View from the gallery: Senators sit, spin and fidget during Trump trial

Todd Ruger, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bill Cassidy charted a course along the back corner of the Senate chamber Thursday during President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. The Louisiana Republican walked through an area usually reserved for staff seating, hands in pockets, retracing a short path over and over again for more than 15 minutes.

When Georgia Republican David Perdue took to standing along his path, Cassidy squeezed by and just kept pacing.

This was the third long day in the Senate chamber of the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, and the 100 senators began to find more ways to pass time while watching the second day of opening presentation from House managers.

Sixteen desks were empty when Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. announced that the House impeachment managers had 16 hours and 42 minutes left to make their case for Trump's removal.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, used the first few minutes of the House's remaining time to attempt to soften his audience with a joke.

"I'm not sure the chief justice is fully aware of just how rare it is, how extraordinary it is, for the House members to be able to command the attention of senators sitting silently for hours, or even for minutes for that matter," the California Democrat said. "Of course, it doesn't hurt that the morning starts out every day with the sergeant-at-arms warning you that if you don't, you will be imprisoned."


A few Senate Democrats chuckled.

Idaho Republican Jim Risch got a special delivery at his desk during a brief recess.

Colorado's Cory Gardner slipped out of the GOP Cloakroom and dropped off a small bottle that looked like a 5-Hour Energy drink, essentially a caffeine shot, along with a yellow sticky note to Risch's desk.

Gardner was likely poking fun at his colleague's now-infamous snooze earlier this week in the chamber, captured by sketch artist Art Lien and featured in The New York Times and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."


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