest.
Police say they would give further details about the arrest at a news conference on Thursday.
Local residents, business owners and officials have launched a day of protest on the Greek islands hardest hit by migration, demanding that the Greek government ease the severe overcrowding at refugee camps.
Most stores were closed and public services were halted Wednesday on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos, where the camps in some cases have more than 10 times the number of people they were built for.
Public protests are planned on all three islands and their regional governors and mayors plan to travel to Athens on Thursday to present their demands to the government.
Nearly 75,000 people crossed illegally to European Union member Greece from Turkey in 2019, according to the U.N. refugee agency, an increase of nearly 50% from the previous year.
Island authorities are urging the Greek government to step up migrant transfers to the Greek mainland and are seeking further information on its plans to build additional facilities that would be used to detain migrants listed for deportation.
Social media sites, games and other online services won't be allowed to "nudge" British kids into revealing personal details or lowering their privacy settings, under tough new rules drawn up by the country's privacy regulator.
The set of standards aimed at protecting children's online privacy were released Wednesday by the Information Commissioner's Office for Parliament's approval.
"There are laws to protect children in the real world - film ratings, car seats, age restrictions on drinking and smoking. We need our laws to protect children in the digital world too," Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said. "In a generation from now, we will look back and find it astonishing that online services weren't always designed with children in mind."
Tech companies won't be able to use "nudge techniques," such as making one option appear easier than the alternative, to encourage kids to provide unnecessary personal data or weaken or turn off their privacy protections. They'll also have to verify a user's age or instead apply the code's standards to all users.
Sharing or broadcasting a child's location should be off by default, so should profiling kids for so-called behavioral advertising, the new rules say. Other requirements include collecting and holding a "minimum amount" of personal data and making "high privacy" settings the default. Online services should take children's best interests into account and shouldn't use their data to auto-recommend harmful content like videos advocating suicide or anorexia.
The "age appropriate design code" has 15 standards in all that must be met by apps, connected toys, social media platforms, online games, educational websites and streaming services. They apply to any online service likely to be used by a child and to any companies offering their services in the U.K.
Violators face punishment including, in serious cases, fines worth 4% of a company's global revenue, which for the Silicon Valley giants like Facebook would equal billions of dollars.
Once Parliament gives its approval, companies will get a 12-month transition period to adapt to the new rules. They're expected to come into full effect by autumn 2021.
Tech companies are coming under increasing pressure to tighten up online protection for young people, with authorities in the U.S., Ireland and elsewhere also working on updating their rulebooks.